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Columbus, Ohio Photographers

Hey guys, welcome back to the BA Blog! In today’s post we are going to share our favorite locations to shoot in and around Columbus outside of the traditional venue. If you are interested in some of our favorite venues to shoot at, check out another post of ours called The 21 Best Wedding Venues in Columbus Ohio. The places we are going to talk about today are perfect locations for a romantic engagement shoot, a playful family session, and even an exciting senior photo shoot!

Engagement Shoot at The Ohio State University
Engagement Shoot at The Ohio State University

The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

We are going to start our tour in the heart of the city and explore what central Columbus has to Offer. The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is located on Broad St. just a few miles east of downtown. It is a massive thirteen-acre complex consisting of multiple buildings containing diverse ecological biomes, lavish gardens, and a variety of events offered year-round. The Conservatory also features the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company Community Garden, which is by far one of our favorite spots to shoot at for any type of session. This four-acre garden is open to the community of Columbus and is ever changing through the season. Offering a variety of flowers, fruits, veggies, among other plant throughout the year, guaranteeing that your shoot will truly be unique! https://www.fpconservatory.org/

Columbus Park of Roses

If you are looking to book a session in the summer to early fall, one of the city’s premier offerings is for sure the Columbus Park of Roses. This hidden gem is the perfect place for the casual flower admirer and serious botanist alike. The origins of the park date back to the civil war era, and it has grown to an expansive thirteen-acre complex since. With over 12,000 roses and hundreds of rose varieties, the park also hosts hundreds of species of perennials, herbs, shrubs, and trees from around the world to create one truly diverse environment. Despite the long history and broad variety of flora, most clients that we shoot here have never been to the Park of Roses and are astounded that such a beautiful place was in Columbus all this time! https://www.columbus.gov/recreationandparks/parks/Park-of-Roses-(Whetstone-Park)/

Topiary Garden

On the southeast side of downtown, is the elegant Topiary Garden. This urban park is not the usual garden you will see the around the city, or the world for that matter. The Topiary Garden is a nine-acre plot of land that had been entirely dedicated to depicting the post-Impressionist painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of LaGrande Jatte, by Georges Seurat. The 1884 painting, (and by design the garden) depicts Parisians stooling along the River Seine in their Sunday best. The garden brings the painting to life with ornately carved hedges that depict the Victorian era citizens out for a walk, picnicking and even playing with the four-legged friends. For our artistic clients, this is the spot to be, and with it’s location smack dab in the middle of downtown it is just a few minutes away from all the trendiest art galleries in the city! https://www.columbus.gov/recreationandparks/parks/Topiary-Garden-(Deaf-School-Park)/

Jeffrey Mansion

Located in Bexley, the Jeffrey Mansion is just a few short minutes from both downtown and interstate 270. But it’s convenience should not and will not be the only factor that draws you to the mansion. The mansion resides within the confines of Jeffrey Park, a forty-acre plot of land open to the public year-round and offers an open grass area, playground, and wooded trails along alum creek. The Jeffrey Mansion itself is nothing short of beautiful, and makes the perfect backdrop to add a bit of class and timeless style to your session. While beautiful any time of year, the mansion reaches its peak beauty in the fall when the colorful foliage of the grounds compliments the burnt orange bricks of the estate! http://www.bexley.org/jeffreymansion/

Scioto Audubon

On the banks of the Scioto river lies the aptly names Scioto Audubon Metro Park. A 120-acre park with the purpose of bringing nature back into the downtown area. The once neglected field has been turned into a nature preserve that the residents could enjoy in the heart of the city. The sanctuary offers the rare combo of picturesque views with both nature and the Columbus skyline. In addition to wonderful view, the park offers miles of trails, access to the river for boating and kayaking, sledding in the winter, and even offers a thirty-five-foot rock wall! This pet friendly location is the perfect place for the adventurous urban dwellers! https://www.metroparks.net/parks-and-trails/scioto-audubon/

