I love when couples want to incorporate locations that are meaningful to them into their sessions, and I highly encourage it! Jordan and Nathan’s Eastern Market engagement session did exactly that. Their church, St. Joseph Shrine, is very important to them, so we decided to use it as our main backdrop.
St. Joseph Shrine is a historic church located in Eastern Market in Detroit. The church dates back to 1855 and has absolutely gorgeous architecture. I love the doorways and old stone so I tried to incorporate that during our session.
We decided to head over to Gratiot for a few city shots as well. I love that rainbow brick wall! It’s one of my favorite spots in the area.
Jordan and Nathan are so sweet! I loved hanging out with them and getting to know them. Also doesn’t Jordan’s makeup look amazing? The incredible Rosa Alcantara did it!! I highly recommend Rosa!
We actually shot this session in the middle of the day which can be really scary for some photographers! I embraced the light on this one, and though it’s not golden hour, we were able to use some direct sunlight, make use of shade of buildings (which is honestly key and why you can always shoot at just about any time in the city) which helped. I usually prefer morning or evening to give clients that glow look that they see in my images, but sometimes with scheduling it’s not possible so we make due!
I’m so glad they found me and I was able to not only work with them on their Eastern Market engagement session, but their intimate October wedding! Stay tuned for the gorgeous images from that day!
We had the most gorgeous summer evening for Angela and Michael’s downtown Utica engagement session! These two had to reschedule their June 2020 wedding AND their wedding shower, so they opted to celebrate their engagement and had me out to Downtown Utica, Michigan where they live!
There are a few things I always advise my engagement session clients to do. The first is to pick a place that is special to them if possible. This isn’t always possible so if you can’t pick a special spot or you don’t have one, then pick a spot that vibes with your relationship. The second is to always bring your dog along (see another dog friendly session here). Maggie May was such a good pup for the camera!
I’d never done a downtown Utica engagement session before, but the best part was that everything was pretty close and we just walked from place to place. We got so lucky with the August golden hour (summer golden hours really can’t be beat!) and downtown Utica has a lot to offer for an engagement session. Back alleys, a nice little riverside park, a bridge. It’s really all there! I love exploring new places when shooting – it keeps me on my toes and forces me to continue to be creative.
Angela and Michael, like Maggie May, are super sweet. So easy to talk to and full of life and laughter – I’ve enjoyed getting to know them more throughout our planning process, and am so glad we were able to get in an engagement session!
Can’t wait to celebrate these two (fingers crossed) in June 2021! They’ve been waiting a long time and I know it’ll be worth it!
Emilie happened to win my engagement session giveaway last December right after she booked her wedding! I absolutely love that her and Nico took my advice and had an Eastern Market engagement session. We hadn’t met in person until the session but after following Emilie on Instagram for some time, I was pretty sure Eastern Market would fit her and Nico’s vibes. And I think I was right!
We started at the Dequindre Cut which is connected to Eastern Market. One of my favorite parts of this entire area is all the great art! And it changes all the time. Every time I visit the Eastern Market area, I find new backgrounds and textures to use. For instance, the spray painted “forever and always” below wasn’t there the next time I visited in October.
I think the Dequindre Cut and Eastern Market are underused for photography sessions. Most clients really want to visit downtown, and I don’t blame them because I love downtown Detroit too. But I love the colorful, playfulness of this part of the city so much.
Emilie and Nico are just so natural in front of the camera. They met through mutual friends at one of Nico’s hockey games. They’re super laid back and the right amount of chill honestly. They just left me to tell their “awkward” selves what to do. I think these two look ANYTHING but awkward. We had a TON of fun exploring. I left having laughed more than I had in a longgggg time.
The funniest part of this session is that they brought a letter board with their wedding date on it. Due to COVID, they ended up moving up their wedding day to August to a private residence and it was incredible. I can’t wait to share it on the blog soon!!
I was so excited this summer to finally get to shoot a downtown Grand Rapids engagement session! I spent four years in West Michigan for college (Go Hope!) but I’ve never been able to do an engagement session in downtown Grand Rapids. When Erika and Will booked me for their September 2020 wedding, they knew they wanted to use the city as a backdrop for their engagement session!
