April 3, 2022
Lakeland is rich with small town feel with lots of picturesque photo spots –if you know where to look!
I’ve created this blog post so that you and your fiancé will have engagement photos that you absolutely love. But before I dive right into the locations, you should know that choosing the locations is just one part of amazing photos. I actually have an entire guide on what makes an engagement session go from Good to Gorgeous!
As a Lakeland Wedding photographer, I can assure you that all the wedding planning doesn’t have to be hard, especially when you have someone to help you along the way. So, beautiful Bride-to-Be, this guide is for you!
My Guide to Amazing Engagement Photos
~ Why an engagement session is so important for wedding day photos ~
~ Style guide for your engagement session (for the guys too!) ~
~ My posing secrets for engagement sessions ~
~ Best photo locations in Lakeland, Florida ~
Table of Contents
I have done the work for you. Every single location on this list I have personally gone to and seen for myself. I’ve scouted out the magic spots and can guide you to the best light and locations. I’ve also combed through any access requirements and sometimes fee requirements.
My photo spots are for every personality and vibe. From parks & gardens, urban downtown, scenic landscapes, rooftops, and unique Lakeland culture…there is something for everyone.
If there is a location that isn’t on my list that you think I would absolutely love, please let me know!
Also, be sure to check out the Google Map below!
22VW+MJ Lakeland, Florida
The Loggia at Lake Mirror is one of the most recognizable features of Lakeland. And it’s perfectly set for couples that love beautiful, stone architecture in a wide open, scenic landscape. Perfect for those picturesque shots from far away while you and your loved one enjoy a tender moment.
108 S Massachusetts Ave, Lakeland, FL 33801
Kryger Park is a small stone park overlooking Lake Mirror. And it’s a spot you can often have all to yourself. It’s tucked away for a quiet, intimate spot, while still wide open to the unobstructed Lakeland skyline.
22VX+5J Lakeland, Florida
Very similar to The Loggia and Kryger Park, but still very much worth mentioning. The Promenade offers an open scenic view, stone architectural elements, and an opportunity to shoot close to the glassy waterline. Most engagement sessions are done during golden hour for the soft, gentle light. But this engagement photo spot would also be a place to have an epic night photo.
525 Lake Crago Dr, Lakeland, FL 33805
A surprisingly picturesque spot. The newly constructed building sometimes hosts weddings and celebrations. But the lakeside grounds abound in natural photo opportunities. The boathouse and dock overlooking Lake Crago are unique spots. But as a Lakeland engagement photographer, my favorite is the white stone amphitheater! Call ahead to make sure there isn’t an event scheduled at the same time as your engagement photoshoot.
400 Bonnet Springs Blvd, Lakeland, FL 33815
Grand opening in 2022! Bonnet Spring Park is a privately funded park and has people already calling it “the Central Park of Lakeland.” Still in Downtown Lakeland, it is a 180 acre urban oasis that makes it a beautiful destination spot that will attract people across central Florida. Admission is free for the park and grounds.
702 E Orange St, Lakeland, FL 33801
A beautiful botanical display garden with neo-classical stone elements. Across from Lake Mirror, this spot houses small garden fountains and over 10,000 flowers and ornamental shrubs. Lots of opportunity for ‘Secret Garden’ style photos. Hint! It’s a local photography hotspot…so go early or go on a weekday. Opens at 10am. Closed on Mondays.
1151 Tower Blvd, Lake Wales, FL 33853
Yes, it’s a half hour drive east from Lakeland. And yes, it’s worth it! A garden and bird sanctuary nestled on 250 acres. In the center is the tower that is a masterpiece of stone architecture, tilework and magnificent wrought iron gates. It is open 365 days year and admission is $16/ person (or get an annual membership like I did!)
910 Granada St, Lakeland, FL 33801
I love the walking paths that take you under large canopy oaks and Florida palms while sunlight streams through the Spanish moss. On one of the paths there is a wood and steel truss bridge crossing over the river.
At another point, there is a stone pier overlooking Lake Parker with beautiful rushes in the serene wetlands. Lake Parker makes a romantic and dreamy setting for your Lakeland engagement session.
4399 Winter Lake Rd, Lakeland, FL 33803
Circle B Reserve is a natural retreat into the Lakeland flora. If you love gravel walk paths overlooking lakes at sunset then Circle B has many options for you. Open year around, this is sure to be a favorite engagement photo spot for nature lovers. Secret tip! If you hit the paths in the right season the native grasses explode into feathery seedheads that will make for a beautiful wispy image.
5204 Drane Field Rd Lakeland Fl 33811
Fancy Farms have beautiful flower fields full of sunflowers and zinnias. So don’t forget to pack your cute boots and floppy hat! The flowers are ready in mid-May through June. But be quick about the sunflowers! They are in full bloom for only a short time before they wilt and die. It’s best to go before they are fully grown, otherwise the sunflowers will have grown over your head and you’ll just be taking pictures among green stalks!
820 N Massachusetts Ave
Lakeland, FL 33801
Set in the heart of the city’s urban art district this place is actually a premier Lakeland wedding venue. But if there is no event going on, you can use the courtyard area for your Lakeland engagement photos. You may have even seen their color wall on your friend’s Instagram.
130 S Tennessee Ave, Lakeland, FL 33801
This is an iconic Lakeland building now turned to a bar and restaurant. If that sounds like a strange place for an engagement shoot hear me out! This location features old style brick with ceilings rising nearly 30 feet while a massive chandelier crowns a brick archway. Time it right and negotiate a little with the staff…and you and your fiancé can get truly unique and beautiful photos. Or if it’s busy, just do a tableside engagement session like I did with Erin and Josh.
There are over 20 giant murals across Lakeland. Many of them you’ve probably seen and some you probably haven’t! You and your fiancé could spend some time chasing down some fun and color while adding one of these spots to your engagement photoshoot. Here’s a list of all the Lakeland Murals gathered together by a local Lakelander website.
210 E Main St, Lakeland, FL 33801
Munn Park is always filled with people and events. If you love the hustle and bustle of downtown Lakeland then you’ll find Munn Park is the quintessential southern square. A small and simple park with a fountain on the north end and a pretty archway on the south makes for classic city park engagement photos.
Downtown, Lakeland, FL 33801
Several alleys off Main Street have a nice city vibe. Old brick catching the high sun while you and your beau take a walk through the downtown. Classic romance.
121 Florida Ave S, Lakeland, FL 33801
Polk Theater has a cute, classic look on the outside, but a step back-in-time feeling on the inside. Unlike it’s counterpart in Winter Haven, this theater hasn’t lost it’s historic feel on the inside. High ceilings and classic architecture are totally iconic. The building is open to the public during showtimes, but if you’d like something a little more private you can rent the interior of the theatre for a $150 fee.
900952 Johnson Ave, Lakeland, FL 33801
Florida Southern has been named one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation. And the Frank Lloyd Wright designed buildings are probably what you think of first. The Water Dome is a striking centerpiece to the campus and a fun way to inject motion and life into an engagement shoot. A short stretch away is the Esplanade walkway combining light and shadow in a uniquely modern style. The campus is open to the public and the Frank Lloyd Wright buildings are open for self-guided tours. The water dome is open daily and operates in three hour segments (30 minute rests) 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM.
100 East Main Street, Bartow, Florida
A Polk county historic building that calls back to a grander time. The Old Polk County Courthouse (now a museum and history center) is an impressive, classical style building. The white stone building features a silver rotunda and four Corinthian columns that rise the full height of the building. I have always thought that engagement photo shoots and white stone architecture blend together to create an uncommon and elegant feel.
90 Lake Morton Dr, Lakeland, FL 33801
Overlooking Lake Morton this is a beautiful 1920’s era building built in the Italian Renaissance style. It is often used a site for wedding ceremonies and receptions. However, the outdoor sections can be used for an engagement photos as long as there isn’t any other event at that time!
