Top Ten Locations for Engagement Photos in Chicago

Congratulations! You’re engaged and it’s time to start planning your engagement session. Luckily you’re planning it in Chicago so there are a TON of options of perfect locations for an engagement session for you to choose from. There are so many unique locations in fact that it honestly can be a little tough deciding on where to have your session. That’s why in this article we’re going to go through 10 of my favorite places in Chicago that’ll provide stunning backdrops and an amazing experience for your engagement photos. Let’s get into it!

Why Take Engagement Photos in Chicago

The city of Chicago has so much to offer in terms of locations for your engagement photos. Whether you’re looking for a spot that has a rich history, somewhere with a more natural feel, or something a little more artsy Chicago has you covered. Chicago is massive and has a rich history, so it’s easy to find spaces for your engagement session that take advantage of that historic look and feel. That’s not all though, the city is also beautiful beyond compare, and has SO much culture and character to it. No matter what style and vibe you are hoping to achieve for your engagement photos, you can be sure that Chicago has a space that fits your vision perfectly.

How to Prepare for Your Chicago Engagement Photos

When preparing for your engagement session and photos in Chicago you’re going to want to dress with the weather in mind and be sure to keep a close eye on the weather reports! Chicago is part of the Midwest, so the weather can and will change at the drop of a hat. It’s a good idea to have a backup plan in place for the day of your session as well. If you’re hoping to get an outdoor session in but the weather is a bit too crazy for what we’re hoping for we can then move your session to one of the many great indoor locations throughout Chicago.

We’ll also be doing a LOT of walking throughout our session, so be sure to break your shoes prior to our day to make sure you’re comfortable throughout the session. You’ll also want to try on your outfit prior to our day to make sure you like the way it looks on you, and if you plan on changing up your hair at all do so within a week of our session!

Top 10 Locations for Engagement Photos in Chicago

So now that you know all the pros of having your engagement photos taken in Chicago, and how to prepare for your session, it’s time to go over my 10 favorite locations in the city for an engagement session. Remember Chicago is an enormous and dense city, so this list won’t cover everything it has to offer. It will give you some incredible options for your session though or at the very least get your imagination flowing for choosing a location perfect for you!

1. Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago is first on our list as it’s an iconic location in the city that’s full of eye-catching scenery for your engagement photos. With art exhibits as well as the gardens outside of the Art Institute, it is full of vibrant photo opportunities. An awesome benefit of taking photos here is that you do not need a permit, you will just have to pay the price of general admission. Flash photography is not allowed but there are plenty of great windows throughout the facility that provide that awesome natural light. And as a bonus being indoors also means we won’t have to worry about the weather.

2. Garfield Park Conservatory

The Garfield Park Conservatory is one of the best places in Chicago for engagement photos for anyone that is looking to surround themselves with nature for their photos.. There are beautiful outdoor gardens as well as multiple greenhouses which all have a unique theme to them. You can apply for a photo permit here, and currently the conservatory requires a reservation to enter the facilities. Reservations are free though and can be done same day but it’s a good idea to submit an advance reservation. The conservatory is such a great spot in the city for your engagement photos though and is easily worth going through these extra steps to make your session happen.

3. North Avenue Beach

North Avenue Beach is an awesome outdoor location year round for engagement photos, although it gets very busy during the summer months. The view of the skyline is incredible and it’s an especially amazing place to take engagement photos in Chicago during golden hour. I would recommend sunrise over sunset if you don’t feel like braving the large summer crowds, but we can definitely make a sunset session work! If you opt to have your session on North Avenue Beach outside of the summer months you’ll have to prepare for some colder temperatures and harsher winds as you’ll be right on the lake.

4. Museum Campus

The proximity of all the awesome spots for engagement photos at Chicago’s Museum Campus makes it awesome if you want a wide variety of locations without having to drive or take public transportation. The Museum Campus is located on the lakeshore and features many awesome outdoor areas to explore which makes it great for engagement sessions. The steps of the Field Museum as well as Northerly Island Park are two of my favorite spots on the Museum Campus, though there are SO many cool spots throughout the campus. Similar to North Avenue Beach the summer months can get pretty busy and being on the lakefront leads to colder temperatures to prep for outside of the summer.

5. Lincoln Park Nature Boardwalk

The outdoor gardens at the Lincoln Park Conservatory will make for a beautifully scenic backdrop for you and your engagement photos. The Nature Boardwalk also is home to the iconic “honeycomb” structure which is an awesome spot to take photos under. The nature boardwalk is one of my favorite locations for engagement photos in Chicago as you get an awesome mixture of skyline views of the city and the natural beauty that makes up the park. The park is one of the busier spots in the city, but luckily it’s also one of the largest so we’ll be able to find space for your photos even during its busier hours.

6. Salvage One

Located in Chicago’s West Town, Salvage One is an event space and antique shop full of old trinkets and furniture that will add tons of character to your engagement photos. It features 3 indoor spaces as well as an outdoor space that has an exposed brick wall with ivy growing on it. Salvage One is able to be booked by the hour via email. Even with it being just a singular location there is SO much in Salvage One to work with in terms of backdrops for your photos that we could spend the entire day here and not run out of opportunities!

7. Lincoln Park Conservatory

Much like the Garfield Park Conservatory, the Lincoln Park Conservatory is one of the most gorgeous places in Chicago to take engagement photos. Its Victorian Glass House which features exotic plants from throughout the world makes for an incredibly vibrant backdrop. The Lincoln Park Conservatory also requires a permit for photography which you can find here. The conservatory being in Lincoln Park also gives us the option for some variety as well since we can head into the park itself for some more engagement photo action!

8. Promontory Point

Found on the shores of Lake Michigan, Promontory Point is an awesome Chicago location for engagement photos with the backdrop of the lake. The man made peninsula goes right up to the edge of the water, and is a less popular but no less beautiful location than the others listed above. Being directly on the water I recommend having your session here during the warmer months of the summer, or be prepared for some frigid temperatures and strong lake winds.

9. Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary

If you want a true outdoor experience and setting for your engagement photos in Chicago then look no further than the Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary. The bird sanctuary is found on the lakefront on the north side of the city and has some incredible natural beauty that we can use for our session. The sanctuary being on the lake also allows us to work with Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline for our photos so there’s a lot of versatility in this one location!

10. Union Station / Chicago Board of Trade Building

For number 10 this might be cheating a little bit, but just had to include both of these locations as they’re so close to one another and fit the same style and feel! Both Union Station and the Chicago Board of Trade Building are awesome and historic indoor locations in the city perfect for your engagement session. Inside and out, the architectural beauty of Union Station gives it a fierce cinematic feel for your wedding portraits in Chicago. A permit is needed though to do a session inside the station. The Chicago Board of Trade Building is an iconic symbol of the Loop which offers an epic and historic feel for your engagement photos. Both spots can be pretty busy throughout the day but having both in close proximity and in the heart of downtown gives us a lot of options inside and out.

So now that you have an idea of some of the best locations throughout Chicago for engagement photos it’s time to schedule your session. If you’re still in need of a photographer then you’re in luck, head to my contact page to send me an inquiry so we can plan out your engagement session together!

May 23, 2023

Sreeja Ankam

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