Jared & Abby: March Engagement Photos in Downtown IndianapolisApril 1, 2022
Episode 052: How to Prepare for Your Branding Photoshoot with Erica & Jon HayesApril 5, 2022
I mean, whether you want a location with classic architecture, somewhere a little more urban and fun, or for your engagement photos to look like they were taken in the middle of nowhere, there is certainly a location in the Indianapolis area that will fit your vibe and help you and your fiancé have engagement photos you love and enjoy taking.
If you’re engaged and in need of a little engagement photo location inspiration, here’s a list of the best places to take engagement photos in Indianapolis, including fees and other details you’ll want to know!
Downtown Indianapolis is one of my favorite places to shoot both wedding and engagement photos because there’s so much variety within a matter of blocks. Plus, all the limestone and the neutral colors of many of the buildings will help keep you, your fiancé, and your love the focus of your engagement photos—which is how it should be!
- Monument Circle and The Soldiers & Sailors Monument
- The Indiana World War Memorial
- The Indiana State House
- The Indianapolis Central Library
- The Indianapolis Canal Walk (More on this location below!)
While I do recommend bringing walking shoes to wear between photo locations (especially if you plan to wear heels), having your engagement photos taken in Downtown Indianapolis will result in classic-looking photos, giving you engagement photos that are truly timeless.
It’s absolutely free to take photos at any of the Downtown Indianapolis locations listed above; however, you will need to pay for parking. Most days, it’s easy to find street parking in downtown Indy. That said, you will need to download the ParkMobile app. You can expect to pay about $5 for street parking.
If you can’t find street parking, there are several garages available. For example, Circle Center Mall’s garage is centrally located to many of downtown Indianapolis’s great photo locations.
Indianapolis Canal Walk
The three-mile canal, which was built in the 1830s, is a walking path for pedestrians and runs through Downtown Indianapolis. With beautiful spots and artwork on the Canal Walk and the fact that you can easily pop up to locations—such as The Indianapolis State House and several museums—via stairs and ramps (As a heads-up, the ramps are much fewer than stairs.) the Canal Walk is a great place to be able to almost leisurely take and enjoy your engagement photos!
Parking above the Canal Walk is typically pretty easy. I drive to and walk Hattie (our dog) along the Canal regularly. You’ll simply need to download the ParkMobile app. You can expect to pay about $5 for street parking.
White River State Park
Located on the southernmost point of the Canal Walk (You could certainly shoot both at this park and along the Canal!), along the White River, and between several of Indianapolis’s museums, White River State Park is a great engagement photo location if you want a bit of a city vibe as well as green grass and trees. Plus, this area includes several art and sculpture installations that photograph really well!
Like with the other downtown locations mentioned, the only additional fee that should be associated with your shoot will be parking. I highly recommend street parking and downloading the ParkMobile app. You can expect to pay about $5 for street parking.
If you appreciate cobblestone streets, would like your engagement photos to have a little deco flare, and would appreciate easy access to a great cocktail before or after your shoot, you’ll love the Bottleworks District.
Located on northside of Mass Ave, the Bottleworks District is home to several historic buildings that have been revitalized and now house activities Indy residents love. For example, the old Coca-Cola Bottling Company has been turned into The Garage (a bar and arcade) and The Bottleworks Hotel. (Side Note: The Bottleworks Hotel is also an incredible wedding venue!)
Because the Bottleworks District is such a popular location, parking can be tricky. If you choose this location, you will want to arrive early to find parking. But, there are street, parking lot, and parking garage options available. You can expect to spend anywhere from $5 to $25 on parking, and depending on which option you choose, you will likely need to download an app (Apps differ depending on where you park.) or scan a QR code to submit payment. But, don’t let parking deter you. The Bottleworks District is certainly one of the best places to take engagement photos in Indianapolis!
While there are certainly great places to take engagement photos in and near downtown Indy, another great engagement photo location in Indianapolis is Newfields—the grounds surrounding the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
Between the gardens and the historic, French-chateau-style Lilly House, Newfields will give your engagement photos a lot of variety in a short amount of time. Plus, your engagement photos won’t look as if they were taken in Indiana at all if you’d like a location that’s a bit different!
There is a $50 fee to shoot on the grounds, and your photographer will need to apply for a photo pass at least two weeks before your shoot. However, Newfields will give your engagement photos a timeless, elegant feel, meaning your photos will never go out of style. As a result, in my opinion, the cost is completely worth it!