In the Lake Hunter Terrace historic district of Lakeland there are streets of brick pavers lined by houses dating back to the 1900’s. As a Lakeland engagement photographer, I can tell you this city has a lot of charm that is easily overlooked. A cute girl in a sun dress. A young man that smiles back. A glowy sun peering through the trees. And a quiet walk along a road of brick pavers. Magic can be made from the common things!
1075 Mann Rd, Bartow, FL 33830
An absolutely fascinating house with an interesting story. In 1926, the doctor’s gave a rich man only one year to live….and so he spent the next 40 years building his dream house. Framed with railroad ties and decorative concrete poured over stone –this house is a striking feature in a quiet town. While today it lacks some of it’s former glory (older photos show the house in it’s peak with lush gardens and ponds amidst stone bridges!), the current owners have done a lot of restoration to the property. It’s a private residence, but tours (and photoshoots) can be scheduled ahead of time for $25/person.
A private residence under restoration. Casa De Josefina was built in 1923 and is constructed of stucco-covered coquina with blended styles of Spanish, Italian, and Gothic. It features a corner tower and a porch at the rear connects the rooms in the three wings.
Owner’s permission is required.
249 Church Ave, Homeland, FL 33847
A wooden country church in a Southern Victorian style now preserved as a historic landmark in Homeland Heritage Park. It was built in 1882, and still today it is a pretty location for engagement photos. The inside can be accessed by contacting the staff during the week.
3800 Chalet Suzanne Dr, Lake Wales, FL
Chalet Suzanne was well loved by many beyond Polk County….it was once a unique honeymoon destination and resort for the rich and famous. Featuring fine French cuisine, courtyards, tennis and golf it was instantly recognizable by it’s pink exterior and peculiar layout with 14 different levels.
4175 Medulla Rd, Lakeland, FL 33811
It’s actually quite possible to have an engagement session on an airfield with a vintage airplane. Relive the age of flight and bring some fun and excitement while you and your fiancé embrace on the tarmac. You can get a ‘Discovery Flight‘ at the Bartow Airport for $85. How fun would it be to have you both dress up as jet-setters (have your man wear aviator sunglasses!) and you two get some engagement photos on the tarmac before your flight?!
Another option is Waldo Wright’s Flying Service in Winter Haven.
So I haven’t personally visited this one. But this sounds like the spot for an adventurous couple! An hour drive from Lakeland, this is one of the few surviving metal truss bridges in central Florida. An abandoned railroad bridge (the tracks haven’t been active since 1986) this is a massive structure over 250 in length with enormous trusses. Built in 1902 and still imposing itself on the landscape, this spot would make a very memorable and unique engagement photoshoot.
251 W Lake Elbert Dr, Winter Haven, Florida 33881
This crew does kayak equipment rentals, drop-off and pick-up. Basically, you pick from one of the their seven nearby drop-off points and they set you up for a kayak adventure. A half-day rental is $40.
If you are looking for a Lakeland engagement photographer that will go out on the water take your engagement photos…then pick me!!
299 Cedar St, Lakeland, FL 33801
There aren’t many rooftop locations in Lakeland…which is totally different than nearby Tampa. But there are a couple rooftop garages in downtown Lakeland that have a pretty view of the Lakeland cityscape. There’s no charge after 5pm and it usually is empty up top after hours. Best photos are on the west side after the sun starts to tip down past the skyline.
215 E Main St, Lakeland, FL 33801
If you want a chic, rooftop dining spot take a look at Nineteen61. Lakeland’s best restaurant for Latin cuisine. You didn’t know they had a rooftop dining area? That because it’s not always open. So getting them to let you up there for an engagement photoshoot is going to be hit or miss. And until Lakeland gets another rooftop lounge or restaurant…this is your only option!
I book a limited number of weddings each year. It's not uncommon for spring and fall weekends to book up early.
If you're looking for a Wedding photographer in Lakeland, Tampa, or Sarasota please don't wait to secure your wedding date.