5 Picture-Perfect Photo Spots in Gateway Arch National Park
Gateway Arch National Park is the perfect backdrop for a photoshoot. Its many scenic spots offer countless angles to capture life’s milestones and Instagram-worthy moments. Whether you’re snapping pics before prom, posing for graduation photos, capturing wedding portraits or popping the big question, the park’s 91-acres offer many remarkable backdrops.
Yes, 91 ACRES…so, we’re sharing a top-five list of year-round, photo-ready, Instagram-approved spots within the park.
NOTE: Professional photographers and videographers may be required to obtain a permit prior to shooting at Gateway Arch National Park. Learn about photography permit requirements at nps.gov/jeff.
- Upscale your photos on the Grand Staircase
The steps of the Grand Staircase provide a breathtaking perspective for a long gown and train, a group of friends decked out for prom or an elegant wedding party. Gateway Arch National Park’s grand staircase offers something no other staircase in the country has – views of America’s tallest man-made monument soaring in the background. The stairs face the east so plan for a morning photo session because it offers peak lighting for displaying the Arch in the background.
Pro Tip: Have the subject of the photo stand partially up the illustrious staircase. Using a .5 zoom on a cell phone camera or a wide-angle lens, the photographer should crouch low to the ground and tilt the camera upwards in a worm’s-eye view to highlight the subject and the majesty of the Arch.
Pro Tip: Touring the Arch with a group? This is an ideal spot for an ensemble photo. Stagger members on different steps to provide an inviting pose that showcases everyone clearly while also adding texture to the pic.
Bonus: Pose at the far East or West end of the base of the staircase (near the levee) for another aesthetically pleasing stairway shot that shows off the grandiose staircase while the Arch hovers behind.
- Gateway to your “Good Side”
Want to feature the subject’s “good side”? Fortunately, both sides of the Arch offer breathtaking views. Among the sprawling 91 acres, the park’s north and sound ends both supply lush greenery and wandering paths while also bestowing an optimal distance from the monument to incorporate captivating scale in portraits.
- A Reflection Worthy of Rave Reviews
Reflections make every photo more interesting. Your comments section is sure to blow up with compliments when you take a photo near the reflecting ponds on the North or South ends of the park. The reflecting light can offer a mystical effect behind your subject or capture the reflection of the Arch itself.
Pro Tip: Try a wide angle setting or step away from your subject to capture the full scale of the background.
- Base-ics of the Iconic Closeup
One of the most popular photos visitors capture gets up-close-and-personal with the monument. Standing at the base of one of the legs and looking up is a remarkable feeling which can be captured in a well structured photo. This is ideal for two subjects, standing closely to the interior sides of the bottom piece…looking down into the camera.
Pro Tip: Either as a selfie or with the help of a photographer lying on the ground, shoot skyward at the interior apex of the Arch’s bottom piece.
- Forced Perspective Perfected
With the monumental curve at the perfect distance, one can ‘hold’ the Arch up from the bottom of its legs, ‘push’ the legs apart, or even ‘pat’ the monument on its head. The possibilities are nearly limitless and entirely entertaining.
Pro Tip: To achieve the distance required for forced perspective, shooting from the west (near Luther Ely Smith Square) in late afternoon when the sun is to the photographer’s back is ideal…unless a dark silhouette caused by the bright eastern sun is part of your aesthetic!