Couple enjoying an engagement session in New Orleans French Quarter

January 23, 2023

Linka Odom

9 Hidden Gem Locations For Engagement Photos In New Orleans

New Orleans is one of the most badass cities in America. It exudes its own style baked in a culture and history that makes you feel alive in a way that’s hard to explain. ‘The Big Easy’ is known for many things. First and foremost, a characteristic live music scene, its Cajun-Creole cuisine, the numerous world-renowned festivals and its couldn’t-be-anywhere-else architecture. With boundless photogenic spots throughout every inch of the city – I’ve put together my 9 hidden gem locations for engagement photos in New Orleans! 

Exploring this dynamic city, you may choose some of the more well-known New Orleans engagement photo locations, such as historic Jackson Square. Balanced against some classic architecture inspired shots, walking through the French Quarter. Perhaps you’re considering the 1300 acres of nature in City Park. Or the scenically-spooky Spanish moss-strewn Tree of Life in Audubon Park. To be sure, these iconic locations are perfect for engagement photography. However, I’ve been photographing long enough to have some unique ideas up my sleeve! Below I list my favorite secret and oh-so-romantic spots that stir out of the corners of this city. Like a tendril of steam escaping from a big ol’ pot of jambalaya 😉 

1. Mississippi River Bank: From The Levees To Crescent Park

The walk along the Mississippi River – from Crescent Park to Algiers Point – to the End of the World and the Holy Cross Levee. The riverbank is teeming with some of the best spots for engagement photos in New Orleans. From the moment you walk over the enormous arch into Crescent Park at Piety and Chartres Streets, you’ll be struck by passionate possibilities. Moody fog blankets that tuck the skyline into the river, can add a lot of atmosphere to this somewhat industrial space.

The many abandoned buildings serve as cinematic backgrounds along the riverbanks. Nearby, we’ll find the Holy Cross neighborhood where some of the most picturesque views of the city are located. This includes the Doullut Steamboat houses – a true Louisiana fairytale. Eclectic neighborhood spots like Bacchanal Wine can entice you afterwards with delicious wine, tapas and live music to get your fix. 

Silhouette of engaged couple on the Mississippi River at the Holy Cross Levee

2. Lake Pontchartrain

Polluted? Perhaps. Picturesque with killer sunsets? Absolutely! There are some decidedly charming hidden beaches along Lake Pontchartrain. Tucked away, you’ll need to tap into your sense of adventure to access them but it’ll be totally worth it. As I mentioned, the sunsets on the lake are amazing and that’s when we’ll capture your most dramatic photos! 

Many Lake Pontchartrain engagement shoot locations are close to City Park. Afterwards you can venture and combine two of the best New Orleans engagement photo spots into one day of shooting. 

Lake Pontchartrain Engagement Photo

3. Your Favorite Watering Hole

Known for nightlife and very colorful cocktails, choosing your favorite bar is an awesome New Orleans engagement photo location idea! In fact, somewhere that’s intimate and personal to you as a couple can make for rather meaningful photos. You can use the aesthetic of a bar to your advantage creating edgy, cozy, daring and unrepeatable engagement photos. 

After that you can also spend time walking around almost any nearby neighborhood. I bet you will find other bars, cafes, hotels or streets that exhibit tons of character to play with. Each neighborhood has architectural gems to use at your New Orleans engagement photographers disposal. Just make sure you ask the bar owner and get permission before you start taking photographs! 

4. A Local Record Store

One of my best New Orleans engagement session locations – that is often overlooked – is inside a record store. Most record stores have a funky interior that can create the most groovy and novel backdrops for some flavor-filled and different engagement photos! Peaches Records in the Uptown area is a prime example. 

With its characteristic signage outside, this establishment is full of history and musical legacy. The interior is a blend of a vintage diner and a music store. Its tiled floors and record-lined walls are begging for some imaginative editorial-style engagement photos! Again, ask for permission or call the owners and schedule a session before photographing their store – they’ll appreciate it. At the same time, there are so many bars to enjoy before or after your session. These will only add to the fun and funky theme of the day.

Peaches Record Store engagement photo location

5. Marigny Opera House

Unquestionably one of the most beautiful buildings in New Orleans! Only six blocks from the French Quarter, this former church is architecturally stunning and full of character. The Marigny Opera House engagement location offers breathtaking exteriors. As seen above, these include its front steps, followed by devastatingly beautiful facades covered in walls textured by time. (read: worn and weary but wonderful). Above all this romantic setting shines through in the engagement photos taken here. The ‘under construction’ mansion next door makes for a totally incredible backdrop as well. Take time to explore the neighborhood. You will find some of the most gorgeous and shoot-worthy houses in the city.

Marigny Opera House

6. Couturie Forest and City Park

City Park engagement photos in New Orleans are the type that couples especially want to have their dogs join in the fun! Couterie Forest is full of scenic paths, lush foliage, and grand trees to involve when creating a romantic-as-all-hell shoot. The backdrops are ever-changing with the sun, the shadows and even the seasons. With a vast array of plant species that will magically transform your shoot into something quite extraordinary. Furthermore, there are so many activities that can be enjoyed in New Orleans City Park. You can make a day out of it. Bring a picnic and enjoy an inspiring nature-filled walk with your lover and doggo.

Most importantly: If you include your dogs in our engagement photo session, I will donate 15% of the session fee to a local dog rescue of your choice.

City Park engagement photo with dog

7. Jungle Gardens Avery Island

This magnificent bird sanctuary and botanical garden is a bit of a drive (2.5 hours to be exact). Additionally there’s a $50 fee for photography, but it’s SO worth it! The possibilities for your New Orleans engagement photos in these gardens are infinite. Ancient oaks drip with Spanish moss. Trees and vines stretch out into the deep, jungle-like gardens. A nice feature is that your pups are most welcome here.

As I have noted: I’ll donate 15% of the session fee to a local dog rescue of your choice if you include your dog in the session!

The natural palette from spring to autumn also lends itself to perfect romantic photos, complementing portrait photography. Indeed you can take your Jungle Gardens and Avery Island engagement photographer here for a shoot. It will be well worth the trip. I love to use these lush backdrops as the contrast to your heartfelt love captured on film.

8. Bay St. Louis

I’m going to level with you – Mississippi is not be renowned for its beaches. BUT that doesn’t mean we can’t create some cool photos at one. Yes, the sand might not be the whitest and the water not the bluest. Although if you catch the Sunrise or Golden Hour rays at sunset playing off the water tops, you’ve got yourself a moody portrait dripping in romance. 

First thing to remember is that the beach is about an hour drive from New Orleans. Be that as it may, it is an awesome choice for your New Orleans beach engagement session. Interesting silhouettes, edgy palm fronds, wharfs lining the beach – let’s maximize the coastal coloring and catch the reflections in your eyes. Afterwards, you can relax and enjoy your day at the beach, or enjoy a local art walk in the area. 

9. Fontainebleau State Park

Fontainebleau State Park is one of the most beautiful parks in the state and my personal favorite. Additionally it’s the perfect spot for engagement pictures near New Orleans. The crumbling brick ruin of the 1829 sugar mill is a great location for romantic photos. Above all, it has its own Oak Alley, a mangrove forest along a beach and tons of hiking trails – all about an hour from the city. 

A shoot here can involve scenic walks, windy streets, trees dappled in sunlight and sailboats floating gently in the background. Photos here can be intimate, playful or just beautiful with a natural palette of greens, warm tones and cruisy neutrals. Using the old railroad as a prop or setting up a vintage beach tent and canoe is another cute option. You can really get creative with your surroundings at Fontainebleau State Park. If you’re feeling a little adventurous, stay overnight and make a weekend out of the exploration!

From gumbo to beignets, from carnivals to intriguing dialects, New Orleans is a melting pot of collaborative activities. With so many unique spaces, style and character, New Orleans is one of the most iconic cities for an engagement photographer to roam.

Fontainebleau State Park a hidden gem for engagement photos

I love the art of photography because if you peek a little closer, the most overlooked places can often be the most magical ones. I love to explore and discover backdrops that create unusual and gripping photos. If you’d like to discuss my hidden gems and best locations for engagement photos in New Orleans in more detail, send me a message!

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  1. Tor says:

    These are all so creative and different! Thanks so much for creating this resource. I’m obsessed with the record session!