Personally, I’m a huge fan of Cleveland, Ohio. Originally from California and having spent most of my life out there I can tell you that I’m a little particular about a place to call home. Cleveland is good people, if it were, in fact, people. 😉 It’s a city I’m grateful to call home and spend time getting to know every corner of. Looking for the best engagement portrait locations in Cleveland? I’m happy to help.
I’ll start by sharing with you that there are fantastic choices for your Cleveland engagement session, but before we get to the locations, you might wonder why. You can read about why we feel an engagement session is a must for all couples here, and why we include one with all of our wedding collections.
I’ll start you out with a few things to consider on the importance of planning for your engagement session.
Reason number 1: Opportunity for us to get to know each other.
I started this wedding photography studio over 13 years ago with the idea that you need beautiful imagery as well as real moments with the people you love. Whether we’re photographing in Cleveland or we’re adventuring somewhere around the world with you, our team can’t do our best work if we don’t know who you are as a couple. To do that, we want to spend some time with you both. 🙂
Reason number 2: Freedom to get comfortable in front of the camera.
Because most people aren’t photographed on a regular basis, (unless they’re a model, go you) it’s natural for there to be a few jitters in front of a camera. That is totally normal and totally expected. The most important thing to note here is having your photos professionally taken is NOT the same as the snapshots or selfies you’ve had in the past. It is an entirely different experience and one that I think you might be surprised by how easy and fluid it really is, we want you to make that realization before your wedding day.
Reason number 3: No pressure.
No matter how brilliant your wedding timeline is (and believe me, if you’re our couple, we will work with your planner to make sure it’s brilliant), there is still a strong pace on a wedding day filled with a lot of unknowns. An engagement session is absolutely stress-free in that we can explore, take time, and do something really different. There isn’t anything else on the agenda.
When should you schedule your Cleveland Engagement Session?
While you’re considering the best location in Cleveland for your engagement session you also need to think about when to photograph your engagement session. There is also a massive difference in the look and feel of an engagement session based on what time of year you plan your photos. I talk in detail about how to plan a perfect engagement session for all 4 seasons here: spring, summer, fall, and winter. Each post has tips on the pros and cons of each of the seasons as well as what to plan for and what to expect.
Best Engagement Portrait Locations In Cleveland
Museum of Art
It’s easy to forget what a gem we have in the Cleveland Museum of Art and that it’s actually not commonplace to have such a treasure that’s local and easily accessible. Although the Cleveland Museum of Art is a well-known wedding venue it’s also one of our number one choices when it comes to engagement photos in the Cleveland area.
There are so many things about the museum that boasts of an incredible experience for your engagement session. The first thing I’ll say is that its location is fantastic for so many reasons. The Cleveland Museum of Art is located in University Circle and sits directly across the street from COLLEGE and Severance Hall. It makes it a perfect place for an almost never-ending point of backdrops and looks for engagement sessions. For a classic more traditional couple we might spend more time towards Wade Lagoon, meandering by the water, and Severance Hall. For a more modern and bold couple, we might spend time at Case, or near the sculpture gardens. Or for a couple in the middle, we have the beautiful white marble background of the Museum and so many other buildings within walking distance.
Secondly, the Cleveland Museum of Art is the kind of architecture that dreams are made of. Well, perhaps just photographers have those kinds of dreams! 😉 The reality is that a building like that will photograph in a way that other places simply won’t. In the same way that you can’t overdress for engagement photos, dressier always looks better, and having a location that is timeless and classic just can’t be beaten. This is a perfect option for a wide variety of couples.
Downtown Cleveland is another place that’s full of hidden gems. Although most people have a few thoughts about where you might be able to grab a few photos the truth is that because we’re based in Cleveland we know nearly every nook and cranny and what’s going to look amazing in photos. Downtown Cleveland is the right choice if you’re the couple who loves grabbing a cocktail, trying new restaurants, or generally exploring the city. Think, New York engagement vibes: tall buildings, great outfits, and laughing together in a city that is full of the old and new.
Cherry Blossoms (seasonal)
The Cherry Blossoms are a hidden gem of Cleveland the locals look forward to every springtime. The incredible upside of this is that although visiting a place like Washington DC for Cherry Blossom season is an incredible experience it’s also a very crowded one. Whereas visiting Cleveland is much more manageable. You probably don’t want to share your engagement session experience with anyone but the person you’re going to marry. 😉 This is why I personally love Cherry Blossoms in Cleveland versus photographing them in DC. You also have the iconic architecture although it’s not going to be the classic national mall look, it’s still a very stately vibe.
The downside of the Cherry Blossoms is that we never know when they’re going to appear and we’re constantly waiting on them after too much snow. 😉 You’ll need to have a bit of a flexible schedule. You can read everything you can expect with a Cherry Blossom engagement session here and how to prepare for one. This is perfect for a romantic couple.
Studio Session (seasonal winter)
Although I’m all for connecting to something fun for the two of you, some of the beautiful locations we have here in the Cleveland area, or simply exploring some of our beautiful nature-filled options. Something that can be a different and fun alternative is a studio session. This is especially fun if the timing of your engagement session falls in the winter months. The primary benefit of this type of session is that it really does focus entirely on the two of you. This is really great for a clean feel for a modern couple.
Destination Engagement Session
Sometimes the best location isn’t a local location at all. Location matters photographically, yes. But location can also matter sentimentally as well. Sometimes couples have moments and memories that are so special and the engagement session is the perfect opportunity to capture those memories into something even more tangible. Avid rock climbers and Colorado is like a second home to you? Your absolute favorite vacation was a vine-tasting tour of Napa Valley, California. Or maybe it is a Central Park Engagement session that you’re dreaming of. May I encourage you, to do it? We travel frequently for our couples and a weekend getaway for the two of you where we wrap in your engagement session could be just the break you need from wedding planning. Again, a great option for a wide variety of couples.