TOP 10 ENGAGEMENT PHOTO SESSION LOCATIONS IN AND AROUND MIAMI
Are you looking for that picture-perfect engagement photo location? This blog post summarizes all the best locations in South Florida from the perspective of a Miami based wedding photographer. Photo samples and tons of useful information!
VIZCAYA MUSEUM AND GARDENS
It is hard not to just love Viscaya Museum & Gardens! Located in the heart of Miami, in the Coconut Grove area. It is easily considered one of Miami hidden gems! The style of photography looks best when it is shot in a vintage artistic way. Modern digital doesn’t truly reflect the rustic beauty of this special location.
It combines imported French and Italian garden layouts and elements implemented in Cuban limestone stonework with Floridian coral architectural trim and planted with sub-tropic compatible and native plants that thrived in the habitat and climate. Palms and Philodendrons had not been represented in the emulated gardens of Tuscany or Île-de-France.
Originally, Vizcaya used to be the winter residence of James Deering (1859–1925),and was built between 1914 and 1922. When it was built, the main house and the formal garden appeared as a dreamlike vision in the midst of the jungle on the shores of Biscayne Bay. At that time, the estate was entirely surrounded by subtropical forest.
Building a villa cost of $15 million, a lot of money at that time. Vizcaya is noteworthy for adapting historical European aesthetic traditions to South Florida’s subtropical ecoregion. Unfortunately, Vizcaya s listed as one of America’s Eleven Most Endangered Historic Places based on the threat of proposed high-rise development on neighboring property. Interesting fact the Vizcaya was the 1987 venue where President Ronald Reagan received Pope John Paul II on his first visit to Miami.
DESIGN DISTRICT (WYNWOOD WALLS)
This still one of my favorite Miami engagement locations in the Miami area. Artistic and gritty; it is a fun laugh for everyone! Known for its many colorful murals, Wynwood Walls is an outdoor museum showcasing spectacular works by some of the world’s best-known street painters.
I started shooting engagement photos in the design district area around 10 years ago. That time it was easy to shoot even on the weekends. Nowadays, I strongly recommend to visit the area during the week because weekends are just too busy. Hard to find spots without tourists and what is more important that the best wall paintings are blocked by cars on the weekends. The Miami Design District is used to be a real art district with amazing wall painting on the walls. Today it is home to many high-end retail stores and art galleries. The truth is that Miami Design District is currently transformation into a luxury shopping center. For engagement photos it is still a great area but I am afraid most of the art is missing replaced with luxurious clothing storefronts.
In my opinion, Wynwood is one of the city’s most interesting districts. Investors and artists have converted warehouses to craft breweries and funky art galleries.
Miami Beach is a safe bet for engagement photography. You can soak up the sun, and then have a cool drink and stroll around on the famous streets. At the end you may end up in the water!
Advantages of Miami Beach:
– It is a safe outdoor environment with not a lot of restrictions during Covid
– Lighting is beautiful for engagement photography
– It is free
We have to keep in mind that the best time to shoot is early in the morning or late in the afternoon because there is too much sun reflected back from the sand.
For the best engagement photos in Miami Beach (Ocean Drive and the surrounding areas) it’s best to shoot early in the morning right after sunrise. The sun rises over the ocean and creates that beautiful yellowish warm colors everybody loves. I know it means getting up early and it can be very early for those ladies who want to have professional make up and hair for the photo session. The early morning sun is also best for capturing Ocean Drive. The the light pastel colors on the buildings are just beautiful.
– It can be busy with tourists
– Light may not be the best for photography in the middle of the day
You cannot go wrong with this session, especially if you are out of state. If you grew up in Miami you may want to branch out to somewhere a little less beat and track. Either way you can’t go wrong!
This is an off the track and beat as far as beaches go! Crandon Park has beaches, palm trees and amazing looking banyan trees. If you like a beautiful laid beach this is for you!
MIAMI RAILROAD STATION
The Gold Coast Railroad Museum was founded in 1956. It is one of three Official State Railroad Museums in Florida. It is an excellent location if you want to have a slight vintage look to your engagement photos. You can bring props and dress in a 50’s look or just come as yourselves!
