7 Best Photo Spots in Northwest Indiana [2022]

Photos in Northwest Indiana

While at first glace Northwest Indiana may appear void of beautiful photo ops, that could not be further from the truth. Due to the wide variety of geography in the Northwest region of the Hoosier State, there are actually many beautiful spots that are perfect for photography.

Below is a list of the 7 best places for photos in Northwest Indiana.

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

Photo Credit: National Park Service

Entry Fee – $25/family-sized vehicle

Hours – 6:00am – 11:00pm daily all year round

Highlights – Rolling sand dunes, endless waterfront, beach

Starting off our list with the most obvious location, the Indiana Dunes National Park located in Porter is a classic Indiana landmark for photos.

From the rolling sand dunes to the rich green foliage, you really cannot go wrong here. Because it is a national park, there is a fee to enter, but don’t let that deter you from going.

The price is well worth it, and the funds raised from entry go straight back into the maintenance and infrastructure of the park.

Coffee Creek Watershed Preserve

Coffee Creek Watershed Preserve – Owen Cooper Photography

Entry Fee – None

Hours – Dawn to Dusk daily all year round

Highlights – Pond & fountain, boardwalk trails, masonry pavilions

Located in Chesterton, Coffee Creek Watershed Preserve, often referred to as simply Coffee Creek, is 157 acres of wetlands, woodlands, prairies, and walking trails.

Any place in Coffee Creek is a perfect spot to snap a few photos. Wooden walking trails sprinkled with stone pavilions blanket the park, making it easy to navigate and make your way around.

County Line Orchard

county line orchard photography
County Line Orchard – Owen Cooper Photography

Entry Fee – $2/person (Includes access to general property & orchard)

Hours 8:00am – 6:00pm daily during the Fall (Barn is open for reserved events year-round)

Highlights – Apple orchard, corn maze, fall decorations

No mention of Northwest Indiana would be complete without County Line Orchard (or their world famous apple cinnamon donuts). Located in Hobart, County Line Orchard is a sprawling property complete with a huge apple orchard, pumpkin patch, flower gardens, and early-century barns.

They are a seasonal establishment and have an entry fee, but the photos taken here will be well worth it. They offer special event packages as well for birthdays, weddings, and anything else you can host in a barn.

Don’t forget to grab a donut and some hot apple cider on your way out.

Crown Point Courthouse Square

Crown Point – Owen Cooper Photography
Crown Point – Owen Cooper Photography

Entry Fee – None

Hours – N/A (Courthouse hours 10:00am – 5:00pm Mon-Sat)

Highlights – Historic buildings, night-life ambiance

At the heart of historic downtown Crown Point stands tall the Old Lake County Courthouse. The courthouse and surrounding area offers an unlimited number of angles, lighting situations, and colors to choose from for next shoot.

The courthouse square is one of my personal favorite places to shoot. If you plan to go in the summer, try to be there on a Thursday afternoon.

Each Thursday the local classic car gurus park their rides on the square which make for excellent photographs. If you chat up some of the guys, they’d be honored to let you pose with their wheels.

Hamstra Gardens

Photo Credit: Hamstra Gardens

Entry Fee – None

Hours – Reservation required, and closed during winter months

Highlights – Beautiful garden, water features, pavilion, stonework

Nestled comfortably between DeMotte and Wheatfield, Hamstra Gardens is the first choice for local photographers. The unique architecture takes inspiration from all around the world, with a focus on Bali, Indonesia, and Dubai.

The gardens themselves are perfectly maintained by the owners to ensure a magical experience each and every visit. Whether for engagement, wedding, or senior photos, Hamstra Gardens will deliver.

The gardens are a very unique location, as it is private property. It is free to visit and take photos, but they do require you to schedule an appointment on their website.

Deep River County Park

deep river county park
Deep River County Park – Owen Cooper Photography

Entry Fee – None

Hours – 7:00am – Dusk daily all year round

Highlights – Historic buildings, wedding gazebo, nature trails

Another spot on the list for Hobart, Deep River County Park is my favorite choice for senior photoshoots. Over 1,000 acres, the park is host to a gazebo, historic grist mill, general store, walking trails, bridges, and a creek.