The Ohio State University

For any alumni or die hard buckeye fans, the campus of The Ohio State University is the mecca of all session locations! While this is largely due to collegiate sports, there are so many more reasons to have a session on campus. First of all, the architecture is beautiful! As one of the largest universities in the country, OSU has hundreds of buildings varying in design with inspiration from medieval castles, to modern glass clad centers of education. And you cannot forget about the spaces in between the buildings. The iconic oval is absolutely perfect for an engagement session, or for a recent high school graduate and future Buckeye. While the recently renovated Mirror Lake provides a tranquil pocket of nature on south campus. And for those sports fans, there is not batter back drop than the Shoe itself! https://www.osu.edu/

The Ohio Statehouse

If your looking for a more stately location for you session, why not go to the Statehouse? Completed in 1861, the state’s center of government was built in the Greek revival style. Which means monolithic limestone walls and towering columns that create an imposing and timeless backdrop. The Statehouse is also one of our favorite wedding venues to shoot at and for good reason. There is virtually no other building in the city that can match the statehouse’s grand and elegant features. Because of the buildings nature as an active seat of government, a permit is required to photograph on the grounds of the Statehouse. The permit requires a $50.00 application fee that is non-refundable, and would be added on top of your sessions fee. http://ohiostatehouse.org/events/weddings/scheduling

German Village

Sprechen sie Deutsch? Nien? That’s okay we don’t either. Fortunately, you don’t need to be bilingual to visit German Village in Columbus. Just south of downtown, this neighborhood is named after the original German immigrants who settled there. Since then it has grown to be one of the trendiest and most beautiful neighborhoods in the city. With brick streets, and plenty of stone buildings around, this neighborhood offers ample photo opportunities around every corner. Among the notable spots along the streets are The Book Loft, a quant little book store with a nice ivy-covered alley way. At the other end of the neighborhood is Schiller Park. A twenty-three acre park accented with mature trees and a large pond with resident waterfowl. For our clients with fury family members, Schiller Park is very dog friendly, and the perfect place to get your photos taken together! https://germanvillage.com/

Scioto Mile

Flowing from the north the Scioto river bisects the city of Columbus and cuts directly through downtown. The mile or so section of river that runs along the capital city skyline has been highly developed in recent years to create a massive promenade and recreation area for the city’s residents. Home to the State of Ohio Supreme Court, Cosi, as well as playing host to some iconic festivals like the Jazz and Rib Fest, the Scioto mile is the perfect place for a shoot no matter the occasion. The south end of the mile features a massive fountain that leads to the picturesque Main Street bridge. The single span arch bridge is the only one of it’s design in North America, and fames the city skyline for a PERFECT background! https://www.sciotomile.com/

Franklinton

Cross the Main Street bridge to the west bank of the Scioto and you will find yourself in Franklinton. As one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, Franklinton has seen revitalization I recent years. The residential and partially industrial district offer a distinct ambiance that is hard to come by. The neighborhood’s revival is hinged around Columbus’ booming art community that is ever expanding. Several independent art collectives populate the area, as do multi story murals on the district’s facades. Brewing, another form of art, has taken hold of Franklinton too. Home to Columbus’ own Land Grant Brewery Company, and host to the Scottish brewery BrewDog, you won’t be far from a tasty draught after your shoot. Age permitting of course! https://www.experiencecolumbus.com/neighborhoods/downtownfranklinton/

North Bank Park

While Franklinton sits at the south end of the Scioto Mile, the aptly named North Bank Park sits at the other end of the river’s curve. Located on the outskirts of the Arena District and just a few block south of Huntington Park, North Bank Park offers similarly scenic panoramic view of the Scioto River and the Columbus skyline. Dedicated in 2005 the North Bank is one of the more recent additions to the riverfront revitalization campaign. The eleven acre site offer sweeping green lawns and a myriad of connecting bike trails that will take you all over the city. A glass pavilion acts as an on-site facility that can be rented out, and offers a great setting for medium and large events. Even without renting the North Bank Park Pavilion, it makes for a great backdrop for any type of shoot! https://www.columbus.gov/recreationandparks/parks/North-Bank-Park/

