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The Blog and the Bride

Need help choosing a Chicago Engagement Session Location?

Thinking about your Chicago Engagement Session and not sure which spot to choose? Start by reading our tips for How to Choose Your Engagement Session Location.

We love photographing in Chicago, because it offers unique modern lines and a variety of location styles to choose from! We love the way light bounces off of the neutral surfaces downtown, and how so many of the backdrops Chicago offers don't change based on the seasons. To help you select the best Chicago location for your session, we're sharing some of our favorites here!

The Wrigley Building

In the heart of the loop, the Wrigley Building is an iconic backdrop for your engagement photos! It features stunning views from above the Chicago River, as well as an elegant neutral backdrop with gold accents on the building itself. We often recommend pairing this location with another nearby.

The Chicago Riverwalk

The Chicago Riverwalk is accessible at many points for engagement photos! We love the Riverwalk because it makes the city feel larger than life in your images.

North Avenue Beach

One of our all time favorites, we love walking to North Avenue Beach about mid-way through an engagement session when the sun is closer to setting. With a stunning view of the Chicago skyline, surrounded by water, North Avenue Beach is an iconic Chicago show stopper. This location shows both the lake and the city, with spots along the bike path and beach that offer a lot of variety. When the parking lot is open, we often recommend parking right there to save some time!

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Lincoln Park & Lincoln Park Nature Boardwalk

If you want to add a little nature into your city images, the Lincoln Park neighborhood is the perfect spot! We love taking couples behind the Chicago History Museum or near the Lincoln Park Nature Boardwalk. Parking in this area is easiest at Lincoln Park Zoo, using a parking app, or along N Stockton Dr. or Clark Street if the Zoo is closed at the time of your session.

Chicago Board of Trade

This epic Chicago location is most accessible on the weekends and offers stunning views of the city on three sides. With classic Chicago architecture, this area offers more than just the iconic Chicago Board of Trade shot!

Olive Park

Milton Lee Olive Park, located near Ohio Street Beach and Navy Pier, offers an unobstructed Chicago skyline view from an elevated location. This location often requires a backup plan, as the gate to Olive Park does close at specific times, and can sometimes close unexpectedly. Regardless, Olive Park is another spot that makes the city feel larger than life!

Museum Campus

One of our favorite locations because of the variety it offers, the Museum Campus has timeless Chicago architecture. We love taking couples around the Field Museum grounds, because we love the way the light bounces from its modern terraces. The Museum Campus also showcases a sweeping view of the Chicago skyline. Parking along Solidarity Drive or in the lot next to the Adler Planetarium allows us to use any area of the Museum Campus (Field Museum, Soldier Field, Adler Planetarium, Lakefront path) during the session while ending with the skyline views as the sun dips below the city.

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Union Station

Union Station is one of the best covered locations for engagement photos in Chicago! Open air, its row of columns shelters it from Chicago weather without losing the aesthetic of Chicago architecture.

Museum of Science & Industry

Located a little further south, the Museum of Science and Industry is another location that balances epic Chicago architecture with opportunities to infuse some natural backgrounds into the session as well. We recommend parking along Stony Island Avenue for this location.

Art Institute & Art Institute Gardens

We may be biased as lovers of art and modern architecture, but the Art Institute offers some of the most elevated engagement session backdrops in Chicago. When masks have not been mandated, the Art Institute has allowed patrons to take photos indoors with the cost of their admission as long as they are respectful of fellow patrons. The open air Art Institute Gardens feature the Art Institute architecture as a backdrop, as well as modern seating areas alongside well-manicured gardens. The gardens close about 20-30 minutes before the Art Institute closes, and you can check the hours on their website here. We recommend using a parking app or parking in the Millennium or Grant Park parking garage to access this location.

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While we shared some of our favorite Chicago engagement session locations, we're always up for exploring a new one with our couples!

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Becky Dean

I'm a co-founder and lead photographer at Pen and Lens.

Wedding photography is my heartbeat. I love capturing the interactions between the bride and her tribe as they get ready together, the look on a groom’s face when he FINALLY sees his bride for the first time, and the way a dad wraps his arms around his baby girl on her wedding day. Bride and groom portraits make my heart jump and I cry on almost every wedding day.

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