Deep River County Park is open year round, but I will warn you if you plan to visit in the spring: it will be muddy. As long as you pack your rain boots, I think you will be more than pleased taking photos here.

Buckley Homestead County Park

family photography demotte indiana
Buckley Homestead County Park – Owen Cooper Photography

Entry Fee – None

Hours – 7:00am – Dusk daily all year round (Historic building open seasonally)

Highlights – Multiple historic buildings, nature trails, pastures

Down the backroads of the Southeast end of Lowell lies 500+ acre Buckley Homestead County Park. I have personally done more photoshoots at this spot more than anywhere else on the list. It is definitely a fan favorite.

Of all of the spots for photos in Northwest Indiana, this is the first I will recommend. It is free to enter and open year-round, and boasts sprawling pastures, hiking trails, a bridge. Additionally, Buckley has many historic buildings on property including several barns, a log cabin, and an old school-house.

Being a county park, they do periodically host events. Make sure to check their calendar before planning a shoot!

This is a beautiful park that makes beautiful photos.

Go Explore

There are definitely too many great spots for photos in Northwest Indiana to include on just one list. Other than those listed above, the best way to find great photo spots is to get out an explore. Drive down backroads. Use Google Maps to find unique places.

Remember, you don’t always have to drive somewhere to take great photos. Got a few trees in your yard? Work with the angle of shooting to get the best possible backdrop for your photos.

It is not impossible to DIY a great location, just think outside of the box!

Did you favorite spot not make this list? Let me know what your favorite spot is, and I will include it in the next one.


Why pay for photography? [Why iPhone’s don’t cut it]

Everyone has a camera in their pocket. Why pay someone for pictures?

PHOTOGRAPHY: DEMOTTE, IN – In the modern digital age, everyone with a cellphone has a camera capable of shooting brilliantly sharp, colorful photos.

Why should you choose to pay someone for a service you could provide yourself?

Image Quality

At first glance, a photo out of a brand new iPhone 14 Plus and a Canon 80D may seem comparable. It isn’t until you boot up your editing software that the difference is apparent.

Due to the difference in the physical size of the sensor (the physical chip that captures light and converts it to an image), a professional camera when compared to a cellphone of the same generation will always have a higher dynamic range and better low-light performance.

Dynamic range is a measurement of the contrast in colors and contrast between darkness and lightness. This means that the image will have a more gradient transition from the darkest shadows to the lightest highlights.

The professional camera is able to take in much more data from what it sees, thus provides a larger amount of detail in the final image.

Images with more detail can be edited further than those with less. Is there a certain color palette or aesthetic you’re looking to achieve? A professional photographer will make that happen for you.

owen cooper photography demotte indiana
Owen Cooper Photography


Highly detailed photographs print beautifully. Only if they contain the correct color profile. A color profile is a way that technology reads and displays color.

Your computer screen reads color in RGB format, but a printer reads and prints color in CMYK format. This means that photos that are saved for digital viewing must be saved as RGB, and photos sent to print must be saved CMYK.

Failing to make the conversion can result in edited photos looking very muddy and colorless. This conversion is easy in a professional photo editing software such as Adobe Lightroom, which is a paid subscription utility.

owen cooper photography demotte indiana
Owen Cooper Photography

Support a Local Small Business

Doing professional photography in DeMotte has its pros and cons. There seem to be as many photographers as there are residents, and choosing the right photographer can be challenging.

Everyone will recommend someone different, but it is up to you to choose the photographer that is the best fit. Whatever you decide, go with someone local.

A local business is more likely to provide better service and a faster turnaround time.

What Does a Professional Look Like?

Photography is a saturated market for the wrong reasons. Many people buy a camera, switch it into Auto Mode, and start posting on social media that they are booking sessions. This is not what you want.

If you are serious about wanting great quality photos taken, then take your time choosing a professional. Experienced photographers have a nice, clean website, and a social media page that they share their work on.

