Chicago Botanic Gardens

The Chicago Botanic Gardens are by far my favorite location to photograph! Located within a short distance to downtown Chicago, they offer an incredible variety of gardens that create picture-perfect backdrops.

If you’re dreaming of a European engagement but don’t want to make a transatlantic trip, the English Walled Gardens will instantly transport you to England’s natural scenery. And you dreamed of an engagement session in Asia, you only have to stop by the gorgeous Japanese Garden to feel as if you’ve traveled across the world. This garden boasts several Japanese bridges over a lake, as well as a waterfall and lots of beautiful Bonsai Trees.

Alongside the gardens mentioned above, you’ll also find several Rose Gardens, a desert-inspired terrarium, and a tropical exhibit–just to mention a few.

Browse the photos and start dreaming about what your engagement session at the Chicago Botanic Gardens could look like!

Art Institute Garden 

This intimately scaled garden, built on the south side of the Art Institute of Chicago, opens onto the famed Michigan Avenue. Moving inward from the Avenue, you’ll find three staggered rows of honey locust trees. The central plaza space contains a rectangular pool that terminates at the Fountain of the Great Lakes, a stunning, sculpted fountain created in 1913 by artist Lorado Taft. The low, spreading branches of the trees unite to create a canopy over the entire plaza and suffuse it with a romantic feeling. Along the rear of the space, honey locust trees and flowering shrubs frame the fountain. All in all, this garden is the perfect location if you are looking to add romantic flair to your engagement images. These blossoming trees are best to photograph with in spring, summer and fall.

North Avenue Beach at Lake Michigan in Chicago

North Avenue Beach is located within Chicago’s distinctive Lincoln Park. As one of Chicago’s most popular beaches, it features a unique and popular beach house as well as sand and water backdrops. The ocean liner-inspired building boasts one of the best views in the entire city. North Avenue Beach is the ideal spot if you want to feature Chicago’s skyline in your engagement images. You will also find plenty of other beautiful spots around Lincoln Park, including many with waterline and landscape elements.

Grant Park

Grant Park is located within the city’s central business district. It encompasses many Chicago attractions, including Millennium Park, the Buckingham Fountain, the Art Institute Chicago, and the Museum Campus. Grant Park is also referred to as “Chicago’s front yard”–making it a special stop on any engagement photo session. It hosts a range of beautiful tourist spots and offers a polished oasis for photography all year round. 

With its varied architectural elements, this park area makes for multiple great backdrops, too. You can choose between contemporary and traditional settings in a single session. One contemporary element of Millennium Park would be the famous ‘Cloud Gate’ sculpture, also nicknamed ‘the Bean’–a unique and instantly recognizable feature of Chicago’s public art. If you prefer traditional backdrops, I would suggest walking towards the Art Institute of Chicago, where you can find architectural masterpieces and stunning landscapes. Just like the rest of the city, there is something for everyone at Millennium Park–offering backdrops for an unforgettable engagement photo session!