10 Locations to Take Awesome Engagement Photos


I feel so fortunate to live in San Antonio, Texas. The Alamo city is one of the fastest-growing cities in the USA, and there’s so much cultural history here, but it can be hard to figure out where to go for engagement photos. That’s why I’m going to share my favorites with you. These engagement photo locations are mostly free to shoot. I’ve left out many hotels as the fees are very high unless you’re getting married at one.

I recommend choosing a location to which you have an emotional connection, but if you’re stuck for ideas, then the following San Antonio locations are great. So, these 10 top engagement location recommendations in 2023 are the following.


#1 Downtown San Antonio

A downtown engagement session on Houston Street across the road from the Majestic Theater in San Antonio, Texas
A fun and impromptu moment as groom gives piggyback ride to bride during engagement session in the Alamo city that is San Antonio, Texas.
Downtown Christmas Holidays Engagement Shoot in San Antonio Texas-Leica photographer-Philip Thomas Photography

I love shooting downtown San Antonio engagement sessions as there’s an endless variety of locations, from the cool streets to the Riverwalk. Every time I shoot, I always find new spots. To get my clients in the mood, I ask that we meet in a local hotel bar and down a few favorite beverages before we start. And then we wander along the streets! Well, I do plan, but some of the best photos are unplanned.

Recommended Days: Weekday morning or early evenings

Permit Fee: None

Restrictions: None except for hotels may charge a fee to shoot inside – check first.

Couple walking Downtown San Antonio Engagement photos-17

#2 Landa Library

The Landa Library is a gem of a location in the Monte Vista neighborhood, steeped in history. The grounds are open to the public and chock full of interesting architecture and backgrounds.

Recommended Days: Weekday morning or early evenings

Permit Fee: None unless shooting inside the library

Restrictions: None except. Just be respectful to the grounds.

#3 Historic Market Square

The historic Market Square is just east of downtown San Antonio. Full of color and fiesta, if you want your pictures to pop, this isi where you want to go.

Recommended Days: Weekday morning or early evenings. Crowds get busy here, but the side streets are quiet.

Permit Fee: None

Restrictions: None

#4 McNay Art Museum

Another exciting spot for your engagement photos is the McNay Art Museum. The building houses American & European art (from Medieval to contemporary) in a 1929 mansion with a modern addition. You have a mixture of old and new architecture here, and is a lovely place to photograph couples and brides.

Recommended Days: Weekday morning or early evenings.

Permit Fee: $20 on grounds. $100 inside the courtyard on a select day. Undergoing renovations in 2020/2021, so the days may have changed. Contact the museum for details.

Restrictions: Grounds anytime when gates are open. Restricted days/hours inside the courtyard.

#5 Hemisfair Park

Hemisfair Park and includes the Iconic park housing Tower of the Americas, Institute of Texan Cultures, fountains & a playground.

Recommended Days: Weekday morning or early evenings.

Permit Fee: Free

Restrictions: None

#6 Spanish Governor’s Palace

I’ve photographed mostly bridal sessions here, but you can certainly enjoy an engagement session here too. It’s a unique location in San Antonio, steps away from the downtown courthouse. The last time I checked, it was $10 for entry. Best to call ahead and reserve a time slot as they have man tour buses arriving, and you want to try and ignore those.

Recommended Days: Weekday mornings except Monday they’re closed

Permit Fee: $10

Restrictions: One hour shoot time

#7 Hays Street Bridge

Really cool place to shoot, especially just before sunset or an early San Antone morning. Located just northeast of the Riverwalk, you’ll get a great panoramic view of the downtown vista. The beautiful architecture will await you for this early-1900s former railroad bridge, now open to pedestrian traffic only.

Recommended Days: Any day

Permit Fee: None

Restrictions: None

#7 Japanese Sunken Gardens 

So much history here at the Japanese Sunken Gardens. Beautiful area to capture engagement photos. The Sunken Gardens opened in an abandoned limestone rock quarry in the early 20th century. Great place to visit close to Brackenridge Park and the city’s zoo.

Recommended Days: Weekday only; avoid weekends. Too many crowds and families.

Permit Fee: Please check by calling the sunken gardens,

Restrictions: None

#8 The Missions

I love to capture engagement photos at any of The Missions. There’s a $100 fee to shoot here, and you will need a reservation in advance based on availability. Once again, I have photographed many bridals, engagements, and weddings here. The San Antonio Missions, a National Historical Park and part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, preserve four of the five Spanish frontier missions in San Antonio, Texas, USA. These outposts were established by Catholic religious orders to spread Christianity among the local natives.

Recommended Days: Weekdays, avoid weekends if possible.

Permit Fee: $100 fee. Call to make a reservation and sign the permit.

Restrictions: There are rules and regulations that have to be agreed and signed.

#9 King William District

This is a beautiful area in Southtown, originating as a part of a revitalization project in the early 1990’s. The King William District is an opulent neighborhood full of beautiful houses built on land once farmed by Mission Concepción. Built by German immigrants, the neighborhood is an area that you just fall in love with and can easily reach it by walking from a downtown hotel or the Riverwalk, about a 10-15 minute stroll. Along the way are some ornate bridges dating back to the early 20th century. 

Recommended Days: Any day

Permit Fee: None.

Restrictions: None

#10 The Pearl Brewery

Recommended Days: Any day except Saturdays

Permit Fee: None.

Restrictions: None

I hope this will help. I’m happy to capture your engagement or bridal session. Let me know if you have any questions, and I look forward to hearing from you.