millennium park Bean chicago engagement photography location in winter photoshoot ideas

10 Best Places for Engagement Photos in Chicago

millennium park Bean chicago engagement photography location in winter photoshoot ideas

10 Best Places for Engagement Photos in Chicago

It has finally happened, you are choosing engagement photo locations in Chicago. You and your fiancé are engaged and it is time to commemorate this memorable occasion with romantic engagement photos. The question is, where fo you begin? While scouring the internet for Chicago engagement photos, I am sure that you have come across some amazing photo locations. You have found countless couple poses and maybe a few cheesy photoshoots along the way. This can easily come as a challenge especially when you are searching for engagement photos that are truly yours. Thankfully, I compiled a list of the best places for engagement photos in Chicago.

Amy and Kyle Couple Engagement Photography Session at the BP Bridge in Millennium Park

Where to take Engagement Photos in Chicago?

Location. Location. Location. Whether you and your significant other are avid Chicago explorers, or enjoy a night of Netflix and chill, Chicago has everything you need for making your engagement photos unique. Here are some things you should take into consideration when choosing your photoshoot location.

Chicago Engagement Photography Locations Uptown Theatre Neighborhood

Your Favorite Chicago Spot

Do you have a favorite brewery where you meet for trivia night, a go-to-coffee shop that you visit so often, you should probably just work there, or your must have Chicago pizza parlor which you will argue as being the best place in the city for a slice of za? Personal spots like these are my favorite places to draw inspiration at. These are not only intimate places for a beautiful photoshoot but they are a unique locations that have a special place in your heart.

Where was Your First Date?

Relive the magic that first brought you two together. This location can be an amazing place to start. Whether it is just for a few photos for yourself, you can’t help but to feel all of the feels here.

BP Bridge millennium park chicago engagement photography

What is Your Lifestyle

Lifestyle photography is just how it sounds. What makes it so beautiful is that it is your life. My favorite engagement photo locations in Chicago are those that reflect you and your partner’s personal life. Whether you two love to sit and listen to music, dance the night away, go hiking in the woods, or enjoy taking in the city views as you walk your puppy throughout Chicago, lifestyle photos are the best ways to make your engagement pictures truly yours.

Best Chicago Locations

Now that you have an idea of what you are looking for I created a list of the top 10 Best free places to take engagement photos in Chicago. Drum roll please…

millennium park Jay Pritzker Music Pavilionchicago engagement photography

Millennium Park

201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60602 Designed by Frank Gehry
If you are familiar with downtown Chicago, then you know what an beautiful place Millennium Park is for engagement pictures.  Everywhere you look there is an amazing photo opportunity. With the gorgeous Lurie Gardens, unique Crown Fountain, the iconic Chicago Bean reflecting the city skyline and lovely Jay Pritzker Music Pavilion, Millennium Park will offer an unforgettable engagement photoshoot experience. Just incase you wanted a little bit more, take a stroll across the BP Pedestrian Bridge and make your way over to Maggie Daley Park. This location has it all.

Chicago CTA Couple Engagement Photography

CTA Station

The Chicago CTA is a staple in this city. It is a part of everyone’s life and is the glue that connects the plethora of neighborhoods together. This may not be on every couple’s engagement location list but it offers a wonderful chance for those personal, everyday photos. From waiting for a train with your partner or snuggling up with each other inside of the train, the CTA is a perfect place to capture those small moments together.

Chicago Theatre Sign Engagement Photography

Chicago Theatre Sign

175 N State St, Chicago, IL 60601
Designed in 1921 on the historic State Street, the Chicago Theatre sign is one of the only locations in the city that can be said to truly define Chicago. If you are taking engagement pictures at the Riverwalk, Millennium Park or any where in the city Loop, this photo spot is a must do destination for your photoshoot. 

Beautiful Couple Starting to Kiss Romantic The Art Institute of Chicago South Garden Engagement Picture Locations and White Clothing

Art Institute South Gardens

111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603
Just a block away from Millennium park sits the renowned Art Institute of Chicago. It is a beautiful classical Beaux-Arts building which is guarded by 2 large green lions, and carries the fond memory of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. But what makes the Art Institute of Chicago such a great engagement location is the south garden designed by Dan Kiley. This hidden oasis, which key features include rows of trees, ivy grown walls and a large fountain makes this location a beautifully intimate spot for your engagement photos.

Chicago Skyline Backdrop at Fullerton Beach Engagement Pictures Best Locations for Your Photography Photoshoot

Fullerton Beach

With over 18 miles of Lakefront, there’s no wonder why Chicago has some of the best beaches in the country. Fullerton Beach has always had a special place in my heart as it is the location that I saw my first sunrise in Chicago. Located just east of Lincoln Park Zoo, it has a beautiful stretch of beach front for your photos as well as an amazing view of the skyline making this a must do location for your engagement photos.

