Chicago Photo Locations Permit Guide



Chicago Photo  Location Permits Guide

Chicago photo permits are getting more and more frequent for shoots around the city.

Do you have a Chicago photo location in mind for your engagement shoot or wedding portraits? It’s best to check this list first to confirm you are in compliance with photo permit guidelines with the City of Chicago or the private ownership. Unfortunately, many photo locations do not have a sign saying that Chicago photo permit is required. However, it is better to expect that a photo permit is required than not.

Furthermore, the City of Chicago is enforcing photo permits at locations under its management. This comprehensive guide is beneficial for anyone interested in having their wedding, engagement and family portraits photographed at Chicagoland’s landmarks, parks and hotels.

Millennium Park // Chicago Lurie Gardens

Chicago Photo Permits for Engagements and Weddings

First, Millennium Park encompasses Chicago Lurie Garden, Cloud Gate, Jay Pritzker Pavillion, The BP Bridge and Crown Fountain. In order to shoot anywhere on these premises, you must acquire a photo and film permit.

The park is a beautiful location with stunning views of the Chicago skyline and impeccably curated gardens. Amazingly, every season has a different look and vibe. Within a few blocks, you can get a variety of urban, garden and waterfront engagement photos.

Address: 201 E Randolph Street Chicago, IL 60602

Permit Fee: $25 for non-commercial photography (weddings, engagements, portraits)

As of July 1, 2019, all professional photographers at Lurie Garden must have permit. Drones are not permitted at all. Never step into the garden beds, no matter the time of year. You may not stand on the stone walls. Do not block any walkway or ask visitors not to use the walkways. Permits are non-transferable. Refunds will not be granted for inclement weather.

Hours of Operation: 6am-11pm (Check website for any special event or holiday hours)

Phone: (312) 744-6050

Permit Application Contact: Darlene Rodriguez // drodriguez@mbres.com

Chicago Union Station

If you like to incorporate some of Chicago’s iconic architectural locations, consider Union Station for your wedding portraits. But before you start planning, contact the management office for a photography permit! There are so many spots inside and outside this building for epic wedding photos.

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Address: 255 South Canal Street, Chicago, Illinois 60606

Permit Fee: $150

Photo and film permits must be obtained at least 48 hours prior to the photography date.  Fees can be paid and permits can be obtained during business hours at 500 W. Jackson Blvd., Suite 107, Chicago IL 60661.

Hours of Operation: Open 7 days a week. Closed from 1am to 5am.

Phone: (312) 655-2524

Permit Application: Application Link

Garfield Park Conservatory

Thirdly, Garfield Park Conservatory is an iconic indoor garden conservatory that is over a century old.  It is part of Chicago’s legendary history. Therefore, taking engagement photos or wedding portraits here is very memorable. There are a variety of rooms inside the conservatory. However, my favorite room is where the zillej tile fountain is located.

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Address: 300 N. Central Park Ave. Chicago, IL 60624

Permit Fee: $35 for application fee plus $45 per location and date.

Hours of Operation: 9 am – 5 pm

Phone: 312-763-6713

Permit Application: Application website

Lincoln Park Zoo/ South Pond Nature Boardwalk

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Address: 2001 N Clark Street Chicago, IL 60614

Permit Fee: $125 for non-commercial shoots such as weddings, portraits, engagements.

Hours of Operation: 9am to 5pm

Phone: (312) 742-2000

Permit Application: Application Link

Lincoln Park Conservatory

I have been visiting Lincoln Park Conservatory for years and it never gets boring.  There are so many different plant rooms that make you feel like you are in a tropical paradise.  Furthermore, I find that this location and Garfield Park Conservatory are great photo locations for winter engagements and when the weather is bad.
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Address: 2391 N Stockton Dr, Chicago, IL 60614

Permit Fee: $35 application fee plus $45 per location and date

Hours of Operation: 9am to 5pm

Phone: (312) 742-7736

Permit Application: Application Link

Maggie Daley Park // Cancer Survivors Garden

Moreover, Maggie Daley Park is a smaller park on the north side of Millennium Park. The park is much quieter and perfect for a garden shoot in the city.  I love the large metal gazebo because you can take interesting wedding poses on the steps and within the structure.


Address: 337 E. Randolph St., Chicago, Illinois 60601

Permit Fee: $25 for non-commercial photography (weddings, engagements, portraits)

Hours of Operation: 9am to 5pm

Phone: 312-744-6415

Permit Application Contact: Darlene Rodriguez // drodriguez@mbres.com

With over ten years of experience capturing sacred moments and an artful intuition for what it takes to get the perfect shot, time and time again, it’s our joy to create evocative, timeless photographs that are as one-of-a-kind as your story.

Maha Studios is a destination photography studio that delights in the vibrant traditions and rituals at the heart of South Asian and multicultural weddings.