Short North

If you are looking for a bustling urban environment for your shoot, the Short North is the place to be! You will know when you have officially arrived when you see see the cast iron arches that bear the neighborhood’s name. With restaurants, shop, and art galleries populating the ground level, and residential units above, you can be sure that no matter when you visit, the neighborhood will be alive and thriving! With century old brick, glass store fronts, and artfully projected murals, there is no shortage of urban variety. But if you want to indulge in a little bit of nature, you are only blocks away from Goodale Park. Marking the border of the Short North district with the Victorian Village, Goodale is a Mecca for the locals to escape a bit into nature. https://www.experiencecolumbus.com/neighborhoods/short-north/

Your Favorite Brewery

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past ten years, you know that the craft brew scene around Columbus has exploded. There are dozens of small breweries to choose from all over the city. In addition to offering tasty drinks on tap, they often give their patrons a cool and relaxing place to just hang out. A photo shoot at a brewery allows us to capture amore laid back side that you just can’t get anywhere else! We recommend if you are considering a shoot at a brewery that you make sure there is adequate lighting for photography. A brewery with an outdoor patio, or large floor to ceiling windows is idea. While we can make darker spaces work, it may require the use of flash, which we will need to ask the establishment for permission.

North Columbus

Highbanks Metro Park

Let’s expand our location search outside the city center and move into the suburbs. Our first stop is directly north up High street to Highbanks Metro Park. At 1,200 acres Highbanks is one of the city’s largest metro parks. With a forest of mature trees, this park is a sight to behold in the fall, with millions of colorful leaves filling the air and adorning the ground, this is the perfect location to shoot with beautiful foliage. If you travel further in to the park you will come across the park’s namesake. The Olentangy river forms the western border of the park and features an impressive 100-foot-tall cliff that creates the “high banks” of the river. The scenic lookout is a perfect photo opportunity for any occasion. And if you are observant, you may just get to see one of the park’s resident Bald Eagles! https://www.metroparks.net/parks-and-trails/highbanks/

Alum Creek State Park

Columbus is a nice city to live in, it has all the amenities you would expect in a moderately large city. But we are in central Ohio completely land locked, so if you want a beach shoot, you’ll have to travel quite a ways…Or do you?? Just north of the city right off of interstate 71 is Alum Creek State Park. A 4,600-acre preserve that edges up to the Alum Creek reservoir, and even has a beach! Okay so it’s not the Atlantic, you can see the other side of the reservoir, but if lake life is your style you’re not going to find a body of water closer to the city! And who doesn’t want a sunset photo on the water to finish an engagement session! https://ohio.org/destination/alum-creek-state-park/

Uptown Worthington

If you’re not familiar with Columbus, and haven’t figured it out yet, High street is a major thoroughfare. It runs the entire length of the city, north to south straight through the middle. As a result, there are a multitude of prime photograph locations that call the road home, including our next stop. This is our first location that I would call an “old town” setting, in that it is the historic town center of what is now a suburb of the greater city. Uptown Worthington is a charming, and pedestrian friendly neighborhood that has a unique small-town charm. Lined with brick facades, housing boutique shop, restaurants, and even an ice cream parlor, Uptown Worthington can play host to any kind of shoot. From a romantic stroll through the town to commemorate your engagement, to a fun outing with the family to enjoy a scoop or two of moose tracks!

Sharon Woods Metro Park

If we travel a few miles east on the outer belt, we can check out another metro park in Sharon Woods. If you didn’t know any better, you would think the forested area was as thick as an Amazonian rainforest. But the thick tree line hides a network of secluded prairies, and a tranquil lake that will transport you from the busy city to a serene oasis in a matter of moments. All of the city’s metro parks have their beauty year-round. The spring and summer bring blooms and fishers to Schrock lake, while the fall offers golden parries surrounded by colorful autumn colors. And winter… winter brings the snow and the sleds! Sharon Woods host a perfect sledding hill for kids and adults alike! If you are looking for an exciting session in the snow, look no further than Sharon Woods! https://www.metroparks.net/parks-and-trails/sharon-woods/

Everal Barn & Homestead

A few blocks from Sharon Woods, stands the Everal Barn. Listed in the national register of historic sites, this elegant white barn that is located in the middle of suburban Westerville. Owned and operated by the city of Westerville Park and Recreation, this majestic barn can accommodate up to 150 guests across their two-level set up. In addition to the barn, the Everal Homestead can be rented for as the perfect getting ready spot for your big day. The beautifully renovated farmhouse can accommodate up to thirty guests for an overnight stay. And for your bridal portraits, the gorgeous Heritage park is only a stones throw away! https://parks.westerville.org/facilities/everal-barn-and-homestead