Chicago Street Murals Engagement Photography

Chicago Street Murals

Chicago is not only an architecture mecca, it is the home of some of the best mural and street artists in the world. From Eduardo Kobra to Sentrock to JC Rivera to Hebru Brantley, the streets of Chicago has some of the most inspiring and jaw dropping pieces of art on it’s walls. No matter what neighborhood you find yourself taking your engagement photos in, there will be a unique and colorful backdrop that will make your pictures truly stand out.

Best Chicago Engagement Photo Locations Lincoln Park Pavilion by Studio Gang Architects Beautiful City Skyline for your Couple Photoshoot Photography

Lincoln Park Zoo Pavilion

2121 N Stockton Dr, Chicago, IL 60614
The Lincoln Park Pavilion is one of my favorite photo locations in Chicago. I might be biased since I am an architecture buff, but this intricate wooden pavilion located just south of Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo offers a perfect frame of the city’s skyline. Designed by Studio Gang architects, you have countless opportunities to capture some fantastic engagement photos here.

Engagement Places for your Photoshoot Chicago Skyline at Sunset Couple Photography at the Lakefront of the Alder Planetarium photoshoot

The Alder Planetarium

1300 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605
If you are taking engagement pictures in Chicago, then a skyline shot is a must. There is place better than the lakefront outside of the Alder Planetarium to capture the whole Chicago skyline. My favorite time to capture these shots would be an hour or so before the sunset which will give you some of the most magical shots of the city.

Chicago Engagement Photography

Chicago Riverwalk

If you live in Chicago or even just visited there’s a high chance that you have walked along the river on the Chicago Riverwalk. Over the years it has been transformed and renovated, making it a beautiful location for not only your engagement photos but to relax and enjoy a drink with your significant other. There are a lot of unique photo spots along the riverwalk, so I would just have fun and enjoy the views. 

Engagement Spots for your Pictures Chicago North Coast Skyline Couple Photography at the Lakefront of the Milton Lee Olive Park Overlook photoshoot

Milton Lee Olive Park Waterfront

E Ohio St, Chicago, IL 60611
This is one of my favorite hidden gems in Chicago. Just north of Navy Pier and East of Ohio Street Beach sits a little strip of land that offers some of the best views of the Chicago’s North coast skyline. There is a lot of opportunity here, from capturing lifestyle walking photos to getting beautiful couple photographs at the overlook, Milton Lee Olive Park is a perfect place for your engagement photos.

Amy and Kyle Couple Engagement Photography Session at a Chicago Pizza Parlor Location

Just Be Yourself

Chicago is a photographer’s playground. No matter where you choose for your engagement pictures, you can not go wrong with any place on this list. My advice is to not overthink it. Find a location that means something to the both of you. The key to great engagement photography is for the couple to feel comfortable in being themselves. This is a magical point of time in both of your lives and you have to enjoy it. 

Looking for a Chicago engagement photographer? Let’s work together!  Contact me here

Chicago Skyline Sunrise Reflection Photography Location from the Adler Planetarium

5 Best Places to See the Chicago Sunrise

5 Best Places to See the Chicago Sunrise

360 Chicago Sunrise

Seeing the Chicago sunrise over Lake Michigan is truly a magical experience but I do not think that it gets the appreciation that it deserves. I know, there is so much to do and not enough time. I get it, with over 77 communities, on over 234 square miles of land, Chicago is the third largest city in the America. It’s big and there is a lot to see but there are a few reasons that you should try and fit the sunrise into your next visit.

Firstly, nothing is open so you really the only thing you have to choose between is either catching a few some more z’s or catching that morning light. That may actually be a hardest decision here but trust me after seeing a few  of my sunrise photography, you won’t regret it. Next is that you can enjoy most of the places if not all without the daytime crowd. It sounds a bit cheesy but there is a sense of serenity when you are all by your self, watching the darkness turn to light, as the city slowly wakes up. And lastly, it’s free! (for the most part)

Are you ready to set your morning alarm and get out there yet? From seeing the morning rays 1000 feet high to sitting on the natural rocks off of the shore, it is truly a beautiful experience. Here are my top 5 best places to watch the sunrise in Chicago.

Chicago Sunrise Photography

Sunrise at Fullerton Beach

The sunrise at Fullerton Beach off of Lake Michigan in Chicago will always have a special place in my heart. This location was the spot in which I photographed my very first morning in the city. I have seen this lookout evolve from a rugged natural piece of the lake shore to a well manicured park, where families and friends stay to hang out.

