Philadelphia is full of history and art, providing several phenomenal photographic opportunities for amateur photographers and people interested in portraits or wedding photos. Visitors and locals hoping to embody the diverse Philadelphia experience should consider the following notable locations.
The LOVE Sculpture, LOVE Park (JFK Plaza)
1500 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102
The LOVE sculpture is one of the most iconic modern images of Philadelphia today. Created by artist Robert Indiana, the LOVE sculpture frames a shaded park. It’s possible to catch the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the background.
Because of its universal message, the LOVE sculpture is a popular photo destination for just about everyone-it describes a human condition and the positive energy present in Philadelphia. This is an especially popular spot for families, couples and engagement and wedding photos.
Rocky Steps, Philadelphia Museum of Art
26th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19130
The “Rocky Steps” are famously situated at the main entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Locals have been known to train on the steps, though the museum and Fairmount Park areas are full of running trails and pedestrian-friendly areas.
Famous for Rocky’s training montage, the steps have become legendary to film fans. As the museum is a popular place itself, it’s often difficult to get a photo of a select group of people on the steps without many others in the background. Photographer should also note that certain museum exhibits incorporate the steps into advertising (it once projected an image of Darth Vader). While interesting, the ads can take away from the authentic Rocky effect, so check the status of the steps before you go.
Independence Hall and Liberty Bell, Old City
520 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell are located across the street from one another. The Liberty Bell is housed in its own pavilion next to an open field used for recreation and picnicking. Photos are allowed in the pavilion.
The best shot of a subject standing in front of Independence Hall requires the subject to stand across the street for security considerations and to get the building in the shot. The time of day is particularly important at these locations due to high tourist traffic and the position of the sun.
Pat’s King of Steaks, South Philly
1237 East Passayunk Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Pat’s King of Steaks claims to be the originator of the Philly cheesesteak. It’s been around since 1930. Tourists head to Pat’s to order the famous Philly cheesesteak. While they’re not as strict as Geno’s when it comes to ordering, you’d best order your cheese steak ‘wiz wit’ if you want cheese.
Photos are convenient at Pat’s because (with exception of a few holidays) they’re open 24/7. Famous people like to eat at Pat’s, too-and it seems to be a must for politicians to enjoy the Philly experience. If you hang out there long enough, you’ll eventually snap a shot of a celeb.
City Hall, Center City
Broad and Market Streets, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Few people realize the amazing architecture present at City Hall until they pass through. Also known as ‘that building with Billy Penn up there,” City Hall is a recognizable landmark, especially in films about Philly.
City Hall is one of the best place to meet and photograph the city’s eccentrics. It’s the convergence of all types of people-politicians, business people and citizens waiting for SEPTA buses. If you want to capture a real survey of city folk, check out City Hall.
If you’re a wedding photographer, be sure to get the proper permits for shooting on location at these points. Security forces and park personnel are also vigilant at these locations, so remember to let them know what you’re doing. They may ask for a bag inspection.
High-quality cameras including DSLRs are permitted in most locations, but once a tripod comes out, it may be considered a ‘professional’ photo subject to a different set of rules and requirements. Do your research before heading out to enjoy a smooth photo shoot full of history.