Marrying Engagements to Architecture: Taking your engagement photos from the city to your wall

Chicago is my kind of town. As a photographer, it is second to none. Some may say that the light is pretty, the views in the distance are perfect as a backdrop, but this amazing city pushes me to take things one step further. So, I dig. I dig in to find the architecture that makes up this great city and translate it to my engagement and wedding photographs. From little alleyways illuminated by a single light, to grandiose iconic effigies of a bygone era, this subject is something I have become passionate about, and actually have had the opportunity to teach to other photographers.

Engagement photos allow you and your photographer to get to know each other, as well as present the opportunity for you to become a little more comfortable in front of the camera.  Additionally, and not so apparent is the chance to use this gorgeous city as a canvas for some truly romantic moments that you will want hung on your walls.

Engagement photos are a great way to capture some images of you as a couple, before the white dress or the fancy tuxedo. These images are more about the quintessential dynamic and energy that a couple has, and often times can be just as, if not more, treasured than the more formal (although gorgeous) wedding day photos. Whether it be on the streets of Venice as a destination engagement, or a stylized session with custom dresses and suits, these are images that are different from those on your wedding day.

Architecture is something I have always been drawn to, and with engagement sessions there is a way to capture both the Chicago architecture you love, with the love you two have for each other. The eclectic, historic and perpetually interesting architectural elements of Chicago become the canvas for your chemistry as a couple to come to life. We can communicate different things through these images, whether it be moody and mysterious using light and shadow, or perhaps a favorite architectural piece you identify with.

The use of perspective, lighting, and symmetry in all of these architectural engagements allow the images to become pieces of art. Imagine walking in to a print gallery, or even Ikea, and being tempted to purchase a really gorgeous photograph of a building. Pretty fantastic, right? Now add you, the couple in to that scene, and you have what an architectural engagement photo is all about. It is about creating the images you truly want to see blown up and hung on your walls!

“Arch-Engagements” can be shot year-round, day or night, good weather or bad. Some of the most gorgeous images come from periods of inclement weather. It adds a unique feel to a scene. Glossy streets, a change in color on stone facades and the early illumination of street lights can all be used to your advantage.  A skilled photographer will always jump at this opportunity, so don’t cancel that appointment!

The photos that come out of your engagement session using some architecture will be all the more interesting and increase the potential of placing them up on your wall and using them for your “save-the-dates.” At the end of the day, photographs should live in your home, not in your phone or on a thumb drive in a desk drawer.  They are not only a memory to be remembered by you and your partner, but also by future generations to come.

Thank you to Collin for his wonderful thoughts on engagement sessions featuring local architecture! To learn more about the subject or to chat with Collin about scheduling your own “Arch-Engagement” photo session, call 312-970-1243 or email Be sure to check out his work at!