During this downtown Grand Rapids engagement session, we stopped at quite a few landmarks around the city, including this awesome mid-century wall, murals over on Library Street, and of course the infamous Blue Bridge. Does anyone really make it out of Grand Rapids without using the Blue Bridge somehow?
Erika and Will are college sweethearts and met at Central Michigan University. Right before their engagement session bought a house AND got the most adorable golden retriever puppy, Nala. I can’t believe how many of my clients have dogs and always want to feature them in their photos – I’m always game for that, your dogs are always welcome at your sessions!
We headed to Provin Trails just outside the city to meet Nala and get some nature photos because these two love to spend time outside! Golfing, skiing, hiking, you name it, they’re an active couple! Nala was just as sweet as can be (wait until you see her in their wedding photos from September, my oh my she got big). She was so good for the camera. I’m so glad Erika and Will choose to include her.
Abby and Alkin’s downtown Detroit winter engagement session was a perfect example of why February doesn’t suck for downtown sessions. Downtown Detroit winter engagement sessions are never a bad idea — the city shines in any season!
Abby and I actually knew each other as kids. She lived on the same street as one of my childhood friends and we actually played softball together for several years. I was honored that she asked me to photograph her and Alkin’s wedding and engagement photos!
These two met while working at a local bowling alley, not a story you hear too often in the Internet age, but adorable nonetheless. Workplace romances is a common theme for many of my clients.
We started at the Dequindre Cut for a few photos with Abby and Alkin’s dog, Ollie. What a good boy! Also, are you sensing a trend that I attract a lot of dog lovers? Why, yes, I do. If you are a cat lover, it’s no problem, promise. We won’t hold it against you — that much. Just kidding!
We shifted to Greektown, which is a fun yet underused part of town. Alkin is a pro poker player and a casino lover. Though you can’t photograph inside the casinos, we did dip in for a clothes change and to warm up.
After being foiled by the People Mover (which I usually NEVER take), we walked down to the Riverfront to use Hart Plaza. Being February and rather chilly, we had the place to ourselves. You can’t tell in the photos, but these two were rather cold (remember it’s way colder by the water) but were definitely troopers for this downtown Detroit winter engagement session. Anything for the photo, right?
Can’t wait to (hopefully) celebrate these two in November at their wedding!
Getting married? These top Detroit engagement session locations are perfect for photos that announce the big day. With the renaissance of the city, Detroit has become a popular spot for an engagement session. With a sprawling city like Detroit, there are so many places you could visit. Here’s my top Detroit engagement session locations you’ll want to check out before your session.
1. The Belt
An iconic downtown Detroit engagement session location is The Belt, an alley filled with art, market lighting, and some cool bars you can duck into for an after session date. The Belt is a really popular spot to end a Detroit engagement session because the lights photograph so beautifully. Located just steps away from Woodward Avenue, The Belt is a quick stop and great for those who love art and bright colors.
2. Eastern Market
Heading away from downtown Detroit, just up Gratiot is Eastern Market, one of the best spots in the city to spent a Saturday morning. There are so many murals that make for excellent Detroit engagement session backdrops. If you’re a fan of eating or drinking, Eastern Market is a perfect Detroit engagement session location. Check out Eastern Market Brewing for a good beer.
3. The Dequindre Cut
This hidden gem, the Dequindre Cut is a bike and walking path leading from the Riverfront in the Warehouse District to Eastern Market. You could spend an entire engagement session on the cut, but I suggest pairing it with Eastern Market to give you some variety. The Dequindre Cut is great for a grungier, more graffiti loving couple. It’s not highly trafficked with photographers, making it a hidden Detroit engagement session location gem (shhhh don’t tell everyone, okay?)!
4. Belle Isle
Everyone in Detroit knows about the magical island Belle Isle, with is stunning conservatory and perfect sunset skyline views. Belle Isle is truly a gorgeous Detroit engagement session location. Requiring a permit for use, I think it’s 100% worth it because the island gives you so much to explore. From a large marble fountain to the conservatory to a historic casino to willow trees and Japanese-style bridges to beaches, you have so many options.
