I'm professional event and portrait photographer Don Orkoskey, here are my top choices for where to get photos taken in Pittsburgh. When you're choosing a photographer for anything from family photos to where to have your formal wedding photos done finding the right place is key.
Best Locations for Photography in Pittsburgh
If you're looking for the best locations for photography in Pittsburgh it's best to consider where you're at and how far you'd like to travel. Additionally, you might want to think about the look you want. Is it a park-like setting, wilderness, the city as a backdrop, or something else? Here is my list of the best locations in Pittsburgh for photography to help you narrow down your selection.
Pittsburgh's Best Locations To Get Your Pictures Taken
Mellon Park is full of beautiful gardens providing a stunning backdrop for photos. Additionally, there are lush lawns for picnic style photo sessions. The Walled Garden is packed with gorgeous seasonal flowers and plants. Whereas, the nearby Rose Garden features herbs and roses, (understandably). Although this area is falling apart it makes for cool photos "among the ruins." That said, they are going to begin restoration work at some point.
Additionally, Mellon Park is home to several historic buildings, including the Mellon Institute and the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. These buildings provide nice settings for photos as well. Furthermore, the cobblestone drive and stone walls always look amazing in photos.
The park's open spaces and walking paths provide a variety of scenic backdrops for photos. Too, Mellon Park changes with the seasons, offering different colors, textures, and lighting conditions throughout the year. No matter what time of year you visit, you'll find something beautiful to get your photos taken with.
Note: because it is one of the top destinations for family portraits couple's photos, senior photos and more that it can get crowded. As a result, try to schedule your session early in the morning on a weekday if at all possible.
The West End Overlook
The West End Overlook is a popular location for photographers and tourists alike. Indeed, once you see it, you'll understand why it's such a great place to get your photos taken.
Take in sweeping panoramic view of downtown Pittsburgh, the Three Rivers, and the surrounding hills. Obviously, if you're looking for the city as a backdrop, you must visit the West End Overlook.
The view is particularly stunning at sunset. As the sun sets behind you the city skyline is washed with warm colors in the background.
The Overlook sits on the edge of a steep hillside. As a result you'll find great stone walls to add to your photos. In truth, the Overlook really provides an unmatched perspective of the city and the surrounding landscape. As a result, if you want the city in your photos, go to the West End Overlook.
Like Mellon Park, the West End Overlook offers different colors, textures, and lighting conditions throughout the year. In the fall, the surrounding hills are ablaze with color, while in the winter, the snow-covered landscape provides a striking contrast to the city skyline and rivers.
The West End Overlook is perfect for photoshoots because of its panoramic views, unique location, accessibility, and seasonal changes. Whether you're hiring a professional photographer or just looking get some memorable photos taken during your trip to Pittsburgh, the West End Overlook is definitely worth a visit.
Point State Park
Point State Park is a magical place to get photos taken in Pittsburgh. From the iconic fountain to the Riverwalk artwork there is something for everyone. Additionally, the park is accessible making it ideal for anyone with mobility issues or with kids in strollers.
Point State Park's park's iconic fountain is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Pittsburgh. What's more, it provides an incredible backdrop for photos. In fact, the fountain shoots water up to 150 feet in the air. With its changing colors, especially against the setting sun, your photos will all look amazing!
What's more, Point State Park is also home to the historic Fort Pitt Blockhouse, which dates back to 1764. The blockhouse is the oldest building in Pittsburgh and provides another interesting setting for photos.
The park is located at the confluence of the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio rivers, providing stunning views of the water and the city skyline. Don't miss the riverfront promenade and the adjacent Three Rivers Heritage Trail which again provide abundant photo opportunities.
As a State Managed Park, Point State Park is accessible and welcome to everyone. As a result of being downtown, there are plenty of parking options nearby. Additionally, you'll find ramps throughout the park for those in wheelchairs or with strollers. On the whole, Point State Park is well-maintained, making it a comfortable and convenient location for photoshoots.
Like Mellon Park, Allegheny Landing and the North Shore are popular destinations for photography sessions. Too, they're close to sports and entertainment venues. Because of this it makes sense to avoid them on game days unless that's part of your plans.
Allegheny Landing is located on the banks of the Allegheny River, providing stunning views of the water and the surrounding area. Plus, the riverfront promenade offers a picturesque setting for photos. Also visit the nearby Roberto Clemente Bridge for some iconic photos. These, along with a sculpture park, several nearby murals, and more provide interesting architectural element to add to your photos.
The park and nearby parts of the North shore are home to several green spaces, including grassy lawns and trees, providing a natural picnic setting for photos. All in all, from the city to the stadiums, and the rivers you'll find loads of photo opportunities here.
The Strip District
The Strip District in Pittsburgh is a vibrant and historic neighborhood that offers fun and vibrant backdrop for photoshoots. From old world looks to funky pops of color at the newly refurbished Terminal Building you're sure to find loads of places to get your picture taken in the Strip.
The Strip District is known for its unique mix of historic and modern architecture. From old brick buildings and industrial warehouses, to colorful storefronts the Strip offers a variety of locations for photos. The neighborhood's character and charm are unbeatable.
Too, the Strip District is home to several beautiful murals, including the iconic Strip District mural visible from Penn Ave or 20th Street on the side of the Hermanowski Building. These murals provide a colorful and artistic backdrop for photos.
The Strip District is a bustling neighborhood with a lively street life. Capture the energy of the neighborhood and feel of the bustling shops, and street vendors. Just be aware that these things can also get in the way of getting your pictures taken if you show up on a Saturday morning.
Speaking of the shops, the Strip District is home to some of Pittsburgh's best restaurants, cafes, and bars. Photoshoots can incorporate the delicious food and drink options as part of the backdrop, or use them as a location for posed shots.
Overall, the Strip District in Pittsburgh is a great location for photoshoots because of its architectural character, colorful murals, street life, and more.
The High Line
The High Line and nearby Color Park offers a variety of one-of-a-kind backdrops for an urban industrial photoshoot. Similar to the Strip District in some respects, the High Line offers it's own magic.
The High Line features benches and planted areas, a high and low view of the city within an industrial setting.
Color Park sits along the Monongahela River, offering stunning views of the water and the Pittsburgh skyline from a unique perspective. The adjacent trail features green space, providing some natural backdrops for photos.
Market Square is a wide public urban space located in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh. Along with PPG Place, it's a truly great location for a city photoshoot.
Market Square is surrounded by historic buildings that provide cool backdrops for photos. The buildings in the square are predominantly mid-19th century, with a mix of architectural styles such as Romanesque, Renaissance Revival, and Beaux-Arts.
Market Square is home to several public art installations. The glass facades of PPG Place, the fountain and ice skating rink at PPG Place also provide great locations to get your photos taken.
Market Square is known for its seasonal decorations, such as the Christmas tree, holiday lights and German style Winter Market leading up to the winter holidays. Additionally, vibrant umbrellas create an interesting look during the summer. All of these decorations can provide colorful and festive backdrops for photos.
The Cathedral of Learning
The Cathedral of Learning is an iconic building located on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh in Oakland. Just down 5th Ave is the Mellon Institute offering popular giant columns. Both locations are well loved locations for having pictures taken.
The Cathedral of Learning is a Gothic Revival skyscraper and is one of the most recognizable buildings in Pittsburgh. With intricate architectural details be careful it doesn't grab too much attention!
You can get your photo taken with the Cathedral in the background from the lawn on Soldiers and Sailors, Schenley Plaza or the Frick Fine Arts Building. All three of these locations are great spots on their own with the Frick Fine Arts Building featuring a beautiful must-see fountain. Too, Soldiers and Sailors has canons and other military equipment on the lawn.
The interior of the Cathedral of Learning is just as stunning as the exterior. The grand staircase, ornate ceilings, and beautiful stained glass windows provide interesting and unique backdrops for photos.
The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium provide a lot more range for photos than you might expect. From bamboo forests to an elephant cage, (yes, an elephant cage), you can get some truly amazing photos at the Pittsburgh Zoo.
The Pittsburgh Zoo sits on 77 acres of natural parkland, providing a beautiful and natural setting for your photos. Amazing lush greenery, ponds, and waterfalls make for picturesque backdrops.
The zoo offers educational programs and animal encounters, allowing visitors to learn about the animals and their habitats while getting their picture taken with the animals.
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is a popular attraction in Oakland and can be a great location for a photo session. The Conservatory is beautiful but it can be very busy at certain times of the year. If you decide to get your photos taken at Phipps during a busy time, obey the rules or they may ask you to leave. Like many other indoor locations you are supposed to get a permit to photograph inside unless you're hosting your wedding there.
Phipps Conservatory is home to 15 acres of beautiful gardens, featuring a variety of flowers, plants, and trees. The gardens provide a stunning and colorful backdrop for photos.
The architecture is unique and features a mix of Victorian and contemporary styles. Incredible glass and steel structure, as well as the intricate details throughout the building provide challenging but fun backdrops.
Phipps hosts seasonal displays throughout the year, such as the spring flower show and holiday displays. These displays provide festive backdrops for photos but do draw big crowds.
Phipps outdoor gardens and architecture along with nearby Schenley Park also work wonderfully as places to take photos.
The National Aviary
The National Aviary offers a lot of advantages as a photo location. First, like Phipps, it's indoors. With Pittsburgh's unpredictable weather, it's great to have an indoor option for getting your photos done.
The National Aviary is home to over 500 birds from around the world. Many of these are located in several free-flight rooms or other exhibits that work as great backdrops.
Like the Pittsburgh Zoo, the National Aviary offers interactive experiences, such as feeding lorikeets and penguins, which provide opportunities to capture candid and memorable photos.
The National Aviary is located in Allegheny Commons Park, providing beautiful and natural outdoor settings for photos as well. The park's trees, flowers, and ponds make for a picturesque backdrop for photos.
Where To Get Photos Taken In Pittsburgh
Now you know all of the best places to get photos taken in Pittsburgh. If you don't have a photographer to take those photos you should check out my list of photography services or contact me to discuss when you'd like to have your picture taken in one of these incredible locations around Pittsburgh.
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