A photographer’s review of some Edmonton photo locations (with photo examples!)

Planning to take photos in Edmonton and looking for a good location? Below you will find a list of some spots that are commonly used for photography – for wedding, engagement, and family photos – listed in no particular order of preference, with a few pros and cons for each location.

  1. Alberta Legislature

    PROS- The park area/greenspace south of the Alberta Legislature building is awesome – the grass is always green and well tended, the flowersbeds are in replanted so they bloom all spring/summer, and there’s shady spots as well as sunshine. It’s a good choice for engagement photos or family pictures during the week. The fountains a block north of the Legislature are super fun!

    CONS – Seems like everyone takes their photos here, and maybe the stairs are played out/ have that “high school grad photo” vibe. There are often crowds of people here, especially on the weekends, folks lining up for photos in front of the building, on the stairs, etc. If you have mobility concerns, finding parking can be difficult.

  2. Government House Park

    PROS – You get a great view of the river, awesome trees, and lots of variety 5 mins from downtown Edmonton. Especially beautiful in the fall, there is awesome sunset light, and it’s a good spot for a picnic as well!

    CONS – parking can be tough sometimes when it’s busy. Lots of super fast bike traffic on the trail as people race down hill, so be cautious on the paths.

  3. Mill Creek Ravine

    PROS – it’s a large space. The wooden bridge in Richie neighborhood is super rad, this park is also an offleash area for dogs if you want photos with your fur babies.

    CONS – Also a pro- It’s an offleash for dogs (if someone in your family doesn’t like dogs, maybe skip it) and the trails can be busy with joggers and bikes.

  4. Tawatina Bridge

    PROS – Close to lots of other great photo ops, like Muttart Conservatory and Louise McKinney. The bridge is covered, if you need a rain out spot. The roof part of the bridge is covered in gorgeous art by Indigenous artists. It offers a good view of downtown.

    CONS – there’s always people walking/jogging/cycling on this bridge, but any good photographer can work around that!
  5. Louise McKinney Park

    PROS – Seconds from downtown, this park offers a great view of the river valley, and there’s amenities that might be important to your wedding party and or family – parking and bathrooms. It’s a big enough park that even if you’re sharing it with another group or two, you’ll be able to find spots to get good photos. There’s great trees along the walking paths, and open areas. There is wheelchair access down to the bridge/river valley area, using the nearby funicular, and ramps which lead onto Tawatina Bridge too.

    CONS – I can’t think of any! I’d love to do more shoots here.
  6. Muttart Conservatory

    PROS – Iconically Edmonton. A great view of downtown in the background if you head west of the building itself. It’s location is a block away from the Tawatina Bridge listed above, so if you wanted to go for an adventure, you could start at Louise McKinney Park north of the river, walk south across Tawatina bridge, and you will end up at the Muttart Conservatory – lots of great photos to be taken along the way.

    CONS – you do have to pay to take photos inside the Muttart Conservatory, but the outside is a-ok and free to use! It’s used for lots of other photo shoots, you might have to share the space with another group.

  7. River Valley Stairs

    PROS- Another spot that’s so iconically Edmonton it hurts. You can find stairs in almost any neighborhood along the river valley. My personal fave are the stairs leading from Victoria Golf Course to Victoria Promenade.

    CONS – Well, they’re stairs. Obviously some access concerns. Kind of a “one trick pony” – not a large variety of options for angles, etc, but a decent starting point for photos in the river valley.
  8. Manchester Square

    PROS – it’s downtown-ish. The floral murals on both sides of the building are so gorgeous (by local artist Alixandra Jade), although they’ve been photographed a whole lot. This space has lots of cool businesses, and even a wedding venue. You can get a variety of photos if you wander down through the park/bike paths west of the buildings. Good parking and wheelchair access.

    CONS – This is just my personal hot take- it’s an attempt to create a European town square out of a strip mall that’s literally located on the edge of a cemetery and industrial park in Edmonton. And unfortunately it kinda looks like it. The faux Amsterdam-adjacent facades are directly fronted by a huge parking lot, and his makes photos in front of the building difficult. The light here is harsh for most of the day. I would recommend this spot if y’all love this mural… a good photographer can always make magic here or anywhere!
  9. Whyte Avenue/Strathcona

    PROS – It’s a vibe. If you’re an Edmontonian, you’ve probably got some great Whyte Ave memories. Cool murals, loads of color, interesting alleyways, the streetcar and the farmers market… and you can duck into one of the many pubs or coffee shops for a photo or two. We’re talking LOADS of variety for photos in just a few blocks, but obviously, not a lot of the green stuff (although you could walk 4-5 blocks north into the river valley.) I love taking photos on Whyte Ave!

    CONS – It’s mostly/always busy, and you have to walk a lot.

  10. Saskatchewan Drive viewpoint

    PROS – this spot has a great view of Walterdale Bridge and downtown Edmonton’s skyline.

    CONS – for much of the day, the lighting here is beyond difficult. There are guardrails and ugly stuff between you and the view. In both the example photos above, I have photoshopped out some distracting stuff, and also done a lot of work to balance the light between the foreground and background. The grass is trampled to death, and you have to park on/cross an extremely busy street.

  11. Aga Khan Garden/ University of Alberta Botanical Garden

    PROS – It’s beautiful, a huge garden, fountains, flowers, the works! The Aga Khan garden and ponds are amazing and I love shooting there, and the Japanese Pavilion and surrounding garden on the other side of the gardens are gorgeous too. The paths are wheelchair accessible.

    CONS – It’s 30 minutes southwest of Edmonton, close to the town of Devon. You have to walk a fair distance from the parking lot to access the gardens – there’s no other option except walking, so wear comfortable shoes. There’s absolutely no real cover if it rains, you’ll be running alllllll theeeee waaaaay back to your car, so bring your umbrella if showers are in the forecast.

  12. Your own neighborhood

    PROS – ALL OF THEM. Taking photos in your own neighborhood is going to have the most meaning to you. Whether it’s a dog park, coffee shop, school yard, playground, back alley, dive bar, your ‘hood probably holds something special. Your photos will be unique, unlike many of the locations listed above. Do you live somewhere rural? Even better – let’s explore your yard/farm/acreage! As a photographer, I love to create dynamic work in a new environment, finding new ways to view things, challenging myself. Let’s have ourselves an adventure.
    CONS – maybe you live in an ugly neighborhood, or a new neighborhood with no character. (But I know I can find good stuff close by!)

    Here’s a bunch more photos I’ve taken in Edmonton neighborhoods.

Published by Buffy Goodman Photography

Edmonton based wedding and destination wedding, family, and portrait photographer

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