Photographs of Photographers Taking Photographs at the Chicago Bean Sculpture

chicago bean-photo-3

People watching always fascinates me. Especially around popular tourist attractions like the Chicago Bean!

Like Chicago’s Cloud Gate sculpture in Millennium Park, better known as the Bean. The weirdly-shaped piece of stainless steel offers the chance to take some awesome photos of the Chicago skyline with its distorted reflections.

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

It’s kind of fun when the people searching for that perfect photo opportunity unexpectedly become part of a photo themselves. I like that hunter-becomes-the-hunted role reversal.

So take a look at some of my pics of people taking pics at the Bean. And scroll to the bottom to read a tip on how you can snag a hard-to-get photograph of the Cloud Gate sculpture during the day with absolutely no one around it.

Chicago Bean Pictures of the Cloud Gate Sculpture

The Bean is totally free to visit, and it’s one of the top Chicago activities at night. Get your Chicago Bean pictures anytime of day. Obviously, during nice summer days, you can expect a lot more people around the sculpture.

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

And now on to our Chicago bean pictures! I turned the camera on the photographers.




The Cloud Gate sculpture artist was a London artist named Anish Kapoor. Read about his story here. This shiny object has been on display in Chicago since 2006.




Some 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. It was designed to look like liquid mercury.











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





And, lest you think I was too cool to join the action myself:


Bonus: 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 with 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.

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


Don’t forget to stop by Chicago’s best museums while you’re in town! 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. If you’re visiting for Lollapalooza, the Bean is right next to Grant Park.

Don’t forget to try the Portillo’s chocolate cake shake while you’re in town!

Which are your favorite Chicago bean pictures?

About Quirky Travel Guy

Scott Shetler is a Seattle-based freelance writer & fan of indie rock, road trips, ice cream, squirrels on power lines, runaway shopping carts, and six-way intersections. Some posts on this site contain affiliate links, which may earn me a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase.

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  1. Great photos!

    Taking pictures of people can be both exciting and challenging. They are actually among the best subjects of photographers. People have the ability to show different expressions. Images of people are vibrant attractions in different scenes whether main point of interest or balancing element.

  2. Oooh, I love the Bean… And yes, I am “guilty” of going there on a few occasions (along and with out-of-towners). But how can you not, that thing has some magnetic capabilities, telling ya! Of course, the best times was when I could get unobstructed views, at least partially. I like your tip, Scott!

  3. Love the bean! And that’s awesome you were able to get a shot with no people around. Didn’t realize they closed off the area during thunderstorms.

  4. Those are some cool shots!! Its always wonderful watching people going about their shooting business, trying to capture the best image possible.
    Have a nice day Scott 🙂

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