4.8/5 - (6 votes)


Marry someone you can laugh with is what they say…well this couple certainly knows how to do that!  So when Sara and I started talking about her vision for her engagement shoot, I asked her what were some unique things about them.  Thru conversation, I found out that she had purchased a full sized vintage arcade video game for him and the idea was born.  “What about pictures in an arcade?”  

Fiance couple holding hands looking in opposite directions outside the Emporium Logan Square in Chicago, IL


I think I scared Sara at first!  And I get it…an arcade is not necessarily the first place you think of for engagement pictures.  Flashing lights and loud noises doesn’t really scream romance.  But you know what does?  Bringing out the inner personality of each of you enough that you both relax and the natural love you have for each other just radiates in the pictures.  Even the most camera shy people start to shed their shyness when you add fun into the mix.  I was so happy when Sara said “yes”!  She & Justin trusted me to make this work.


Now…to find the perfect place.  Arcades are BUSY and usually have lots of people in the background.  The lighting in many arcades is very “cold” and warehouse feeling.  I started searching online for arcades in the western suburbs and nothing was popped up for the vibe I was looking for.  I wanted neons, murals, lots of different types of games.  

Couple in from of a mural at their engagement session at the Emporium Logan Square in Chicago, IL


Then, when I was questioning my arcade suggestion; I remembered this amazing emporium that my husband and I wound up after a wedding while downtown Chicago.  The Emporium Logan Square was my unicorn!  It has rows of pinball machines, air hockey, SKEEBALL (yes to skeeball!!) a PHOTO BOOTH and amazing murals.  The lighting wasn’t cold…it wasn’t dark…well, except for ONE hallway which we actually used to our advantage (spoiler alert) and it was the perfect place to photograph.

Couple smiling at each other in front of the skeeball machines during their engagement session at the Emporium Logan Square in Chicago, IL


It was time to set this idea in motion.  I reached out to the Group Sales and Event Coordinator, Nicole, at The Emporium and told her my vision.  To my surprise, she was MORE then willing to help and was even gracious enough to allow us to come photograph before the Emporium opened for the day.  I was blown away by her kindness.   

Couple holding their save the date board during their engagement session at the Emporium Logan Square in Chicago, IL


We were greeted at the door by an employee who had just gotten there herself.  We walked in to darkness and quiet.  All the games and lights were off…it was almost kind of erry.  The employee disappeared for a moment and with a flip of a switch, the entire place came to life.  Even with only four of us there in that big building, we could instantly feel the energy that location has.  I bought $20 worth of game tokens and we were off!  


We started with skeeball (and why wouldn’t we) to warm up and shake out any jitters.  I LOVED how the neon lights was what actually gave me enough ambient light to make these shots work.  Justin then coached Sara on how to play air hockey and then we moved onto my favorite shots of the day…. The hallway leading to the bathroom.  Say what?  YES!  I LOVED how these three walls were covered by neon murals.  As a photographer, I am always thinking outside the box and looking to see how we can use what we have to make a picture spectacular.  While WE knew it was a hallway leading to the bathroom, nothing in these pictures screams that.  I loved how it was a small intimate area where Justin could sneak a  little kiss.  And these little neon signs that I had ordered worked PERFECTLY in that space.  In fact, that was the only light lighting Sara and Justin’s faces, which I thought worked really well.  

This was definitely my most challenging session to date due to the ever changing lighting within the arcade.  Arcades are dark, but I didn’t want to wash out all of the colors we get from the neon lights by sticking a big flash on them.  But, if I had exposed for the arcade lighting itself, the pictures would have turned out super grainy.  So in the end, I had to underexpose and then play in photoshop with shadows and exposure to make these photos pop.


If you are ever looking for a fun date night (or day), The Emporium Logan Square is the place to go.  Their classic arcade and pinball machines are top notch.  OR, if you are looking for event space, what an incredible party this would be.  They have a premium non alcohol menu at this location as well.  During our session, we were having so much fun with the games that we didn’t even have a chance to take advantage of the taco truck that they have inside the building!  Yes!  I said taco truck!  Games, drinks and tacos…Do I need to say more?!?

How did we do?  What’s the most out of the box idea you have for a photo location?

Couple playing pinball while woman looks at the camera at the Emporium Logan Square in Chicago, IL

Man in Batman shirt and woman in green, holds their Photo Booth filmstrip during their engagement session at the Emporium Logan Square in Chicago, IL

Couple kissing in front of large mural wall while holding red tickets inside the Emporium Logan Square in Chicago, IL

Engagement ring being held up by game tokens in front of a stack of red tickets inside the Emporium Logan Square in Chicago, IL

Couple sitting on a skee-ball machine and holding their save the dates sign during their engagement session at the Emporium Logan Square in Chicago, IL

Kim Novella is a lifestyle family photographer based in the Western suburbs of Chicago.  She services Naperville, Warrenville, Wheaton, Oakbrook, Lombard, Downers Grove and surrounding areas.















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