Whether you’re planning an engagement session or a wedding, or any other kind of photo shoot, one of the first decisions you have to make is where to go.

On a wedding day, time is incredibly tight. Logistics, distance and travel time are critical. You’ll be faced with questions like, if my ceremony is at St. Paul’s in Oakland, and my reception is at the Carnegie Museum, do I have time to go to the North Shore? What options are there for me in Oakland if I choose not to take the time to drive downtown? Is there anywhere to park? What about crowds?

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a map where you could click on various locations around Pittsburgh and see good quality photos that actually represent those places?

https://mapsengine.google.com/map/viewer?mid=zZ-n-UqDEnzo.kxGN87CSzxA8Now, there is!

Introducing the Pittsburgh Wedding Photography Location Guide Map!

This interactive Google map displays many, many places you can go for photos. North Shore? Check. Schenley Park? Check. Mellon Park? Check. And some of Pittsburgh’s most popular reception and ceremony venues are on there too. So if you’re still deciding on venues and want to compare, for example, the interiors of St. Paul’s Cathedral, Heinz Chapel and St. Mary of the Mount, you can easily jump between them by clicking the pins on the map.

Before you dive in, please, please, do not overlook the second key piece here – which is when to go! Please note that each photo has a time stamp on it. Why? (Not for looks – those time stamps are not attractive!) Because time of day is critical to creating beautiful photos. And the best time of day varies depending on the time of year. For example, 6:30pm might be the perfect time of day for photos at the North Shore in May… but if you go at 6:30pm in November, it’s going to be dark. (It might be more accurate to say that it’s the position of the sun in the sky that matters, but this is not the time to debate the nuances of light.) Be sure to consult a sunset calculator so you know when it will be getting dark on the day of your shoot. Better yet – ask your photographer to help determine the optimal time of day!

I created this map as a resource for brides, grooms, photographers, wedding planners and really anyone who wants to get to know Pittsburgh better. Of course, this is a project that will never be finished, as I’ll continue to add new photos and new locations as I encounter them. If you have any suggestions on how it could be improved, post a comment below or on Facebook or email me.

I spent a lot of time on this. Kind of a crazy amount, really. So if you just want to tell me “this is awesome!” that’s fine too.