Year-Round Photoshoot Spots in Canada’s Capital

I’ve lived in Ottawa for 10 years now, but this city still surprises me with its beauty. Just when I think I know all ‘insta-worthy’ aka creative places to take photos in Ottawa, there’s always a new place to check out. There are definitely photo opportunities that come and go depending on the season, however there are also location gems in Ottawa that stay precious all-year long.

Based on my freelance photographer journey so far, I’ve compiled a list of my favourite places to capture moments in Ottawa. Places that are available all-year round. This list has no particular order, because one place is simply not better than another. This list just serves to strike some inspiration to fellow photography lovers in Ottawa. Now let’s get that shutter speed going!



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Confederation Park

If you’ve never been to Confederation Park yet in Ottawa, where have you been? Located at Ottawa’s downtown core, it’s a quick walk away from Rideau Centre. The Confederation Park is a great spot to experiment with lighting. Not to mention, the backdrop is pretty killer with water, small boats, and Parliament in the background. The best time to take photos here is during golden hour or sunset. And once you do that, make sure to come back here for another photoshoot some other time. The park often hosts cool festivals (when we’re not in confinement lol). It is also a great way to discover new things while staying creative! This place never gets old.



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Byward Market

We cannot not mention the Byward Market. Even the busiest places have little secluded areas that can be priceless for taking photos. Byward Market has some pretty fantastic pathways between buildings that are perfect for vintage looking portraits. Next time you’re in the area, explore them with a friend! Note: It’s best to take photos here during the day time. I would avoid these pathways at night if they’re not well-lit and if you are by yourself. Safety first!



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City Hall

Trying to up your LinkedIn game? Take some professional photos at City Hall! The environment is clean and simple, with soft lighting and even some reflective walls that you can get creative with. There are also some small exhibits on the main floor that are accessible to the public.



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Rideau Street

For a more Urban style, street portraits in Ottawa are just as edgy as other big cities? When you exit Rideau Centre, you’ll reach a great spot on Rideau Street for portraits. The soft side lighting coming from H&M is stunning. Plus, you get a background with a bridge and traffic lights. Play around with views and perspectives here. You won’t be disappointed.



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Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG)

Speaking of Rideau Centre, make sure to walk over to the OAG. This newly renovated building is a gem and definitely high on my list for best Ottawa spots to do a photoshoot. Although you are not allowed to take photos inside of their art exhibits, you’ll find that it’s nicer to take photos around the actual building itself. The architecture is fantastic, the lighting is beautiful, and the surrounding colours are a modern mix of white, black, wood, and gold. Once you take some photos on their sleek staircases, you’ll find it hard to stop.



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Any Light Rail Station

When you think of the Light Rail, I’m sure many things pop into your head before you think of it as a photoshoot location. Trust me, take some photos at any Light Rail station during non-peak hours, and you will be amazed. There’s something about the lights, bright whites and silvers that will make portraits here stand out.



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National Arts Centre (NAC)

The NAC is chic and distinctive. So many photographers come here for photos. There are so many different angles due to special architecture in the building that can be captured, which keeps it interesting and fun. Take a friend here and pose them in one of those big red chairs, sitting on the wooden staircase, red staircase, leaning against the glass railing, and more! Not to mention, their triangular divided ceiling is super unique.



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Shaw Centre

The Shaw Centre is a fantastic building to take photos. It is super spacious with unique architecture to make your portraits stand out. The modern architecture and the lighting allows to create a techy vibe. This space is normally used for events. Just make sure to plan accordingly before you go on your creative adventure.



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National Gallery of Canada

A classic and familiar spot in Ottawa to take photos is the National Gallery of Canada. The building is huge and there are some pretty neat art pieces to take photos with. You can also take photos with their architecture as the background, which is my usual go-to. The massive windows there are great for silhouette photos too.



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Carleton University Campus

I might be biased because I am a Raven, but I absolutely love my campus. I know that people think that the River building or the tunnels are the best to take photos at Carleton, but I disagree. It’s always more fun to discover photo spots that not many people know about. If you’re on campus and need a study break, take some photos on the highest floor of one of Carleton’s parking buildings. Your background is now mostly sky, clouds and empty parking spots. The temporary construction cranes add some neat industrial vibes too.

No matter what time of year it is, these locations in Ottawa are my top picks to do photoshoots. My recommendation for you is to stay curious and keep finding interesting views, spots, patterns, and lighting. I hope that this blog post has inspired you to explore new places that you may have walked by and never noticed before. I believe that passionate photographers can capture beauty anywhere they go, even at a location that isn’t mentioned on this list. Feel free to drop some of your favourite photoshoot locations in Ottawa below in the comments!

Now grab your camera, get outside, and start creating!

Let’s connect via Instagram at @avydpix.

All article images are owned by Antoinella Dam (www.avydpix.myportfolio.com).

Antoinella (Nella) Dam


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