Congratulations on your engagement! As you get farther into your wedding planning, it’s time to start thinking about where you want to have your engagement session. While the Midwest has no shortage of great options, Milwaukee and its surrounding area are home to some of my absolute favorite spots for engagement photos. Check out my guide to having an incredible Milwaukee engagement session and you’ll see why!
Milwaukee is an incredible city with so much to offer, there is literally something for everyone either in the city itself or nearby. It’s the largest city in Wisconsin, and it’s located right on the coast of Lake Michigan about an hour and a half north of Chicago making it an incredible tourist destination. There are SO many things to enjoy in Milwaukee, from lively city vibes in places like the Deer District, to more relaxed areas to let loose like the River Walk. Milwaukee has something for everyone and in turn a great variety of locations for engagement photos.
Not only does the city itself have a lot to offer in terms of entertainment and scenery, but the surrounding area is also home to some truly amazing outdoor retreats. Places like the Lion’s Den Gorge and Havenwoods State Forest offer some great hiking paths and outdoor experiences for those that are more on the adventurous side. Their location in relation to Milwaukee also make them perfect options for a break from the city if you’re in the area, or a second part to your engagement photos session.
As mentioned above Milwaukee and its surrounding areas really do have something for everyone so you can’t really go wrong when choosing a location for your engagement session. That being said I did narrow down a list to my top five locations in and around Milwaukee for engagement photos for you. This is by no means an end-all be-all list, but I love these locations for an engagement session. If you have locations of your own that you’d like to try though I am down!
Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve is the perfect spot for adventurous engagement photos in the Milwaukee area. The preserve is one of the last bits of natural bluff land along Lake Michigan’s shoreline making it absolutely gorgeous to walk through. There are so many amazing opportunities for engagement photos here along the hiking trails, between the wetlands, scenic overlooks, the bridge over the gorge, or even on the Lake Michigan shoreline itself. If you’re looking for an adventure for your engagement session this is the spot.
This art museum located just outside of downtown Milwaukee on the coast of Lake Michigan is the perfect backdrop for an engagement session. The grounds of the museum are filled with lush greenery and beautiful sculptures and architecture that give you so many options to work with for your photos. There is an admission fee of $10 per person for entry and we’ll need a photography permit as well which is $75 an hour. On the first Wednesday of the month, there’s no admission fee, but those days tend to be a little on the busier side! The added cost is SO worth it though. Villa Terrace has so many gorgeous spaces for an engagement session that we could spend all day there and still have more spots to try.
The River Walk is located in the heart of downtown Milwaukee in its historic Third Ward. I LOVE the River Walk for engagement photos. It’s one of my favorite places in downtown Milwaukee in general, but being able to take photos along the path is so much fun. The wooden boardwalk with the water and Milwaukee’s city skyline and buildings in the background make for some amazing opportunities.
The Deer District is located right in downtown Milwaukee and is the area surrounding the Fiserv Forum. If you’re looking for a downtown Milwaukee vibe for your engagement photos the Deer District is THE place to be. The plaza for the Fiserv forum, the brick walls with murals, and all the surrounding side streets make for some incredible backdrops for your session. The Deer District is great for sports lovers, but even if sports aren’t your thing the area has so much to offer in terms of photo opportunities. We’ll have to check the forum’s schedule for scheduling purposes though if we’re looking to avoid the craziness of game days and concerts!
Located just next door to Milwaukee’s Third Ward, Lake Shore State Park is a beautiful space that has some seriously awesome locations for your engagement photos. It’s wide open fields let you get the natural feel for some photos while also allowing you to have the Milwaukee skyline or Lake Michigan in the background. Head to the beach for some more photos right down by the water or to the bridge that leads to Hank Aaron State Trail and head right back into the city.
Now that we’ve got the where, it’s time to figure out the when. Just like how Milwaukee has a lot of options when it comes to locations, the same is true for weather possibilities.
The weather in the Midwest can be a little unpredictable at times, as long as you’re down though we’ll take pictures rain or shine. My general rule of thumb is, if we will be safe in the weather and my gear won’t be ruined, we will be good to go.
Late spring and fall sessions are typically the safest in terms of neutral weather. You’ll have more flexibility with outfits, because of the temperature, and you can rely on things to stay fairly dry.
Winter sessions are SO much fun because in a lot of cases there is a LOT less traffic in some of the popular photo spots of Milwaukee. We will have forest preserves to ourselves and streets have a lot less pedestrians making conditions perfect for letting loose and having a good time with your partner. It is a bit colder so you will have to dress in layers, but if you don’t mind a cooler temperature, a winter session will be perfect for you.
If you want a session during the summer months I LOVE to have sessions out by the lake. With the cool breeze and being able to splash in the water, we are able to have a great time while still staying cool. With longer days you will also have more flexibility in terms of timing which is great for weekday sessions.
If you plan to have your session in a place like the Lions Den Nature preserve, you will want to have your session within two or so hours of sunset or start with the sunrise. Having your sessions during these times of the day creates an even and diffused lighting that is more flattering to photograph in.
When you have your session in a city you tend to have a little more flexibility and arguably want your session a little earlier in the day. Starting an hour after sunrise or around 3 pm is typically a safe time to have your session in the city as long as you are away from the lake. This allows for plenty of light, even lighting throughout the city, and helps you to avoid rush hour in terms of pedestrians heading to dinner.
Milwaukee is such an incredible place and is a fantastic option to consider when planning your engagement photos. No matter what you’re feeling and what vibe you’re looking for you’ll be able to find it in and around Milwaukee and that is truly something special. If you’re looking to start planning an engagement session of your own head over to my services page to get started!