Laura + Matt were one of a handful of couples who decided to make the best of this time and get engaged during Chicago's quarantine! One of the things Laura told me when we got to meet up was that she was so excited to just be doing something that felt a little bit normal, since all the other engagement parties and celebrations were minimized to Zoom calls and digital partying. I was SO glad to hear I could do something for these two that made everything feel a little bit more normal for the time being!
Even for me, it felt amazing to go back out and shoot again and dust off my cameras. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say it feels like the days are blending together, and some days are great and some days not so much--but this was definitely one of the "ups" of the rollercoaster we're all going through lately.
We met up at the Chicago Board of Trade to start off the evening, then finished up at Millennium Park to catch the final moments of the sunset and a few more shots of the beautiful Chicago skyline in the hazy, warm almost-summer weather.
And now for those iconic Chicago Board of Trade shots...
There have been a few place on my bucket-list of engagement pictures locations in Chicago, and the famous Chicago Board of Trade was one of them. Although it's usually insanely busy with traffic pedestrians, and of course people going to take pictures, it was soooooo so empty when we showed up. I probably only saw one car and one bus, and then another group of people taking graduation pictures, plus a few stragglers.
Doing engagement pictures in downtown Chicago when it is so empty is a weird feeling--sure, I don't have to photoshop out any random people in the background, but so much of the "feel" of Chicago is the big crowds, people yelling, horns honking...we didn't get much of that this time around. I think for pictures, I'm okay with it haha...but I'd like to get back to living that way soon. It's why I love the city so much.
Out of the few people we saw walking by, almost all of them stopped to have a quick chat (ahh human interaction!!!), including another photographer or two, plus a cop in the area letting us know that the gold doors are a popular photo location...which Laura and Matt had already pointed out, but of course then we *had* to do it!
I'm always chasing sunsets.
We started our shoot pretty early--about 2 hours or so before sunset, which is plenty of time. When I was Uber-ing to the Board of Trade, I drove right past Millennium Park and the light was so insanely gorgeous with the hazy sky and the building creating some soft shadows, so it was a must for us! We headed over there just in time to not completely miss the sunset, and get some more views of the Chicago skyline from the Loop. Plus, there were still a few flowering bushes there, so of course me being the nature-loving gal that I am, I wanted to include some greenery in the shoot! Plus, the way her dress moved in the wind and while she walked was perrrrfect for some more cute walking in the empty streets.
We talked a bit about how these two met and their first date which got rained out, but clearly it didn't ruin anything--plus if rain on the wedding day is good luck, maybe the rain on the first date was, too?
I love to push people a littttle out of their comfort zones.
Laura mentioned she's a big fan of capturing moments rather than anything too posey--which I totally agree with!! That's why I use a lot of prompts, actions, and don't do too much posing. But when you're all dressed up in an empty city and you have a chance to look like you're on a magazine cover, we're going to make it happen!!!
I always love to push people a little out of their comfort zones, whether it's having them wear something a little fancier or different than they might go for, poses that I think they can rock, or something that I just come up with on the spot--I'm a big fan of seeing the reaction people have when they see how DANG GOOD they look doing something they normally might not have!
Laura and Matt finished up their evening with a nice dinner they got to take home and chow down on as a mini-celebration for their engagement pictures in downtown Chicago! It was such a good Friday for all of us, and they've been getting so much love from everyone on Instagram when I've posted the sneak peeks!
Thank you L + M for being such awesome people to get back into shooting with after almost 4 months off--you were so easy to work with, went with the flow, and I'm so glad I finally got to check off a place on my bucket list!!! Cheers to you and your engagement--and what sounds like it will be such a fantastic wedding next fall!
Wanna see more?
Check out these Chicago Sunrise Engagement Pictures at North Avenue Beach!
Have some wanderlust and wanna travel to LA with me? Check out these Joshua Tree Sunset Engagement Pictures.
Engaged, but not sure what to do next? I tell you here!
Alana Lindenfeld is a Chicago wedding and portrait photographer for laid-back couples who want a stress-free experience and a photographer who is going to take care of the hard work for them.
She has photographed couples across the U.S., including couples in LA, San Francisco, NYC, Nashville, Cincinnati, and more.