Where are some really awesome and unique locations for portraits in and around Edmonton? Well, there are just way TOO MANY to name, but in this blog post, we will show you our favourite locations to shoot some amazing photos.
Environment is crucial in photography and capturing really good images. There are A LOT of other factors, obviously, but we think environment is extremely important. It's so crucial to us that we are constantly location scouting, searching for the very best portrait spots. There are a few apps and websites such as SCOUTT, a program where people geotag locations on a map (much like google maps) and add a photo to it. This is so you can see the potential of what exists at that location, eg. brick walls, bridges, parkades, etc. This is an amazingly helpful tool when you want to find a certain style but have no idea where to look.
Out of the infinite possibilities of where you can shoot, here's a list with a few of our favourites and exactly where to find them.
Blackmud Creek - This couple showed us this old abandoned campground inside a little residential area just off of BOWNESS WYND at the very end of the street. You can park your vehicle here and boom you're there. There are trees and hills that are great for photos, especially in Autumn. Find the path and follow it down into the winding road and onto this beautiful bridge that you see below. A little bit further and you're in a perfectly symmetrical treeline of old grown in campsites. Don't bother walking up the hill on the other side of the bridge, its bare, dull, and a waste of time. Everything else is pure gold.
Central Social Hall - When you're downtown Edmonton in the mid-day (because this place is usually crazy busy) and are looking for a cool and unique place to take portraits indoors, Central Social Hall has some awesome potential! With the string lights, panes of glass, and leather seats, you can't go wrong with a moody portrait here.
Alexander Circle - With a beautiful water fountain and plenty of colour in the Glenora area, Alexander Circle is located on 103 Ave & 133 St and is perfect for summertime portraits. Though there is quite a bit of traffic, if you're not in a crunch on time, this place can offer so many awesome photos.
University of Alberta - The antiquated buildings on the ground of the UofA create perfect backdrops for incredible photos. With endless possibilities of what you could accomplish here, we would like to highlight the Old Arts Building located on the east side of UofA. The vine-covered building is always a spectacle in itself in the summer, but in autumn, all of the vines turn to a dark mauve mixture of bliss that is surreal for portraits.
Muttart Conservatory - Asides from the iconic pyramids that stand at that Muttart Conservatory, there are plenty of interesting aspects to the grounds. Although photographing inside has a price, outside is totally free and pretty intriguing. With possibilities of reflections with the pyramids, or cool shadow play, it's also a perfect place for PUDDLES. And with puddles, there are more reflections. You also have a pretty neat view of Edmonton's city skyline.
Zinc Restaurant - We don't know anything about photographing INSIDE Zinc Restaurant, but we do know that outside is perfect for reflective portraits. The shade provides even lighting and amazing backdrops from the glass surrounding the restaurant. This is right outside of the Art Gallery, and seeing as everyone talks about how amazing it is, we figured we would show you a little hidden gem of our own right around the corner. It's also across the street from City Hall in Downtown YEG, which is next on our list.
City Hall - Outside City Hall is pretty amazing for photography because of the constant symmetry and cool colours. The light can be brilliant given the time of day, and the fountains given the time of year. In the winter time, they have lights strung up all around which can make for some pretty fantastical night portraits.
Alberta Legislature Pool - The Legislature Grounds are usually pretty packed during the summer, but sometimes, you can squeeze in some amazing shots. The sun sets right behind the pool, which is AWESOME because in Edmonton, that sun doesn't set until 8 or 9 in early summer or early autumn, which usually gives you a little bit of breathing room.
North Saskatchewan River - This spot is a little bit confusing to get to, until you get there and realize it's super easy. You'll have to head to Sherwood Park. Once you get there, you will have to go NORTH on Sherwood Drive. Follow that and pass all of the industry buildings, (Aecon, Mammoet, etc) and keep going! Sherwood Dr now turns into 33 st but don't stop now! Continue on until there is a slight right followed by a slight left and you pass Township Rd 535 and there will be another slight left. You'll see concrete barriers on the left hand side and this is where you'll want to pull over and park. It doesn't look like much on the outside, but once you get in, it's magical.
Library Parkade - We know what you're thinking....."Really? The library parkade?" And yeah, that's exactly what we're talking about. Not INSIDE the parkade (Which has it's own style entirely), but the outside of the staircase and where you pull your vehicles into. The colourful panes of glass create a vibrant glow that line up perfectly with the sun, given the time of year.
Garneau School - This school is another MUST for symmetry addicts. Everywhere you look, brick leads to glass that leads to brick, in perfect unison. With stairs, trees, and everything in between. this just might be the perfect place for vintage portraits. It's located directly beside the Garneau Theater, which is possibly the perfect wedding venue for your vintage themed wedding.
Mill Creek Ravine - This ravine is MASSIVE. It stretches all the way from 69th Ave & 83rd St heading north to 98a St & Scona Rd NW. With tons of locations to enter into the ravine and walking trails (we enter at the Shamrock Curling Club), everywhere you go is perfect for earthy, natural photos. With tons of bridges and trees, this makes it a perfect place for outdoor portraits.
Rice Howard Parkade - We absolutely LOVE this spot. it works perfectly at any time of the year, regardless of the weather. At the very top of the parkade, its surrounded by monolithic skyscrapers of gold and blue glass. It also has a few spots where if you have the right eye, you can create an amazing photograph. Depending on the time of year, the sun can set in between the towers and give you some magical backlight.
NAIT - This institute has SO MANY COOL SPOTS for really unique photographs. One of the walkways leading from one building to another. Tons of bright colours and symmetry, NAIT also houses lots of brilliant staircases and brickwork.
Almost anywhere you go in Edmonton you'll find new and creative locations for epic portraits. But if you're ever stuck in a bind, we hope this location list really helps! Happy shooting!