Engagement Photo Ideas | Downtown Pittsburgh Classy Chic City Engagement | 5 Tips to prepare for it!

November 28, 2023

Natalia Baqueiro

Engagements, Pittsburgh Locations

Black and white photo of couple legs facing each other at a Pittsburgh Hotel

Mollie and Dylan wanted to have a gorgeous engagement session with a classy-elegant vibe, yet a sexy touch for their engagement photos in Downtown Pittsburgh. From the time Mollie expressed her vision to me, she said the thought of downtown as their main location would be the perfect backdrop for their engagement photos. I coudn’t agree more, not only downtown is full of interesting and historical buildings with visually stunning buildings and overall architecture but endless possibilities.

If you’re up for a little adventure, going to Downtown Pittsburgh will give you that variety in architecture, and so many places to stop at and experience, which in turn gets you so many fun moments and beautiful, authentic photos that are natural to you both.

I first met them in Market Square and we started the session at the front of the dark glass, stunning PPG Building that is known in Pittsburgh as one of the most iconic buildings. We didn’t have a strict plan, so we took a leap of faith and we went down and found the best street with antique buildings and a modern, classy hotel where we exhausted all the options.

Here are a few engagement photo ideas to guide you to your own elegant, chic and romantic engagement experience so you can have that old Hollywood vibe and all the classy hotel engagement photos that you’ll remember for years to come.

Engaged Couple Kissing in front of the Industrialist Hotel in Pittsburgh

Urban City Engagement Photo Ideas – Preparing for your Engagement Photos

5 Tips for Elegant Chic Engagement Photos with Sexy Romantic City Vibes

  1. One of the most important things to get you ready for your engagement session is to think what vibe you’re looking for and what you want the photos to feel like. That’s right, FEEL LIKE, because once you know that choosing the environment that will make that happen will be much easier. Feel free to check out The Most Iconic locations in Pittsburgh and The Best Locations for Engagement photo shoots in Pittsburgh to get you get an idea so you can start planning what you want your engagement to feel like.

2. Let me give you a quick pre-session tension check list so to make sure you’re ready. I understand, excitement and a little bit of nerves are a normal part of the process, but here’s some things you can do prior to your session.

  • TAN – If you tan or get a spray tan done on a normal basis, do these both 5-7 days before. I would avoid doing these the day before or of, in case you burn or the color of the spray tan is wrong.
  • COLORING HAIR – When getting your hair color cut and/or colored, schedule your appointment 1-2 weeks beforehand.
  • NAILS – TREAT YO SELF. There will be multiple engagement ring photos as well as close-ups of you holding hands, hugging, etc so you want your nails and hands to look their best!
  • OUTFITS – After you buy your outfits, sometimes time has passed depending on the type of planner you are, so be sure to try them on again a few days before in case you need to exchange anything. 
  • CLEAN THE RING! – The day before or go take your engagement ring to be cleaned. Most jewelry stores will do it for free and normally online takes 10-15 minutes.
  • HAIR + MAKE UP – Worried about hair and makeup? This is the perfect time for your hair and make-up trial! Make sure to have a buffer of a few hours between being done at the salon and your session’s start time. You don’t want to be rushed and late to your engagement session. Don’t miss that perfect light!
  • SNACK – Eat a light meal or snack before your session and maybe bring snacks too! During our time together, we’ll do a lot of walking, skipping, jumping, and movement, so having energy is key!
  • FREE TIME – The number one thing you should do is, clear your day or night! This is exciting. You are getting a beautiful and romantic gallery of you and your boo. These are memories! I tell my couples to plan date day/night. Get ready together, have a glass of wine or beer (trust me it helps with nerves haha), have a boom time at your session, and have reservations at your favorite dinner spot made, enjoy dinner and Celebrate! 
Vintage Black and White Photo of couple walking in Downtown Pittsburgh
Vintage Black and White Photo of Couple Kissing in Downtown
Downtown Couple walking down after engagement
Couple Standing looking at each other in front of bank in Downtown Pittsburgh

Choose your location based on the vibe you want your photos to be


Like I said before, to me, a downtown (or uptown) will usually set the stage for sophisticated and classy photos. There’s something about the variety of textures and colors, plus the defined lines of the buildings, that offer a more upscale, elegant look.

Hand holding engaged hand of her fiancé showing off her ring
Bride and Groom looking at each other in Market Square in Pittsburgh
Couple kissing in front of PPG Place in Pittsburgh

The location is so fundamental, and that’s why I’m happy to help you figure out what the best Pittsburgh photo locations for your session, in addition to planning the best date and time to go with smaller crowds.

