Wichita is home to one of the most photographed places in Kansas: the 44-foot, 5-ton weathered steel sculpture Keeper of the Plains sitting atop a 30-foot pedestal in the middle of the Arkansas River. But Wichita has many more popular locations to photograph. Stunning skies and iconic structures for capturing frameable fine art or creative murals by local artists for the perfect backdrop for your selfie or family snapshot – here’s your guide to finding the best photography spots in Wichita.
Tips from Professionals
We reached out to five professional photographers to get their thoughts on Wichita’s best photography locations and Instagrammable locations. Check out their suggestions with spectacular examples.
Mickey Shannon Fine Art Photography | Mickey is a fine art nature and landscape photographer based in Wichita.
Keeper of the Plains
I cut my teeth on landscape photography at the Keeper of the Plains over a decade ago. It’s great for both beginners and experienced photographers, and worth visiting in all four seasons. You’ll find ice, snow and fog in the winter; flowers and other growth in the foreground during spring; wild sunflowers for a short period in June; and grasses and trees for warmer tones in the fall. It's also a great place to photograph storms rolling in from spring through summer.
No matter what season, make sure to shoot different angles. One of my go-to spots is on the north bank of the river, using the small waterfall/rapids as a foreground. Shooting from the south bank in summer can be good as the sun sets farther north. When the river and wind are calm, the area above the waterfall can be a great place for a good reflection of the Keeper. Also, getting closer up to the Keeper or the bow-and-arrow inspired bridges can give unique perspectives. Sunrise, in particular, can be awesome from up on the bridges.
Sunrise fog at the Keeper of the Plains was shot in March when spring was just arriving in Kansas. The bush makes an awesome foreground as the foggy sunrise gave the background a unique color. - Mickey Shannon
Santa Fe Lake Falls
Like most waterfalls in Kansas, this one runs dry in drought but after a good rain you’ll see a fast flow! Get low and shoot up at the water for a sense of depth. Look for a rock to use as a foreground object.
Klausmeyer Sunflower Farm
Catching a sunflower field in bloom is all about timing (generally ranging late-July to September). Keep an eye on the Klausmeyer Sunflower Farm Facebook page for information on when their fields will be in bloom. I also update this article on my blog when sunflower season begins for fields near Wichita.
Friends University Davis Administration Building
This building is a work of art when it comes to architecture and history. Every year, they light the clocktower for the season just after Thanksgiving and it makes a great subject. The typical composition of the building it to shoot directly down Centennial Lane, which is the large walkway coming from the east (front) of the building. Also give it a try in spring, summer or fall.
Darrin Hackney Photography | Darrin is known for his wedding and portrait photography as well as being active in the local photography community.
Don’t miss the full effect of Botanica’s rainbow entrance to its children’s garden. Late in the afternoon, when the sun is behind your subject and the structure, you’ll see the colors of the structure projected on the concrete for a cool effect.
There’s a great spot on the platform above the depot: a large concrete structure with the word “Wichita” on the south end.
Kansas Aviation Museum
There are interesting architectural details on the front of the building, around the corner from the main museum entrance, and be sure to photograph the static aircraft on the tarmac with the museum as a backdrop.
Keeper of the Plains
If you’re photographing people in front of the Keeper, shoot from the south side of the Arkansas River for the best light for your subject(s).
The pedestrian bridge to the Keeper of the Plains provides interesting lines. - Darrin Hackney
Don’t miss the nightly lighting of the fire pots at the Keeper of the Plains. - Darrin Hackney
Ricardo “Rick” Reitmeyer
Sedgwick County Zoo
Wear something similar to what the zookeepers wear when they feed the animals, including hats and specific colors, and visit toward the end of the day when they might be hungry; the animals may pay more attention if they think you’re going to feed them.
Old Cowtown Museum
My favorite time to be there is when the weather is not at its best: Try a rainy summer afternoon or a cold winter day.
