Engagement session season is upon us, and inevitably I end up sending a giant list of location ideas to our clients over and over again so they can decide where they’d like to do their session! Instead of sending that giant list with a link after link of sessions for them to view – I figured why not just write a blog post with all the information in one place?! And as it turns out – this list is SO gigantic that I have decided to separate it into two posts! One for Urban / Downtown / City vibes and one for Nature / Park / Lake vibes!
One of my favorite things about living and working in Chicago is that there is no shortage of inspiration for photos!! We have SO many beautiful locations, from urban to parks, from beach to skyline! I honestly could never get bored working in Chicago and I feel really fortunate for that! One of my favorite things is when clients have a new spot in mind that I’ve never shot at before and I can find fresh inspiration from the newness of the location!!
Without further ado – here is part one of my (always growing) list of location ideas for your Chicago engagement photos!!
First up – locations that are downtown OR that have more of an Urban / City vibe!
Chicago River Walk
I love this location because the light bounces around in this area soooo beautifully and you can get a variety of looks all within walking distance! We usually shoot around Wabash and Wacker when we’re doing river walk locations, but you really can head anywhere along the river walk for some beautiful images, especially since they just renovated a large portion of it! The images below were all shot between La Salle and Wabash!
Olive Park & Beach
This is a beautiful spot to get a unique view of the skyline along with a beautiful tree-lined walkway as well as a beach! My only note is that the hours can be weird to the portion where you get the skyline view – meaning sometimes we’ve shown up for a session and it will randomly be closed (gate locked) and we aren’t able to shoot there, and from what I’ve seen it isn’t noted online anywhere. Thankfully the beach is a good back-up option and the park itself can be beautiful depending on the time of year!
La Salle Street / Board of Trade
This is a quintessential downtown Chicago location and is ideal on weekends especially because the office buildings surrounding this area are empty and so the streets are usually pretty clear! If you do shoot on a weekday – after rush hour is usually best – otherwise you’re dealing with people coming in and out of buildings the whole time!
Lurie Garden at Millennium Park & the Art Institute Bridge
Lurie Garden is such a beautiful hidden gem in Millennium Park! This garden is really beautiful all seasons and gives you a nice variety of nature along with cityscape beyond! Close by is the Art Institute Bridge as well – which can give you a nice bird’s eye view of Millennium Park and downtown Chicago. The only note is that the bridge closes when the Art Institute does – so make sure to note hours before planning your shoot!
South Gardens at The Art Institute
One of my all time favorite spots in the city – these gardens are so stunning! They give a romantic touch to any session and I especially love them in the fall when the ivy covered wall at the back of the garden turns colors!
Kinzie Street Bridge
This is a great spot to start or end your session. I wouldn’t say there is enough here for an entire session – but it is a fabulous downtown spot for a true Chicago view (down the Chicago River of the Sears/Willis Tower)!
West Loop Neighborhood
I love wandering around the West Loop for sessions! You really can’t go wrong! Brick alleyways, market lights, and the el train… all beautiful parts of the West Loop that make for a wonderfully low-key session. And bonus points if you have access to a rooftop and can get the skyline view for the end of your session at sunset!
There are so many gorgeous spots at Museum Campus! Most notably is the grounds at the Field Museum, which makes for a gorgeous white marble backdrop. I love shooting here because the light is always beautiful no matter what! You just can’t beat the clean fill light off the white building and surrounding walkways! The view from the Shedd is also beautiful, and of course that quintessential Chicago skyline view at sunset from the Adler Planetarium is one of the best views in the city!!
Logan Square Neighborhood
If you’re looking for something more urban and gritty – Logan Square is the perfect place! Murals around every corner and el tracks without all the cars and people that you run into downtown make for the perfect off the beaten path Chicago location!
I know there are soooo many more locations to share, but hopefully this gives you a starting point at least! 😉
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post where I share some of my favorite green / park / nature / lake locations for sessions!