While hoards of tourists are clamoring to get the perfect shot of the iconic Chicago Theater, Chi-town’s wealth of intriguing shooting locations is waiting to make someone an icon in their own right. From graffiti art and murals to private abodes with Windy City-style, there is no shortage of exciting fashion photoshoot ideas in Chicago.
1. Feel the love in this Pilsen Urban Loft
Cozy-yet-uncluttered surroundings make this sun-drenched loft, available to rent on Peerspace, a haven for laid back photoshoots. Exposed brick, beautifully-worn hardwood floors, and elegant greenery give a nod to the days of Hemingway without losing the neon glow of modern life. Even better, it’s located in the heart of Chicago’s Pilsen Art District — making it a tranquil stop and natural editorial progression between the city’s most distinct and vibrant outdoor murals and picturesque alleys. And who doesn’t look amazing on a royal blue sofa?
2. Create a new fairytale in this Humboldt Park playhouse
This adult-sized playhouse and is a one-stop shop for fashion photographers with its rooftop graffiti art, trendy layout, and unusual furniture and accessories. We suggest heading to the bedroom for a romantic, magazine-worthy spread on this hanging dream of a bed. Close the deep purple curtains to add a regal, fairytale element. Then hit the deck for pop art and scenic views of Chi-town. Did we mention this three-bedroom, 3-bathroom townhouse was featured on HGTV? Now you get it.
3. Exude stately glamour at a historic mansion
If you have your heart set on something grand and spacious, check out this landmark mansion in Chicago’s Historic Prairie Avenue District, available to rent on Peerspace. Normally reserved for events, this luxurious estate can accommodate large group photos, as well as oversized costumes and props. Its lush greenery and detailed architecture provide plenty of opportunity for unique close-ups with a stately presence. Meanwhile, the interior boasts an art gallery, parlor, and dining room — all 5 minutes from downtown.
4. Mix it up in this light-filled gourmet kitchen
This open-concept gourmet kitchen is cheery and bright enough to provide stark contrast to outfits of solid color — including black. Make use of the marble island by placing your subject on top of and around the flat surface. You can even bust out the cutlery for a sense of drama and playfulness. Wherever your ideas take you, be sure to include a few shots of the amazing urban view from this space in Wicker Park.
5. Frolic in an eclectic West Loop loft
This spacious venue uses a plethora of fabrics to create a playful-yet-lavish environment fit for Billboard stars Halsey and Charli XCX, to name a few of the celebrities who have dropped by. Each corner of the space boasts a funky backdrop and photo opportunity. Have your subject kick back in any of the eclectic seating options, or pose with one of the many worldly accessories on hand.
6. Buy some luck at Buckingham Fountain
No trip to Chicago would be complete without visiting Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park. Built in 1927, Buckingham still remains one of the world’s largest fountains and serves as a remarkable background for any visitor. Take your photos up a notch by switching to a lower shutter speed and exposure. This will keep the water looking fluid and colors saturated. Just make sure your model stays more still than usual and don’t be afraid to throw in your luckiest penny.
7. Embrace your inner skater at Millennium Park
Cloud Gate, known as the iconic “Bean,” is a metallic sculpture created by artist Anish Kapoor in Chicago’s Millennium Park. The curved reflections hark back to album covers of 90’s ska bands. If you’re looking for a photographer’s challenge, try making this thing look serious. Even better, try hiding in plain sight by placing your body directly in front of your subject and eliminating your own reflection. Or, just take it for what it is. A shiny Bean and a whole lot of fun for photographers and models alike.
8. Hang loose in this minimalist urban studio
You’ll find the word “chill” carefully placed throughout this airy and calm urban studio. The message is clear — this is a space for letting go. It’s also a space for taking relaxed, earthy photographs. Black and tan bucket seats dangle in front of a rustic white brick wall, perfect for showcasing flowy layers, camaraderie between two subjects, or even next-level yogi flexibility.
9. Pump up the gas on Illinois Route 66
A vintage gas station is ideal for a subject with a wild streak (and can also spark up endless fashion photoshoot ideas when it comes to Chicago). While we love the look of a classic car, you don’t need to rush out and rent one. Simply pull up to any number of charming stations along historic Route 66. Be sure to pack a two-tone reflector to combat harsh shadows and give your photoshoot a professional edge. (And then post the iPhone version on Instagram before you get home, because who are we kidding?)
10. Spread out in a funky three-story condo
You can bring the whole crew to this incredibly spacious, 10,000-square-foot condo in Logan Square. True to Chicago form, this three-story building offers provincial wooden beams and staircases that pair elegantly with exposed brick and hardwood floors. It has the feel of a vintage lodge and is proudly dripping in eclectic accessories. Take a seat in one of the many funky antique chairs, or cozy up on a mid-century modern tufted leather sofa by the fireplace in the “man cave.” Plenty of natural lighting makes shooting without flash a breeze — even in the garage.