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Philadelphia's Top Engagement & Wedding Photo Locations

Living in this city means you really get to learn the ins and outs.  Here are some of my favorite locations to shoot my couples! 

By Jared Wood

It's All About Location!

Being a wedding photographer in Philadelphia means I get the opportunity to shoot all around the city.  Some couples will schedule HOURS of time to hit all of the beautiful spots the city has to offer.  Here are a list of my favorite spots, how to get there, and what you can expect once you’re there!

Elfreth's Alley

124 Elfreth’s Alley, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Dating back to 1702 this residential street is a national landmark and the oldest residential street in the US.  

First thing to note is that people actually live in these history homes.  (For the most part) . Point is treat them and their property with respect.  They do an amazing job of keeping them looking beautiful.  Encourage your photographer (unless it’s me lol) to step outside the box of the normal (down the alley) shot and really get some details from this amazing location captured in your images.

Race Street Pier

Race Street Pier which is located within walking distance of Elfreth’s Alley is another spot you should absolutely check out while you’re in Old City.

With no place better to capture some great images on the water and about as close as you can be the Ben Franklin Bridge without actually touching it Race Street Pier makes an excellent stop for your engagement or wedding photos.  Be sure to pick up a photo permit prior otherwise you might get stopped by rangers.  They have a lot of pride in their jobs.  YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!

Love Park

1500 John F Kennedy Blvd Philadelphia, PA

Recently renovated, Love Park has turned into a much flatter versions of itself without the giant fountain skateboarders once flew their way in and out of but it still has the famous giant red LOVE sign that so many couples LOVE to capture in their photos!

Now here is the LIFE HACK with shooting here.  You’ll almost always run into a line.  Odds are if you’re with a couple who’s decked out in their wedding day attire they’ll let you skip the line if your polite about it.  Knowing that be ready to jump in, nail your poses, and move on so the rest of the line can snap their memorable photo!  Don’t forget to say “Thank you!”

For more information check out Love Park.

Broad Street (Avenue of the Arts)

Maybe one of the most iconic portrait locations is smack in the middle of the city.  Personally I’ve found it almost best to shoot on the broad street divider between Lombard and Pine streets.  It almost always gives me the perspective I admire. 

Be prepared to have many of those driving by honk their horns and yell “congratulations”.  Also be super careful of cars driving by.  The median is about 4ft wide but I’ve seen a number of cars drive over it.  LIFEHACK.  There are “Loading zones” aka 30 minute free parking all up and down Broad street closer to Lombard so if you’re on that marathon race to get your images done be sure to utilize them!

Merchants Exchange Building

143 S 3rd Street Philadelphia, PA 19106

Stunning views but if you’re in heels ladies watch out.  As someone with awful ankles cobblestone streets are so dangerous (yes i’m being a bit over dramatic but hear me out).  Surrounded completely by multiple blocks of cobblestone, this is one of the most popular areas for portraits in the historic area of of Philadelphia.  Don’t be surprised on a popular wedding weekend to see multiple bridal parties waiting to get the shot.  You photographer should facilitate this but just in case they don’t, you want to make sure you’re being respectful to the other couples as well patient as it can take time to capture those perfect shots.

Not only is it great for wedding portraits it’s even better for those larger bridal parties. 

IMPORTANT you do do need a permit to photograph here and I promise you that rangers will be around.  You can sign up for that permit here.  It’s totally free to do so. 

Philadelphia's Magic Gardens

1020 South Street Philadelphia, PA 19147
Check Hours Here.

So many have heard about Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens but so few actually visit.  You can find similar mirrored mosaics all over the city but none are even close to the scale of which you’ll find within. 

Now there is an admission fee to enter and you’ll want to be sure that you purchase your tickets ahead of time.  It can get busy but I promise you’ll be able to get some memorable images.  Crowds can form inside the crammed garden but people are typically understanding and do their best to stay out of your way understanding what it is that you’re there for.  

Check out their Free Virtual Tour.

The Curtis Center and Dream Garden

699 Walnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19106

Have better luck than I do and get a chance to shoot there when it’s not raining.  Now if you know me at all I’ll make the absolute most out of any situation but my god is this place beautiful.

I don’t believe you need any special permission to photograph here.  Kristin and David in these photos were getting married next door a the Downtown Club with Cescaphe weddings

For full information on this check out The Curtis Center and Dream Garden.

18th Century Garden

339 Walnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19106

This is another hidden gem in old city the 18th century garden offers a simple and intimate setting for you and your significant other. 

If you’re lucky enough to have a perfect October day for a wedding to shoot here you’ll love the sun that shines through it’s pearl white gates and the greenery all over.  The last time that I shot her was maybe one of the busiest days of the year but as we arrived that this hidden gem we had it all to ourselves.  I know secret is out now but it’s worth it and I want you to have this experience! 

Find out more here.  18th Century Garden.

Independence Hall but Not Where You'd Think.

520 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19106

Independence Hall… The history of this building speaks for itself but I’ve found that the rear side of the building can offer an amazing atmosphere for portraits and group photos for your large bridal parties.

As always, make sure you’ve got your free permit to have permission to photograph here.  Also side note for you other photographers, be careful of puddles.  I’ve seen couples get SOAKED by cars hitting puddles just right as they role up 5th street.  Your couple is not going to be very happy if you are responsible for leading them right up to a dirty puddle. 

If your google machine is broken…. Check out Independence Hall

Go Build Your List!

Now that you’ve seen some of my favorite spots get out and build a list of your own.  Some other spots I simply didn’t have time to get to but are worth checking out include: