An Engagement Session at the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool and Lincoln Park Conservatory

Chicago engagement photos at the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool (Pond)

I spent about four years living in Chicago—it’s where I first discovered the Chicago Photography Center, the nonprofit where I took just about every photography class that I could on the evenings and weekends while I worked for a large PR agency in a high-rise downtown.

Chicago is where Jeff and I originally planned to get married (before our venue went out of business, and rearranged our entire plans to get married in Mexico instead). It’s where Jeff proposed, where I met many dear friends as I started my new life after graduating from MSU, and where I spent a summer working as a second photographer before someone took a chance on me and hired me to photograph my very first solo wedding (which, lucky for me, was at an amazing wedding venue that instantly took my portfolio to a new level).

Chicago was the place where I first went out on my own as a business owner—leaving behind the relative certainty of a steady job to discover the rush of working for myself. It’s also the place we visited before hopping on a plane with only two carry on suitcases to move to Washington DC for nine months back in 2013.

I don’t get back there nearly as often as I used to, but we met some of our closest friends while we were living there (friends who convinced us to go skiing in Colorado, take a 13-month-old to Hawaii to celebrate the new year in 2014, to take two kids to Costa Rica for a week, and to go on all kinds of other travel adventures). They’ve moved outside of the city since we moved away, but it’s still a treat to get back there when we can.

Erin and Alex gave me just the excuse I was looking for last summer when they mentioned photographing their engagement session in Chicago a year ahead of their Michigan wedding. I originally convinced myself we’d be able to sail our boat across Lake Michigan from St. Joseph for the session, but I quickly realized how impractical that idea was, and so I made plans to drive in.

If you’re looking to plan an engagement session at the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool, make sure that you get a permit ahead of time.

And one more quick note—this is a full session (60 minutes), which is usually enough time for two nearby locations and two outfits.

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