Photographers: Best Locations in Columbus for Wedding-Day Photos

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly
Katherine Renner Kelly and Jeffrey Kelly were married at White Star Farm. They took advantage of the natural setting for wedding-day photos.

When the big day finally arrives, you'll have a jam-packed schedule. Recently, though, couples have started setting aside time to stop and smell the roses-and snap a few shots while they're at it. Mix up your wedding-day photos with some settings away from the venue; you don't have to be Downtown to find great photo-shoot locations. "If the bride and groom have a wedding at a church, and they're going to the reception two miles away, [find] the places in between that you wouldn't otherwise notice," says Julian Allen of Julian Allen Photography. Benjamin Derkin, owner of Derk's Works Photography, adds, "Sometimes just going on an adventure is memorable enough to create great photos." With the right lighting and a little luck, you can find a great location just about anywhere. Don't believe us? We asked photographers to share some hidden gems.


If you're getting married Downtown, photo shoot locations are endless-but finding unique spots can be challenging. "I think the key is finding locations that are outside common public landmarks," says Kimberly Potterf of Kimberly Potterf Photography. She suggests getting away from High Street and exploring side streets in German Village or the Short North. Or go even further off the beaten path. "If you really truly want urban and rough, I think Franklinton's great," she says. For Derkin, it's all about the backdrop. "Finding artwork is always really fun," he says. "An obvious choice is to find a graffiti wall or a mural, and Columbus has tons of murals." His favorite graffiti wall in town is behind the Gay Street businesses (near the intersection of East Lynn and North Pearl streets), and he heads to a parking lot at Oak and South Fourth streets to gets shots of couples in front of a bright-pink mural that commemorates AmeriFlora '92.


Like Downtown, some of Worthington's best photo-shoot locations are located off High Street. Allen suggests scouting by foot and snapping photos in front of historic buildings. Head to the parking lot behind The Pub Out Back for an oasis away from the busy street, complete with small steps and ivy walls. For nature lovers, he recommends exploring near Griggs Reservoir Park and along the Scioto River in Dublin. In Historic Dublin, Karrer Barn, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, makes a great backdrop. "People are always asking for old barns to shoot at," Potterf says. Westerville also boasts nature-centric settings, like Inniswood Metro Gardens. "It's beautiful year-round," Allen says of the 121-acre gardens with more than 2,000 species of plants.


For those planning their nuptials in Canal Winchester and who want to get in on the rustic wedding trend, you're in luck. "The cool thing about Canal Winchester is it has sort of a rural history to it," Derkin says. He likes to begin his shoots at the big red barn downtown and make his way to the nearby train tracks and covered bridge. Then he'll go toward the river to snap some nature shots with plenty of sunlight. For more of an urban vibe, visit Harvest Moon Cafe-behind the shop is an alleyway with a fire escape along the side of a brick building. In the Grove City area, look no further than downtown, Derkin says. "Grove City is adorable. It has plenty of brick buildings and lovely lamp posts."


If you're headed to Granville, Derkin and Allen agree Bryn Du Mansion is the place to get the shot. The 52-acre estate includes the Federal-style mansion, the Field House, a carriage house, pump house, gardener's cottage, laundry cottage, horse barn and patios and gardens. (Want some inspiration? Head to page 22.) The elegant architecture and wide-open spaces provide plenty of varied backdrops and angles. Denison University is another prime location, featuring brick buildings and tree-lined streets that, especially in the fall and spring, add beautiful color to photos. Granville also boasts several hidden-gem locations near the city's center. "You've just got to walk around, but Granville itself is beautiful," Allen says. Closer to Downtown Columbus, Gahanna offers plenty of photo-worthy spots, especially at Creekside, which blends the best of the city and nearby nature.


History buffs should head to Hilliard to explore the Historic Village at the Northwest Franklin County Historical Society, Allen says. The site offers a range of rustic settings, including the village chapel (also available as a venue), a barn, wagon, train station, covered bridge and log cabin. In the Galloway area, you'll be a short drive from Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park. "Darby House is stunning," Allen says of the 1,200-acre estate that sits on the creek. The former home of John Galbreath, a two-time Kentucky Derby winner who owned the Pittsburgh Pirates, Darby House features a beautiful venue, a golf course, a bridge, a white-picket fence and a room full of Derby memorabilia.