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Engagement Information

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Engagement photos are often seen as a “tossed-in” item when choosing a wedding photographer but they should be so much more. The engagement process is the first step in a long journey of planning one of the biggest events of your lifetime, your wedding day. This journey should be celebrated, cherished, and remembered forever. Rue and I like to take the time and invest in our engagement couples in the same manner that we invest in our couples that are getting married; you deserve it. Our couples get an opportunity to get in front of the camera together. Often this is their first time to get a feel for what that’s like before their big day. Let’s look at a few Chicagoland engagement photo locations.

If you need more inspiration go check out our Top wedding venues in the Chicago suburbs!

Engagement Photos For Your Style

You have your own personality and style, of course. You may have a vision for your engagement photo style and we also have our own style that we typically photograph. However, the options for styles, outfits, and locations are endless (and even overwhelming!). So let’s take some time to try and break them down a bit to make choosing a little easier.

Now, it’d be great if we could have an engagement session in a wooded city next to a grassland on the beach all while walking through an abandoned building. Unfortunately, Illinois doesn’t really offer that (if you know where this unicorn exists, please hit me up). The great thing about all of the Chicagoland engagement photo locations in this blog is that you can change the vibe just by going from formal wear to a more casual look. I was going to dive into the specific on different clothing styles here but then I realized Rue should probably write that since I struggle to dress myself appropriately most days.

Head over to our contact page to set up a time to chat about your photos!

Types of Chicagoland engagement photo locations:

  • Industrial
  • Cityscape
  • Beachfront
  • Grasslands
  • Home bodies
  • Woodsy

Industrial Engagement Photo Locations

The industrial look is trendy right now and can work with both formalwear and a more casual look. The colors, the grit, and the just naturally tough look makes for some amazing photos. Take a look at the Fulton River District session we recently did.

Chicagoland Industrial Engagement Photos
Chicagoland Industrial Engagement Photos
Chicagoland Industrial Engagement Photos

Cityscape Engagement Photo Locations

We have this really cool spot that no one knows about, but I’ll let you know since it’s just the two of us here. It’s called downtown Chicago. The opportunities are endless here because you can get 3-4 vibes just by walking 3-4 blocks. Our River North session was our favorite.

Chicagoland downtown engagement photos
Chicagoland downtown engagement photos

Beachfront Engagement Photo Locations

Beachfront engagement photos are some of my personal favorite. There is just something about a couple dressed to the nines with their shoes off kicking up sand that makes me smile for days. Warm, colorful sand and some of Chicagoland’s best sunsets are timeless photo backgrounds. We took these two lovebirds to Kemil Beach

Chicagoland beachfront engagement photos
Kemil Beach
Chicagoland beachfront engagement photos
Chicagoland beachfront engagement photos

Grassland Engagement Photo Locations

What does Illinois have an unlimited supply of? Grasslands. No matter where you live in the area, I can almost guarantee you there is a forest preserve with a beautiful prairie. They are super popular right now and really make photos pop with the colorful greens and flowers in the spring and summer. Also, they provide those warm color feels in the fall.

Home Bodies

We meet quite a few couples that just want to capture their engagement in their natural habitat. If that describes you then this may be a good option for you. The comfort of being in your own space really seems to let people be themselves and open up for us.

Woodsy Engagement Photo Locations

Almost any time of the year is a great time to find a tree lined path or street for some really moody, romantic, and colorful engagement photos. Deep greens… Fall colors… Snow covered branches… You name it and it looks good in these locations.

Chicagoland engagement photo locations
Morton Arboretum

These six general locations/styles are pretty broad. You could break these down further and have subcategories but being a little more general allows for some flexibility to capture your moments in multiple styles possibly in one location. Hopefully we have already chatted, and this is just helping you narrow down your style, but if we haven’t let’s connect and chat about what will work best for your personalities and your vision. We want your engagement photos to fit you and your style, so let’s make this happen together.

