The Nelson - A Downtown Kansas City Universal Engagement Session Location

I couldn't think of a better way to highlight Tom and Abi's fall engagement session than to share why I believe The Nelson Atkins Art Museum might be one of the most universal photography locations in Kansas City.


First of all, Abi and Tom BROUGHT IT for their engagement session:

  • Outfits on point ✔️

  • Accessories to make their session unique ✔️✔️

  • Open-minded to any creative or silly ideas I had ✔️✔️✔️

I absolutely adored working with this couple during their engagement session. We laughed SO much and I genuinely appreciated their attitudes going into our session. They asked great questions leading up to our time together, communicated their vision and expectations well, but ultimately left me the space to be creative, interpret their inspiration but applied it to them, and allowed me to try new things during our session. Lastly, the couple couldn't have chosen a better Kansas City location for their engagement photos. The Nelson Atkins Art Museum and Sculpture Garden is one of my favorite locations to photograph all types of sessions, from engagements to proposals, to family sessions and even wedding days! Here are a few of my thoughts on why The Nelson Atkins Art Museum is one of the most universal photography locations in Kansas City:


  • Versatility

The Nelson offers such a large variety of backgrounds to compliment your wedding, portrait, or engagement session. From striking architecture, reflecting pools, and glass mazes, to open green space, florals, and natural elements, and of course, we can't forget the iconic sculpture pieces that scream Kansas City, there seems to be something for everyone. The Nelson not only provides all these background choices, but it also allows for your session to reflect your unique style. Your session can go for a dressed down and casual vibe or dressed up and fancy look, and truly anything in between. The versatility The Nelson offers makes for endless options when choosing this location for your engagement, wedding, or portrait session.

  • Safety

The Nelson Atkins Art Museum adds an additional layer of security and safety to your portrait sessions and wedding days. Any professional photographers who plan on shooting on the property must first check in at security and receive their permit to shoot on the premises. The building itself has many staff members who walk the property ensuring everyone is conducting themselves in a safe manner but also ensuring the property and art are being respected. No matter the type of session I plan to photograph at the Nelson, my first order of business upon arrival is to check in with security. This gives all of my couples peace of mind when and if security stops us. General safety can often be overlooked when considering photography locations because you and your photographer can be so focused on creating the perfect vibe. But when you can marry safety and the perfect vibe, you've set yourself for true photo magic!

  • Seasonal

The Nelson offers something for every season that Kansas City or the midwest endures. Budding trees and flowers during spring, ample shade, and lush greens during summer, stunning changing autumn leaves, and nature-filled trails during fall, and visually impacting architecture and wide spaces for snow during winter. There is not a season that goes by that doesn't catch my attention on The Nelson Lawn.

  • Parking & Overall Size

The Nelson offers lots of street parking opportunities as well as a pay-to-park underground parking lot. There's always somewhere to park between those options which is a huge factor to think about for your portrait session or wedding day. There's nothing more stressful than being in a foreign place and not being able to find ample parking. And no matter what type of photography adventure you're getting into, stress should have no place to ruin your plans!


The overall size of the property is large enough to allow for many photography sessions, wedding parties, activities, and even just visitors to enjoy the space without interrupting one another. You might not have total privacy and intimacy as you would at other off-the-beaten-path locations, but you'll still have plenty of space and backgrounds to work with for your photography session.

  • Open Shade

The Nelson offers many options of open shade. This is especially important to consider if you're thinking of wedding party photos! Many times wedding party photos are photographed in the middle of the day when the sun is at its harshest and most unflattering. Having a location that offers open shade helps to alleviate any harsh sun concerns! From the building itself which provides amazing shadows and consistent shade to its rows of full trees, there are lots of places to dip into for shade that allow for even lighting scenarios no matter what time of day!

  • Centralized

Lastly, The Nelson Atkins Art Museum is centrally located in downtown Kansas City. You're near the plaza, close to the highway, close to coffee shops, cocktail bars, and restaurants, easily able to move about to other iconic Kansas City locations; truly it doesn't get more central! This location is what I would call a one-stop shop when it comes to choosing a location for your upcoming engagement, portrait, or wedding photography session.


Now it's time to see all of this in action! Scroll to see how Tom and Abi leveraged many of The Nelson Atkin's beautiful fall backgrounds to create a versatile gallery that appears like it could have taken place across 3 different locations!


Casually Engaged Couple with Fall Leaves for Engagement Photos


Casual and Boho Couple at The Nelson Atkins Art Museum at Sunset

SO what do you think? Is it The Nelson Atkins Art Museum for the win?! Many of my Kansas City wedding days share time at this fabulous location, and many of my engagement sessions do as well. Are you and your partner ready for your very own photography session at The Nelson or at one of my many other recommended photography locations? I'm SO ready to help you discover what Kansas City engagement or portrait photography location speaks to you and your style the most.


Not totally sold on staying in Kansas City? Let me pack a bag and we'll go wherever your heart desires! I cannot wait to document you and your partner wherever the wind takes us.


Let's Do This!

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