What makes Fullerton Beach such an amazing spot to catch the sunrise is that it not only gives you a some of the most beautiful views of Lake Michigan but a unique photography shot of the Chicago skyline. The beach is located right off the Fullerton Exit on Lake Shore Dive, which is on the east side of Lincoln Park Zoo and just north of North Avenue Beach. It is quite an accessible location in which you can find free parking all along Cannon Drive. 

See the full collection here at sunrise at the lakefront

Chicago Skyline Reflection Sunrise Photography

North Avenue Beach Sunrise

North Avenue Beach lies just south of Fullerton Beach but it contains a completely different scale to Chicago’s sunrise. This is the most popular beach in the city. During the summer months it is alive with sunbathers, volleyball games and basically any activity that involves fun. In the morning, this beach is quiet and a beautiful place to watch the sunrise. Since it is located closer to the skyline, it gives you a completely different scale compared to Fullerton Beach. I also love the different opportunities for photography here. You can capture interesting photos of the famous wooden nautical boat, play with images from the adjoining bridge, or use lifeguard tower and other beach subjects to create a beautiful early morning scene.

The Chicago Sunrise at Northwestern University's Painted Rocks Lakeshore Path

Northwestern University Lakefront Path

Northwestern University is not as close to Chicago as the other spots on this list but the sunrise view is hard to beat. Located north of the city in Evanston, Northwestern University lies right off of Lake Michigan. There’s a beautiful lakefront path scattered with colorful rocks painted by the students of the university making this such a colorful spot. This is one of my favorite hidden gems for photographing the sunrise, mainly because of the unique landscape as well as the quietness of this place. You can find free parking in the surrounding neighborhoods if you don’t mind the short walk to the lake. If you are planning on visiting, bring a hammock and relax with one of the most beautiful views of Chicago.

Chicago Skyline Sunrise Photography Location at the Adler Planetarium

Adler Planetarium Sunrise

The Adler Planetarium is by far the best place to see the famous Chicago skyline.  Located right off of Lake Michigan, this spot gives you panorama views of the city from the Shed Aquarium to the Sears tower to Navy Pier. The best part about this spot is seeing the reflection of the city’s architecture mirrored in the lake. Add in the warm glow of the beautiful architecture of the city skyline and you have the recipe of the of the perfect Chicago sunrise. You can park all along Solidarity Dr. It is paid parking but you can get some good shots before the meter starts to charge you.

360 Chicago Sunrise Photography

Sunrise at 360 Chicago

Watching the sunrise from 360 Chicago, is that sort of experience that is truly unforgettable. This is the least accessible of the previous locations on the list, mainly because it is 1000 feet above Michigan Ave in the world renowned John Hancock building off on State street. I have been fortunate enough to have been invited to a few sunrise photography meets at this observatory deck and wow. With 360 degree views of the Chicago skyline , the sunrise photo possibilities are endless.

See the Full collection at 360 Chicago Sunrise

360 Chicago Sunrise Photography

Where to Watch the Chicago Sunrise?

Every place on this list offers their own unique Chicago sunrise experience. Pick out one or honestly none of these but all that I ask is that you go and see one for yourself. I promise you that you will not regret it. It’s the little joys like this that makes life so incredibly beautiful. Seeing the morning light rising above Lake Michigan, the sky filled with colors of bright orange, yellow, and red hues reflecting on the crashing waves will always be one of my favorite moments in life. If you have any suggestions or would like to share your sunrise experience, comment below. I’d love to hear about it!

Chicago Sunrise Reflection Photography Location from the Adler Planetarium

What Time is the Sunrise in Chicago?

Check below for sunrise and sunset times


Surviving Social Distancing During Covid 19 coronavirus pandemic in the united states a black and white silhouette of a man and his shadow on his phone

Social Distancing

Social Distancing

With everything that is currently occurring with the health pandemic and social distancing, the world is looking quite different.

Personally it was a situation that seemed very much distant while ever so quickly becoming a stark reality. A month or so ago I recalled hearing through passing about a virus called COVID-19 aka the coronavirus sweeping through Wuhan, China. I would see snippets of how the city was being barricaded, I would see images of doctors working nonstop in hazmat suits, I would read number of how many people were being effected and just how quickly it was able to spread and still it did not hit home.

I am the first to shamefully admit that I live in my own little bubble sort of naturally social distancing from the world to an extent. I confine myself to what I know, learn and see but am always eager to escape that safekeeping.

That was one of the underlying reasons that Ive always wanted to travel. Mostly I did not believe that these far away places truly existed and knew the only way to believe in the beauty of this world was to experience it first hand. And like those travel adventures, this is how many saw the coronavirus. It quickly spread from China in December of 2019 to more than 145 countries as I’m writing this on March 18th 2020. This still unimaginable reality instantaneously struck like a bat out of hell.

