These fresh, exciting Toronto photography locations will be sure to make you rethink leaving the city for your engagement session.
The age-old saying goes, “first comes love, then comes marriage”. But what it actually should be is “first comes love, then comes engagement photography, then comes wedding photography.” It has a ring to it, right?
It’s pretty standard practice these days to have an engagement shoot before you dive right into your wedding day. This allows your photographer get to know you as a couple. It also acts as a way for couples to get more comfortable with us behind and in front of the camera. Two of the biggest concerns that come to us in our complimentary pre-photo meetings are as follows:
- Couples being nervous to be photographed and
- Where the engagement session will take place.
Being comfortable in front of the camera definitely takes time, but that is exactly what engagement shoots are for! Engagement shoots document a special time and moment in your lives together and help to make sure you are totally camera ready in time for your wedding day. As for photography venues, take a peek below to see some of our favourite up-and-coming Toronto photography locations.
R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant
We know what you’re thinking. A water treatment plant?? But seriously, look at it! This isn’t your small-town, funky smelling water treatment plant. When it comes to Toronto photography locations, you’ve got to get creative to stand out and be different. The R. C. Harris water treatment plant is less government facility and more Shape of Water industrial cool.
The buildings speak of an era long gone with emotions that still linger. If the architecture isn’t quite your cup of tea not to worry! The rolling hills and vast openness of Lake Ontario right behind you act as a breathtaking backdrop that even Guillermo del Toro would be jealous of.
Best time to shoot: Weekdays in the evening
Features: Dreamy art-deco architecture, stunning hills & vast Lake Ontario horizon.
St. Lawrence Market
Another historical darling that is the sweet spot for engagement sessions is none other than St. Lawrence Market. The market (Circa 1845!) has always been a big draw for its food and fanfare. However, having an engagement shoot in and around the market paints it in a whole new light.
The market is best to visit on weekdays to avoid the weekend tourists. During the evening, you can find gorgeous little nooks like the doorway above that feature dramatic lighting that is au naturale. This spot is the perfect perfect engagement shoot location for the entertainment district lovers out there who want to show their affection for each other and Toronto’s history.
Best time to shoot: Weekdays from 3 PM – 7 PM
Features: 19th-century architecture, stained glass windows, steps away from bustling Union and the entertainment district
Distillery District who? Though Yorkville and distillery have very different features, you can get the same photography vibe with much less crowding. Yorkville has an ageless class that is modern and sophisticated. The parquet brick streets were made for walking on, so you don’t have to worry about oncoming traffic. Plus, it gives you the same airy feel as Distillery!
The streets are lined with breathtaking window displays of the shops, and the trees sway ever so slightly into the street to give the village a whimsical feeling. When the setting sun’s rays hit the glass of the buildings, the streets of Yorkville radiantly glow, creating the perfect magic hour lighting.
Worried about sticking out too much? Don’t! The people of Yorkville always dress to impress, so you’ll fit right in while in your engagement shoot best.
Best time to shoot: Weekdays at sunset
Features: Vintage-looking lamp posts and awnings, walkable streets, high-class feel
Everyone and their mother has an Instagram picture at Toronto’s notorious Graffiti Alley. But what if there was a cooler, less over-done option for your engagement session? In steps Ossington & Queen. This up and coming intersection will always top our list of Toronto photography locations. There’s nothing cooler than being able to look back at your engagement pictures and say “we took pictures there BEFORE it was popular!”.
Michael and Michelle’s engagement session at Ossington & Queen was totally effortlessly cool. Shooting in the area in the evening gives you the perfect, warm light to complement the art, architecture, and love.
The walls of this area of town are always changing to feature new art in varying different styles. Keep a lookout for a piece that catches your eye or sparks inspiration!
Best time to shoot: Weekday evenings
Features: little to no crowding, unique graffiti art, a fresh take on queen west, classic architecture, and lots of yummy restaurants for snack breaks.
Are you a #foodie? Or just love sitting down? KOST is the place for you! When you think Toronto photography locations, you’d probably never think of INSIDE a restaurant. But with a modern-boho interior like KOST’s, how could you not? We already know that the food is picture perfect, but the interior aspects of the restaurant are the perfect compliment to a contemporary, free-spirited couple.
