Engagement Photo Ideas | Chic + Elegant Downtown Pittsburgh Engagement

engagement photo ideas

Mariah Treiber

November 22, 2021

Crazy enough, this incredible duo met in Vegas—Eric was at a bachelor party and Natalie on a girls’ trip—but they hit off the moment they locked eyes and haven’t looked back since! Natalie and Eric chose an elegant, classy urban/downtown Pittsburgh engagement session. They were looking for photos that capture their love and happiness with sophisticated city vibes to complement their style as a couple. I enjoyed bringing their vision to life as we explored the city streets together. They will be getting married at beautiful Oglebay in West Virginia next year! In love with Natalie and Eric’s elegant urban engagement photos? Here are a few engagement photo ideas to help you recreate the look:

Union Station Rotunda Photos
Penn Station Engagement Photos
Pittsburgh engagement photos
Pittsburgh engagement photographer
Mariah Treiber Photography

5 Tips for Elegant Engagement Photos with Sophisticated City Vibes

Urban Engagement Photo Ideas

1. Opt for Formal Attire

The easiest way to elevate your engagement photos is with your attire. Switch out those jeans for a stunning full-length dress, and you’ve instantly transformed the overall look of your photos into something much more sophisticated.

Natalie chose a sexy and sophisticated lace burgundy dress—doesn’t she look amazing?!—and Eric played up the look with a handsome black suit, minus the tie for a trendier uptown vibe. Later, he kept the suit while she switched to a classy black mid-length bodycon dress.  I couldn’t love their style more!

Note for the ladies: Both of Natalie’s dresses photographed beautifully. Yet they were comfortable enough that she could still move freely and have fun during the session without feeling constricted or constantly needing to adjust. I recommend keeping movement and comfort in mind when selecting your dress.

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2. Use Historic Buildings + Beautiful Architecture for the Backdrop

Here’s where hiring the right photographer comes into play. As a professional Pittsburgh photographer, I can secure necessary photography permits for more exclusive downtown photo locations like the beautiful Penn Station Rotunda shown in these images. This extra-photogenic spot features a low-capped dome filled with tiny lights for a romantic photo experience. The surrounding arches, brown terracotta, smooth marble, and vaulted skylight make the Union Station Rotunda a highly sought-after photography location. (Contact me here if you’d like to book photos at the Rotunda.)

For Natalie and Eric’s timeless engagement photos, we also utilized the iconic yellow Roberto Clemente Bridge for another round of swoon-worthy, romantic images. Some bridges photograph better than others, and I just love the color and sweeping arch of this one. 

I’m happy to help you select and secure the best Pittsburgh photo locations for your session, in addition to planning the best date and time to go with smaller crowds.

Mariah Treiber Photography
engagement photo ideas
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romantic engagement ideas

3. Take Advantage of the City Scene

To me, a downtown (or uptown) atmosphere naturally sets 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. Sure, you can take elegant photos at a park or other natural location (which I also love!), but keep in mind a natural backdrop just offers a softer, more whimsical aesthetic. Urban scenes are a bit edgier. 

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engagement photo ideas

4. Balance Upscale with Fun + Funky

Don’t be afraid to mix it up! Next, we headed to Downtown Pittsburgh’s Strip District. When planning your session, opt for a section of downtown with a variety of backdrops. The Strip District offers both elegant architecture and fun and funky murals with a colorful vintage vibe. I love that Natalie wore her stunning little black dress and black pumps—complemented by his sharp black suit—for the pictures in front of the mural. It was a perfectly balanced juxtaposition! I love the contrast between their attire and the backdrop.

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engagement photo ideas
engagement photo ideas
engagement photo ideas
engagement photo ideas

5. Make it Date

Finally, the last—and most important—way to get phenomenal engagement photos is to treat it like a date, not something you have to check off your list. I want your engagement photo experience to give you time and space to have fun together and enjoy each other’s company. You’re only engaged for a little while. Relax and be yourself, and use this time to celebrate your love. Dance across the crosswalk, twirl beneath the street lamps, and get excited about those dinner reservations you have following your session. Do it up right, and make lots of fun memories while you’re at it! Cheers on your engagement, friends!

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Book Your Pittsburgh Engagement Session with Mariah Treiber Photography

Need help planning your session? No problem! After booking, I’ll provide you with more engagement photo ideas so we can design a completely personalized engagement session just for you. Learn more about our work here, and get more information on photo and video services here.

engagement photo ideas, Roberto Clemente Bridge 6th Street Bridge Pittsburgh
engagement photo ideas, Roberto Clemente Bridge 6th Street Bridge Pittsburgh
engagement photo ideas, Roberto Clemente Bridge 6th Street Bridge Pittsburgh
engagement photo ideas, Roberto Clemente Bridge 6th Street Bridge Pittsburgh
engagement photo ideas, Roberto Clemente Bridge 6th Street Bridge Pittsburgh
engagement photo ideas, Roberto Clemente Bridge 6th Street Bridge Pittsburgh


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  1. […] first decide what look you’re going for. Be sure to check out my recent post showcasing elegant downtown portraits to see if you prefer a more urban feel. In this post, I’ll highlight a more natural and […]