Chicago is a fantastic city that’s filled with urban parks and beautiful private creative spaces, any of which make an excellent setting for a fall photoshoot. When shooting during the autumn months, you want a comfortable space that’s easy to access that will give you great views of colorful foliage. Whether you’re looking to have the skyline in your background or need a space that feels far removed from city life, you’ll find what you need on our list of the nine best fall photoshoot ideas near Chicago.
1. Take campfire photos in this rustic backyard garden
Located in Logan Square, this rustic garden space makes a great location for a fall photoshoot. The pebble walkways will give your images plenty of charm, while the space itself is grassy and bright. If you’re shooting in the evening, the fire pit gives you a fun way to both add light and make your images more interesting. There are even some chickens to keep you company during your shoot. Your images will feel like they’re taken far away from the city, making this a great fall photoshoot idea near Chicago.
2. Enjoy the open spaces of Old Town Triangle Park
Old Town Triangle Park is surrounded by skyscrapers and high-rises. It’s easily overlooked but well worth a visit for a fall photoshoot. Just south of the Old Town neighborhood, the park rests on the grounds of an old gas station — an excellent example of a city turning an eyesore into a great public space. The park features a metal trellis covered in vines, plenty of benches near trees, and lots of open green space. In fall, the colors are amazing, and the whole scene gets enhanced with the city skyline in the background.
3. Try something new at this modern Victorian home
This Victorian home has an indoor space decorated with neutral tones, which offers good options for portraits, but outside you’ll find a beautiful garden. The garden space is intimate and charming, with plenty of plants and stones that your subjects can pose on that will look great in the fall. There’s also a front porch that is an excellent space for photos. In contrast to much of Chicago’s scenery, you can achieve a timeless, down-home look here that you can’t in many other spaces.
4. Watch the birds at Montrose Beach
Near Uptown, Montrose Beach warrants a visit for anyone looking to do fall photos. The beach itself offers an excellent space to take portraits with the water in the background, while a natural area south of the beach gives you a green space to work with. Despite being in the city, you’ll feel like you’re miles away from urban areas here. Best of all, access to the entire area is totally free. The skyline is also further away here, so you can still feature it in your photos without the buildings being a dominating background feature. This area acts as a preserve for birds, which happen to be active in the fall, which offers a unique opportunity to capture autumn wildlife.
5. Crank up the color in this one-of-a-kind downtown loft
When you think about fall photoshoots, you tend to picture the colors of falling leaves, but there’s no time of year that’s wrong for pink. Or a nice teal. Or the brightest cherry red you’ve ever seen. There’s no place like this downtown loft, and the interior has character for days. But just outside, there are also breathtaking views of the city from above, so you can wonderfully capture the city in its fall colors, offering a fun juxtaposition to the lively color of the space’s interior.
6. Take advantage of public art in Grant Park
Grant Park is one of the larger green spaces in the city and, as such, it gives you plenty to work with. Renamed Grant Park in 1901, the area has some of Chicago’s most notable features, including Millennium Park (home of Cloud Gate) and the Art Institute of Chicago. Several gardens throughout the park look amazing in the fall, perfect for those contemplative shots of people strolling beneath the falling leaves, crunching leaves beneath their boots. There are also several unique public art installations that can add some unique energy and gravity to your shots. When you’re making a list of fall photoshoot ideas near Chicago, be sure Grant Park is on it.
7. Get entangled in this open-air courtyard
This vibrant spot is striking in the summer, when photo subjects are flanked on all sides by ever-encroaching green ivy. But the courtyard is just as visually interesting in the fall, since some of the plants in the scene are evergreen (like most varieties of ivy) and some aren’t. The fall light is filtered through the trellis above, giving you all the tools to take fascinating photos.
8. Get it all at the Chicago Botanic Garden
Be aware going in that you’ll need a permit for any commercial work you do here, but there’s an advantage to that: it’s often overlooked for this reason, which means your photos will be unique. The Chicago Botanic Garden’s greatest strength lies in its sheer variety. Twenty-seven different gardens give you plenty of background options, each of which looks amazing in the fall. You’ll find a huge variety of plants here, in addition to waterways and lakes. No matter what kind of outdoor scenes you’ve got in your head, the odds are good that you can bring them to life at the Chicago Botanic Garden.
9. Shoot among the trees at Morton Arboretum
Sometimes the best photoshoots near a given city involve getting away from the city. Luckily, it’s easy enough to access Morton Arboretum, which is filled with hiking trails and beautiful woodlands. In fact, the autumn foliage here is so beautiful and photogenic that the arboretum has their annual Fall Color Festival. You’ll need to go to the visitor’s center to get a shooting permit here, but it’s well worth it. Water features give you some diversity of backgrounds as well. For a truly forested look, this is the place to go during the fall months.
Take advantage of fall. It’s actually the most popular season in the United States these days, though until recent history, polls usually indicated that spring was the most beloved. What’s that indicate? Probably that fall is growing on us all, not only for the peaceful and contemplative aesthetic of it all, but also because of the undertones of charge and rebirth that come with the season’s arrival. Finding the perfect space doesn’t have to be difficult, and in a city filled with beautiful parks and rental spaces, you’re guaranteed to find an excellent setting for your next session. So, let’s all get to work on planning our next shoots.