Thank you for stopping by our blog here at Crane’s Photography! This blog has become an integral part of my success, providing me with a creative platform to feature the couples and families I photograph and connect with readers like you.






BLog home


Joel & Justin’s Chicago Engagement

How can you go wrong with an evening spent with two fantastic guys to capture their love story? The answer is you simply cannot! I had such a blast photographing Joel and Justin’s engagement session at the picturesque Lincoln Park and North Avenue Beach. The evening was filled with laughter and genuine smiles. We were able to capture so many striking images during this vibrant Chicago LGBTQ+ engagement session!

Joel & Justin’s Rainbow Romance: A Chicago Engagement Story

These guys brought so much energy and happiness to their Chicago LGBTQ+ engagement session. We kicked things off in their neighborhood, Northalsted, which is basically a rainbow explosion of LGBTQ+ pride. Think rainbow crosswalks, flags everywhere – you get the picture. It was the perfect spot to start – pure love surrounded by acceptance, what’s not to love?
Next, we moved to the scenic Lincoln Park with its bridge, honeycomb pavilion, and flower-filled Cafe Brauer. But North Avenue Beach stole the show with its dramatic skyline and sandy beach, providing pure Chicago magic. To wrap things up, Joel and Justin wanted some classic beachy shots, just them and the water – nature vs. city, and it was breathtaking! The epic reflection of the sunset over Lake Michigan was the perfect romantic ending to a perfect day.

A Proposal in Paradise

In the bizarre early stretch of the pandemic, Justin and Joel swiped right on a spark on Tinder. Dates became FaceTime calls, a new kind of virtual intimacy. As things blossomed, they ventured out for “walking cocktail dates,” social distancing their way to connection.  Early on, Joel popped the question (not for marriage, but for COVID-exclusivity!), and they haven’t looked back since!
A memorable milestone in their relationship was a work conference in Hawaii that Justin attended. Joel joined him near the end of the conference so they could vacation on the Big Island. Justin pre-booked a helicopter tour and planned to propose. The pilot made a touchdown near a waterfall where they were able to walk around. The pilot knew in advance that Justin was going to propose and offered to photograph the proposal. They have great photos and videos from when Justin got down on one knee.

Celebrating Love & Diversity

Joel and Justin’s Chicago society has come so far in acknowledging that love is love in marriage equality for LGBTQ+ people. They are thankful that they found each other at this unique time and for what the future holds. They are excited to gather their family and friends and celebrate their relationship as they enter a new phase of life together.
Watching Joel and Justin loosen up in front of the camera and be themselves completely was heartwarming. Their unique personalities shone through, making the session a joy to document – a celebration of love, being yourself, and the beauty of diversity. I felt so honored to be a part of their story, and seriously, I can’t wait to capture their wedding day too!
Thanks, guys for letting me share in your love story and show the world what an amazing couple you are. I am looking forward to celebrating with you again at the Chicago Winery next year!!

Looking for a photographer to capture your unique Chicago LGBTQ+ engagement story? Let me help you create beautiful memories that celebrate your love and commitment! Contact me today to discuss your photography needs.


James and Jessica's Garden Wedding in San Diego