a mother, father, and their two daughters, and son sit on the steps of the grand staircase inside the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City, Utah

Family Portraits at the Utah State Capitol

The Utah State Capitol is one of the most beautiful parts of Salt Lake City. The grand building, stunning grounds, and surrounding parks are loved by tourists and locals alike. It’s no wonder that people love to have their photos taken there! Here’s what you need to know before you book your family portraits at the Utah State Capitol.


Here in Utah, the temperature can climb over 100 degrees in summer and plummet below zero degrees in winter. We also have unpredictable weather. The forecast could show sunny skies all week and then we get rain from out of nowhere. Joseph and I don’t mind crazy weather for the most part. Our kids, however, are a different story. We know that, just like our kids, your kids may not be happy to smile for the camera when it’s really hot or cold. That’s why the Utah State Capitol is so great! It has lots of fantastic places inside to take family portraits and it’s free!

a brother, sister, and their baby sister sit on the marble steps of the grand staircase inside the Utah State Capitol


If you have young children I’m sure you’ve experienced the panic of seeing your kid do the potty dance and you aren’t anywhere near a bathroom. When Joseph and I had young kids, we based a lot of our outing location choices on how easy it was to find a bathroom. Come to think of it, that’s how it was when I was pregnant too, LOL. The Utah State Capitol has bathrooms on every level.

Stroller Access

This was another really important feature to me when I had little kids. While the grand staircases at the Capitol are perfect spots for family portraits, they aren’t much fun to climb up while holding a baby and possibly a toddler or two. Fortunately, there are elevators on the north and south side of the building. There is also a ramp on the east entrance, perfect for strollers. I recommend parking on the east side of the building so that it’s easier to access the east entrance ramp.

A mother, father, and their three young children sit on the marble steps and smile at each other for their family portraits at the Utah state capitol

Outfit Colors

This is one of my favorite benefits of taking portraits at the Capitol. Pretty much any outfit color looks great here! I would still avoid bright and neon colors. Just about any pastel, jewel or earth tone paired with neutral colors would look incredible!

A young brother and sister lean against a column at the bottom of the grand marble staircase inside the Utah State Capitol building

Things to be Aware Of

  • CROWDS- This is a very popular spot for portraits so Friday and Saturday nights can get really crowded. Weekdays are usually better for portrait sessions. Don’t worry if you need to hold your Utah State Capitol family session on a Saturday. I have tips for our clients to help avoid crowds even on weekends.
  • EVENTS- The Capitol holds various events throughout the year. Portrait sessions are not permitted during events so make sure you call ahead before you book your family portrait session.
  • CONGRESS IN SESSION- When the Utah Congress is in session, it’s really busy. Saturdays are really your only option for portraits during this time.
  • WEATHER/TIME OF DAY- It may seem weird that I’m listing weather at an indoor location. One of the things that makes the Utah State Capitol such a great place to take portraits is the natural light inside. If the sky is dark, whether from a storm or the sun going down, it will be dark inside too. This is important to remember in the winter when the sun goes down a lot earlier.
a man holds his girlfriend and smiles at her while leaning against a column outside the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City
a man holds his girlfriend and kisses her as he leans against a granite column outside of the Utah state capitol rotunda

Family Portraits at the Utah State Capitol

No matter how young or old your kids are, or what the weather is like, family portraits at the Utah State Capitol are a great idea! Melissa Woodruff Photography has over a decade of experience taking photos of families at the Capitol and all over our beautiful state. Reach out for more info about how we can serve you and your family. Joseph and I can’t wait to hear from you!

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