Engagement Session Location List
Below is a running list of all my favourite engagement session location ideas for couples who have no idea what they’re looking for (and even those that do!). These locations are fantastic because, regardless of how many times I return to them, there is always something different and there’s a new way to photograph them. They have a lot to offer your session!
I try to keep this list varied from the neutral to highly styled, and also keep track of what time of year this location tends to shine. Keep that in mind when considering your options!
Location No. 1 - James Street North
GENERAL VIBE: Urban, architectural, modern, funky
BEST SEASONS TO SHOOT IN: All 4
HIGHLIGHT FEATURES: Graffiti alleys, York Blvd Parkade, Cute little shops
THOUGHTS: James St N is number one on the list, and for good reason. With all of the restaurants, shops, and other stores along the strip, it offers a lot of atmosphere that translates super well into your photos. Some of my other favourite spots are some of the super graffiti’d alleys just north of Wilson St, and climbing to the top of the York Blvd Parkade for some shots with Hamilton’s downtown skyscrapers. Especially in the winter, this location will add a ton of colour to your shoot!
Location No. 2 - Bayfront Park
GENERAL VIBE: Nature-y, Waterfront, Sunset, Open grass fields
BEST SEASONS TO SHOOT IN: Late Spring, Summer, Early Fall
HIGHLIGHT FEATURES: Paved pathway, Water, Gazebo overlooking water, Sandy beach location, Willow trees
THOUGHTS: Hands-down my favourite park in the city, you can add so much diversity to your photos in such a great location. From willow trees to sailboats out on the water, there are tons of features to include in your shots. And possibly the best feature is that, by facing West over the water, you can get some pretty insane / colourful sunsets to cap off your session.
Location No. 3 - Sam Lawrence Park
GENERAL VIBE: Urban, Look-out, Nature-y
BEST SEASONS TO SHOOT IN: Summer, Fall, Early to mid-Winter (Basically, if there’s snow)
HIGHLIGHT FEATURES: Look-out over the city, Nature path, Flower beds, Stone walls
THOUGHTS: If you love getting high above a city and spending some time drinking in the view, you can’t find a better spot to do that than at Sam Lawrence Park here in Hamilton. With an insane look-out over the city, you can trace your finger over some of the different neighbourhoods that make up the lower city and call out landmarks you see along the way. This location creates a really “epic” feeling and the tree-covered pathway along the brow provides another backdrop, creating diversity in your engagement photos.
Location No. 4 - Gage Park / Gage Park Greenhouse
GENERAL VIBE: City park, Green, Iconic Hamilton
BEST SEASONS TO SHOOT IN: Spring, Summer, Fall, Early to mid-Winter (again, perfect if there’s snow)
HIGHLIGHT FEATURES: Water fountain, Beautiful covered pathways, Old Oak trees, Gage Park Bandshell, Greenhouse
THOUGHTS: The easiest way to describe this place is the “Central Park of Hamilton”. While it’s not as massive or central as Central Park is to NYC, this oasis in the middle of the city will have you feeling relaxed and comfortable away from all of the hustle and bustle downtown. From the massive water fountain to the grove of old Oak trees, you have so many different opportunities for great photos in this park that you really can’t go wrong (especially in the Fall). The Greenhouse is also fantastic for getting greenery in your photos if it’s dreary outside.
GENERAL VIBE: Secluded, Moody, Romantic
BEST SEASONS TO SHOOT IN: All 4
HIGHLIGHT FEATURES: Waterfalls, duh
THOUGHTS: Both Tiffany and Sherman Falls are my 2 favourites in the city. A lot of people have heard about them but never visited, and I think that’s crazy! Hamilton is technically the city with the most waterfalls in the world as we technically have over 100 scattered throughout the area. Still, none are as beautiful as Tiffany or Sherman Falls. While these spots are slowly increasing in popularity, we can often shoot in a way that minimizes other waterfall-chasers in your shots and make it seem like you guys are truly alone in a romantic location. We could go on and on, but honestly, waterfalls are incredible.
