Chicago is one of the most beautiful and vibrant cities in the country, with so much personality it’s practically bursting at the seams! Let’s face it though, being in the Midwest comes with the challenge of dealing with its crazy weather. The Windy City not only has some severe winds that we sometimes have to deal with, hence the name, but also the typical weather of the Midwest that can change at the drop of a hat. That’s why today we’re going over some of my all time favorite indoor locations for engagement photos in Chicago. Rain or shine there’s always a way to have your engagement session be THE best it can be!
Chicago’s Art Institute remains as one of the coolest and most renowned indoor locations in the city for engagement photos that still does not require a photography permit! As long as you are respectful and not disturbing the other guests of the institute you’re able to have your engagement session here surrounded by the incredible artwork that lines the institute. There is an outdoor area as well if the rain lets up during your session giving you PLENTY of options to work with.
One of the COOLEST wedding venues in Chicago can also be used for your indoor engagement photos! Salvage One is an event space located in West Town and is quite literally a vintage enthusiasts dream. The building itself has a cool vintage style to it with exposed brick walls and its wooden floors. It doesn’t stop there though as the building is filled with unique and incredible vintage furniture and decor giving you SO many options to work with for your engagement photos! It’s important to note that you will need to reserve the space for the time of the engagement photos.
Locations like Sunlit Studios or Tova Studios in Chicago are game changers in terms of indoor locations for engagement photos. Photo studios give you a clean, private, and styled environment for you to have your engagement session in. These locations have beautiful clean backdrops for your engagement session and are the perfect location to relax and have some fun for your Chicago engagement session. There of course is an additional cost that comes along with renting the studios, but trust me you get what you pay for and then some!
Built in 1888 the Rookery Building is one of the oldest and well-maintained skyscrapers in Chicago and a stunning indoor location for engagement photos. The architecture, décor, and overall feel of the building is truly jaw dropping. There’s an almost royal feel to it, which gives your engagement photos such a classy look that is almost impossible to beat. To have your engagement session in the Rookery Building you must complete this form as well as pay the fee for the amount of time you wish to have your session take place.
The small shops and business of Chicago are a large part of what makes the city the incredible place that it is. Between bookstores, thrift shops, ice cream shops like Jeni’s, and record stores like Reckless Records, there are so many of these spots throughout the city. Going to your favorite shop in Chicago not only gives you a fun indoor space to take your engagement photos, but also adds an extra bit of your own personality to the session!
Similar to the small shops of the city, the bars and restaurants of Chicago are a huge part in what makes it the special place that it is. Places like Gilt Bar or Beatnik West Town are just two examples of the incredible indoor options that Chicago has to offer in terms of intimate engagement photos. One important note is that you must call ahead prior to your session here. Most bars and restaurants will be flexible and allow you to come in for photos before they open. It’s important that you call though instead of me, your photographer. You’re their customer that loves their business SO much that you want to have your engagement photos taken there. They want to hear that much more than a photographer wanting to use their space!
Talk about capturing that historic Chicago feel in your engagement photos! Union Station is one of the coolest and most awe inspiring locations in the city. Marble columns, towering ceilings, and stunning architecture make the station both an amazing sight to see as well as a perfect spot for engagement photos. It is important to note that the outside of Union Station is public, but taking photos inside of the station requires a photography permit.
The Chicago fire ruined the initial Palmer House just 13 days after the hotel opened. After rebuilding and restoring it in 1873 the hotel is now the longest continually running hotel in America. There’s a lot more to the Palmer House than its rich history though! The hotel is immaculate and has some of the most beautiful art and architecture you’ll find in the city. It makes it a gorgeous and lavish location for indoor engagement photos in Chicago.
There are a few different botanic gardens and conservatories throughout Chicago that make for perfect indoor locations for engagement photos while also being filled with beautiful greenery. The Chicago Botanic Gardens, the Lincoln Park Botanic Gardens, and the Garfield Park Conservatory are 3 of my favorites in the city. Each is lush and vibrant and has tons of indoor space making each a great choice for engagement photos. I do want to note that all 3 of these locations require a photography permit in order to have your session there, so that is something to prep for before your session.
One of the coolest spots in the city for indoor engagement photos with the classic Chicago feel has to be the Damen Blue Line Stop in Wicker Park. This stop on the city’s blue line train features the iconic iron bridge over the city streets that carries the blue line, a ticket building built with classic redstone bricks, the original old wooden door, and classic arch lights on the platform itself. On the platform you’ll also be able to snag some great shots with the Chicago skyline as well as some stellar sunset shots if the weather cooperates. There’s also the Blue Line Lounge nearby which is a retro diner and then Wicker Park which has SO many options for photos and entertainment.
While not technically an indoor spot, this covered location in Lincoln Park is one of the best locations for engagement photos in Chicago. If you’re up for braving some light rain while using umbrellas the views and scenery here are SO worth it, and there is SO much to explore around Lincoln Park! It is worth noting that there is a permit requirement for professional photos to be taken here.
In all honesty I could go on and on and on about all the different, unique, and beautiful locations throughout Chicago perfect for indoor engagement photos. We’d be here all day though, so hopefully this list gets you thinking about the perfect location for your session. If you have a spot in mind or need some help scouting locations I’d love to be your photographer and get you on the right path! Head to my contact page to send me an inquiry and we can plan your session together!