Dramatic visual changes are happening in communities, lockdown in cities, in social appearances or lack thereof, and in thought. I see reactions ranging from the still nonchalant, unconcerned to distress slowly unraveling people’s once tough as nails mindsets.

Personally, my grandfather passed away earlier this week (not due to coronavirus) but as a result my family had to make the painful decision to adhere to the CDC and social distancing and restrict the services to my father and his siblings. I truly believe that it was the right decision but it’s still hard to accept that being physically there for someone when they genuinely need it is almost beyond the bounds of possibilities right now.

I remember reading something like “In the end, it will be impossible to know if we overreacted or did too much, but it will be QUITE apparent if we under reacted or did too little.” COVID-19 affected every aspect of most if not all of everyone’s life.

Surviving Social Distancing During Covid 19 coronavirus pandemic in the united states a black and white silhouette of a man and his shadow on his phone

Take a Deep Breathe

For me, the daunting realness of these past few days and weeks is not the pandemic in itself but the uncertainty it carries. This sort of vulnerability makes us feel powerless. We do not know what the future will look like let alone what tomorrow will bring.

And it’s scary.

But amidst this rough patch, I think we are all just striving for the best for each other. I see how powerful we are as not just people but as humans. It’s not just a town, a city, or a state but in countries and most importantly the world. People all around the globe joined together to put a pause on their life no matter how much it’s personally and financially is going to effect them, in order to reduce the rick of harming others.

I am optimistic.

The small to large changes in our lifestyle are all in trying to keep each other and ourselves safe and healthy. It’s comforting to know that we have each other’s backs. It’s encouraging to know that we are here for each other, especially as we desperately search for a little certainty in life.

I am hopeful.

Take some time away from the news, listen to some music, read a book, text a friend and take a deep breath.

Be well. Stay safe. You are not alone in this. We are in this together.

Food for Thought

Below is a piece of writing from Laura Kelly Fanucci that is so humbly, beautiful I just had to share and type the words down myself to feel the realness in them.

When this is over,

may we never again

take for granted

A handshake with a stranger

Full shelves at the store

Conversations with neighbors

A crowded theatre

Friday night out

The tased of communion

A routine checkup

The school rush each morning

Coffee with a friend

The stadium roaring

Each deep breath

A boring Tuesday

Life itself.

When this ends,

may we find

that we have become

more like the people

we wanted to be

we were called to be

we hoped to be

and may we stay

that way—better

for each other

because of the worst.

– Laura Kelly Fannucci

For more information and up to date  news about Covid-19/ Coronavirus pandemic please follow the CDC and WHO

Vik Black Sand Beach

Moments Like These

Moments Like These…

Moments like these; I get empty headed. It’s hard not to. Sometimes I get caught up in the whole seeing the world through a camera thing that I forget to see it first with my own eyes. My mind tends to be constantly moving 100 mph but there are these ‘speed bumps’ scattered along the way. These speed bumps, these moments, are a constant reminder to stop. Even if just for a moment. Just stop. See what’s around you, but really see it. Soak it in, live it and experience it. There are moments like these that wipe away the worries, the stress, excitement, the toll of everyday life; moments where my head becomes a total stand still, and I just drift away.

Vik Black Sand Beach

Vik Black Sand Beach

See more moments in Iceland Travel Photography

Michigan Nature Photography

Lake Michigan Beach

Lake Michigan Recreation Area Photography

The smell of a Lake Michigan beach lingers in the air. I close my eyes and all I hear are the leaves being slowly pushed by the wind. This is where I am most at ease; the most myself. I enjoy it. Waking up with the trees above your head, cooking a meal over a fire, listening to the wood crackle as it burns, all while breathing in the fresh Michigan air.

A couple of weeks ago, I drove up to the Lake Michigan Recreation Area. There was no reason in particular, I guess it just seemed like a good opportunity to get away for a day; to keep it simple, no distractions and to just be. I knew I was getting close as all of the windows were filled with views of endless trees. Perfectly framing every passing moment. A bumpy, dirt road gently carves it way through the forest as to leave the least impact on nature. Once I opened up my door, there seemed to be a sense of relief. The air carried the soft sounds of laughter with a backdrop of Lake Michigan meeting the shore. A natural landscape. I smiled with every step closer to the beach, and as my feet hit the sand I felt like a child again.

Whenever I road trip, hike or just wander by myself, I always feel like I’m at peace; that I have the world in the palm of my hands. Maybe because I can clear my head of every thought and just live in that moment. Here are a couple of those moments that made me smile.