Location No. 6 - Royal Botanical Gardens
GENERAL VIBE: Flowery, Colourful, Nature-y, Overgrown
BEST SEASONS TO SHOOT IN: All 4, Especially Winter
HIGHLIGHT FEATURES: Greenhouse, Cool Plants
THOUGHTS: If you’re wanting your photos to happen during the winter but don’t want a winter vibe, you absolutely can’t go wrong with shooting indoors at the Royal Botanical Gardens, particularly the Mediterranean Room. This spot is essentially just a big glass greenhouse which means it’ll be perfect for getting the beauty of plants and greenery in your photos without having to freeze your tooshies off outside. There is a small fee of about $25 to shoot here, but in my experience, it’s been worth it every single time.
Location No. 7 - Gore Park
GENERAL VIBE: Urban, Big city, Downtown
BEST SEASONS TO SHOOT IN: Spring, Summer, Fall, Christmas
HIGHLIGHT FEATURES: Water fountain, Tall trees, Skyscrapers, City streets
THOUGHTS: The centre of the city, Gore Park is a really unique-to-Hamilton place if you want to combine urban-vibes with a city park. The fountain in this spot is gorgeous and honestly one of a kind. Exploring the park and some of the nearby areas (like the roof of Jackson Square, for example) will give you tons to work with in an area that most people drive by but never explore on foot. I love this spot year-round, as prior to Christmas, the big Christmas tree goes up and there’s often some Christmas decor (or markets and whatnot). If you like the feeling of “Christmas in the City”, this is absolutely your best bet.
Location No. 8 - Dundurn Castle
GENERAL VIBE: Historic, 1800s, Old
BEST SEASONS TO SHOOT IN: All 4, Especially Late Winter - Early Spring
HIGHLIGHT FEATURES: Castle, the Grounds, Waterfront
THOUGHTS: Fan of Downton Abbey? Even if not, paying a visit to Hamilton’s historic castle is a surefire way to bring your engagement session back in time. With the iconic building and the beautiful grounds that surround it, I absolutely love this spot because it has so much to offer. In the fall, when the leaves have changed, there’s even more colour to behold and you can’t go wrong. In the early Spring, this spot is fantastic because the castle itself adds so much character to your photos (when colour is void on the trees around). Even if you don’t choose this spot for your Engagement Session, head down there for a date night sometime! You’ll thank me 😜
Location No. 9 - The North End Neighbourhood
GENERAL VIBE: Home-y, Charming, Urban, Comfortable
BEST SEASONS TO SHOOT IN: Spring, Summer, Fall, Early Winter
HIGHLIGHT FEATURES: Neighbourhood Parks, Pier 4 Park, Pier 8, Small shops (Grandad’s Donuts)
THOUGHTS: Even if you don’t live in the North End of Hamilton, it’s a super cute spot to have photos taken. Grandad’s Donuts are an iconic donut shop in the city and, from there, you’re only steps away from Pier 4 Park and Pier 8. These spots will give you a fantastic view out onto the Hamilton Harbour and possibly even give us the opportunity to pull in a bit of a nautical theme. If you’re game to go venturing into the neighbourhood itself, the North End is known for it’s unique homes and revitalization. You absolutely cannot go wrong here.
Location No. 10 - At Home
PLEASE NOTE: THIS LOCATION IS NOT FOR EVERYONE. READ BELOW
GENERAL VIBE: Home
BEST SEASONS TO SHOOT IN: All 4, Especially Winter
HIGHLIGHT FEATURES: Your home, duh
THOUGHTS: If you’re the love-to-decorate type of couple with really cute style, opting to shoot at home can be a really great idea. This is especially true if you live in a place with big, bright windows and tons of natural light, and lots of open space. If you’re struggling to find a location that feels like it really represents the two of you, shooting at home can be an absolute ton of fun. Put on a record, make some coffee, snuggle in bed. At-home sessions can be a ton of fun if you’ve got the right space for it.
Because each home is so different, it’s up to you guys to know if it would be a decent photo location. Arguably the biggest deciding factor is light and decorations. Do you live in a dimly-lit basement apartment with nothing on the walls? Might not be the best idea. Charming 2-storey home with big windows and knick-knacks throughout? We might have a winner! Always feel free to send me photos of the inside of your space first if you’re leaning towards shooting at home but want to be certain it’ll work out.
And that’s about it! Again, these are some of my absolute favourite locations to shoot because there is so much diversity within them.
At the end of the day: there isn’t really a wrong answer when choosing a location. You could show up in a t-shirt in jeans next to a dumpster in a back alley and I guarantee you we’re still going to get some killer photos. Don’t overthink it, and always ask me if you have any questions about anything!