Professional photographers know exactly what their gear is, and they know how to use it. A fancy expensive camera does not make someone a photographer.

An individual who shoots with an older camera but knows what every setting does is going to give a much better experience than an individual who has the nicest, newest camera and doesn’t know how to use it.

Testing a photographer’s general knowledge by asking them what camera and lens they use is an acceptable way to gain insight.

Be Happy With Your Photos

In the end everyone just wants to be happy with their family photos. There is no worse feeling that paying for a service and anxiously awaiting the final product only to be disappointed.

Now that you know how to find a fantastic photographer, I would love to hear some horror stories. Tell me about your WORST experience with a photographer.


Photography: Why so costly?

Professional Photography: The Cost, Explained.

Name Brand vs Generic

When choosing any product, people often look for the cheapest option. That is human nature. Hard earned money shouldn’t be spent on one item when there is an almost identical alternative sitting on the shelf right below it. Right? In the case of shopping at Walmart, this is true. In fact, when tested against one another, consumers can’t tell the difference between name brand and the value option. Unfortunately, this is also true in photography until it is too late.

When it comes to the service industry, however, people gain a different perspective. While, yes, we’d all be happy to pay the very lowest price and receive top of the line service, this is often not the reality. The lowest cost roofer is likely to be the one to litter your driveway with nails and give you a popped car tire at no extra charge. There’s a reason that the very best in the business are typically the one’s charging the big bucks. That reason? Quality.

What is quality?

In service, quality is not just in reference to the integrity of the final result. Quality is the satisfaction the consumer feels with the end result compared to the value of the service received. The satisfaction of the consumer is not determined solely by the end result of a transaction and performance of service. A professional, clean introduction to the service provider, whether in person or online, the ease of requesting service, and the responsiveness of the provider are just a few examples of displaying quality even before the client books service.

What does quality look like in photography?

Quality in photography comes in many forms. The look and intuitiveness of the studio website, communicating professionally, how well they represent their own brand, trade knowledge and experience, edit quality, turnaround time, and proof delivery are just a few pieces that fit into the large puzzle of a quality photography experience.

But why is it so expensive?

Quality photography can run anywhere from $100 – $600+ for a single shoot. Some don’t even include free, un-watermarked downloads with that price. Photoshoots are expensive because photography is expensive. As a consumer, have you researched the cost of even a professional camera manufactured in 2016? (Just for reference, a studio-grade Canon 5D MkIV from that year is $2,699. And that doesn’t even include a lens.). Quality camera lenses alone cost $500+.

You see where this is going?

Pretend cameras were free, and all that a photographer had to pay for was everything else required to book you, take your photos, edit them, and then deliver them to you. This is how the cost breaks down:

  • $20/month – Website hosting, domain, SEO, etc.
  • $50/month – Marketing. I am being extremely frugal with this one.
  • $35/month – Editing software.
  • $15/month – Photo storage & delivery.

Based on monthly cost alone, a photographer spends $120 just to keep the doors open. This does not include any other business expenses such as studio rent, equipment maintenance, insurance, etc, which can total up into the hundreds, thousands if including studio rent & utilities.

As you can see, the costs add up very quickly. The figures above do not include gas to get to the shoot, labor cost, lighting equipment, computers, etc.

Pay your photographer for doing photography.

Photography is expensive. If you want a great experience booking your photographer and viewing and receiving your photos, pay them for it.

If you want great looking edits with beautiful colors and gorgeously sharp, stunning images, pay your photographer for it.

In conclusion.

I 100% understand that some people can’t afford to pay for great photos, but photographers need to pay for their great photos, too.

This may be a bit rant-y, but I felt that it was, and still is, an important subject to touch on. People take for granted the amount of time and capital invested into even something as simple as a senior photoshoot.

I pride myself on providing some of the best quality photos for the best possible price to my small town of DeMotte and it’s neighbors. I only hope to continue to be able to grow my business and invest in bigger and better equipment. Then I’ll have to raise my prices.