Where in Ottawa?: Canadian Nature Museum / Michelle + Scott

I've been doing a lot of engagement/couple photo-shoots lately and I am often asked to recommend a location. I usually suggest a local park or a trail. These are particularly good for natural lighting, for some greens, and for shots I want to take from afar. 

For this photo shoot, Michelle and Scott also wanted to have some of their photos taken indoors. Indoor photography can sometimes be challenging; lighting can be bad, location can be packed with people, and there might be gear restrictions (tripod not allowed, etc.). 

I have seen weddings and engagement photos set in the Canadian Nature Museum, but this is the first time I had a couple agree to have their shoot inside. The location did not disappoint!

The good: 

  • Lighting in the Atrium is great!  It is no surprise that it is often used by photographers for wedding photo shoots. It is just so easy to work with the diffused, even lighting coming through the huge windows. 
  • The museum is architecturally stunning. The blend of contemporary and turn of the century styles gives photographers plenty to work with. The straight lines of the Atrium can produce really clean, orderly, and modern images, while the use of oak, bronze railings, and granite in the rest of museum can give photos a whimsical and castle-like look. 
  • You can take photos anywhere in the Museum, so long as you are not in anyone's way. It is best to go right when it opens or just before it closes for the day. 

The not-so good: 

  • You cannot bring a tripod or additional lighting stands. This is for obvious safety reasons. They do not want anyone blocking visitors or set up anything that can damage the exhibit. 
  • Because of the first point, lighting everywhere else is not as forgiving as the lighting in the Atrium. Be ready to crank up that ISO. 
  • It is tough to incorporate many of the exhibits, unless the clients are really into bugs, dinosaurs or other nature-related displays. For this shot, we did not go in to any of the exhibit wings, though I would really like to one day.

The cost:

The photos: 

Sheen Andola

Mocha Tree Studios, 378 Gallantry Way, Ottawa, ON, K2S