Inniswood Metro Gardens

Westerville has no shortage of prime photography spots, our next stop takes us to Inniswood Metro Gardens. Tucked away in the suburbs this 123 acre estate was donated to the city by the Innis family in the 1970’s. The winding paths of the gardens take you through a variety of different terrains. From carefully manicured shrubs, forest paths, and a number of picturesque structures you could spend hours capturing photos around the gardens. Inniswood is beautiful any time of the year, however, late spring is really when the gardens come into their full glory. The park is absolutely filled with flowering trees that presents a kaleidoscope of colors and textures that are difficult to match! https://www.metroparks.net/parks-and-trails/inniswood-metro-gardens/

Uptown Westerville

Another one of our “old town” locations, uptown Westerville is the suburb’s historical center and downtown area. Just north of interstate 270, on State St. this brick lined neighborhood harbors decades of history. Founded in 1858, this historic district offers a distinct small-town feel that is hard to come by in the rest of the city. The store fronts of over a hundred small business creates a diverse backdrop for any type of photo session. Just blocks away from State St. is the campus of Otterbein University. Founded around the same time, this beautiful campus compliments the small town feel that uptown Westerville offers perfectly! https://shopuptownwesterville.com/

Hoover Dam

The Hoover Reservoir is the largest body of water in central Ohio. It serves the purpose of supplying the city of Columbus with the majority of its water supply. Apart from its practical purpose; the reservoir (often just referred to as Hoover Dam) offers the benefits of boating, fishing, kayaking, and much more. At eight miles in length and up to a mile wide at certain points; Hoover Dam’s shores offer dozens of ideal locations for your session. You can take in the sunset on a rocky beach. Explore the crisscrossing trails in the surrounding woods. Or get lost in an old growth pine forest that will you make you feel like you were hundreds of miles away from the city. https://www.columbus.gov/recreationandparks/parks/Hoover-Reservoir-Park/

New Albany

The village of New Albany, for some reason, is not even on the radar for most photographers in the Columbus are. We really are not sure why because there are countless locations that offer amazing scenery for a shoot! Squeezed between Westerville and Gahanna, New Albany was once a sleepy farm town, until urban sprawl made it a highly sought after suburb. This has result in a highly manicured community with an abundance of small parks, and expertly landscaped public spaces. From the village’s iconic white fences, grooves of cheery blossoms, to its stately architecture, there are dozens of opportunities to capture a beautiful moment.

Creekside Gahanna

Offering similar small-town vibes as uptown Westerville, our next location was developed much more recently. Tucked away in the sprawling suburb of Gahanna is the Creekside park and commercial district. Home to dozens of local business ranging from boutiques, coffee shops, and restaurants, Creekside is a nice casual place to relax and take in the scenery. The main plaza is dominated by a picturesque fountain with plenty of tasteful vantage points. Moving further back, Big Walnut Creek comes into view along with a number of walking paths through the well-maintained woods. Whether you’re there for dinner, fishing, or just a relaxing walk to feed the resident ducks, Creekside Gahanna is perfect anyone to enjoy! https://www.gahanna.gov/portfolio-item/creekside-park-plaza/

Dawes Arboretum

Our next location two locations take us a little bit outside the Columbus city limits. The first location is the Dawes Arboretum in my hometown of Newark, Ohio. If you are not aware; an arboretum is a specific type botanical garden that is devoted to the growth and preservation of trees. Founded in 1929, Dawes was established to act as a 2,000 acre preserve of trees; to educate the guest on the value and importance of the different types of tree species. Needless to say, you could spend days exploring the estate, in which ideal photo spots are around every corner! From lakes, to manicured gardens, wetlands, and prairies, very few locations offer the variety that Dawes Arboretum offers! https://dawesarb.org/

