Sure, Detroit may be known for things like its extreme crime, car theft, corrupt mayor, Detroit Auto Show, but it also happens to be one of my new favorite places to shoot in. Detroit has some of the most incredible “ruin porn” locations (places that look like they were ravaged by the post-apocalypse). For example, see Saint Agnes Church below. I may or may not have walked in the wide-open front door of the long-abandoned church with or without a permit and proceeded to do an entire portrait session.
Detroit has a lot of really awesome locations, just make sure to be careful. Use your best judgement. Do not travel to rough parts of town alone, do not leave gear in your car, do not explore rough parts of town at night. Make sure to hit up the really helpful photographers in the Detroit area for location advice. That’s what I did!
Here are a few photoshoot location that I love in Detroit (I’ve shot in these places or would like to in the future):
- The Packard Plant (dangerous place, use the buddy system, but its an awesome location): http://www.flickr.com/groups/packard/
- The Garden Of The Gods at the Packard Plant: http://scotthocking.com/gardenof.html
- The Michigan Theater in downtown. A former ornate theater turned parking garage. For the $8 parking fee per car and if you’re very polite, you can go shoot up there on the top level with the cool ceiling without a permit (that’s what I did) : http://weburbanist.com/2011/01/01/detroits-michigan-theater-the-worlds-most-beautiful-parking-lot/
- The abandoned Michigan Central Station. Recently a 50 Cent rap video was filmed in there. You apparently can permit to get inside, just be weary of the wild dogs that allegedly patrol the property. Yikes: http://www.seedetroit.com/MCS/mcsweb/
- Saint Agnes Church (I literally walked in the front door in the middle of the day) : http://detroitfunk.com/?p=4926
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Have more questions about shooting in Detroit? Hit up one of my favorite assistants and producers Matt LaVere. This guy has a fantastic can-do attitude and works harder than any assistant I have ever hired. Great shooter too!
Detroit is not a terrible place. It’s just a city filled with a lot of spirit that faced some hard times, but is fighting its way back up. Downtown is full of life and culture. When you’re in town, make sure to hit up one of my favorite BBQ joints: Slow’s BBQ