Having their own studio is probably every photographer’s dream. It’s definitely on my bucket list. But I prefer to shoot on location, whether it’s in a park, at a street corner, or in the client’s home: these are places where people feel free and at ease, where they let their personality shine through. Not to mention the gorgeousness of natural light!
But when it’s pouring rain or bitter cold outside, it can be a nightmare for those who don’t own or have access to a studio. If you could convince your clients to take pictures inside their homes, that’d be all the merrier. But if for whatever reason they don’t want to, we’d all be scrambling to find an indoor location for photos.
Now, when you ask for location recommendations on social media, not everyone is willing to share. This is totally understandable: photographers each have their own secret spots they absolutely love to shoot at, spots they found by doing research or actually walking around.
You might be surprised, but there are quite a few great indoor locations for photos in St. Louis. You just need to know where to find them!
In the spirit of community over competition, I’m sharing my favorite indoor locations that I’ve discovered over the years. Whether you have a portrait session coming up, or a bride freaking out about the thunderstorm on their wedding day, at lease one of these location may work.
Public Places in St. Louis for Photos:
The locations on this list are open to the public. But bear in mind that you might need to obtain a permit, or pay a fee, to actually be able to photograph inside some of these places.
The Jewel Box is a display greenhouse in Forest Park, located at the intersection of Wells and McKinley Drives in St. Louis, MO. It offers tropical greenery all year around, perfect for any photo session, from family, seniors, engagement sessions, to wedding party pictures.
Another location that’s similar is Missouri Botanical Garden. See below for more info.
Address: 1 Wells and McKinley Drives, St. Louis, MO 63110
Hours: open to the public Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; on Saturday, from 9 to 11 a.m.; and on Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m
Fee: Admission is $1 per person, but it is free Mondays and Tuesdays from 9 a.m. until noon.
Rules & Regulations: https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/government/departments/parks/parks/Jewel-Box.cfm
Phone: (314) 531-0080
The front entrance of The Muny in Forest Park provides shelter from rain. From the right angles, you’ll be able to take advantage of all the beautiful surroundings, including the Pagoda Lake! Free access all year long–as long as there are no wedding parties all lined up to get their turn for photos.
Address: 1 Theatre Dr, St. Louis, MO 63112
Hours: All day everyday!
Phone: (314) 361-1900
If The Muny is packed, another great location is the World’s Fair Pavilion, which is within walking distance. If you haven’t been to World’s Fair Pavilion, think of The Muny, but more open and sitting on top of a hill (Government Hill). So you get a great view of the park as backdrop. You’ll have fun working with the big archways and other architectural elements.
World’s Fair Pavilion is open to the public, but because it’s also a wedding venue, keep in mind that it might not be available on weekends.
If you want variety and are looking for a location with a similar feel, you’ll love the nearby WashU campus with all its gothic architecture.
Address: 1904 Concourse Dr, St. Louis, MO 63146
Hours: All day everyday, except for when there are weddings or other events going on.
Phone: (314) 289-5344
Missouri Botanical Garden offers some great indoor options for photography or videography. My absolute favorite is Shoenberg Temperate House. Linnea House is small, but I love shooting in front of all the cactuses. Another good spot is Climatron, but take precaution when it’s cold outside because your lenses will fog up big time.
Address: 4344 Shaw Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63110
Fee: $12 adults (ages 13 & over), free for children (ages 12 & under) and for members and their children.
Rules & Regulations: “We welcome visitor snapshots; individual, family, engagement and senior class portraits; and other photography or portraiture intended for personal use only (i.e., not for commercial use). Please note that props, stands, luggage, rolling racks and clothing changes are not permitted. Regular Garden admission applies for all individuals…. Wedding and bridal photo shoots are subject to additional guidelines.” Click here for their complete photography policy. (Note that if you’re a member or a resident of St. Louis City or St. Louis County, admission is free before noon Wednesdays and Saturdays.)
Phone: (314) 577-0254 or (314) 577-0286, for photography-related inquires.
There’s no place quite like the City Museum in downtown St. Louis. If you’re looking for something different, maybe a little bit bold, edgy, fun, industrial, City Museum is perfect.
Address: 750 N 16th St, St. Louis, MO 63103
Hours: 9AM–5PM Monday-Thursday, 9AM-12AM Friday-Saturday, 11AM-5PM Sunday
Fee: Children 2 and under admitted free; $12.00 (plus tax)ages 3 years and up; or $10.00 (plus tax)after 5pm Fri & Sat; roof access is available only with general admission and weather permitting, for additional $5.00 (plus tax), closed November through May, unless otherwise noted. More on hours and admission here.
Rules & Regulations: No commercial photography or videography. Reservations are required for wedding party pictures. For more information, visit their “Policies & Restrictions” page.
Phone: (314) 231-2489
If you’re a sucker for great architecture (just like I am), you’d be thrilled to learn that the St. Louis Public Library central branch allows professional photography. Only one hour of photography with Bride and Groom only, as of May 9, 2017. Shooting inside the library is free, but a permit is required. A request needs to be made to Pepi Marshall (PParshall@slpl.org), Manager of Programming and Events.
Address: 1301 Olive Street, St. Louis MO 63103
Hours: Monday-Thursday 10AM–9PM, Friday-Saturday 10AM-6PM, Sunday 10AM-5PM
Fee: Free, but a permit is required.
Rules & Regulations: Here’s an excerpt of their policy as shown on the permit:”BRIDE AND GROOM ONLY can be inside the building, despite weather conditions. Entire wedding party can be filmed outside as long as no entrances are blocked. No special lighting permitted. Pictures of the bride and groom may be taken in the following areas: Olive Street Foyer, Atrium and Great Hall. If you are arriving in a party bus, please do not bring beverages with you to the property.”
Phone: (314) 241-2288 (Central Library), 314-880-8752 (Pepi Marshall)
St. Louis Union Station is another awesome location for architecture lovers, but unfortunately they charge a fee as high as $250 to shoot inside the Grand Hall.
Address: 1820 Market Street, St. Louis, MO 63103
Rules & Regulations: Unclear. (BEWARE: If you Google “St. Louis Union Station Photography Policy,” you might be tempted to click on the first search result. DON’T! It’s a different Union Station, the one in Kansas City.)
Private Spaces for Rent
roar. is a stylish collaborative space in Webster Groves. Owner Lisa Knight is an interior designer at The Design House. The whole space is sleek, modern, and meticulously decorated. So if you’re looking for a place with more of a lifestyle feel to photograph at, roar. is a perfect choice. Curious about what it looks like inside? Check out this editorial feature on the Alive Magazine.
Address: 8150 Big Bend Blvd, Webster Groves, Missouri 63119
Phone: (314) 736 – 1051
City Studio is a modern studio space in downtown St. Louis. It has a lot of natural light for you to work with. Their professional lighting equipment is also available for rent.
Address: 1531 Washington Avenue, Suite 3A St. Louis, MO 63103
Do you have a favorite indoor location for photos in St. Louis that doesn’t make the list? Feel free share with us below.