Looking for engagement photo locations in Philadelphia? Firstly, Congrats! E-sessions are the perfect way to celebrate this new chapter in your lives. It’s an exciting time and it goes by quick! Undoubtably, you should soak up every moment of it! Also, engagement sessions are an amazing way to get to know your wedding photographer. In fact, it’s the perfect way to warm up for the big day! After years of photographing couples, I decided to compile a list of the best spots for engagement sessions in Philly. Check out our guide below for an iconic portrait session.
The Old City Loop
This is a nickname I have given one of my favorite corners of the city. It is easily walkable and full of charm. These spots are mostly on cobblestone streets where cars are not permitted. It’s a beautiful and historic oasis in the city and we love it. Indeed, If you want an old world feel, this is perfect for you. Most of these locations are within the Independence National Historical Park. You can find information regarding permits here.
First, we begin at the beautiful Merchants Exchange Building. This is my favorite spot for clean, bright and timeless images in the city. The lighting is best in the late afternoon.
After that, we head over to the cobblestone lanes. They are shaded, romantic and lines with beautiful trees. Next location is the 18th Century Garden. But first, there are many charming stops along the way. Free of traffic!
Now, we have arrived at the 18th Century Garden! This intimate spot is modeled after a 1700’s English Garden. It is quietly tucked away between the bustling streets. The unique gazebo is an unexpected feature. In addition, I also love this spot for a romantic elopement!
Last stop, Washington Square Park! I usually head here and then head back towards the Second Bank of the United States for some more Old City photos. Some other ideas are Independence Square and Signers Garden.
Furthermore, you can visit the Second Bank on your big day for some gorgeous wedding party shots! Hello Vanity Fair.
If you want your photos to have lots of character and color, you might want to consider heading to Fishtown! To begin with, this area is filled with hip establishments, wall murals and industrial streets. Some of the best spots for engagement sessions in Philly can be found in this area. Start on Girard avenue and head down Frankford Avenue. You will find lots of great eateries as well as pretty side streets. Don’t forget to stop at La Colombe, you’re welcome.
Afterward, head under the El on Front Street for a classic Fishtown aesthetic. Lastly, end your session at one of my favorite restaurants, Front Street Cafe! Their outdoor patio is a great place for drinks and appetizers. Alternatively, head over to Johnny Brenda’s. That’s where I met my hubby!
Art Museum / Fairmount
Looking for great views and beautiful architecture? Look no further than the Art Museum area. The boulevard, inspired by the Champs-Élysées, is lined with beautiful museums. This is one of best spots for engagement sessions in Philly. One of my favorite areas is the Rodin Museum. This little slice of Paris is down the street from the Art Museum.
Is there anything more iconic to Philadelphia than the Art Museum Steps? In fact, it’s what most out of towners think of. Tip – I strongly recommend starting here very early in the morning before the steps are buzzing with people doing the Rocky Run. With this in mind, it’s a tourist hot spot. In conclusion, if this location is important to you, the earlier the better!
Next, head to Water Works in the back of the Art Museum. From here, you will see a gorgeous view of boat house row on the Schuylkill River. You will also find multiple pavilions. I prefer the early evening lighting for this beautiful backdrop.
Lastly, venture back into the quaint streets of Fairmount neighborhood. You will find a more quiet residential portion of the area. This is a lovely option around the holidays with lots of string lights. Alternatively, in the spring you will find the streets filled with blooming cherry blossoms.
Best Spots for Engagement Sessions in Philly on the Waterfront
Another great idea is the Philadelphia waterfront. It keeps getting better and better! Race Street Pier is a scenic area with a great view of the Bridge in the background. I would recommend going to this spot early in the morning or at sunset if you prefer a direct golden glow.
After that, head onto the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and take the pedestrian walkway. You can park right before the entrance. Here you will find great views!
Alternatively, head over to the Jersey side at sunset for a gorgeous view of the Philadelphia skyline. The Camden Waterfront Park is newly renovated and reminds me a bit of Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Truthfully, I could write a whole blog post about South Philly. It’s full of character and I love it. I did a lot of exploring when I lived across from the BOK building (great idea for a session!) Some of my favorite places to eat in the city are on East Passyunk. This neighborhood is near and dear to my heart, but in this guide we will start at the wonderful Italian Market. This strip is full of life and old school charm.
Next, after you make your way through the market, wander around some of the nearby streets. Surely, you will find lots of brick and colorful lively doorways.
In addition, another great idea is to head a little more south to the Navy Yard! This waterfront business district has some really cool old buildings. You will also find huge ships and views of the Delaware River.
This area is known for upscale shopping as well as amazing food. You will always find a crowd of people in this area. Although, this location is more on the commercial side, you will still find quiet streets if you explore south. Rittenhouse Square is a beautiful park buzzing with activity. Undoubtedly, it’s sophisticated and full of life!
My favorite part is all the al fresco dining options. These outdoor eateries make for a wonderful backdrop in your engagement session. Tip – Always make sure to ask for permission before snapping a few shots.
Ahhh… Parc Bistro, my favorite.
Scenic Engagement Photo Locations in Philadelphia + Nearby
Looking for some scenic options close to the city? Here are a few suggestions! Firstly, head over to Strawberry Mansion inside of Fairmount Park. This beautiful historic building features beautiful gardens in the back.
Without a doubt, the park is huge and full of engagement photo locations in Philadelphia. After you have explored a bit, take a ride down Kelly Drive and you will find plenty of spots that are picturesque. East Falls is also a lovely spot for photography.
Furthermore, another great option is Bartram’s Gardens. Tucked away in Southwest Philadelphia, is the oldest surviving botanical garden in the US. This location is also an amazing wedding venue!
Best Spots for Engagement Sessions in Philly at Hotels & Airbnb’s
Lastly, there is the option to do your Philly Engagement session at a fun hotel or airbnb. This gives the shoot more of an “at home” type of vibe. My favorite location to shoot indoors is Lokal Hotel. The beautifully designed spaces feel like actual apartments. There are two locations in Philadelphia, both amazing for photography. The best part? You can turn your engagement session into a stylish staycation!
In conclusion, there is no shortage of engagement photo locations in Philadelphia. The options are truly endless! Above all, try to select a location that is special to you. I find myself working in a new area constantly. Let’s work together to find your dream spot!
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Lastly, remember to obtain the appropriate permits or ask for permission when planning out your session in the city.