Where to take wedding photos in Philadelphia?
September 30, 2014 8:43 AM   Subscribe

My fiance and I are getting married in Center City Philadelphia in March. We'll be staying at the Sheraton Downtown, about a mile from our venue (The College of Physicians) and are interested in picking a few quintessential, fun, beautiful Philadelphia spots for our first look and other pictures, assuming the weather cooperates. We've thought about Love Park, City Hall, Logan Circle, the Franklin Institute and the Art Museum, but are looking for more suggestions and information about policies and permitting. Also personal experience would be great!

These are mostly going to be spots for pics of the two of us and our photographer (we don't have a wedding party), but I'd be open to doing family pictures if we can find a good location (convenient to either the hotel or the venue).

From what I can tell you have to apply for a permit for locations like Love Park and The Art Museum, but it looks like parts of the art museum are still off limits for pictures. Also I can't quite tell if one permit will cover all locations run by the city/fairmount park associations or if we'd need multiple permits? What happens if we risk it and skip a permit - do we just get kicked out or are there other repercussions like fines? Also i've heard that Rittenhouse may not require a permit - are there other spots in center city that don't require permits?
posted by moshimosh to Grab Bag (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Eastern State Penitentiary does not require a permit, but you will need a reservation. http://www.easternstate.org/photography-film

It's an amazing place for wedding photos, husbandfriend and I got married there this past April. Some of our photos are here: http://allebachphotography.com/
posted by picklesthezombie at 9:02 AM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Take a picture in front of the Clothespin located at Centre Square, 1500 Market Street, Philadelphia.
posted by Rob Rockets at 9:09 AM on September 30, 2014

We did ours at the First Bank, which did require a permit but the process was very easy. NPS has a very clear website with photo locations and areas (including Washington Square Park). PM me if you'd like a link to our photos-- we did some in the surrounding Society Hill area too. A++, loved the area. No one checked our permit but I suspect if we had been at a site that was open, they would have. We did our engagement photos at the Penn Museum, which has fantastic outdoor gardens. No permit, did email a friend who works there, suggest checking ahead of time that there are no events. Elfreth's Alley, maybe? Little bit of a hike though. You could check the policies of the Kimmel Center, the exterior of the Union League (popular as a wedding venue though so possibly booked) and the Academy of Music, which are closer to your hotel. More offbeat: some shots on the bridges, with the skyline behind you?
posted by jetlagaddict at 9:20 AM on September 30, 2014

Not sure about permits, but I've wanted to shoot in the courtyard of the Barnes Foundation on the Parkway for some time now! Neat architecture, reflecting pools, etc.
posted by rinosaur at 9:23 AM on September 30, 2014

I don't know if you'd be interested in any interior shots or what their policies might be on pro photography sessions, but there are some stunning spaces inside the Grand Lodge of Masons of Pennsylvania.
posted by usonian at 9:30 AM on September 30, 2014

You'd have the most unusual wedding photographs of all your friends if you took a few inside the Mutter Museum, the medical curiosity museum that is - Ta Da - inside the College of Physicians.

March is probably not going to yield lovely outside photographs if you are looking for foliage, but if your wedding date is scheduled during the first week in March, you could consider having pictures inside the Philadelphia Flower Show, which is scheduled from Feb 28 to March 8th. It is unbelievably luscious and vibrant, with all sorts of enormous floral environments. Here's the link: http://theflowershow.com/show-info

You could also snap a few next to the Rocky statue, at the base of the Art Museum steps.
posted by citygirl at 10:32 AM on September 30, 2014

Bartram's Garden is quite scenic and the Morris Arboretum is just gorgeous. No idea what their photo policies/fees are.
posted by vegartanipla at 10:35 AM on September 30, 2014

The Fairmount Water Works site is very close to the Art Museum, and with the buildings and the river, you could take some nice outdoor shots.

It's almost cliche, but I still think it's pretty to take a photo in the middle of Broad St. with City Hall as your backdrop.
posted by gladly at 11:26 AM on September 30, 2014

Gladly gives good advice above. If you want that median shot, you've got to be on S. Broad around Locust or Spruce. I had my wedding pix taken at Independence National Park (pre-9/11) with no hassle.

I've seen many wedding parties around the Art Museum and Water Works, and it's hard to believe they'd do anything more serious than run you off. I mean, there's a freaking line to get your photo taken with Rocky

Consider these locales near the museum:
The outdoor sculpture garden (that's the water works on the right).
The gazebo.
The falls and Boathouse Row.
The bike path below the museum.

The Parkway is filled with great locations. You mention Love Park, so surely you'll want the LOVE sculpture. Also check out the new Sister Cities Park, where you can get an excellent shot of skyscrapers in the background. Across the street is the Logan Fountain. The Thinker is outside the Rodin Museum.

At night, Geno's or Pat's looks great.
30th Street Station is really cool.
Maybe one of the city's superb outdoor murals. Here's a guide to the Mural Mile.
Zagar would probably welcome you if you paid the price of admission.
posted by sixpack at 7:22 PM on September 30, 2014

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