5 Creative Indoor Portrait Locations for When the Weather is Blustery

5 Creative Indoor Portrait Locations for When the Weather is Blustery


What if I told you that you can find some interesting indoor locations and take photos for free? In this article, I will show you five remarkable indoor portrait locations that you can seek out for your winter shoots.

Winter time is a huge bummer for us portrait photographers. Harsh winds make us (and our models) question our sanity when we step outside for a photoshoot. Sure, we can rent studio space but this can be expensive. Also, let’s be honest, many studio spaces just look bland and uninspiring. Let’s see what else is available.

Editor’s note/disclaimer: The suggestions made in this article do not reflect the views of dPS and are solely the author’s recommendations and opinions. We suggest that you ALWAYS get permission when shooting at an indoor location that is private property (i.e. anywhere other than your subject’s home or yours). Please be aware of the laws in your area regarding photography in private locations, and follow them so you do not find yourself in trouble with the law. 


5 Creative Indoor Portrait Locations for When the Weather is Blustery - library

Libraries are an excellent place to shoot portraits. Tall shelves of books and impressive architecture provide a variety of wonderful backgrounds.

Seek out public libraries and university libraries that are open to the public. I’ve taken portraits of model friends at the Boston Public Library, Boston College, and MIT.

Some libraries have strict policies about photography, so if you’re unsure just ask a staff member. In many places, “Can I take some photos of my friend in here?” is all it takes to get permission.


Convenience stores are one of the easiest places to get permission to shoot portraits. Just walk into the store and politely ask the cashier if you can take some photos of your friend inside. That’s how I got these photos:

When shooting in a convenience store, be aware that the aisles are typically narrow. I recommend bringing a wide-angle lens, such as a 35mm, to allow you to fully capture the setting.


Many universities have academic buildings that are open to the public, which makes them a good option to take photos indoors. Empty classrooms are a personal favorite.

university - 5 Creative Indoor Portrait Locations for When the Weather is Blustery

university - 5 Creative Indoor Portrait Locations for When the Weather is Blustery

I want to emphasize that it’s very important to have respect for the space and its owners. In most instances, the worst case scenario is pretty mild – being asked to leave. If you are asked to leave a property, simply leave without making a fuss. In my experience, it’s not common to get kicked out of places for simply taking photos.

If you’re nervous about confrontation, then ask for permission in advance. Trust me, if you’re polite and transparent, most people will be willing to accommodate your photography (given that you’re not doing it for commercial use or taking photos of their patrons or guests).


Filled with colorful vegetables and bright lights, grocery stores are a goldmine for portrait photography. You can capture a wide variety of different scenes reminiscent of everyday life. Have your model interact with different items in the store and use them as props.

Plan to shoot at off-peak hours, such as the middle of a weekday, to avoid throngs of shoppers photo-bombing your pictures. The layout of different grocery stores can vary widely. Some have wide, spacious aisles while others are more densely packed and narrow. Be sure to bring the right lens to properly capture the environment.

It’s useful to scout out the location in advance if you can.


Laundromats are great places to put a different spin on your portraits. If you live in a city, chances are there are plenty of laundromats. If you don’t where to find any near you, start with a simple Google search. Look for self-service laundromats, since these usually don’t have any on-site staff.

It’s rare that laundromats are completely empty, so get used to shooting around other people. When you ignore the side-eyed glances from people drying their socks, then you can get photos like this:

laundromat - 5 Creative Indoor Portrait Locations for When the Weather is Blustery

laundromat - 5 Creative Indoor Portrait Locations for When the Weather is Blustery


Again, it’s important to be respectful of your environment and the people there who are just going about their business.

You don’t need to go to a public park or shoot in a studio to take great portraits. When you think outside the box, then the world can be your photography playground.

What’s are some of your favorite indoor portrait locations? Let me know in the comments section below.

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category

Dan Bullman is a photographer and Youtuber based in Boston. He helps photographers take their portrait game to the next level. Wanna get access to the top portrait photo learning resources? Get the FREE Portrait Photographer's Ultimate Resource Guide when you join Dan's email list.

  • Great tutorial Dan. Really the mentioned indoor location for Photography are really interesting. Thanks a lot for sharing a informational article.

  • Nathan M’Zumara
  • Thank you Dan. I never taught of that!

  • You’re welcome Frantz! Glad you liked the article 😀

  • Thanks for reading Shakil. Glad you enjoyed it 🙂 Hope you get to try out some of these locations

  • welcome, Dan. Really I will try myself. I enjoyed this very much.

  • You mentioned some nice points. I personally love to take picutres at libraries and convenience stores!

  • waynebretl

    i wonder if the grocery store really was OK with you shooting there. They put a lot of work into optimizing the produce display and don’t want competitors studying it.

  • Kerry Sidwell Wilson

    I was asked not to shoot in our local grocery store. I also saw someone in USA shooting backgrounds in a mall which looked great. But how do you manage the lighting? The lights in stores are so blue.

  • waynewerner

    White balance – typically fluorescent, but if you have a mid-grey card then you can just take a shot with that under the lighting and then use that spot for setting the color

  • Jennifer Michaels

    I recently took my niece’s senior portraits in a record and collectibles store. A perfect, youthful environment for my little music lover. No one else in her class had thought of it, and she was thrilled to be an original!

Join Our Email Newsletter

Thanks for subscribing!

DPS offers a free weekly newsletter with: 
1. new photography tutorials and tips
2. latest photography assignments
3. photo competitions and prizes

Enter your email below to subscribe.
Get DAILY free tips, news and reviews via our RSS feed