Now, if you’re pursuing photos of Newfields and thinking, “I wish we could have our wedding here,” know that you can! With several ceremony location options and incredible photo locations, Newfields is an excellent Indianapolis wedding venue!
If you like the look of Newfields, chances are, you’ll also really like Laurel Hall. Located on the northeast side of Indianapolis, Laurel Hall is a Jacobean revival-style (renaissance-style) home turned event venue.
Laurel Hall was once home to one of Indiana’s wealthiest families, and today, it is a gorgeous event and wedding venue. (If you’re still looking for a wedding venue, you’re going to want to check out Laurel Hall!)
While the grounds of Laurel Hall are certainly beautiful, one of the things I appreciate most about this location for engagement photos (and wedding photos for that matter) is the home’s solarium. With beautiful black-and-white-checkered floors and large windows that let in perfect natural light, Laurel Hall offers wonderful indoor and outdoor photo locations. As a result, if you’re planning to have your engagement photos taken in the winter, Laurel Hall is extra wonderful as you’ll be able to take many of your photos inside!
To use the grounds, Laurel Hall does charge $150 to reserve the grounds and house for two hours. And, in my opinion, this fee is 100% worth it, as Laurel Hall is another engagement photo location in Indianapolis that will give your images a classic, timeless feel.
Located on Butler University’s campus, Holcomb Gardens includes a walking and bike path Indianapolis residents love, acres of trees and flowers, a canal, a man-made pound, and the Mrs. James Irving Holcomb Memorial Carillon Tower—all of which are very picturesque.
Plus, Holcomb Gardens is a great engagement photo location with access to easy parking and no additional fees.
If you plan to include your dog in your shoot, Holcomb Gardens is also an excellent option, because it’s removed from busy roads and is dog friendly.
Located about six miles north of downtown Indianapolis, Holliday Park includes 3.5 miles of trails, a nature center, a playground, and countless activities for kids and adults alike.
For engagement photos, there are certainly parts of the park that will allow you to take photos in nature. But, it would be a shame if you didn’t take at least some of your engagement photos with the Holliday Park Ruins.
In the 1950s, the St. Paul Building—which featured three statues made of limestone from Indiana called “The Races of Man”—was torn down in New York City. Not wanting these statues to be destroyed, Indianapolis had the statues and the facade of the building moved to Holliday Park. Now, the Holliday Park Ruins are a beautiful part of Holliday Park and home to plants, flowers, and a children’s water feature.
While this park is beautiful, it does tend to be very busy in the summer. Because of this and where the sun sets, I highly recommend using Holliday Park for sunrise sessions over sunset sessions.
Every engagement photo location we’ve discussed so far is within Indianapolis city limits, but if you’re willing to travel just outside the city to some of the local suburbs, you’ll have even more photo location options!
The Palladium is a concert hall, one of the three buildings that belongs to The Center for the Performing Arts, and the home to the Carmel Symphony Orchestra. Throughout the year, The Palladium hosts concerts and performances of all kinds.
While The Palladium certainly serves and entertains the Indianapolis community, the outside of the building, the grounds, and several other Carmel locations within walking distance of The Center for The Performing Arts makes for excellent photo locations.
As a photographer, I consider The Palladium to be one of the best locations for engagement photos in Indianapolis because the building’s neoclassical style, which includes beautiful pillars, makes photos both timeless and interesting.
Plus, unlike many of the most classic and elegant-looking locations we’ve discussed, there are no fees associated with taking photos around The Palladium, and parking (both street and garage) is free.
If you’d like a mix of nature, well-maintained grounds, and some truly timeless, classy architecture, Coxhall Gardens in Carmel, Indiana is the perfect place for you and your fiancé to have your engagement photos taken.
Between the water on both sides of the park, the amphitheater, two bell towers, a lovely bridge with iron details, the mansion located on the property, and multiple gardens, Coxhall Gardens has multiple great photo location opportunities on the park’s grounds.
While parking at the park is free, Hamilton County requires one of the following:
- Your photographer to request a day permit to shoot on the grounds, which is $10. The Parks Department limits how many permits they grant per day. As a result, if you’d like to use Coxhall Gardens, it’s important to let your photographer know as soon as possible.
- Your photographer to have an annual Hamilton County Parks photo permit. This gives your photographer access to Hamilton County Parks all year long and doesn’t require them to request special access. I, personally, have an annual permit, because I think Coxhall Gardens is an incredible photo location!