Head over to our contact page to set up a time to chat about your photos!

Kemil Beach

Riverview Farmstead

Chicagoland Engagement Photo Locations | Chicago Wedding Photographers

The Farmhouse Plainfield Details


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We met Angie and Jose in the beginning of the year to start talking about their rustic farmhouse wedding plans. Their laid back vibes and detail oriented approach to wedding planning made us an easy fit for one another. The couple’s primary focus was enjoying the day with their closest family and friends.

When they said they were planning to have their wedding at The Farmhouse Plainfield Wedding Venue we knew everything was going to be incredible. The rustic wedding venue in Plainfield, IL has made a couple other appearances on your blogs including The Farmhouse Plainfield and Top Wedding Venues in The Chicago Suburbs.

Details | Plainfield IL Rustic Farmhouse Wedding

Getting Ready & First-Touch | Plainfield IL Rustic Farmhouse Wedding

The Farmhouse Plainfield makes it easy to get great “getting ready” photos. This couple decided to go with a first touch instead of a first look. I think they were able to get everything they wanted for their rustic farmhouse wedding.

Ceremony | Plainfield IL Wedding

Portraits | Plainfield IL Wedding

Reception | Plainfield IL Wedding

You should go check out The Farmhouse Plainfield for your rustic farmhouse wedding!

If you are looking for more options head on over to our Top Wedding Venues in The Chicago Suburbs

Let’s chat to go over your photography plans!

Elegance at a Rustic Farmhouse Wedding

The Farmhouse Plainfield top wedding venues in the Chicago suburbs


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What makes a venue one of the top wedding venues in the Chicago suburbs? We go to so many places and meet so many people own a regular basis. For us, people make a huge difference in how we feel about a location. However, the aesthetics, options available, pricing, and guest experience have huge impact on the bride and groom’s decision when choosing the one of the top wedding venue in the Chicago suburbs.

The city has so much to offer but also still falls short in so many places. Commuting around in the city is always a chore and parking is never cheap and almost always hard to come by. Then there is that additional price tag added on just for being in the good old Chicago zip code. Move your wedding out to the Chicago suburbs and the cost comes down, hotels are more affordable, parking is easy, and everything is much more accessible for most guests.

As more and more incredible wedding locations pop up in the Chicago suburbs we wanted to take some time to narrow down a few of our top wedding venues.

Top Wedding Venues in The Chicago Suburbs:

  • The Farmhouse Plainfield
  • Morton Arboretum
  • Fishermen’s Inn
  • Warehouse 109
  • Whitetail Ridge
  • Chicago Marriott Naperville
  • Gathering Barn
  • Medinah Country Club

The Farmhouse Plainfield | Top Wedding Venues in The Chicago Suburbs

We did a whole post just on how incredible this place is. Go check that out here! The Farmhouse Plainfield can accommodate up to 200 guests and has a ton of great Google reviews. The property features a large main event building, bridal suite, groomsmen suite, outdoor ceremony and patio area, multiple bars, multiple outbuildings for anything your mind can imagine, and some of the best natural landscaping any wedding venue around.

The staff here is super accommodating and has been nothing but great to us. Go check out Farmhouse if you are looking to have your wedding in the Chicago suburbs. It surely will not disappoint!

The Farmhouse Plainfield top wedding venues in the Chicago suburbs

Morton Arboretum | Top Wedding Venues in The Chicago Suburbs

Morton Arboretum, do I need to say anything else? For being right off a tollway it is so incredibly easy to get lost inside. I feel like every time I go there I find some new spot that I have never seen before. Every season brings new life.

Morton Arboretum has a 4.8 star rating on The Knot and is listed as a moderate cost. They have several spots for ceremonies to take place but can handle up to 300 guests in the larger facility. The natural beauty of the location makes it so easy to find several great locations for couples photos after the ceremony. Here is a link to their pricing sheet for your reference.

