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FREE Photography Locations in Columbus Ohio

When I was in college, I would stare at my instagram feed and get sad.

I had been a photographer for a few years at that point, and my work just wasn't—glowing—like the other photographers I had been following.

Their work was magical, it had whimsy and adventure baked into it. I wanted nothing more than to take photos like that.

Until something was off.

My books were filling up with clients, I was booking weddings amidst homework and college classes, and I had more than enough income to pay my bills. So why was I unhappy with my photo work?

It turns out, I already was taking photos like the "other" photographers, I just didn't realize it because of their location.

The photographers I was idolizing lived in Utah and California and Peru and Iceland. I lived in Pataskala, Ohio. OF COURSE my photos weren't going to zing in the same way! But the composition, lighting, positioning, and joy of my clients (right then and there) was what mattered most. I couldn't spend another minute missing out on the many clients and sessions I had before me while wishing I were somewhere else.

Sure, their photos were stunning, and sure, I still had a lot of learning to do. But just because they staged an elopement in the Rockies or hired models to stand in a canyon didn't mean that my photography was bad, it just meant they were serving their clients in that location, and I needed to be faithful in doing the same.

To all the other photographers itching for a different portfolio, you can go out there and make it! And when your central Ohio clients come knocking, you can also show up and serve them while still making magic.

Here is a list of all the central, OH venues and locations that are currently completely free to use (and bring some magic to your work!):


  • Schiller Park (German Village)

  • Jeffrey Park (Bexley) 

  • Hoover Park & Dam (Westerville)

  • Alum Creek Park (Lewis Center)

  • Hayden Falls (Columbus)

  • Goodale Park (Columbus)

  • OSU campus (University District)

  • Highbanks Metro Park (Worthington)

  • Delaware State Park  (Delaware)

  • Innis Woods (Westerville)

  • Ext. of Ohio Statehouse (Columbus)

  • Ext. of Leveque Tower (Columbus)

  • Topiary Park (Columbus)

  • Lynd’s Fruit Farm (Pataskala)

  • Scioto Riverfront (Columbus)

  • Scioto Audobon Park (Columbus)

  • Park of Roses (Clintonville) 

  • Hocking Hills (Logan)

  • Bridge Park (Dublin)


  • Columbus Library Main Branch (Downtown)

  • Hilton Short North (Short North)

  • North Market (Short North)

  • Pins (any location)

  • Getaway Brewing (Dublin)

  • Spoonful Records (Downtown)

  • Fox In the Snow (Downtown)

  • Stauf’s German (Village)

  • The Book Loft (German Village)

  • Oakland Nursery (New Albany)

  • Columbus Museum of Art (free Sundays) 

  • Bars/coffeeshops/hotels (call ahead)

  • Local Air B&B’s (book or ask for photo/content trade) 

  • Client’s home

  • Client’s local church (ask permission) 

Some of Ohio's stunning indoor locations require a photo permit which usually costs between $50-$75 depending on the length and time of your wedding. Here are some of those locations:

  • Columbus Museum of Art ($$, free Sundays) 

  • Franklin Park Conservatory ($$)

  • Ohio Statehouse ($)

  • Local Air B&B’s ($$, book ahead or reach out with to ask about photo policies) 

Another option is to rent out one of central Ohio's many photo studios. These are beautiful controlled spaces that range from natural light studios, greenhouses, and traditional spaces with lighting gear and props for any type of session. Pricing is typically $40-100/hr; reach out directly for more info.

If these spaces excite you, or if you have any you'd add to the list, comment below! Now go make some magic.

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