For brides

January 3, 2020

Location Guide

the blog

There are so many great options for picture locations in our area! I created this location guide to help you narrow down your search. Instead of just picking the first location that pops into your mind, you’ll be able to choose a spot that you really like. This guide is arranged by location and includes a description and sample pictures from each area. I tried to include a variety of different backgrounds and seasons in my sample pictures of each location. Of course, your actual session background might differ based on season, so keep that in mind as you look through this guide.

Also keep in mind that this location guide is not exclusive! There are tons of other great areas and parks that I haven’t shot at yet. If you have other ideas, that is great! I love to try out new spots in our area. Hopefully though, after looking through these pictures, you’ll know exactly what to expect at certain locations and you can pick your session location with confidence!

If you don’t want to look through the whole post, you can click on the links below to be taken to the locations in a certain area.

Iowa City Area

Devonian Fossil Gorge

This location features a large rocky area that provides a neutral and unique background. This rocky area looks great in every season except for winter. There are also trees nearby which includes a pine tree area that is good for fall and winter pictures.

Hickory Hills Park

I love this park because of the tall golden grass. This location looks amazing during the golden hour and is all around just a beautiful spot for pictures.

FW Kent Park

This is one of my favorite locations because there are so many background options! My favorite part of this park is the long golden grass with rolling hills. There’s also a nice pine tree area which makes an awesome winter background. This park also has some ponds and park like settings.

Old Capitol Building / downtown Iowa City

The Old Capitol building provides an architecturally interesting background for portraits. I love to shoot dressier outfits here because it just looks so classy with the old buildings. There are also some trees, flower gardens, and other buildings in the area.

Wilson’s Orchard

This spot is most popular in late summer and early fall, when there are apples on the trees. Besides just rows of apple trees though, this location also includes weeping willow trees, tall grass, a pumpkin patch, a bridge, and a creek.

Lake MacBride

I love shooting at Lake Macbride! The rocky spillway area is such a unique background, especially for an Iowa location! The glistening water also adds a nice glow to pictures. In the spring and summer, the sandy area of the spillway has long grass which can add some color to your pictures.

Woodpecker Nature Trail

This trail is a great location to capture fall colors! I like shooting on the trail, but there’s also a nice spot near the water where you can see the trees in the distance.

Terry Trueblood Park

This location features long grass, water, and some paths lined with trees. It looks nice in every season except for winter.

Cedar Rapids Area

Downtown Cedar Rapids

Downtown Cedar Rapids is perfect if you’re looking for an urban vibe in your pictures. There are some good parking garages that provide a nice view of the city and buildings.

Cedar Rapids Library

This library provides a modern and bright background for portraits. The huge glass windows at the front of the library look great in pictures. This is a good location for rainy days because of the large overhang at the front of the library and indoor skywalk.

Palisades Kepler State Park

This location along the Cedar River features lots of sandy areas with water and trees in the background. I think this location looks good in every season.

NewBo Area

The NewBo area is a laid back and artsy location for pictures. This area features lots of brick buildings, murals, and interesting alleyways. If you want a background with buildings instead of trees, this is a great option that looks nice in any season.


Discovery Park

This park is one of my favorite locations in Muscatine because there are so many options! There are a couple different bridges, a white barn, tall grass, and flower gardens.

Weed Park

This park is a popular spot for pictures in Muscatine. I love to take pictures in the rose garden when the roses are in bloom. There’s also a nice wooden bridge, some stone bridges, and lots of trees. I don’t necessary recommend this location for winter pictures as the flowers, trees, and grass are all dead and brown.

Riverfront Park

Riverfront park is a nice Muscatine location for winter pictures. There’s not a lot of grass and greenery nearby, which means no dead looking things in the winter time. This location looks equally pretty in the other seasons as well. The rock and water make a nice neutral background.

Wildcat Den

If you don’t mind a short hike, Wildcat Den makes for a cool and unique portrait location. Pictures at this location do turn out a little darker than my normal style.

Pine Creek Grist Mill

If you want a rustic setting for pictures, the wooden mill building and bridge make this the perfect spot. This location looks good in every season except for winter.

Deep Lakes

The sand and water make this the perfect beach type of setting. The light reflects nicely off of the water which adds a nice glow to pictures taken at this location.

Quad Cities

Augustana College

This is a great location if you want old buildings in your pictures. The arches and stone buildings make a great background for dressier outfits. There are also trees, water, and a bridge on the campus which offers some variety.

West Lake Park

This is a great spot to capture the fall colors. There are plenty of different settings at this location including the lakes, long grass, tree lined paths, and park like areas.

Downtown Davenport

I love shooting in downtown Davenport because there’s so much variety for backgrounds. There are a lot of brick buildings that give this location an urban vibe. There is a path along the Mississippi river with views of the centennial bridge in the background. There’s also a small park near the river.

Blackhawk State Park

Blackhawk State Park is a popular park if you want a lot of greenery or fall colors in your pictures. There are lots of trees, some trails, and the Watchtower Lodge which offers a nice stone background.

Vandeer Veer Park

This park features a nice path lined with trees, brick columns, flower gardens, fountains, and a greenhouse. The park looks nice in every season except for winter. The greenhouse is a great spot for rainy day pictures.


Millwork District

The Millwork District offers an industrial and modern setting. I love all of the brick and metal buildings. Since there’s not a lot of greenery around, this location works well in any season.

Mathias Ham Historic Site

The main feature of this location is the Mathias Ham Historic House. The house has a light colored brick exterior with a white front porch. The front porch is a good place for pictures if it’s raining outside.


The Riverwalk in Dubuque is a great place for pictures. Besides just the river, there’s also some unique buildings around.

Des Moines

State Capitol Building

I love to shoot in front of the state capitol building! In the example pictures, the capitol building is in the distant background, but we could also shoot up on the steps or closer to the building. This location works well in any season.


Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the most popular places for pictures in Chicago. This setting offers a variety of backgrounds including the beehive bridge, trees and grass, and the city skyline in the distance.

Milton Lee Olive Park

This is my favorite spot to take pictures in Chicago. I love how blue the water always looks here. You’ll get a beautiful skyline in the background of your pictures. There’s also a beach at this park for more variety.

North Avenue Beach

This spot isn’t as popular as other spots in Chicago, which means less people around for pictures. There’s a nice view of the city as well as a beach.