Morton Arboretum Wedding top wedding venues in the Chicago suburbs
Couples Photo after Wedding ceremony at Morton Arboretum

Fishermen’s Inn | Top Wedding Venues in The Chicago Suburbs

Fishermen’s Inn is another hidden gem out in Elburn. It could be a bit of a drive for some but would be well worth checking out. The times that we have shot at Fishermen’s Inn we noticed that the staff takes a lot of pride in their facility and are always willing to help make the bride and groom’s day as special as possible.

They have a 4.9 star rating on The Knot, are listed as a moderate cost, and can handle up to 300 guests. They are known to be described as rustically elegant and naturally beautiful. That coupled with exquisite cuisine and top notch professional services makes it a must check out location for brides and grooms in the area.

Fishermen's Inn Wedding Venue top wedding venues in the Chicago suburbs

Warehouse 109 | Top Wedding Venues in The Chicago Suburbs

Warehouse 109 is in the heart of Plainfield. I like this area due to the very popular downtown area as well as the close proximity to highways and Naperville and Joliet. There are plenty of places for guests to get a room overnight and tons of bars and restaurants for pre-gaming and after parties.

Warehouse 109 is a smaller boutique venue that can handle up to 150 guests. They are also listed as being a moderate cost on The Knot and have a ton of really great reviews. Their starting price for a Friday is right around $4000.00. Here is a quick link to their current pricing sheet.

Whitetail Ridge | Top Wedding Venues in The Chicago Suburbs

Whitetail Ridge is another Western suburb gem. This one lands you all the way out in Yorkville. This golf course wedding venue boasts a combination of rustic feels, as well as elegance touches. There are so many photo opportunities including a white barn, an s-shaped bridge, lush forests and open fields.

They are listed on The Knot as being affordable and able to handle more than 300 guests. So if you need a large venue, this could be the one for you. They have an incredible 4.7 star rating and the ceremony site cost starts at $750.00. All other costs depend on the package selected and number of guests. Here is a link to their pricing information.

Whitetail Ridge Wedding Venue top wedding venues in the Chicago suburbs

Chicago Marriott Naperville | Top Wedding Venues

We recently shot a wedding at the Chicago Marriott Naperville after the ceremony in downtown Geneva. There is definitely a benefit to having your wedding at a larger venue attached to a hotel. All of your guests can stay in a room right on site and you don’t have to worry about traveling or people driving when they shouldn’t. These places are also well oiled machines that are typically all-inclusive.

The Chicago Marriott Naperville has a 4.7 rating on The Knot is listed as moderate cost and can accommodate over 300 guests. The ceremony sites start at $300.00 and the per person cost for the reception starts at $85.00. Here is a link to their pricing information.

Chicago Marriott Naperville
Interior photo of Chicago Marriott Naperville Wedding reception

Gathering Barn | Top Wedding Venues

The Gathering Barn may not be quite considered a Chicago suburb wedding venue but I still wanted to add it to the list. This one is up in Fort Atkinson Wisconsin and set on a farm. The staff there has always been super helpful and willing to make anything happen. They off a separate bridal suite and groomsmen’s suite for all the getting ready needs. The property is well landscaped and has a ton of different locations for all the photography needs.

The Gathering Barn has a 5.0 star rating on The Knot and is listed as an affordable wedding venue. They can accommodate more than 300 guests and have a ton of parking right on site. If you are up in the Wisconsin area and looking for a great wedding venue go ahead and check them out. We already wrote a great blog specifically on this venue. Here it is!

The Gathering Barn Wedding Venue top wedding venues in the Chicago suburbs
Outside building at The Gathering Barn Wedding venue
Interior Photo of The Gathering Barn Wedding Venue
Wedding reception at the Gathering Barn Wedding Venue

Medinah Country Club | Top Wedding Venues

Medinah Country Club is one of those places that will take your breath away from the second you drive onto the property. The grounds are so meticulously maintained and the facility is incredibly large. We have had nothing but great experiences there.

Medinah can handle up to 250 guests and is listed as being a moderate cost on The Knot. They are able to handle everything on site including full planning and all meals. They boast a 4.9 star rating and their pricing information can be found here.

Outdoor view of Medinah Country Club wedding Venue top wedding venues in the Chicago suburbs


No matter what you are looking for you are sure to find a top wedding venue in the Chicago suburbs. We like going to a venue that we have shot at before, it’s comfortable. However we love going to new places and discovering new things. We will try to keep this updated and moved around as we find more places that just speak to us and that we think you will love. Head on over to our gallery page for some more inspiration during your search.

The Chicago suburbs have so much to offer. There are wedding venues to suit all of your needs.

Top wedding venues in the Chicago suburbs

Top Wedding Venues in The Chicago Suburbs

The Farmhouse Plainfield


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The first thing most couples do when they get engaged is pick a potential wedding date. Next, they start the search for the perfect wedding venue. Some couples even have their dream wedding venue picked out prior to the engagement. You can do anything from all-inclusive to pick your every detail with separate vendors. Either way, most brides and grooms start their wedding vision at the physical location where their wedding will take place. That’s where The Farmhouse Plainfield Wedding Venue comes in.

We want to capture your day at The Farmhouse Plainfield IL! Let’s chat!

The Farmhouse Plainfield
The Farmhouse Plainfield Wedding Venue Reception Area

The Farmhouse Plainfield

The Farmhouse Plainfield IL wedding venue sits on 10 acres of land in Plainfield, Illinois. The grounds are so meticulously maintained that I feel you don’t even need to bring in many floral decorations. They have taken so much time to plan and make the space perfect from any angle. It really is a wedding photographers dream.

The 10 acre property includes:

  • Main event space for up to 200 guests
  • Indoor & outdoor access to the bar
  • Multiple outdoor fireplaces
  • Second bar building
  • Massive outdoor patio areas
  • An incredible outdoor ceremony location
  • Bridal Suite
  • Groom’s suite
  • Multiple rustic buildings

The Farmhouse Plainfield | Bride & Grooms suite

Bridal Suite

The bridal suite is an expansive space set up just for that. Salon style chairs with a full wall of mirrors make this the perfect spot for every bride, bridesmaid, and every other person involved to get ready. Also, access to a beautiful outdoor patio gives you that space to relax. You need this before one of the busiest and best days of your life. Since we are always looking at things from the photography eye, I should take the time to say that the amount of natural light in the suite makes our lives so much easier and your photos that much better!

Farmhouse Plainfield Bridal Suite

Groom’s suite

So many wedding venues have great bridal suites, but so many forget to take care of the guys too. The Farmhouse did not forget the guys when they planned their space. They have the entire second floor of the original farmhouse on the property. When I walked into the space you could tell they took a lot of time to make it incredible. When you walk up to the second floor you have access to three large rooms and a massive full bathroom with a shower. The rooms are set up with great natural light coming through the windows as well as that perfect lounge feel for the guys to get ready and relax before the wedding begins.

The Farmhouse Plainfield | Outdoor Ceremony

The ceremony is where it all starts. This is probably where the bride and groom will see each other for the first time, where they will say I do, and where they will be announced for the first time as mr. and mrs. That, to me, makes this one of the most important spaces when planning your wedding. Outdoor ceremonies are definitely my favorite. You can’t beat the light that the sun provides. The Farmhouse has that same mentality, it’s obvious in their design of the space. From the stone pavers, to the massive fireplace as a centerpiece, to the beautiful landscaping, every angle looks like a fairytale wedding.

The Farmhouse Plainfield | Outdoor Grounds

If you aren’t careful you could probably spend an entire wedding just walking around the property admiring all of the flowers, trees, and rustic buildings The Farmhouse Plainfield Wedding Venue has to offer. We have seen the outbuildings used as cigar bars, bars, and just general hangout spaces. The possibilities seem unlimited. With all of the fireplaces, patio string lights, and outdoor sitting areas we have seen a lot of the guests end up spending their evening enjoying the outdoors.

The Farmhouse Plainfield | Reception Space

The main event building is a massive 7000 square foot building with room for up to 200 guests to sit and eat. Enormous sliding barn doors lead into a space with so many windows and incredibly tall ceilings that impress everyone when they first walk in. There is plenty of space for everyone to sit and still have a dance floor where everyone can enjoy their night. Food can be served from their gourmet chef’s kitchen area so you don’t have to take up your party space and the massive bar keeps all of the guests well hydrated.

Time to plan

The staff at The Farmhouse Plainfield Il is available for continuous cleaning during your event. Wedding stylist/coordinators are available to make your day perfect. It’s obvious that the owner loves his facility and cares about the couples because he is usually on site the day of the event. You don’t get those personal touches everywhere.

The Farmhouse Plainfield Il is a wedding photographers ideal place to capture a wedding.

You really should take the time to consider having your wedding at The Farmhouse!

For all The Farmhouse Plainfield pricing or The Farmhouse Plainfield cost just reach out to them.

Let’s set up a time to talk so we can be there with you!

If you need more inspiration go check out our Top wedding venues in the Chicago suburbs!

The Farmhouse Wedding Venue, 12729 Naperville Rd, Plainfield, IL 60585

Go and give them a call at (815) 210-2980 and book with them soon! I am sure their 2022 and 2023 wedding dates are booking up extremely fast!

The Farmhouse Plainfield Wedding Venue

Chicago Wedding Photo


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Rue and I have done a mix of elopements over the years. They became very polar during the pandemic and the trend seems to be continuing. More and more couples are opting for the more intimate setting. We enjoy getting so much one on one time with the couples to explore whatever area they are eloping in. We love touring old downtown areas like downtown Jolliet, obviously Chicago, forest preserves, or even the couples own backyard.

We would love to capture your Chicago elopement. As Chicago wedding photographers we can help you plan the best elopement location to make your day special!

Head on over to our about us page to learn more about Rue and I.

If you need more inspiration go check out our Top wedding venues in the Chicago suburbs!

Chicago Wedding Photo
Chicago Wedding Photo
Chicago Wedding Photo
Chicago Wedding Photo
Chicago Wedding Photo
Chicago Wedding Photo
Chicago Wedding Photo

Chicago Elopement | Chicago Wedding Photographers


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The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois provides an amazing backdrop for every occasion. The Fragrance garden provides a great space for a small outdoor wedding ceremony. There are an unlimited number of locations to do photos for engagements and couples photos before or after a ceremony. Also, tall trees, dark paths, open fields of tall grass, meadows of wild flowers, or whatever else your heart desires is here.

If you need more inspiration go check out our Top wedding venues in the Chicago suburbs!

Austin and Stuti contacted us about having us photograph their small outdoor wedding ceremony in the Fragrance Garden at Morton Arboretum. Of course knowing what we know about the facility, we jumped all over it. It was a simple ceremony with their closest family and friends. The Fragrance Garden is a small space and ideal for their needs of their day.

Everything went exactly as planned, including the beautiful music played by Harpist Dawn Bishop. The ceremony was short and sweet and family photos were taken right there in the garden.

My favorite part about The Morton Arboretum happened after the small outdoor wedding ceremony at the Fragrance Garden. Then, we took Stuti and Austin around the grounds to explore the many photo spots they have to offer to get some amazing photos of the newlywed couple. I could not even begin to explain all of the different locations Morton has to offer. Rue and I definitely have our favorites that we like to take our couples to but we always love input from our bride and groom.

Event Space – Morton Arboretum Fragrance Garden

Music – Harpist Dawn Bishop

Photography – Eight Hands Photography

Small Outdoor Wedding Ceremony | Chicago Wedding Photographers


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Being a Chicago based wedding photography company we have become well versed in the areas surrounding us and the local venues that we love.  An area we were not familiar with is Freeport, IL.  I have to be honest, when this couple first contacted us for their backyard wedding I definitely had to pull up a map to see where it was.  It was over a two hour drive, but man was it worth it. 

If you need more inspiration go check out our Top wedding venues in the Chicago suburbs!

Meet The Couple

Meet Catherine and Jake, two amazingly accomplished individuals that match their brain power with incredible personalities.  From the first day we talked to these two Rue and I knew we would be a great fit for each other.  Also, listening to their plans of bringing a backyard wedding up a few levels to a grand event with the finest details made me want to capture it even more.  

The Groom

Jake made my job so easy.  From the second I stepped into the room I felt like we were on the same page.  He was so laid back, even though he tried to tell me he was nervous.  Nothing seemed to bother him and his go with the flow mentality made the entire event go so smoothly.  There is so much going on during these times and so much to think about but he took every minute he could to truly enjoy the time with his groomsmen and appreciate everything that was taking place.

The Bride

Catherine was equally as laid back and go with the flow.  The only times I remember seeing her without a smile on her face were the times we asked her for a more serious look for a photo.  Even then, I think she really struggled turning that smile off, and that thing was contagious.  Every person from bridesmaids, to parents, to guests, and vendors couldn’t help but grin every time she walked by.  

The Wedding Day

The day was flawless of course, but that was not by accident.  Alexandra and Brianna from Weddings by Danica were on site to coordinate everything.  They handled everything like the true professionals they are.  We appreciate great coordinators and so did Catherine and Jake.  Catherine said, “They both did a fantastic job directing everyone both days! I highly recommend them to anyone that’s looking for a day of coordinator!”  

Also, what backyard wedding reception is complete without a great MC?  Catherine and Jake hired DJ Harsh as their DJ and I have to say out of all the weddings I have been to, Harsh is amazing.  His personality, style, and ability to make the party happen was incredible.  He was there the entire time to help us make announcements and get everyone on the dance floor when it was time.  Catherine said, “DJ Harsh! He stayed on for an extra hour and even stayed to enjoy the party. He did a great job making sure our music was how we wanted it! It was a pleasure working with him!”

Free Advice

After the wedding dust has settled and the bride and groom come down off their wedding day high we like to take a minute to ask them how things went and what advice they have for future brides and grooms.  

What was your favorite part about wedding planning?

Watching everything and everyone come together at the end. I was really impressed with our vendors!

What advice do you have for future brides and grooms?

It’s never too early to start planning!

What is your favorite memory of the day itself?

Walking down isle and seeing Jake there.

Vendor List

Every single wedding we photograph is unique.  Some may be at the same venue or use the same vendors but there are always little things that make it stand out in its own way.  Take the time to plan your day and surround yourself with quality vendors that will make your wedding day memories even better.  

Coordinators – Weddings by Danica

Photography – Eight Hands Photography

Hair & Make-up – Studio 218

DJ Service – DJ Harsh

Florist – Deininger Floral Shop

Rentals – North Park Rental Co.

Caterer – Hilldale Deli

No Details Spared for This Backyard Wedding | Chicago Wedding Photographers


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It is always fun hanging new photos on the wall. A new memory has been created, preserved, and now hung on the wall to tell the story for as long as it is there. The funny thing about these memories turned into art is that at different times in our lives different memories will hold more importance than others. Your life will change and so will the artwork you show off on your walls. As pets and kids get older the photos will be replaced with more current versions that hold more relevance in your current world.

The exception to this rule is wedding photos. Wedding photos don’t typically get updated because it is a one time event. There aren’t any newer versions to replace them with, I hope. That, to me, is the biggest reason why couples invest so much more into wedding photos than any other photos in their lives.

If you need more inspiration go check out our Top wedding venues in the Chicago suburbs!

Preserving these memories happens in many different ways. As you know, Rue and I preach backing your photos up in many different places. That is a big reason why we started including USB photo delivery, to add another layer of back-up on top of our cloud back-up we provide. One of the other preservation techniques is printing the photos that are most important to you.

