One of the main questions I get asked when it comes to engagement sessions is “Where and when should we take our engagement photos?” It is hard to give a single response for this because it really depends on the couple and their preferences. With that being said, there is still some advice and direction I can offer when it comes to where and when to do engagement sessions beyond simply telling you to explore your interests. As simple of a decision as it may seem, I know how tough it can be!
Really, anytime you want!
I shoot engagement sessions year round so timing is one thing that really depends on the couple. I’ve met with some who enjoy the look and feel of winter as opposed to spring and summer and vice versa. Pick a time of the year that you will be comfortable with, though…If you are uncomfortable in the cold of winter or don’t like taking pictures in the heat of summer, it could show in the photos!
Choose your Favorite Season (I love late Spring and Fall)
Expanding on the last point, I often advise my clients to choose their favorite season for their engagement session. I, personally, love late spring and fall because the temperature is perfect and the colors are magical. In Chicago, fall and spring bring mild weather (it’s not freezing but it is not overwhelmingly hot and humid, either). Plus, when things start budding or leaves start falling during these seasons, it makes for a beautiful scene! Both Laura + Antonio‘s and Tabitha + Kyle‘s fall engagement sessions in Humboldt Park (see below) are special because they represent their new neighborhoods, homes and lives together!
A different season than your wedding is good for variety.
This doesn’t mean that if you’re having a wedding in the middle of summer that you need to do your engagement shoot in the middle of winter (unless, of course, you really want to do that!). It is a nice change of pace though to have fall themed engagement shots for a summer wedding or spring shots for a winter wedding. I think you get the point… Mix it up a bit!
Keep your “Save the Date” in mind. If you’re using save the dates you will want to do it at least 6 months before wedding. For this reason, timing can be important!
Time of day makes a huge impact on lighting.
For the best lighting, I almost always do sessions in the evening. I never recommend doing shots around noon because the sun is too directly above you and casts unflattering shadows, and not to mention just produces really harsh lighting! In the evening, though, the lighting is much softer and is more inviting, which gives a much better feel and will produce a much better photo.
Start with the look and feel that you are aiming for.
If you and the fiancé can decide the feel you are looking for with your session, that is a great place to start! I have shot in various places in the city and beyond and can certainly give guidance! But really, your options are limitless! The great thing about Chicago is its proximity to multiple different locations ranging from a city scenes that represent your lives here to forest preserves and parks that represent your love for nature! Let the city or area of choice be your playground and have fun!
A place that has special meaning to you two.
Whether it is where you first met, hang out all the time now, or just love for no reason at all, you can never go wrong when choosing a place that has a special meaning to you. It gives the photos so much life and it is always fun to reminisce on an important landmark within your relationship. Doing this gives your photos a bit of a story behind them, too, which I just love. Erica + Troy’s Northwestern University engagement session was extra special because the school held meaning for them!
Are you a Chicago transplant?
We can do your engagement session anywhere! Do not limit yourselves when capturing this moment. I have shot engagement photos in New York, Aspen, Santa Barbara. Let’s chat about your destination engagement session! Check out this shot from Han + Byron’s Sutro Baths Engagement session!