April 24, 2023
Along with wedding planning, planning your engagement session can be incredibly stressful. The two most common stressors when it comes to engagement photo planning is what you’re going to wear and where you’re going to take your photos. When it comes to what to wear to your engagement session, I have more tips here. Now, deciding the where can be a bit tricky. For all of you newly engaged couples though, here are my top 5 engagement photo locations in Philadelphia coming from a Philadelphia wedding photographer.
Old City Philadelphia (Merchants Exchange & Second Bank)
First and foremost, an iconic Philadelphia engagement photo location is Old City Philadelphia. More specifically, the Merchants Exchange Building and Second Bank.
Merchants Exchange Building
I am no stranger to shooting at the Merchants Exchange Building. It’s an iconic photo location here in Philadelphia for a reason! It was built back between 1832 and 1834 and pulls inspiration and architecture from the Greek Revival style. It’s because of its unique structure and history that makes it a perfect engagement photo location in Philadelphia. From its history being home to some insurance company business, Philadelphia’s board of trade, the stock exchange and even the USPS, the Merchant Exchange Building is now deemed a National Historic Landmark.
If you are planning on taking photos at The Merchant Exchange Building, you must take a look at the National Park Services photography permits. In this case, for engagement sessions you are not required to purchase a permit to photograph in the back of the Merchant Exchange Building. If you do wish to take photos here for more than an hour, you will be required to fill out a form for a permit. You’re also required to pay a $25 application fee. You can read more about photography permits at this Philadelphia engagement location here.
Rules & Regulations
Before heading to The Merchant Exchange Building for your engagement photos, here are a few rules you should know.
- You aren’t allowed to go behind the chain at the foot of the steps
- You will need to pay for street parking so bring some $$
Second Bank is well known for well, being the Second National Bank right here in Philadelphia. It was officially opened back in 1817. It now serves as a national landmark, telling unique stories from the United States’ past. Today, this national landmark building serves as a reminder of our history and is a grand structure in the heart of Downtown Philadelphia. It’s perfect for couples looking to have a very grand structure in the backdrop of their engagement photos.
If you’re looking to take your engagement photos at the Second National Bank, you are not required to have a permit. However, I would recommend checking the National Park Service website to determine if certain areas are off limits.
Race Street Pier & Ben Franklin Bridge
The Race Street Pier is another one of Philadelphia iconic locations for engagement photos. Coasting next to the Race Street Pier is the Ben Franklin Bridge that overlooks the Delaware River. The Race Street Pier is perfect if you’re wanting water views and a spacious lawn area to move around in. This area serves as the perfect engagement photo location. Especially for any couple looking for views and much more casual and laid back setting for their engagement session.
Check out Andrew and Shauna’s engagement session at The Race Street Pier for some more engagement photo inspiration!
Philadelphia’s Old Cobblestone Side Streets
Some of the best engagement photo locations in Philadelphia are actually in some of the most inconspicuous places. If you ask me, some of the most beautiful engagement photos that I have taken were in Philadelphia’s old cobblestone side streets. They bring so much character and life and have so much history to tell. It adds so much depth and dimension into your engagement photos. Not only that, but it’s one of the many reasons why I love shooting engagement photos here.
Just make sure that if you do want to shoot in these side streets that you’re respectful of locals and their homes/properties!
Cute Bars & Restaurants (Louie Louie)
This goes without saying, but Philadelphia is known to have some of the cutest (and most delicious) restaurant/bar spots. While I could list every cute bar/restaurant, one of my top faves is Louie Louie. Not only is the food absolutely divine, but the interior decor of this Philadelphia restaurant makes for one of the most iconic engagement photo locations.
Louie Louie is a French-inspired American bistro located in the heart of Philadelphia. It brings together art nouveau and modern decor with a seventies vibe that is so unique to the Philadelphia area. If you’re looking for fantastic drinks and a unique atmosphere for your engagement photos, I highly recommend checking out Louie Louie.
Permits & Rules
While there are no permits needed to photograph at this bar/restaurant, there are some general rules you should follow when photographing in a public place.
- Make sure you ask permission of the owners/managers of any restaurant/bar if you are allowed to photograph inside/outside
- If you’re looking to have less distractions/people in your photos, aim to shoot your engagement photos at opening or right before closing
Lastly, we have Fairmount Park. In between all of the hustle and bustle of Downtown Philadelphia is a sweet, serene escape at Fairmount Park. With over 2,000 acres of rolling hills, trails, shaded woodlands and a relaxing waterfront, this is a dream engagement photo location in Philadelphia. If you’re looking for an oasis away from the busy city life for your engagement photos, then I highly recommend checking out this beautiful park.
Get In Touch!
As a Philadelphia Wedding Photographer, I am ready to capture your love story wherever it takes me. Inquire here and let’s chat through all of the beautiful engagement/wedding details!