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Detroit Engagement Photography Locations

Places to Take Engagement Photos in Downtown Detroit

As a Metro Detroit wedding photographer, I frequent the city for engagement photos in downtown Detroit! It’s probably my favorite place to photograph. My husband and I love visiting the city to discover new bars, restaurants and unique features to enjoy. From shopping in Campus Martius to grabbing a drink at our favorite speakeasy, there’s so much to love about the city. It was even voted One of the Best Places to Go in 2024 by Conde Nast Traveler.

If the city is important to you, or if you just love the concept of having a variety of wedding photos, Detroit may be for you! 

A few reasons to take your engagement photos in Detroit are:

  • Variety of locations
  • Walkable 
  • Centrally located for Metro Detroiters
  • Beautiful year-round!
  • No bugs (if you’re not a nature person!)

Campus Martius

Campus Matrius is one of the most popular spots downtown, especially at Christmastime. The city does a great job of keeping the area clean. At Christmas, the square is covered in beautiful greenery and lights that make for a romantic setting for pictures! This makes such a beautiful location for downtown Detroit engagement photos in the winter!

Campus Martius is also near Hart Plaza and the Detroit River, so you can get some photos by the water if that’s something you love! I also enjoy taking photos near the Townhouse, where there is a beautiful class covered walkway. I am a sucker for any kind of unique architecture!

Parking Garages

For couples who want some casual photos, parking garages make a great option! There are two main parking structures I love to use. The Z garage offers a high rooftop and lots of colors. It’s also centrally located and easy to find!

About two blocks from the Z lot you will find an older, smaller parking structure. This one is great for getting a great view of historical buildings downtown. This structure does have limited parking, so sometimes the rooftop gets crowded. If this is an option that speak to you, I will work with you to meet at a different location, and I will guide you to this structure.

When it comes to planning your engagement session, I make sure to help you meet your vision and plan the shoot so you can go in comfortably and confident!

The Belt

The Belt is an alley situated next to the Z garage. It’s full of art and covered in string lights, which make it a popular photo destination for downtown Detroit engagement photos! The ally is home to bars, restaurants and shops, making it a convenient place for photos if you want to grab a drink or bite to eat after your shoot!

Many couples like to incorporate this location along with the Z garage due to it’s convenience. It also is a great place for casual and fun photos! If you’re looking for a mix of casual and formal engagement pictures, the Belt is a great pairing for one of Detroit’s more elegant venues like the DIA or Fisher Building.

Parker’s Alley

Located just across the street from The Belt is Parker’s Alley. This alley can be found next to the Shinola hotel, just behind Queens Bar and Mr. Dips. This spot is known for the Shinola clock that is hung on display.

This alley also hosts a string of lights across the buildings to add fun and romantic vibes for photographs. Parker’s Alley is a great second location for photos, as it doesn’t have a ton of variety for photographs but is centrally located downtown for an easy pass-through location. 

Local Bars & Coffee Shops

Bar engagement sessions can be tricky to coordinate for downtown Detroit engagement photos. Many bars do not allow photography, while others require a fee from $250-$500. If this is an option you are looking for, be sure to hire a photographer who is familiar with the area and is proactive in contacting venues!

Some popular bars/coffee shops to consider downtown include:

  • Foundation Hotel’s Apparatus Room. This is a one-of-a-kind location that will make a romantic and fun atmosphere for your session! The Apparatus Room does require a $500 fee and booking well ahead of time. 
  • Siren Hotel. The Siren Hotel can be restrictive when it comes to photography. You will need to be in touch with a specific person at the hotel in order to photograph there. The last we checked, there was a starting fee of $250 to have photos taken in the Siren Hotel
  • Second Best. This is a sports-bar located in mid town. It’s a quaint spot with a wall of glass windows that add in lots of natural light! The management is usually welcoming to photography as long as it is during their slowest times.

Various coffee shops downtown. There are many coffee shops downtown, from Mad Cap to Dessert Oasis. If you are a coffee lover like me, this is a fun and simple way to incorporate what you love into your session. You can even get coffee to go and carry around town as a prop for your photos!

Apparatus Room in Foundation Hotel, Detroit

Fisher Building

The Fisher Building is one of my favorite locations for couples who want elegant and classic engagement photos. It’s one of the only free indoor locations downtown, which makes it a great place to take pictures during the cooler and rainier months! 

The Fisher Building is home to the Fisher Theatre. It was originally opened in 1928 and continues to stand as one of Detroit’s most famous landmarks. Inside, the building is decorated gold and murals. From marble to the light fixtures, there is not one detail missed in this building! The gold elevators and doors add for a fun, unique touch that couples loves!

Detroit Institute of Arts

The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) is another location known for its elegant and classic appeal. As an all-white structure, it’s a very popular choice for brides all around Metro Detroit. Both sides of the building have steps and gold touches that can make photos interesting and fun.

I especially love the DIA in fall and spring when the trees on the ground are in full bloom! This helps you add variety and contrast to your photos with the white building. If you are interested in taking photos at the DIA, I recommend avoiding popular times when the museum is open as well as afternoons on the weekends to avoid the wedding photo crowds!

Check out Makayla and Will’s engagement session at the DIA here!

Book Tower

Coming in as a unique indoor option is Book Tower. The skyscraper is another historical building downtown, dating as far back as 1926. The building allows photography on multiple levels, but currently does not allow photography at any of the restaurants or bars on campus. In order to take photos in the building, your photographer must contact the venue for permission. There is  a free to take professional photos in the building that will need to be arranged ahead of time. They can be slow to respond, so I recommend planning this early to make sure you get permission in time for your desired date for pictures!

Belle Isle

If you are looking for a location that offers both nature and architecture, Belle Isle may be perfect for you! The island is home to historical buildings while offering numerous landscapes perfect for photos. Some of my favorite places to take pictures at Belle Isle include:

  • The Casino Building
  • The Fountain
  • The Skyline
  • The conservatory and gardens (permit required indoors)
  • Willow trees

Get a look into a Belle Isle engagement session with Drew & Madi’s shoot on the blog.

Sports Complexes

For couples who enjoy attending sporting events downtown, utilizing these venues in your photos is a fun way to commemorate your personality and what you love as a couple! Whether you love attending Tigers games or watching the Red Wings, you can incorporate the structures into your engagement session.

Both venues are easy to access downtown. Whatever complex you want to feature, I highly recommend planning your session when there is no event occurring! If you don’t want to make your whole session all about sports, no worries! You can easily walk or drive to other areas of downtown to add a variety of locations to your engagement photo gallery.

Planning your Detroit Engagement Photos

I always recommend making a date day of your engagement session! Detroit has some amazing restaurants, bars and arcades to add to your itinerary so you can make one big day of celebrating each other! 

If you are looking for a downtown Detroit expert to help you capture your perfect downtown engagement photos, Savvy Shoots Shoots Photography is here to help! We offer hourly engagement sessions as well as complimentary sessions with our wedding photography packages.

Learn more about our engagement photography and wedding photography services by contacting us today! We love helping you create photographs you can’t wait to share!

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