Photography in Amish Country
Yes, you should bring your cameras when you visit!
There are many opportunities to photograph memorable images in Illinois Amish Country. Sunrises and sunsets can be spectacular on the flat rural landscapes of East Central Illinois. Classic farm vistas, rural life, livestock and wildlife, flowers both wild and gardened, and the horse farming experiences you will see everywhere. A photo of your children or close friends enjoying an old fashioned soda fountain will make a memory for a lifetime.
The main caution we express is regarding direct photography of Amish people. It is against the Amish belief to be directly photographed. Especially to have their recognizable face in a picture. All Old Order Amish forbid photography of their people, and their objection is based on the second commandment, Exodus 20:4: Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
Additionally, while we may not object to our home or car being casually included in the background of a photo, we would all probably not appreciate a person taking a close up of our front yard or auto or targeting us with a camera from across the street.
The same applies to Amish folks. They realize their buggies and farmsteads are unique, and if you are respectful in your photo composition to not exploit their facial features, photos of a passing buggy or scenic farmstead or their animals is accepted.
Wait until the buggy passes and shoot it from behind. Or wait until the Amish person in the yard or garden, or on the farm equipment has turned the other way. A photo taken of your group experience on an Amish farm is acceptable, as long as any Amish folk in the background of the photo are out of the picture, or not facing the camera and their facial features are recognizable.
If photography is your interest, you might enjoy visiting the Villa Galleries in downtown Arthur. This shop offers original art and prints from a number of local photographers and artists in other medias. A large display of local scenes captured over the seasons adds a distinct Amish flavor to the selections.
Lastly, ACM Tours has joined with one of the photographers from the Villa Galleries, to offer a "Photo Tour". Whether you bring advanced digital cameras or are a novice with disposable camera just purchased on your way to Amish country, this session with our professional photographer will teach you how to capture the beautiful scenery of hay filled pastures and buggy-lined country roads on this photography tour.