Romantic West Allis Engagement
A couple look at each other and she has her hand on his chest as they are photographed through a small field of yellow wild flowers.

Romantic West Allis Engagement

Being a wedding photographer I feel like I’ve been to every park in Milwaukee County. Not even Milwaukee County, but it practically feels that way for the neighboring counties as well: Racine, Kenosha, Waukesha and Ozaukee County.

Between taking family portraits, senior portraits and then all of my engagement sessions and wedding days I’ve taken a lot of portraits in a lot of different parks.

Couple that with my natural love for going on walks and hikes and being outside, I thought I knew on the back of my hand every park in the area. But, low and behold I just finished this engagement session with Michael and Rachel and they took me to three places I’ve never been before. Three places that were new to me, but places I definitely have to return to take more photos.

Living in West Allis, we first started out behind Rachel and Michael’s house which had a small green space that people could escape to. It was part of a row of town houses and everyone living there had access to it. I won’t be going back there, since it’s private but it was a perfect spot to start with since Rachel and Michael really wanted to take portraits with their pet cat. We were able to take portraits and easily and quickly return their cat back to home before he got too mad at the whole process.


That’s a good tip for bringing your pets along on engagement sessions. I’ve had many sessions with many pets and I’m all for bringing your furry friend to the session.

Here’s a couple tips though to make the process easier.

Number one: Start the session with them. That way you can get the bumpiest part of the day out of the way right away. After the initial bumps and bruises then the rest of the session will be a breeze.

Number two: Always bring a handler for the pet, someone who can handle them and keep them under control and out of your hair when you want to go back to your regular portraits.

Number three: Have fun and relax with your pet. Pictures with your pet are naturally the more laid-back, fun or goofy photos so don’t stress about having them be perfect. Instead adjust to your pet and laugh with them. If you have a dog we can do photos with them walking or running circles around you or licking your face when they’re not supposed to. One of my most popular photos ever was a bride holding up her dog and getting a big sloppy kiss. People love that photo and the bride was totally ok with the unexpected kiss from her pup.

The times when I’ve seen more struggles from clients and their animals is when the clients get overwhelmed and anxious trying to keep their pet on their best behavior. No one wants a photo of themselves staring down and yelling at their puppy, getting red in the face trying to control them. Instead keep it light.

Number four: Watch out for those dirty puppy paws. Plan out where the photos will be and if your dog likes to jump around and play in the mud and water then I’d avoid that area unless your ok getting paw prints on your pants and dress. 

Number five: Match the outfits to the moment. Rachel and Michael started their session with goofy shirts that had their cats face on them, along with jeans. If your outfits are more casual then it’s more ok for your dog to run, jump and potentially get your outfit messy.


Returning back to the locations for Rachel and Michael, after we wrapped up their “backyard” we went practically right across the street to Greenfield Park. This is another park that somehow I’ve missed exploring in my last 10 years in Milwaukee. 

It had a lovely pond and massive trees, along with a little wild flower patch. We were able to take photos walking around the trees, sitting on park benches with the pond in the background and them cuddling in the middle of the wildflowers.

It really was a park that had a lot to offer photographers.

The last location was a bit further away in Waukesha on a boardwalk over a swampy area. Now, I’ve been to a lot of boardwalks before, but this was a massive boardwalk that stretched out for a super long way in the distance. We only stayed near the beginning of it, but looking out I couldn’t see the end of it.

It was also amazing, because it gave wide views and all you could see was nature all around. It was a magical spot to capture the sunset, which is what we did with Rachel and Michael.

Summer Temperatures

Now, I feel like I’ve gone through a lot of sessions coaching clients on how to stay warm in cooler temperatures or even the winter.

But, I’ve never coached them on the opposite spectrum, when they are taking their photos in the middle of summer and it’s blazing hot.

Here are a couple tips for that.

Number one: schedule a morning sunrise session. Yes, it can be rough waking up super early, but this is how you truly avoid the heat of the day. Even by sunset, the temperature won’t fall a whole lot, but in the morning the temperature had the whole night to fall to something more palatable.

Number two: Hydrate beforehand and during the session. Bring lots of water.

Number three: Bring towels to dry off as much as possible. Many of these warm sessions are absolutely fine, but the one thing we’re trying to do is to avoid sweat.

Number four: Plan ahead for walking minimal distances. Yes, that cozy butterfly garden in the middle of the state park is amazing, but if it takes us 10-15 minutes to walk there we might be a sweaty mess by the time we arrive.

Number five: Don’t be afraid to jump back in your car and crank up the AC. With my engagement sessions I give the couples plenty of time, up to four hours. So, definitely take advantage of it. It’s a marathon, not a sprint!

Well, that’s all from Rachel and Michael’s lovely engagement session in West Allis and Waukesha. I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed taking them.

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