Chicago Bean Photo Ideas: Suggested Poses at the Famous Cloud Gate Sculpture

chicago bean photo ideas

Are you looking for some Chicago Bean photo ideas to spice up your social media and impress your followers with your creativity? Keep scrolling for some of the most common photo poses I’ve seen there!

During my years in Chicago, I spent hours and hours around the Chicago Bean, aka the Cloud Gate Sculpture in Millennium Park.

The weirdly-shaped piece of stainless steel offers the chance to take some awesome photos of the Chicago skyline with its distorted reflections. And it makes for some great people watching!

This article contains the following helpful info:
-Some ideas for suggested photo poses at the Bean
-How to get a photo of the Bean with nobody else around it
-Tips for the best time to visit the Bean
-Info about the history and creation of the Cloud Gate sculpture

cloud gate photo skyline

Chicago Bean Photo Ideas: Suggested Poses

You’ll find dozens of people at the Bean at all hours of the day. Some take simple photos of the bean itself, while others walk underneath to take photos of themselves.

Still others pose and get creative. Here’s the ever-popular “I’m holding up the bean!” pose.

chicago bean-photo-3

Here’s another “holding up the Bean” photo, this time taken underneath the Bean itself:

chicago bean photo ideas

Another common pic is the basic mirror selfie, which always looks cool here because of the distorted reflection. If you’re traveling as a group, you can easily fit everyone into the frame:

suggested poses at chicago bean

Make sure to walk underneath the Bean, because the reflection-selfies under there look cool as well:


PRO TIP #1: If you go underneath the Cloud Gate sculpture to one of its side edges, you can usually get a little bit of solitude, away from other tourists.

Most visitors stay in the middle, where they can stand up. So if you head to the side where the Bean meets the ground, you can sit down or lie down and score some artsy reflective shots without anybody else in the background!

Check out this one:

cloud gate photos
Looking for some Chicago Bean picture ideas? This one is pretty cool.

At the same time, sometimes it’s fun to take a Bean selfie right in the middle of the pack, surrounded by dozens of other people, because that really shows how popular this attraction is:


PRO TIP #2: Make sure to move back and step away from Cloud Gate a bit, to get some wider-angle shots.

Capturing some of the Chicago skyline in the background is a great way to elevate your Bean photos and make them truly epic.


PRO TIP #3: Don’t just take selfies. Try to capture some “candids” as well. If you’re traveling with a friend, you can help each other do this.

This guy kept walking in front of the Bean while his friend took pics from 10 feet away. It looked like he was just casually strolling past. I’m sure a few of those pics turned out really awesome. You could also take a cool video this way.


PRO TIP #4: Don’t be afraid to get down on the ground and aim up to catch some interesting angles. You may even want to go down onto the steps and aim up from there.

Because of Cloud Gate’s unique design, every angle is different for photographs. This guy had the right idea:


PRO TIP #5: During the winter, you can ice skate right in front of the Bean! That’s an awesome winter activity for out-of-towners who are passing through the Windy City during the winter months.

You can rent skates and enjoy the experience yourself. But if not, make sure to at least walk down to the other side of the rink, to capture some sweet pics of the Chicago Bean behind the skating rink!

chicago bean ice skating rink

A winter visit also means that you may be lucky enough to see some snow and ice sticking to the Bean. That happens from time to time.

Behold, a Bean snow selfie!

bean selfie snow

The best advice for Cloud Gate photos is just to take your time and try as many different angles as possible. You’re not in a rush!

Enjoy your vacay and don’t be afraid to take 300 pics in order to get the one perfect photo that will get your Instagram and TikTok notifications buzzing!


More Cloud Gate Sculpture Photos

The Bean is totally free to visit, and you can take pictures anytime of day. Obviously, during nice summer days, you can expect a lot more people around the sculpture.

What’s the best time to visit the Chicago Bean? If you’re looking to avoid crowds, go early in the morning, before 9 am, when the sun is out but not too many people are around yet.

That said, sunset is also cool for photos, and evening is nice because you get the lights of the illuminated buildings in the skyline. Visiting the Bean ranks as one of the top Chicago activities at night.

Can you shoot wedding photos at the Chicago Bean?

Yes, but you can’t “reserve” the place. You’ll just have to show up and accept the photos you get. Which means people regularly walking through your shots.

chicago bean wedding photos

For me, I actually enjoy the crowds. Watching people try to set up their photo angles is fascinating.

I call this series “Photographs of Photographers Taking Photographs at the Chicago Bean.”


Facts About the Bean Sculpture and Its Designer

The Cloud Gate sculpture artist was a London artist named Anish Kapoor. Read about his story here. Kapoor intially hated the “Bean” nickname that people gave his creation, but he eventually came to accept it.

This shiny object has been on display in Chicago since 2006. It’s unique because it appears to have no visible seams, as if it’s just one big piece of metal.

In fact, it’s composed of 168 stainless steel plates welded into one perfect sculpture. Kapoor was inspired by liquid mercury, and wanted his piece to have that same appearance.

Some additional facts about the Chicago Bean: It weighs 110 short tons (don’t ask me how they got it on a scale.) It measures roughly 33 feet by 66 feet by 42 feet.

How Can You Take a Picture of the Chicago Bean Sculpture with No One Around it?

I leave you with a bonus shot of the Bean that I took with absolutely no one around it.


How can you get such a photo? There are only two ways.

One, visit at 4 in the morning. But even then, there might be other crazies around it. And you’ll be in the dark, which can be cool for skyline images but not so great for selfies.

What if you want a daytime photo of the bean with nobody else in the shot? In that case, here’s the secret: You need to rely on Mother Nature.

When there is lightning in the area, security will close off that part of the park, because the bean is made of metal, after all.

If that happens, you’ll be forced about 50 feet back, where you can snap away to your heart’s delight. And then brag that you have an incredibly rare daytime pic of the bean by itself.

If you’re visiting for Lollapalooza, the Bean is right next to Grant Park. It’s an easy walk of just a few minutes.

Don’t forget to stop by Chicago’s best museums while you’re in town! And check out some of the famous Chicago food, like deep dish pizza. You may want to join a Chicago pizza tour to sample several places!

Between the Bean and the pictures you’ll get from some of the world-class art and cultural museums, you can leave Chicago with an awesome collection of photography.

Be sure also to try the Chicago River architecture boat tour during your stay!

Do you have any other Chicago bean photo ideas?