• Elise Hofer Shaw


From the industrial charm of the stockyards to the turn-of-the-century architecture along Motor Row, the South Loop is steeped in Chicago history—and ripe with locations for wedding party photo shoots that run the gamut from gritty to all-out iconic. Bethany Fritz, owner and lead photographer at Lakeview-based Maypole Studios, a 15-year wedding photographer veteran, shares five of her fave spots in the South Loop for spring shoots.

The University of Chicago

5801 S. Ellis Ave., Chicago, IL 60637

“You can’t beat the classic architecture at UChicago,” says Fritz. “This campus has so many wonderful corridors, arches, walkways and unique textures. From the ivy-covered walls and leaded glass windows to the dark wood interiors and gorgeous staircases, this location never disappoints! It’s a wonderful spot for a spring shoot, but equally as lovely in the fall.”

South Shore Cultural Center

7059 S. South Shore Dr., Chicago, IL 60649

“Talk about a unique building. The exterior alone is a great photo backdrop,” shares Fritz. “And I highly recommend contacting the Chicago Park District in advance for a photo permit to use the interior as well. They’ll allow it as long as it doesn’t conflict with a wedding or private event that’s being held on that day. There is a nice beach area in back, too. And don’t forget it’s where the Obamas got married!”

Burnham Harbor/Northerly Island

1559 S. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago, IL 60605

“Hands down one of my favorite locations in all of Chicago,” admits Fritz. “I just adore walking the nature trail around the base of Northerly Island. For wedding shoots, the southern view of the city is terrific. The wild grasses and preservation areas allow for a very cool contrast of nature and city.”

63rd Street Beach

6300 Lake Shore Dr., Chicago IL 60637

“Here, photo ops include a beautiful old stone building with ivy-covered walls and a large sandy beachfront area,” says Fritz. “Given the distance, the Chicago skyline is a bit smaller, but this is still a very fun location for photos. However, it’s worth noting that it can be very crowded in the summer, with a lot of people tailgating outside the building and along the waterfront areas.”

Ping Tom Memorial Park

1700 S. Wentworth Ave., Chicago, IL 60616

“From the pagoda-style pavilion near the entrance to the amazing southern view of the city and the gorgeous murals, this park is so wonderfully laid out with so many different backdrops,” shares Fritz. “It’s also the last stop for the Chicago Water Taxi, which can also be incorporated into your photos. I love shooting here, which I’m hesitant to say because it’s truly a hidden gem.”

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