North Avenue Beach is epic. I had never been, but Olivia and Brandon picked out the location, so I grabbed my camera, hopped on a plane, and emerged a few hours later in Chicago. One of my favourite things about working with couples is when they show me places that they love. I’m always down to travel, but some of my absolute favourite memories are from spots I wouldn’t have discovered on my own (like that time Andrew and Callie got me to a painted chapel in the middle of Iceland). Olivia and Brandon are getting married in Philly, but they wanted to keep their engagement shoot local, and I was more than happy to come their way.
It turns out that North Avenue Beach is literally the perfect place to take photos. It has the blue water, a skyline, waves, and despite being a pretty trendy hang-out spot, it wasn’t too busy. We lucked out with the best weather – you gotta love those classic golden hour shots. But don’t let the sunshine fool you: it was cold, baby. Like, not quite as cold as that time I shot a couple in the dead of Philly winter, but a pretty close second. Olivia and Brandon were champs. They didn’t complain for a second.
Our second location was less idyllic, but just as cool: we did a flash shoot on a parking garage roof. Like most humans, Olivia and Brandon have a story that’s rich and complex. As much as North Avenue Beach expressed something wonderful about their relationship – they built a life together in Chicago and have always loved the water – they also felt like something a little less classic. So they changed into jeans and platform converse and we did a flash shoot on the roof of a parking garage to capture their fun and vibrant attitude towards life. I meet a lot of couples, so it’s a real compliment when I say this one couldn’t stop smiling.
When it comes to expressing your story, location is such a huge part. I’ve had couples who have done shoots with cows, in an inflatable raft and eating pizza. We’ve climbed waterfalls, ridden motorcycles, swum in lakes. I’ve squatted next to phone booths in Central London and laid down on highways. Each story is unique, each couple is unique, and be in North Avenue Beach or a yurt, I love getting to capture it.