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Five Best Outdoor Photo Locations in Indianapolis

When I moved to Indianapolis from Michigan in 2019, one of my first adventures of being a photographer here is that I wanted to find the the most beautiful, the easiest, the just the overall best photo locations to bring clients to in and around the city. So after a few years of working with seniors, engaged and married couples, and other people needing professional portraiture, here are a few of my favorite spots and pointers for people looking for where to go!

Before I get too far, I do want to say that if you're looking for a location and also looking for a photographer, I might be your guy! I live right here in Broad Ripple, and generally have some session availability if you ask enough in advance. If you want to contact me with an inquiry or to book a session, you can do that right here!

For this list, I only picked places within Marion County. There are so many more beautiful parks and locations outside of town, but I wanted to keep this list short and to the point. Let me know if you want to know some of my favorite spots in the greater metro Indy area!

5. Butler University

Okay you might think I'm crazy for this one - Butler? Sure it's beautiful but do I really want my engagement photos on a college campus? Do I want my Senior Photos to be at Butler if I'm not even going to apply there? I hear you on all of this and my simple response is that Butler's campus is beautiful, and there are so many incredible spots that aren't the iconic and identifiable locations many of us might recognize if we are familiar with the school. And if I have an affiliation with Butler, some of those iconic spots are definitely a perk.

From the big stairs, the pond, and even if you want to make your way over to Holcomb Gardens or the White River behind the outdoor athletic area, there are plenty of beautiful places to choose from!

4. Newfields Gardens

Okay I love Newfields so much, I'm surprised it's not higher on my own list. So before I get to all the reasons I love Newfields, here are a couple things that knocked it down (for me at least).

  1. I've only had one shoot there (so far) and it wasn't peak season so I can't speak too highly of all that it can be in other parts of the year, and when I'm more familiar with it.

  2. They have a photography fee, which is both a good and bad thing. Bad because it's an extra $50 to spend, but good because if it wasn't there this place would be absolutely SWARMED by photographers and clients.

If you look up Newfields online, you will find tons of stunning images there. Every time I see an Instagram post from a photographer I like taken at Newfields, I immediately know they're going to be stunning images. I think the best things about this place is that everything is just classic. The photo spots here are both incredibly timely and beautiful, while being absolutely classic and timeless. The grounds are kept clean, and at least when I was there, it wasn't packed.

3. Holliday Park

One of my favorite parks, and one of the most versatile photo places in Indianapolis. This park has some of the best fall colors, an incredible brick structure with great paces for photos, great stairs down to the White River, and during the right seasons the flowers are incredible. An easy pick when someone wants photos outdoors near broad ripple. It can get pretty crowded with photographers though, so don't expect to come in on a prime time and get in and out quickly, especially if your photographer isn't comfortable removing people from the background.

2. The Canal

I've titled this one The Canal, but really it's an assortment of a few places that are all within easy walking distance to the Canal.

  • The Canal

  • White River State Park

  • The State Capitol

So within an easy walk there's a good few places you can go, and places that all look very distinct from each other (at lest to those who haven't been there). What I think I love most about doing photos here is that it feels most iconically Indianapolis. People might recognize where they were taken, or maybe even not, but either way when I think of photos taken within Indianapolis, The Canal is really the first image that comes to mind.

Parking and changing outfits tend to be my biggest problems when taking photos at the canal. There's street parking more in the city, as well as at White River State Park. But also be aware of the concert and event schedule at the TCU Amphitheater, it will fill up that lot and all nearby, and mean that there will be so many more people moving around when you're taking photos.

1. Somewhere emotionally resonant to you!

Okay, okay. Maybe this is a cheat of an answer for my number one slot, but I do actually mean it. The best place for you to take photos is somewhere that matters to you. That way it's not just you and some pretty place, but somewhere that when you look back on in 10 years will feel like somewhere resonant, somewhere important, and somewhere personal. For any reason you may be getting your photos taken, senior photos, engagement, headshots, it's a personal occasion. I really encourage people to make something special of it, find a photographer they feel like they can feel comfortable with, and all around have a great time.

I'm including some photos below that were taken at special places for clients. I'll admit not all of these are in Indianapolis, but I think you get the point.

If you're looking for a photographer, I hope somewhere in here I've convinced you that I do really care about all my clients and the photos we make together. If you would like to contact me directly about booking a shoot, or join my email list where I use to let people know when I've opened up bookings for upcoming seasons, you can do that at the link right here.

Thank you for reading! Hopefully this helps some people plan and take great photos!

Tony McCrackin


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