A Cedar Rapids Wedding Photographer’s Guide to


The Best Cedar Rapids & Iowa City Engagement Picture Locations

It’s time to take your engagement pictures – how exciting! The next step is to decide where you’d like to take pictures. We always recommend choosing a place that is meaningful to you. Where did you have your first date? Where do you love to spend your Saturday afternoons? If you’re still not sure what spot will have plenty of photo opportunities, we’re here to help!

In all of our years as Iowa engagement and wedding photographers, we have photographed at so many scenic places! This guide is designed to show you some of our favorite engagement photography locations near Cedar Rapids and Iowa City that have nice lighting, beautiful backdrops and plenty of photo opportunities. Did we miss something? Let us know! We love photographing new places!

Nature Areas

Indian Creek Nature Center

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Indian Creek Nature Center is beautiful anytime of year! Some of our favorite features include open fields with tall grass, a lush tree line full of green in the summer and color in the fall, a patio with bulb lights, a pergola with green ivy and beautiful sunset views.

Kent Park

Oxford, Iowa

Kent Park has countless areas to explore! With wildflowers in the summer and warm colors in the fall, it’s beautiful in any season. A few of our favorite features include a bridge over the lake, multiple areas of pine and evergreen trees, and open fields of tall grass and wildflowers.

Palisades-Kepler State Park

Mount Vernon, Iowa

Palisades Park is located right by the Cedar River. Some of our favorite features include beach access with beautiful views of the water, limestone rocks, tree lined fence lines and roads through the whole park.

Lake Macbride

Solon, Iowa

Lake Macbride is a stunning location for engagement photos! Our favorite features include wooded forests of evergreen trees, tree covered trails, a walkway through the water and rocks, and obviously beautiful views of the lake!

Rock Island Botanical Preserve

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

This hidden gem is located just behind Xavier High school! With large open fields, tall grasses, wildflowers, and pine trees, you can spend your whole session at Rock Island and not run out of picturesque backdrops.

Wilson’s Orchard & Farm

Iowa City, Iowa

If you’re looking for a unique location to take your engagement pictures, consider Wilson’s Orchard and Farm! From the rolling hills of the beautiful apple orchard to the big barn that’s next door at the Ciderhouse + Venue, there is no shortage of photo opportunities.

Terry Trueblood Recreation Area

Iowa City, Iowa

If you love water, we highly recommend Terry Trueblood! Don’t worry, you don’t have to hop in the water, but it sure makes a great backdrop!

Pierson’s Flower Shop and Greenhouse

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

If you’re a plant lover like us, Pierson’s Flower Shop and Greenhouse is a beautiful and unique location for engagement pictures! Full of color and natural light, every corner of this place is beautiful. Added bonus, it’s perfect to shoot in on a rainy day!

Noelridge Greenhouse

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Similar to Pierson’s Flower Shop but a bit more roomy! They have a permanent installation of botanicals all year round, so it’s nice and green even in the winter time! Added bonus, there’s a fun flower mural outside.

*The Noelridge Greenhouse is free during open hours, but does charge a fee for access on the weekends.

Urban Areas

The Old Capitol

Iowa City, Iowa

Whether you’re a Hawkeye Fan or not, The Old Capitol is full of history (and photo ops!) A few of our favorite features include beautiful columns, staircases, and tree lined sidewalks. If you want, you can venture a little further onto campus and visit the Tippie Business Building or The Art Building.

Hancher Auditorium

Iowa City, Iowa

If you love architecture, there’s nothing better than visiting Hancher Auditorium! The inside is stunning, with floor to ceiling windows and emmaculate staircases. If they happen to be closed the day of your session, don’t worry! The outside of the building and the surrounding grounds are just as beautiful.

Newbo Neighborhood

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Newbo Neighborhood has really grown over the past few years and has tons of photo opportunities! A few of our favorite features include historical architecture, brick walls, Parlor City, Brewhemia Coffee Shop, Almost Famous Popcorn & Ice Cream, and an old firehouse.

Czech Village

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Similar to the Newbo Neighborhood, Czech Village is full of character! Our favorite features include brick walls, cute storefronts, the clock tower, a bridge with views of the city and an adorable Gazebo. If you love beer, we can hop over to the patio at Lion Bridge for a cold brew!

Uptown Marion

Marion, Iowa

Everything you could want in a small town main street! Grab a drink at Goldfinch Tap & Eatery, slow dance under the marquee lights at Giving Tree Theater, or simply stroll down the sidewalk past old historic brick storefronts. 

The Paramount Theatre

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

If you love theater, The Paramount Theatre in downtown Cedar Rapids is a unique space for your engagement session! Our favorite features include stunning chandeliers, a wall of mirrors, a lounge full of natural light, views from the stage and historic marquee lights.

*The Paramount does charge a fee for access to the theater.

The Amana Colonies

Amana, Iowa

If you love history and old buildings, the Amana Colonies is for you! It’s an old German village built in 1855 and is full of historic charm! The brick buildings and flower lined store fronts offer countless photo opportunities.

Coe College

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Whether you’re a former Kohawk or not, Coe College is a beautiful spot for engagement pictures! Our favorite features include old buildings, a historic church and open courtyard areas.

Coffee Shops, Restaurants & Bars

Big Grove Brewery

Iowa City, Iowa

If you’re a beer connoisseur (or just a beer lover!) you might consider Big Grove Brewery for your engagement pictures! Say cheers with your fiancé under the twinkling lights or by the fire pit on the patio!

If you live in Cedar Rapids, we can check out the location in downtown CR as well!

Lion Bridge Brewing Company

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Another great local brewery is Lion Bridge Brewing Company in the Cedar Rapids Czech Village! Grab a beer at the bar, cozy up on the couch or sit outside on the patio. Then, walk around the Czech Village neighborhood for some more fun photo opportunities!

Brewhemia Coffee Shop

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

In the heart of the Newbo District in Cedar Rapids, Brewhemia is the perfect spot to cozy up with a cup of coffee or tea! With beautiful exposed brick walls, wood floors and natural light, this is a great place for engagement pictures for our coffee loving couples.

Tru Coffee

Iowa City, Iowa

Warm up with a cup of coffee at Tru Coffee! The inside of the coffee shop offers beautiful natural light and cozy seating. Outside is a tree lined neighborhood and upstairs has a rooftop with views of Iowa City.

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