Outdoor Photoshoot Locations | 6 Backdrop Ideas

Getting ready to book your Pittsburgh engagement photos? Before you Google “outdoor photoshoot locations near me,” let me lend a hand! I’m a photographer, but I’m here as your guide, too. I’m excited to plan with you! There are so many fantastic local photoshoot locations to consider for your session. Be sure to peek inside these recently blogged sessions to help you choose the best location for you:

How to Find the Right Outdoor Photoshoot Locations for Your Engagement Session

Sometimes, it’s fun to have an idea and location in mind and then walk around until we find “The Shot.” I like to mesh your personality with the locale so we capture the essence of who you are as a couple. Ideally, the goal is for your photos to authentically reflect YOU. Every couple’s session is different. I’ll recommend locations based on the questionnaire you fill out and our chat together so we nail down the perfect places for your personalized session. (I’m happy to recommend outfit ideas, too!)

As a Pittsburgh native, I have a few hidden gems in mind for your photoshoot location, depending on the season and time of day for your scheduled session. When planning, I’ll consider the natural scenery, lighting, and crowds. 

For instance, if you want sunset photos, I might suggest a quiet rooftop with incredible views. Or if you want lots of greenery but need to book a winter session, I might recommend a few venues with year-round botanical gardens. For Kim and Steven’s sophisticated downtown engagement session, Mellon Square and Rooftop provided just what we needed to get a variety of romantic photos.

Here are a few artistic elements I keep in mind when scouting locations. Each element factors into how I’ll compose your engagement photos. Instead of providing a list of locations, I think it may be more helpful to provide you with some ideas for artistic elements we can incorporate no matter where we venture for your session.

6 Elements to Incorporate into Couple’s Portraits

1. Architectural Elements

Downtown Pittsburgh boasts endless architectural styles to use in photos. Discuss which looks and styles speak to you, such as:

  • Industrial architecture (for Steel City vibes)
  • Modern (many museums feature modern architecture)
  • Renaissance (ornate, elegant, and romantic)
  • Art Deco (unique, aesthetic, urban)
  • Historic Buildings (meaningful, elegant, and romantic)
  • Post Modern & Mid-Century Modern (artistic, trendy, and fresh)

Pittsburgh Architecture

You can find most of these architectural styles downtown. Just take a look at various museums, luxury hotels, historic factories, cultural centers, and event venues.

For example, PPG Place features neo-gothic architecture and towering walls of glass. The Frick Environmental Center and Frick Park have some pretty incredible views and unique modern and artistic architecture, too. You might also check out the Mellon Institute and Pennsylvania Railroad Station Rotunda if you love unique architecture.

*Note: if you have specific buildings in mind, don’t forget to account for any walking, commute, and parking logistics. Ideally, we want to stick to a smaller area so we can make the most of our time together while allowing for wardrobe changes. I don’t want you to feel rushed or unable to get all the shots you want.

2. Texture Variety

love to add texture into your photos for a little something extra. Geometric shapes, industrial materials, aesthetic details on buildings or built-in décor all help to paint a unique canvas to showcase your engagement photos. Texture adds extra personality and dimension to your photos.

3. Botanical Elements

There’s just something about a little greenery that really softens the photos. Natural elements help to create a warm, romantic ambiance, and they often contribute to an intimate, private feel as well. Images with botanical elements almost always tend to turn into wall-worthy portraits.

4. Complementary Colors

I often recommend that couples lean toward more neutral wardrobe pieces so as not to detract from the chemistry between them and their beautiful faces; but that doesn’t mean your photos will look drab! 

Add a pop of color into your wardrobe with a fun accessory like a hat, scarf, or subtly-colored top or pants. We can add color into the backdrop as well. This blue-hued handrail and the contrasting light and dark colors of the buildings—or the terracotta-red brick paired with the couple’s neutral outfits—all help pull the overall look into a work of art!

5. Unique Lighting

If you’d like a few sunset photos and views of the skyline, don’t forget to look around for some fun lighting available downtown as well. At dusk, we can usually find elegant street lamps and entryway lighting to add a soft glow to your photos.

6. Rooftop Views & Cityscapes

Let’s have some fun playing with line, dimension, and composition! We’ll head to a rooftop parking lot or terrace and catch interesting silhouettes of the skyline against the horizon. These photos look gorgeous and oh-so-romantic at sunset!

For More Outdoor Photoshoot Locations & Engagement Session Ideas

Visit rachelwehanphotography.com and check out the blog!



  1. […] professional photos you have together, so let’s do them up right! We can head to a scenic park, botanic garden, local brewery, downtown market, or wherever your heart desires. And if you’re like me and home […]

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