More specifically, Chisholm Creek Park at Great Plains Nature Center and Swanson Park, a designated Wichita Wild Habitat area. Start early, before the people activity sends the animals into hiding. Make an extra effort to go when it’s snowing. Each animal leaves a nice set of footprints to follow with your camera
Leopard at the Sedgwick County Zoo - Rick Reitmeyer
Bald Eagle at the Sedgwick County Zoo - Rick Reitmeyer
Drone-tography LLC | Jeremy, the owner/pilot of Drone-tography LLC, is known for his aerial landscape photography using drones.
Make sure before you fly to know your location’s guidelines and regulations. Safety is Drone-tography’s No. 1 priority with UAV flights. Jeremy holds a Part 107 UAS pilot license and was also granted a part 107.29 night waiver. Before any flight, he uses a safety checklist and gets all flights approved and gains clearance to access airspace through LAANC system.
Keeper of the Plains
For a more unique perspective, try to capture the sun rays through the headdress.
The placement of Exploration Place next to the water allows you to capture reflections of the Arkansas River that make for great photos.
Downtown Wichita Skyline
From any outer corner of downtown, you can always get an amazing shot of downtown with sunrise or sunset.
Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center
This building comes alive with color at night and offers a centerpiece for your Wichita skyline photography.
John D Morrison
Prairie Vistas Gallery | John is a well-known Kansas landscape photographer and operates a studio in Wichita that is open to the public.
Scenes Along the Arkansas River
Iconic structures along the Arkansas River, including Exploration Place and the Keeper of the Plains, add great interest to photos along the river.
Historic Buildings Downtown
Notable places include Wichita-Sedgwick Co. Historical Museum, the old Sedgwick County Courthouse and the Petroleum Building. Look up and look small – many of Wichita’s downtown buildings have great detail.
Looking for a specific type of photography or setting? Here’s a list of top Wichita sites to photograph based on the type of photography you enjoy. Be sure to check with property owners and facility management for approval to take photos.
Where are the best places to take architectural photography?
From modern to historical, Wichita has many interesting buildings and structures to photograph, including but not limited to:
- Frank Lloyd Wright’s Allen House
- Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center
- Kansas Aviation Museum (the city’s first airport terminal)
- Union Station
- Delano Clocktower
- Brick warehouses in the Old Town District and structures in Old Town Square
- Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum, the Petroleum Building, Orpheum Theatre and other historic buildings in Downtown Wichita
- Exploration Place
- Buildings on the campuses of Wichita State University, Friends University and Newman University
Black & White
Where are the best places to take cityscape or urban photography?
- Throughout Downtown Wichita, Historic Delano District, Old Town District, Douglas Design District and along the Arkansas River
- Top levels of downtown parking garages (capture both the east and west views from atop the Old Town Square garage)
- Urban murals and other public art installations
- Train platform at Union Station overlooking Douglas Avenue
- Pedestrian bridge on Kellogg (Highway 54)
- Naftzger Park
Where are the best places to take drone or aerial photography?
(familiarize yourself with local guidelines and regulations before flying)
Where are the best places to take portraits or family photography?
- Memories Park (photo props) at Sedgwick County Park
- Botanica Wichita
- Great Plains Nature Center
- Martin H. Bush Outdoor Sculpture Collection at Wichita State University
- Keeper of the Plains
- Along the Arkansas River
- Downtown Wichita
- Historic Delano District
- Old Town District
- Douglas Design District
- Naftzger Park
- Pracht Wetlands Park
- O.J. Watson Park
- Other area parks
Where are the best places to take sports photography?
- Charles Koch Arena - Wichita State University
- Eck Stadium - Wichita State University
- Fairfield Polo Club
- Hartman Arena
- INTRUST Bank Arena
- National Baseball Congress World Series
- Riverfront Stadium
- Stryker Sports Complex
- Wichita Force
- Wichita Ice Center
- Wichita Open
- Wichita Thunder Hockey
- Wichita Wind Surge
What is WichitaHenge?
WichitaHenge is when the sun sets exactly down the middle of one of Wichita’s downtown east-west streets (should align with the equinoxes twice each year, around March 20 and September 23). An app like Light Trac can be checked for the next available date.
See Darrin Hackney's 5th photo below for an example.
Be sure to tag us @visitwichita and use the hashtag #visitwichita when posting your favorite Wichita photos on social media! We’d love to see our city through your eyes.