5. The Warehouse District
Much overlooked, the Warehouse District is still gentrifying and still has a little bit of the old, rundown, rough and tumble Detroit. I can’t tell you exact locations to use, but the Warehouse District runs along the riverfront. With cobblestone streets, a perfect shot of the Renaissance Center, and lots of rundown buildings with ivy, its not-polished nature is perfect for casual couples. Atwater Brewery is also a great stop if you’re into their beers. The Vanilla Java Porter is famously my favorite.
6. The Detroit Institute of Arts & Detroit Public Library
Heading up to mid-town, the Detroit Institute of Arts and Detroit Public Library are across the street from each other. One is more popular than the other (take a wild guess), but both are marble buildings with lots of character. I happen to enjoy using the blossoming trees around them in the spring and summer. Though you can’t head inside the DIA (you can at the library with prior permission), outdoors is perfect for a more elegant Detroit engagement session location. There are some ground rules about the steps at the DIA, but plan to come in the morning before opening (preferably on a Sunday) and you’ll find the entire place deserted.
7. Palmer Park
Another hidden gem (in my opinion) for those that want to use two Detroit engagement session locations but want nature and don’t want to head all the way to Belle Isle is Palmer Park. Located in the north side of town, closer to the Ferndale border and the Detroit Golf Club, Palmer Park offers a large field, an abandoned fountain, and honestly a beautiful golden hour. Almost no one bothers to use Palmer Park for engagement photos and I can’t figure out why. The tall grass, trees, and look of a field are highly sought after in the suburbs.
Corktown has changed in recent years, especially with Ford Motor Company’s purchase of the old Michigan Central Station. There once was a time where photographing the abandoned station seemed edgy but not anymore. Either way, Corktown’s cobblestone street, fun restaurants and bars, and neighborhood vibes are perfect for laid back couples. Corktown isn’t as popular as downtown or Eastern Market when it comes to Detroit engagement session locations, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less amazing. Head down to the West Riverfront Park at the end of your session for a perfect view of the Ambassador Bridge.
9. The Riverfront
The Detroit Riverfront is very long and the Riverwalk functions as a bike, walking and running path. It can get a little busy during the summer. But along the way, you can get beautiful views of the Renaissance Center, the Detroit Princess riverboat, and the Ambassador Bridge. If you make a quick stop at Hart Plaza, you can grab some engagement photos with the art in that area or head right up Woodward Avenue for more photos.
Greektown, adjacent to downtown, is a fun, colorful place for engagement photos in Detroit. The market lights are similar to the Belt but hang over a road filled with colorful shops and restaurants.
11. Capitol Park
As many head to Campus Martias, instead sneak over to Capitol Park, which is a small little park off of Griswold with beautiful lights, a Christmas tree lot during the holidays, and perfect views down Griswold of the Guardian Building. It’s usually less crowded than Campus Martias during the busy holiday season, making it perfect for a winter downtown Detroit engagement session.
12. Campus Martias
I know, I have to mention it, but Campus Martias is really a picturesque Detroit engagement session location during the holidays. All of the light displays, the huge Christmas tree, and the skating rink really do make it so beautiful for a winter engagement session. It can get crowded so if you are nervous around people, it’s not recommended or try for a weekday session.
13. Parker’s Alley
Behind the new Shinola Hotel lies Parker’s Alley, similar to The Belt but more modern. You won’t find a ton of murals here, but lots of brick and a modern feel. Stop in at Madcap Coffee if you two are coffee lovers for a drink during your engagement session.
14. Cass Avenue Viaduct
For art lovers, visit the Cass Avenue Viaduct for a bright backdrop and beautiful golden hour light. Location on Cass Avenue in New Center, just down the street from the Fisher Building, the viaduct is a great stop but try not to park illegally (parking is a little weird in this location). As for Detroit engagement session locations, this is a great spot for rainy day engagement sessions since indoor locations in Detroit are dwindling.
Deciding between Detroit Engagement Session Locations?
When you have so many options, it’s hard to decide where to go! The important thing is to choose not the “coolest” location but the location that you identify with the most. If you’re planning a Detroit engagement session, get in touch with me!