If you’d like to include your dog in your engagement photos and would like to have a more classic, elegant-looking location, Coxhall Gardens is likely going to be one of the best places to take your engagement photos, as it’s one of few elegant locations that is dog friendly.
By the way, Coxhall Gardens is also an incredible wedding venue! Between being able to have your ceremony in the amphitheater, have your reception in the most lovely greenhouse, and take your wedding photos on the grounds, you’re going to want to check out this Carmel, Indiana wedding venue if you’ve yet to book your venue!
While we’re discussing the best places to take engagement photos just outside of Indianapolis, we have to discuss The Village of WestClay—an incredibly charming neighborhood on the west side of Carmel, Indiana.
Between the historically-inspired architecture, countless adorable places to grab dinner or a drink before or after your engagement session, and utterly perfect landscaping, WestClay is guaranteed to make your engagement photos quaint and lovely.
There aren’t any fees associated with shooting in this neighborhood, and street parking and the parking at WestClay’s park are entirely free!
Traders Point Creamery in Zionsville
If city vibes just aren’t your thing, Traders Point Creamery in Zionsville, Indiana—which is only 20 minutes from downtown Indianapolis—is as country as it gets!
Between lovely barns, rolling hills, fields filled with cows, and the cutest pond, Traders Point Creamery is an engagement photo location that looks like it’s straight from a country song.
Traders Point does require a $100 fee to take photos on their property, and all photo sessions have to be approved by staff beforehand. But, again, if you’d like a country feel, Traders Point is likely your best engagement photo location option in the Indianapolis area.
Oh, and while you’re there, you HAVE to get some ice cream!
Strawtown Koteewi Park is an 800-acre park with trails, horseback riding, an archery range, and countless other activities.
While I do highly recommend checking out all of this Hamilton County park on another day, for your engagement photos, the area by Koteewi Lake is particularly great. Between the water, gorgeous grasses, and the fact that you can catch a great sunset, Strawtown Koteewi Park’s lake is certainly one of the best places to take engagement photos in Indianapolis.
- Your photographer to request a day permit to shoot on the grounds, which is $10. The Parks Department limits how many permits they grant per day. As a result, if you’d like to use Strawtown Koteewi Park, it’s important to let your photographer know as soon as possible.
- Your photographer to have an annual Hamilton County Parks photo permit. This gives your photographer access to Hamilton County parks all year long and doesn’t require them to request special access. I, personally, have an annual permit, because I want to make sure VRP couples have easy access to all Hamilton County parks!
Also, if you are planning to include your dog in your engagement photos, Strawtown Koteewi Park is a great option because it’s wide open and dog friendly.
Downtown Noblesville Square
Now, if you’d like your engagement photos to feel like they’re straight out of Stars Hollow, you’re going to want to consider taking your photos on the Downtown Noblesville Square. (If you aren’t a Gilmore Girls fan and don’t get the reference, just know Downtown Noblesville is super cute.)
With many Second Empire style buildings—including the beautiful Hamilton County Courthouse—and countless cute shops, engagement photos taken in Downtown Noblesville are guaranteed to be classic and quaint.
Depending on the day of the week, you may have to search a bit for parking, but street parking is free and typically pretty easy. Plus, after your engagement photos, you can grab drinks or dinner on the Square!
Somewhere Sentimental to You
As a wedding photographer, I’ve taken a lot of engagement photos, and I’ve either shot at or at least explored each and every one of the Indy locations listed. Between the aesthetics, light available, and ease of access, I do think that this is a pretty comprehensive list of the best places to take engagement photos in Indianapolis.
However, I want to encourage you to consider one other photo location: somewhere that’s sentimental to the two of you.
For example, maybe your first date was at a restaurant the two of you go back to regularly. Taking photos outside that restaurant (with possibly a few inside depending on the light and the restaurant’s photo policy) and in the surrounding neighborhood could be an excellent location for your engagement photos.
Or, maybe you and your fiancé met in college and having your engagement photos taken at your alma mater would be special.
Perhaps your family owns beautiful property where you’d love to have your engagement photos taken.
Or, maybe you and your fiancé share a favorite activity, such as playing tennis or sailing. And, a tennis court or sailboat feels like the most natural place in the world to take your engagement photos.
The options are endless, but that fact of the matter is, these are YOUR engagement photos.
Whether you choose a location that’s sentimental to you, one of the many Indianapolis engagement photo locations we discussed, or another option altogether, be sure to choose a location that you and your fiancé like and will enjoy having these milestone, once-in-a-lifetime photos taken.