PRADO ENTRANCE | CORAL GABLES, MIAMI
Prado Entrance is registered in the National Register of Historic Places. The structure of Prado Entrance is located on a center parkway running north and south. It looks like a piazza.
Prado Entrance has a very distinctive structure; it’s got archways, a fountain in the middle, and nice greenery surrounding it. It has a reflecting pool with pedestal fountains (no water though) at each end of the two walkways that run parallel to one another. Originally the structure was named after the Museo del Prado, the national Spanish art museum in Madrid. It was designed by Denman Fink, Artistic Director of the Miami, in 1924. This entrance is considered to be the most architecturally elaborated of all the Miami’s entrances. Lots of great angles for photography.
My favorite time to take photos there is at night. That time it feels like you are somewhere in Europe. It feels like home. Prado an amazing place to take engagement photos, however you need to apply for a permit before taking commercial photo or shooting commercial videos here: permit fees. The permit fee is a little less then $100. It is well worth it, in my opinion.
There is plenty of parking but don’t park on the residential side because your car will be towed. Park in front of the entrance on the left. You can see one of my engagement photo sessions which I photographed partially here: Vizcaya engagement photo session
Biltmore Hotel is one of those locations perfect for both indoor and outdoor engagement pictures. Located within the Coral Gables area, the Biltmore is a historical landmark that also makes an excellent wedding venue.
The building was built in 1926 by a young developer named George Merrick. The property wasn’t always a hotel. It was used as a hospital during World War II. It You can get everything here. It features Mediterranean Revival architecture, ballrooms, golf course and a grand lobby. It is surrounded by tall palm trees, swimming pools, courtyards, and lush green landscaping. It is truly historic and iconic. The possibilities of finding fantastic backgrounds for your engagement shoot are endless at Biltmore Hotel. Although, you will need to obtain a photo permit.
YOUR FAVORITE COFFEE SHOP
You can find an amazing Coffee Shop anywhere in Miami. Sitting in side can be a great escape on a rainy day or a day that is so hot that you need some air conditioning. Couples that we photograph love sharing a coffee or tea for an engagement session together because they often really feel like they are on a date. 🙂
MIAMI BY NIGHT
Miami by night is for the adventurous! 🙂
ON THE RANCH WITH HORSES
Just drive in any direction out of the city and you will find a great photo engagement location with horses. It is a pleasant afternoon and a fun change of pace, especially if you seldom take the time to ride. Every time we have shot a horseback riding engagement session, both beginners and experienced riders have a ball!
Flying is an exhilarating way to spend a afternoon with a loved one! Sit back and gaze out over Miami or consider flying to the Keys. You can rent a traditional small airplane making a unique engagement session. Why be ordinary!? The Miami airport is in the heart of Miami, it has tons of convenient parking.
MATHESON HAMMOCK PARK
Another great location for engagement photos in miami is Matheson Hammock Park. The park itself is a 630 acres urban park in metropolitan Miami at 9610 Old Cutler Road in Coral Gables. This was actually the first county park in Miami. It is a picturesque park with nature trails and a pristine beach with the Miami skyline in the background.
BILL BAGGS STATE PARK
To the south of Key Biscayne, you can find an iconic lighthouse within the scenic Bill Baggs State Park. This location is excellent for engagement sessions with gorgeous sandy beaches, palm trees, and the aforementioned iconic lighthouse. It has beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean and an a beautiful Lighthouse, the 1825 Cape Florida Lighthouse at one location. There are no other parks like this. The sunsets over the bay are magnificent and worth waiting for, while the views from the lighthouse are magnificent. There is plenty of parking available all year around but this park also requires admission and parking fees. Parking is around $8 per vehicle, on weekends it is unfortunately more. It is important that you finish your engagement session before sunset because they usually start ticketing cars after sundown. I have warned you! It happened to me once that I had a parking ticket waiting for me after night photo session.
These were the best engagement photo session locations in and around Miami. Miami and Fort Lauderdale are the ideal place to take your engagement pictures. The weather is amazing and there are tons of dreamy, classic locations, a few of them even looking you are in Italy or in Spain. I think we all can agree that it’s hard to go wrong with Miami.