I’ve lived in Bloomington for almost 11 years now, and while I didn’t grow up here, it certainly feels like home. It’s a beautiful, fun, open-hearted little city, and I’ve spent a lot of time exploring it through photographing my clients. Below are some of my favorite locations to shoot in and around Bloomington. They work for maternity, family, engagement, high school senior or on-location headshot session locations, and they’re not in much of any particular order.
Before you commit to one of these locations for your session, however, I’d love for you to consider if there might be a certain spot that’s special to you and your partner or family. For example, the place you got engaged, or a spot where you’ve spent a lot of time together. I love to shoot in new locations, and would happily try out a space that is unique and special to you!
The Old Woolery Stone Mill
The Stone Mill is a rustic industrial historic wonderland of a location for any photographer. The architecture and landscaping around the enormous main building is beautiful. There’s a grassy field full of huge boulder formations to climb on. Venture away from the mill and you’ll find a gorgeous woods, creek and fallen tree. It’s private enough that you don’t have to worry too much about small children having some freedom to run araound, and they just adore the vintage fire truck!
Sherwood Oaks Park
Sherwood Oaks Park, nestled on the south side in the Sherwood Oaks Neighborhood, has some of the best location variety packed into it. There’s a cute playground for the kids (and humorous newlyweds-to-be!), a creek with a great bridge running over it, beautiful hiking trails in the large woods, and the easier to walk and equally beautiful Clear Creek Trail, a paved trail running along a large open, grassy field with an old red barn at one end. I’ve had so much fun in that field with adventurous clients!
The Indiana University Bloomington Campus is a favorite location for current students, faculty, and tons of alumni, and for good reason. The buildings are beautifully timeless. It’s always impeccably landscaped. But more than anything, it means so much to so many people, myself included. Many of us did a lot of learning and growing up there, and it’s a special place to us–what I believe is most important in choosing a photography session location!
Fountain Square Mall
I’m so thankful for this great indoor location! It’s gotten me through southern Indiana winters and many unexpected rainy days over the years. It has lots of big windows and natural light, beautiful filigree stairs, a glass elevator, gorgous fountain, a super fun Wizard of Oz mural, a skywalk and is so very pretty over the holidays with all the twinkly lights.
Brown County State Park
Brown County isn’t exactly Bloomington, I know, but you really can’t find a more beautiful natural location in the fall than here, and it’s only about a fifteen minute drive from Bloomington! The overlooks are absolutely incredible, there are tons of open, grassy fields, cute cabins and tree lines. Not to mention, an interesting “shore line” type area at Ogle Lake!
Flatwoods Park is another location a little off the Bloomington path, located out near Ellettsville/Gosport, but it’s a really nice, sun-drenched change of scenery. The old, graceful willow trees sway in the breeze in time with the long grass, through which walking paths are cut. It is so dreamy at sunset. Oh, and a sweet little foot bridge!
The B-line Trail
The B-line Trail is a goldmine for urban, artsy backgrounds, and it’s definitely a client favorite. There are lots of murals and sculptures, a few bridges, and some of my favorite urban alleys along the way. It’s a fun walk, and I typically recommend shooting on the B-line or downtown for sessions without small children who are walking on their own, as it is a high traffic area.
Harris Ford Bridge at Clear Creek Trail
The Harris Ford Bridge was originally introduced to me by a client, and I’m so grateful! Chad and Jessica, pictured below with baby Liam both inside and outside the womb, wanted to shoot at the bridge for their maternity session, and then we came back later when Liam was older. The best way to find it is to park at the Church Lane Trailhead and walk up the trail. There’s a creek running under the bridge, too, which is great for families with kiddos who are old enough to know not to go for a swim in the creek!
Walk Kirkwood from the square to the Sample Gates, and you’ll get an incredible amount of urban variety, like some really nicely-lit alleyways (Oddfellows is a favorite!), and some great street art. You can take almost any cross street off Kirkwood and find some pretty brick or an interesting door, and of course you’ll end at the Sample Gates for a beautiful shot down Kirkwood!
The Story Inn
The Story Inn is a bit of a drive into the woods of Brown County, but it’s so very much worth it! It’s a treasure trove of rustic simplicity, old barn wood and pretty gardens. And you can grab a delicious lunch or dinner after your shoot at their on-site café!