Rock Mill Park

One county south of Dawes Arboretum in Fairfield county, outside of Lancaster is the Rock Mill Park. With its origins dating back to the eighteenth century, this scenic plot of land has hosted a number of mills. All were established to harness the power of the Hocking River. The mill that currently stands today was build in 1824; and has been meticulously restored in recent year to its former glory. With a rustic country charm that you just can’t find in the city; Rock Mill Park if perfect prelude to any barn or country wedding! https://www.fairfieldcountyparks.org/historical-features/rock-mill/

Walnut Woods

Back to the outskirts of the city, on the southeast side you will find Walnut Woods. One of Columbus’ many metro parks, Walnut Woods offers a dramatic backdrop for any photo session. Dominated by soaring pine trees, and remote nature transports it’s visitors to what looks to be another climate entirely. This is especially true in winter when the towering evergreens create a stark contrast with the pure white snow. But the other seasons are not to be missed either. With plenty of sweetgum, and buckeye trees joining the mighty pines; you will find yourself in a fairy tale forest as you walk along Walnut Creek! https://www.metroparks.net/parks-and-trails/walnut-woods/

Scioto Grove

Just a few miles west is the Scioto Grove Metro Park. Entering the 620-acre park you will find yourself surrounded by fields of golden grass. Head back to the tree line and you will find secluded paths through the mature forest. Wandering through the scenic trails you follow the Scioto River; where you may be luck enough to see a canoe or kayaker paddle on by. On the south end of the park is The Grove. This recently build event center both blends in and stands out of the scenery thanks to its modern architecture. With Floor to ceiling windows offering an abundance of natural light; The Grove is the perfect place for a small wedding, family reunion, or retirement party! https://www.metroparks.net/parks-and-trails/walnut-woods/

Gantz Park

Living in the northeast portion of the metro area; we often forget how many hidden gems there are on the other side of the city. Gantz park in is a small arboretum smack dab in the middle of Grove City. Located confidently just blocks away from the highway; Gantz is a great location packing a lot of variety in a reasonable size. Amongst the trees is the site’s historic farm house, an extensive herb garden, labyrinth, and even basketball and tennis courts. It offers tons of variety for any type of shoot; whether it be for a family that loves to garden, or an engaged couple out for an even stroll. http://www.grovecityohio.gov/parks-and-recreation/

Homestead Park

Traveling to the northwest takes us to the city of Hilliard, and the Homestead Metro Park. At forty-four acres, Homestead is one of the smallest metro parks that Columbus has to offer. But that doesn’t mean it falls behind any of it’s larger siblings. With a distinct country feel, Homestead features two barns, a covered bridge, and replica train station. A short but scenic trail is pet friendly and wraps around a pristine lake that allows fishing. With basketball and sand volleyball courts this park is friendly to any type of session! https://www.metroparks.net/parks-and-trails/homestead/

Indian Run Falls

Our last two locations take us full circle around the city to the city of Dublin. At just under four acres, this place is one of those hidden gems that you could easily miss. Tucked away behind a post office and a middle school is Indian Run Falls. A beautiful waterfall that is its own little piece of heaven concealed within the city. Fed by the Indian Run Creek, the falls present an unblemished view of the true natural landscape of the region. Giving its guest a serene environment to capture life’s most beautiful moments! https://dublinohiousa.gov/parks-open-space/indian-run-falls/ 

Scioto Park

That brings us to our final stop on this journey around central Ohio! Located just north of Indian Run Falls in Dublin is Scioto park. Perched on the steep grade down to the Scioto River, the park offers a number of prime photography spots. Let’s work in reverse, starting at the river. Along the tree-lined river a full canopy offers perfect lighting by creating a soft blanket of shade over the area. Moving up the hill towards the parking lot, you will come across a unique feature to any park, a large amphitheater. But the showstopper is the monument to Native American Chief Leatherlips. This impressive monument pays tribute to the Native Americans that called this region home in the past. Further up the hill you will find a beautiful tree-lined lane that offers amazing sunset photos! https://www.visitdublinohio.com/listing/scioto-park/383/

You’ve made it to the end! There are so many places, sites, nooks, and crannies all over the city that we love to shoot in. While these are our more frequented spots, we are always open to exploring new and exciting locations to shoot!

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