If you’re planning to spend your engagement in the Chicago area, then today’s guest post brought to us by Vince of Griff Photography (Naperville, IL) is for you. Enjoy!

Chicago is an amazingly beautiful city. It doesn’t matter what time of year you are visiting, there is always something to offer, especially if you are planning to have your engagement photos done here. Not from the area? That shouldn’t keep you from experiencing what this amazing city has to offer and to capitalize on arguably some of the best locations in the world to document your engagement.

Read the full post after the cut!


I have personally photographed many engagement sessions in Chicago and there are a few spots that I make sure to recommend to my couples to be certain they are getting the images they are looking for, while also keeping traveling to each spot to a minimum. If you’re planning on coming to this amazing city to get your engagement photos done or if you live in the area, then you definitely have to hit these four spots.

The Art Institute

One location that seems to have it all is The Art Institute of Chicago, and I’m not talking about inside with the art (although that would be pretty amazing), I am talking about what this location has to offer on the exterior. In the warmer months of the year, the North and South Stanley McCormick Memorial Courts are awash with color as bright as the paintings hanging on the walls inside. There are also beautiful tall older growth trees, as well as sculptures that can be used as interesting foreground elements.


The Nichols Bridgeway leading up to the main building itself is one of the most striking structures that Chicago has to offer. In the fall, you can use the gorgeous orange and yellow trees lining the city-side as a beautiful background, while also using the bridge itself as stunning lead-in lines to take your eye through the image no matter what time of year you are visiting. If you walk down the bridge a bit, you can capitalize on all the towering buildings that stand tall on Michigan Avenue. You can honestly spend your entire engagement session at The Art Institute itself and not go home disappointed.

The Bean

It doesn’t matter if you are just visiting Chicago, or a permanent resident, one location most people stop at is definitely, The Bean in Millennium Park. If you are looking for a strong visual element for your engagement photos, look no further, it is just a short walk from the Art Institute and I cannot think of anything that would be a more striking item than a giant bean with a mirrored finish in the heart of Millennium Park. This is one spot that you are going to have to time right unless you don’t mind dealing with people in the background of your engagement photos.


The bean was created by the artist Anish Kapoor and set up in 2006. It has been attracting visitors from all over the world ever since. You can get a lot of amazing effects in your photos if you wanted to work with the mirrored finish of the bean, or you can just have it in the background of your images which is a nice touch since it reflects the surrounding city. This is another location that is beautiful no matter what time of year you visit, and it could be one location where it is better in the winter because there will be less of a crowd.

The Adler Planetarium

A location that you will most likely be surprised to see on my list is The Adler Planetarium. Similar to the Art Institute, this is a spot that offers so much diversity for your engagement photos. It seems that as you walk around the building itself, every side seems to offer something interesting or unique. One interesting fact about this location is it is the oldest planetarium in existence today. One of my favorite things to do with this building is to shoot wide to incorporate the gorgeous dome as a background element.

Surrounding the building, especially on the backside, are beautiful romantic paths to use as lead-in lines, as well as switching your engagement session up from the busy city life that consumes most of downtown Chicago. Also, in the back of the building, there is a secret walkway that leads onto Lake Michigan and usually doesn’t seem to draw too much of a crowd, even on some of the busiest days. This is one of the few spots on this list where parking is usually pretty easy to find if you arrive in the morning or late in the evening during the summer months.

The Chicago Skyline

Only a few steps away from The Adler Planetarium, you have my favorite location out of the entire Chicagoland area. This is one of the few spots where you can capture the entire Chicago Skyline while also capitalizing on the beautiful blue water of Lake Michigan. Parking is usually easy to find on the side of the road and is normally a few dollars for an hour which definitely takes a lot of the stress off when you are visiting this unbelievable city. This location looks great no matter what time of the year you visit, but my favorite time is surprisingly the winter months. The blue color of Lake Michigan seems to take on more of a turquoise color, and the colors of the city just seem to be a bit more saturated this time of the year.

I feel, if you are having your engagement photos done in Chicago, then you must at least have one image with The Sears Tower (it still feels wrong calling it the Willis Tower) standing tall in the background and at this location, you can do this with ease. The path that runs next to the lake provides quite a few angles to add diversity to your images, instead of having the skyline running parallel in every single photo. If you are visiting this location in the summer months, make sure to check ahead to see if there are any events going on because this could make parking a nightmare.

Getting engaged is one of the most exciting times of any relationship and I feel that every couple should do an engagement session to document this momentous occasion. This is also a terrific way to get to know your photographer, as well as getting to see first-hand how they actually work. All the locations on this list can fit easily into about 1 ½ hours, and if you do decide on any of these locations, you will be provided with some of the most stunning displays of what Chicago has to offer.

Griff Photography is an award-winning national wedding photographer, providing unbelievable wedding and engagement photography, with a creative artistic style. Vince has been a professional wedding photographer for 8 years, and has photographed over 300 weddings both locally and across the United States. He is passionate about what he does and you can see that in every one of his images.

To learn more about Griff Photography, please visit his WeddingLovely Vendor Guide profile or head straight to his website.