Think of the flood of emotion you get from a brief glance at a childhood photo, when gazing at a photo of your child, or while flipping through an album filled with family and friends. It feels like holding a priceless treasure.
Photographs (almost 200 years later) are still the most genuine way to capture a moment, or more precisely, the emotions and memories tied to it. The nanosecond conveyed in a photograph can often tell a more complete story than hours of video, and more accurately than an eyewitness account.
It’s worth noting that the most cherished photos aren’t always the most professional or polished. It’s the feelings they spur, the nostalgia they stir, that tie pictures directly to our hearts and make them invaluable.
A grandmother taking her little cuties out for ice cream can capture as timeless a moment as any professional spending hours waiting for the right shot. Likewise, professionals can help us immortalize our biggest milestones and achievements, with photos we’ll hold dear and pass down for generations.
Whether you have engagement photos on the horizon, need a headshot for a big career move, or you’re simply looking to encapsulate this moment in time with loved ones, Downtown Fort Wayne has countless locales that are perfect for making memories and preserving them.
If you’re planning a photoshoot, consider what backdrop might be ideal for what you’re intending to capture. There’s no shortage of options—from cityscapes and parks to murals and historic buildings.
Here are a few of Downtown Fort Wayne’s most “fort-ogenic” spaces:
Scenic backdrops — for the nature lovers:
Promenade Park is an entire city block featuring grassy picnic spots, boardwalks overlooking the river, and a spectacular pavilion. The Old Wells Street Bridge lends a romantic nod to the past in the midst of this modern, state-of-the-art park.
Headwaters Park has over a mile of pathways, so you won’t be short on leading lines. They wind through lush, well-designed landscaping with bright spring blossoms, deep summer greens, and vibrant fall color.
Botanical Conservatory offers nature exhibits that go beyond the ordinary Fort Wayne landscape—with a tropical garden, a desert exhibition, and a seasonal showcase. There’s never a dull scene in any of the Botanical Conversatory’s gardens.
Freimann Square, right next to the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, is perfect for city park vibes: big trees, seasonal and perennial plants, sculptures, and a large, isometric duck pond with fountains. A photoshoot can’t really go wrong with fountains and foliage.
Artistic backdrops — for the lovers of color:
Art This Way and other art advocates have been beautifying Fort Wayne for the past decade, propping up new murals and sculptures all over town. For a pop of extra color, explore Art This Way’s public art, like:
77 Steps — this overhead light installation is great for playful posing and evening ambience. Its entrance is on Berry between Calhoun and Harrison, and the lights end about halfway through, leaving some attention for the murals on either side.
TriCore’s The Porch off Calhoun — this alleyway is full of visual interest, from zig zagging lines of Japanese lanterns and string lights overhead, to brick and multiple mural backdrops.
There are many more art-centric spots to choose from. Visit Art This Way’s website to find a mural that fits the style you’re looking for or Visit Fort Wayne’s interactive map or public art trail digital pass to map out your shots.
Historic backdrops — for the lovers of nostalgia:
The Allen County Courthouse was finished in 1902, in the then-waning French Beaux-Arts style—think grand entrances and staircases, justice-themed statuary, sculptures, and murals, a soaring domed ceiling. The courthouse makes for a grand skyline background, or an up-close, ornate limestone backdrop.
Electric Works is an expansive, up-and-coming campus just outside Downtown Fort Wayne. Having rehabilitated the old GE quarters, the campus is full of old charm, huge steel windows, and spacious, industrial interiors.
Baker Street Train Station is now a private events space and office building, but this old historic train station still has all the character to offer some unique photo ops.
Cityscape backdrop — for the urbanites:
The Landing feels a lot like a small neighborhood within a big city. It’s lined with benches, trees, restaurants with apartments above, and plenty of pizzazz.
The Embassy has a rentable rooftop available, with awe inspiring 360º views of Downtown Fort Wayne.
Check out a public parking garage for some surprisingly stellar views of the skyline. Be mindful that these “rooftops” are for parking, so it might take some creativity to get the right shot. Also be wary of vehicles, since parking garages inherently have quite a bit of traffic, albeit slow-moving—so please be careful!
Disclaimer: Some of the ideas listed above are private spaces. So, you may need to contact someone about renting the space for photos. Even if a space is open to the public, it’s a good idea to check to see if a location has a photography policy or any restricted areas.
Have fun, get creative, and capture some amazing memories this season in Downtown Fort Wayne!
Molly Conner is a Fort Wayne native and freelance writer. Having lived in Downtown Fort Wayne throughout her twenties, she loves watching her stomping grounds grow. With her love of storytelling and community in tow, she’s eager to tell Downtown Fort Wayne’s story piece-by-piece—exploring the people, spaces, and organizations that make it thrive.