Props are very fun, and can enhance your story but also have a little bit more fun, and who doesn’t want that?! For props, I always say Fun Glasses (there are some that says Bride to be), Champagne, Motorcycle, Pizza, or just a picnic to have in the park if its in the warmer months of the year.

Bride walking towards standing groom wearing a chic white sort dress and white sunglasses in Downtown Pittsburgh
Classy looking couple wearing sunglasses looking at the camera
Bride and Groom wearing sunglasses standing in a sidewalk in Downtown Pittsburgh Looking at each other.

3. What to wear to your Engagement Photos

Once you figure out where your session will be, let’s plan what you will wear! The goal is to match the vibe/energy/mood of the location and what you would normally wear at that location.

An amazing excuse to SHOP!

Heck yeah, let’s shop! This might be the most exciting thing about preparing for your engagement photos. If you don’t want to buy anything new, renting is a great way too! You are investing hundreds into an engagement session, you should invest in your wardrobe too! The most important part though is to feel comfortable. You don’t want to not feel like yourself while trying to be natural and feel confident. 

Comfort Over Anything!

If you are wearing fancy shoes or you will be getting dirty/wet, bring a change of clothes and shoes to wear before and after. If you don’t feel comfortable in tight-fitting clothes, avoid them. 

Coordinate Don’t Match

Your outfits should complement one another. This isn’t JcPenny Portraits, you don’t need to be matching. Dressing in the same color family will help the photos feel balanced and blend into your locations,

Couple inside an elevator kissing while the elevator doors closes.

Colors & Patterns

Choosing patterns and colors that don’t fight with what is around you, is important. You don’t want to be wearing colors in the green and yellow family and be photographed in a field/trees. Stick to light and neutral colors avoiding white. Blush, short blues, light grays, & cream are great starting points. Inside of patterns uses textures. Flowy dresses, blazers, non-patterned scarves and cardigans, leather, and layers! Don’t be afraid to add small splashes of colors too!

Compliment Eachother

If one shows up in a t-shirt and jeans and the other dressed up, it will stand out majorly but not in a positive way. Look as if you are both are going to the same place. Match the levels of dressiness and casualness, while also being intoned with your location


If you are having a hard time choosing outfits, feel free to send it to me and I’ll give you my two cents! This is going to be a fun, no-stress experience, and I’ll be there supporting you every step of the way.

Couple dipping at the main lobby of The Industrialist Hotel, Pittsburgh, Autograph Collection
Bride and Groom dancing at the main lobby of The Industrialist Hotel, Pittsburgh, Autograph Collection

4. Be prepare for anything!

You don’t want to bring a suitcase full of things preparing for your engagement photos, but bring things you may need to make the session better. A small tote bag is a perfect example. Here are some things you can put in the bag to bring with you to your engagement shoot:

  • Your apple watch, cell phones, wallet and kiss – I don’t want anything in your pockets!
  • WATER! Especially in the summer months.
  • A pack of gum – there will be lots of kissing!
  • Small makeup kit for touch-ups on lip color and foundation
  • Hair kit – brush, hair ties, bobby pins, gel, and spray!
  • SNACKS! – don’t be hungry.
  • Hand Sanitizer + Tissies
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Clear umbrella 
  • A small towel for dabbing sweaty foreheads
  • Medicine for headaches
Black and white photo of couple legs facing each other at a Pittsburgh Hotel
Black and white photo of couple kissing
Bride showing off engagement ring

7. Have FUN!!! Let’s focus on how incredible this experience will be!

Don’t be hard on yourself! It can be easy to feel like the whole session needs to feel perfect and not have a hair out of place. The number one thing you can do is to be yourself! Your boo loves you for YOU and you want your engagement photos to reflect that. Don’t overthink a thing. Trust me!! I got you, so be you and let me do the rest.

I know it’s hard to “relax, smile, and have fun” when there’s a camera 3 ft from your face! It’s not easy for me, and I know it’s not easy for you. Hopefully, you’re having an awesome photographer (contact me if you want me to create the best experience for you!) that let’s you be yourself, and gives you the direction, but also the time and space to be yourselves. My couples are just required to show up, be excited, and trust me! I have prompts, poses, and directions to give, so their personalities shine through and they feel relaxed and comfortable with me! We’ll play music and have fun!

If the nerves are INSANE, be patient with each other leading up to the session, and sip your favorite drink before your shoot. When overly nervous and in doubt, just kiss! HAVE FUN!


  • Get silly. Play with one another during the shoot. 
  • Think of the session as a date, and I promise it will seem more fun!
  • Don’t overthink your session! Look at your boo if you feel nervous. That’s your rock, lean on each other!
  • Refer back to this article as much as you need while you are preparing for engagement photos.
Couple running down Downtown Pittsburgh while holding hands

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