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The Blog and the Bride

Thinking about where to take your engagement photos and don’t know where to start?

We love when our couples offer suggestions for their locations, but we realize it’s not always easy to come up with feasible options. To help come up with options everyone gets excited about, we’re sharing our “process” for choosing an engagement session location! Here we go…

First

Think about whether you’d like to feature the city in your session.

We do a lot of our engagement sessions downtown Chicago because we love the modern lines and variety the locations it offers. The city has some beautiful options, but so does the surrounding area.

Make a list based on each of the following criteria to help ignite ideas:

  1. Style. What style best fits with your personalities? Think of adjectives that are attractive to you, i.e. classic, muted, urban, modern, natural, etc.
  2. Significance. Think about locations that may be meaningful to you as a couple. Do you go on runs along the lakefront together? Or did he propose at Zoo Lights in Lincoln Park? Think about locations that mean something to the two of you.
  3. Access. Do you have special access to any properties or locations that would provide a unique backdrop for your session? Consider the people in your network and the people in their network that may give you permission to use their space or resources. And dream big! (You never know until you ask!)

Second

Narrow your list of ideas to 2-3 concrete options, keeping in mind the following things we look for to create fresh, beautiful images:

  1. Does that location have neutral colors and natural light? We always look for some neutral colors in photo locations because the photos are about YOU! We find that neutral color schemes and natural light keep the focus on our clients and their interactions, which is definitely the most important! (Don’t get me wrong, we’re game for stunning locations that don’t exactly fit this criteria, it’s just something we keep in mind.)
  2. Can we access the location within a couple hours of sunset? We shoot all our engagement sessions within 2 hours of sunset so we get dreamy golden light when the sun is out!

Third

Consult your photographer

Share your style and key adjectives and then describe the options you came up with. Together we’ll help you find the perfect spot!


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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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