Hey, I'm Chelsea.

I'm a Chicago wedding photographer and videographer who's on a mission to take the stress out of wedding planning, one anecdote, gif, and movie
quote at a time.

From the get-go, Josie and Fitsum knew they wanted to take their engagement photos at Lincoln Park. Sure, it’s gorgeous, but it’s also the neighborhood they call home. But Josie quickly pointed out a problem: “There are so many nice options here, you’ll have to help us narrow them down!”

Since it was November, we were a little limited on locations. Some popular outdoor spots, like the Lily Pond, had closed for the season. Others, like the Lincoln Park Conservatory Gardens, had already ripped up their flowerbeds to prepare for the winter.

So I steered them toward two classic Chicago photo spots that I knew would be open (and look gorgeous this time of year): the South Pond Nature Boardwalk and North Avenue Beach.

Lincoln Park South Pond

Permit: You don’t need a permit to take photos around Lincoln Park’s South Pond, but the Honeycomb (officially named the Peoples Gas Education Pavilion) may be reserved for a private event.

Parking: You can park for free anywhere along N. Stockton Drive or pay to park on the south end of the Lincoln Park Zoo Lot.

We kicked the session off at the South Pond, just south of the Lincoln Park Zoo. If you want engagement photos that have outdoorsy vibes and skyline views, this is *the location*. The best part? It has countless little nooks and crannies, so your gallery won’t look repetitive.

Related: Summer engagement session at Lincoln Park’s Nature Boardwalk

Once we’d hit up all the fall colors that South Pond had to offer, we made our way toward North Avenue Beach.

Typically, the 15-minute walk between locations makes a great “smile break”. But, since this is Josie and Fitsum’s local park, we snapped a few photos of them in their “natural habitat”.

Couple holds hands and strolls through Lincoln Park in the fall for their Chicago engagement photos
Couple laughs for their fall engagement photos at Lincoln Park

Engagement Photo Tip: Incorporate Activities

Don’t be afraid to be yourselves during the session. Engagement photos aren’t about being models—they’re about showing off your relationship dynamic. So if you’re a playful couple, don’t be afraid to run over to a fresh pile of leaves and have an impromptu leaf fight.

Couple throws fall leaves in the air during their Lincoln Park engagement photos

North Avenue Beach

Permit: You don’t need a permit to take photos at North Avenue Beach.

Parking: Paid lots at either North Ave or Lincoln Park Zoo (~15-minute walk).

The main goals of Josie and Fitsum’s engagement session were to:

  1. Get a nice Save the Date photo
  2. Take some natural-looking candids

Since we’d gotten the ‘nice’ photos out of the way, we embraced their affectionate, silly side for the rest of the session.

And North Avenue Beach is the *perfect* spot to get a little more playful. The wide paths and stretches of sand give us a ton of space for some of my favorite candid prompts (like piggyback rides, practicing your first dance, and—weather permitting—splashing around in the water).

Oh, right, and the gorgeous backdrop doesn’t hurt ⤵️

Engagement Photo Tip: Easy Outfit Changes

Coats, jackets, and sweaters are an easy way to add variety to your photos without doing a full outfit change. I always recommend wearing layers to your engagement photos, just like Josie and Fitsum did (especially in the cooler months).

Couple laughing together on North Avenue Beach
Couple snuggling on North Avenue Beach in Chicago
Couple snuggling on North Avenue Beach in Chicago
Couple ends their engagement session by spraying a bottle of champagne in front of Chicago skyline at North Avenue Beach in Lincoln Park

Check out this summer engagement session at North Avenue Beach for more inspiration.

If you’ve fallen in love with the idea of an engagement session that reflects your one-of-a-kind relationship, let’s chat!

I’d be honored to be a part of your journey, capturing the little moments and special locations that make up your love story. From big laughs to subtle glances, we can turn your everyday moments into photos that will forever remind you of this special season in your lives.