There are many places to print photos but they are not all the same. Ensuring that your print company uses the highest quality photo paper is one of the most important steps. We have tried several different labs and have not been happy with the results until the lab we use now. They use high quality paper and printers to ensure that the photos can last 100 years or more without color loss or degrading.

Equally as important is mounting your photos the proper way. This is a several step process that can be very time consuming but it ensures that your photos are preserved the proper way and will reduce any problems later on. Simple things like the wrong tape can eat away at your photo over time or lose their adhesive qualities and drop the photo inside the frame.

Every collection that we provide comes with the photos you select mounted on proper, acid free backing with acid free tape and are finished with a dust cover to help keep your photo clean and clear for the next 100 years.

Preserving Your Investment | Chicago Wedding Photographers

Chicagoland Beachfront Engagement Session

Engagement Session

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For more location types besides the Chicago beachfront engagement session go check out our favorite engagement photo location types.

When most couples are choosing a wedding photographer they, understandably so, decide using the portfolio of several different companies.  It’s not often the case that we get to come face to face with our prospective clients so that our personalities and photography work make the first impression at the same time.  This is usually only the case at wedding expo’s.  We don’t typically do them but at the beginning of this year we decided to give one a try.  Between Rue’s design skills catching passerby’s eyes and my ability to talk someone’s ear off until they are forced to pretend to like me, we stood a decent chance.  This ended in some amazing Chicago beachfront engagement photos!

If you need more inspiration go check out our Top wedding venues in the Chicago suburbs!

Chicagoland Beachfront Engagement Photos

First Impressions | Chicago Beachfront Engagement

That expo is where we met Kendella.  We chatted for quite a while and I knew instantly that we were going to get along great.  You meet so many people at expos that it is sometimes hard to remember every personality. So I put her at the top of my list to contact as soon as possible. 

Anyone who knows how we run Eight Hands knows that we love to send video texts. This helps us introduce ourselves and show our faces.  I made my video for Kendella just hoping I would hear back from her and have the opportunity to work for her.  For the first, and still the last time to this date, Kendella responded unlike any other client has before.  She responded with a video message of her own.  That right there sealed the deal for me. I didn’t care what needed to happen. I wanted to be a part of her wedding day.

Second Impressions? | Chicago Beachfront Engagement

Screening clients through multiple methods prior to booking helps Rue and I make sure that it is a couple we really want to work with.  We spend so much time getting to know our couples that we need to really like them.  We don’t buy into the volume business models but invest heavily in quality.  Quality comes from making our couples comfortable with us and in front of the camera.  From comfortability comes trust, then real moments.  From real moments comes beautiful candid memories from your wedding day.

We chatted with Kendella and William over a group text after the initial consult to nail down engagement dates and locations.  After a lot of discussion they decided on Kemil beach.  My favorite couples are the couples that include each other in the decision making processes just like Kendella and William.  After a few more phone calls discussing the location, timeline, and outfit/session pointers, we were ready to shoot.  

William was pretty quiet on the phone calls/texts/zoom meetings. I didn’t have a good handle on who he was as a person yet.  From the second we started talking at the beach, prior to the engagement session, I felt like I connected with him.  He was genuine (my favorite, and pretty rare, human quality), happy, and truly in love with Kendella.  You could see his joy through every little and big smile he sent her way.   The two of them said they had really never been photographed professionally so getting them comfortable was number one.  I won’t give away all of our tricks but there was plenty of talking and games. This helps us to create the real moments that we try so hard for.

Chicago Beachfront Engagement Photos

The session was incredible as you can see for yourself.  How could it not be? Kendella and William are so happy, so in love, and so beautiful together.  Meeting up with them to reveal their  engagement photos and build their engagement album just solidified my feelings toward all the time we put into making them as comfortable as possible on their engagement session.  They were so happy with the result and told me numerous times how much fun it was and how happy they were that it wasn’t awkward.  We can’t wait to capture their wedding day in October and hope to continue our friendship long beyond their wedding day.

The Takeaway

I guess my summary of this post could have been left at the above paragraph but I still feel like I haven’t hit the important things I really wanted to get out to the future clients or others browsing our site.  The big takeaway I want everyone to have here is that your wedding photographer should be so much more than just a wedding day photographer. 

I know I am biased but I truly believe it is one of, if not the, most important aspects of your day.  Photographs and video are the only documentation of the entire day.  That can’t be left to just anyone, or someone you don’t know or trust.  Get to know the actual photographer that will be there on your wedding day, not some random person assigned by a big company.  If they aren’t interested in getting to know you, are they really interested in your wedding?

If beachfront isn’t your style go check out our other location recommendations!

This Location: Kemil Beach

Chicago Beachfront Engagement Session

Engagement Session

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It was a long drive to Libertyville but well worth it in the end.

Rue and I had never heard of Independence Grove, much less been there. We have our favorite locations that we recommend to clients when they don’t have anything in mind but occasionally couples have their own plans already. We love the challenge of a spot we have never been before. It pushes us artistically and ultimately makes us better in the end. One of the best parts about this job is that every session is different. Even if we are at a location we have been to twenty times in the past something is always different. The couple is different, the weather is different, the lighting is different, and sometimes even the location looks a little different.

If you need more inspiration go check out our Top wedding venues in the Chicago suburbs!

Sam and Chris picked this location because it was close to home and they loved the spot. Being so far away we used google maps and the locations website to get a good lay of the land before the session. We typically like to visit new locations before a session but this one was just too far away. Instead we relied on technology and then arrived an hour early to scope it out and come up with our game plan. Rain was going to be moving in right at the end of our session so we knew our time was limited.

For more location types go check out our favorite engagement photo location types.

These two decided to go with the Local Explorers Engagement session which gave us more time with them and them the opportunity to change into another outfit for two different looks. Rue loves these sessions because couples really get to express their personalities through multiple outfits. The casual, real person look, and then the formal wear for your living room wall look.

We can’t wait for more challenges ahead with new locations and couples. Where do you want to take us?

If you want to see some other locations, go check out our 6 Stunning Chicago Locations for Engagement Photos blog post.

Independence Grove Engagement Session | Chicago Wedding Photographers

Morton Arboretum Engagement

Engagement Session

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Morton Arboretum Engagement photos are just magical!

The Morton Arboretum holds a special place in our hearts. We have been there many times over the years but the most memorable time was when we had Cora’s one year old photos taken there. Every time we drive past the location it brings me back in time. Every couple we bring through there gets to hear us get all sappy describing what it was like and how we miss those times.

If you need more inspiration go check out our Top wedding venues in the Chicago suburbs!

Morton Arboretum Engagement

The Meet-up | Morton Arboretum Engagement

Ashley and Joe were no different. First, we met them at the gates and they hopped in with us for the tour around Morton Arboretum. Of course, we then bored them with the story of our daughters one year old photos. It is always an interesting conversation because I remember what I was like before I had kids. Hearing about other peoples kids was tiring! They didn’t seem put off by it at all though.

For more location types go check out our favorite engagement photo location types.

The best part about engagement photos at Morton Arboretum is that you can drive around this park and having almost every look any couple could ever want in one session. Do you want photos in the woods? Morton Arboretum has that! Do you want photos by water/ponds? Morton Arboretum has that! Do you want tall grass or meadows filled with flowers? Morton Arboretum also has that! The possibilities of this place are endless.

Summary | Morton Arboretum Engagement

We definitely have our favorite locations but we are always up for something different. If you are up for an adventure, let us know! Go check out Morton Arboretum!

If you want to see some other locations, go check out our 6 Stunning Chicago Locations for Engagement Photos blog post.

Morton Arboretum Engagement Session