With floor length windows and natural wood and greenery elements, the restaurant space makes for an amazing canvas to paint the story of your love.
And when you’re done smooching and eating it up inside, Kost also has a gorgeous rooftop patio featuring views of the CN Tower and all of Toronto that you can enjoy and photograph. Two awesome engagement shoot locations for the price of one!
Permit: No, order from the menu
Best time to shoot: Weekday mornings and before 5PM
Features: Light and airy atmosphere and a very Instagram friendly interior
Though most people see West as best when it comes to Toronto, you’d be surprised what location gold you can find if you travel a little out of your comfort zone.
Riverside has a special place in Mango Studios’ heart because that is where we call home! Riverside is the perfect Toronto photography location if you want to come and hang out at Mango and meet with your photographer, then quickly jet off to do an engagement session. So yes, we are a little biased when it comes to Riverside, but that in no way cheapens its potential for engagement photography. Lush greenery, cool shops, and steps away from the Toronto Humane Society are what make it so special. Riverside is pretty picturesque when it comes to photography opportunities and just all around good times.
Best time to shoot: Sunset
Features: Cute parks, Don River, cool bridges, less-crowded streets, and lots of dogs!
Artsy couples rejoice, Kensington Market is the engagement session location for you.
Toted as Toronto’s most vibrant and diverse neighbourhood, this location is the best for couples that could be similarly described. As an arts and culture hub, Kensington Market boasts hip, crafty, and sometimes unusual fares and architecture; perfect for a couple that likes to dance to the beat of their own drum.
Highlights of Kensington market include fun coloured and graffitied buildings (pictured above!), artisan shops, fun eats, and vintage finds. Bohemian and laid-back, Kensington Market is just begging for engagement sessions for boho brides, artist couples, and indie darlings.
Permit: Not here!
Best time to shoot: Weekday before 8PM
Features: Bohemian paradise, cool shops, tree-lined streets, colourful Victorian houses.
University of Toronto Campus
When you’re thinking about Toronto engagement shoot locations, your first thought probably isn’t a school. But why not? UofT is the oldest university in the Toronto area and its campuses could seriously rival Hogwarts. If it was cool enough for Mean Girls to shoot at, its definitely cool enough for your engagement pictures.
This would also be a super sweet spot to have an engagement session done if one or both in the couple attendees UofT for post-secondary studies. From one adventure to the next, the UofT campus could be the perfect place to photograph the stepping stones to a life together.
Permit: Yes, schools have rules!
Best time to shoot: Weekdays at sunset
Features: Centuries-old brickwork, stunning libraries, and cute stairwells/nooks surrounded by greenery.
Better known as a sought after place to live, The Esplanade is home to a variety of architecture that is a fabulous backdrop for photography. For the business savvy, modern couple, the Esplanade is the perfect engagement shoot location to set the tone for your marriage and the goals/dreams you have for your life together.
A hop skip and a jump away from all of Toronto’s most famous attractions, the Esplanade is a stretch of street and apartments that takes you away from it all without being too far removed. This is what makes it such an interesting and valuable place to capture the beginning of a couple’s future.
Best time to shoot: Weekdays before 5 PM
Features: Fresh white architecture and lots of variety
Your own neighbourhood, because why not?
Nothing is better than homegrown love. If you ask me, the absolute best place to capture engagement sessions is in your own backyard.
Engagement photography is all about capturing the raw, intense love that surrounds a couple who have taken the first step to committing their lives to each other. You want to be able to capture this passion as naturally and easily as possible. There’s no better place to feel more comfortable than in a part of town that a couple knows and loves.
Maybe it’s a park where they had their first kiss, the alleyway where they laughed until they cried, or even the laundromat they frequent twice a week. Any place that has positive, meaningful memories for your couple is your best bet for candid, true, and passionate photography. And the best part is that it’s unique to you. No one else will have the same memories or love for these places, and that’s something to cherish.
Permit: Depends where you shoot! Always check before.
Best time to shoot: Weekday anytime. Your neighbourhood is your oyster!
Features: A sentimental location that is unique to you and your future spouse.
Let us know if you choose any of these spots for your own engagement session, and click the links below for more fresh photography ideas!
Views From the Six: Top 10 Toronto Photography Locations Part 1:
Top 10 Amazing Photography Locations to Take Engagement Pictures Part 2: