What are the best engagement session locations in Charleston WV?

Planning an engagement session seems like a fairly straight forward process, but if you’re not into the typical “standing in a field” or “plain studio backdrop” kind of photos, the process of figuring out where the heck you’re going to do it can start to get stressful.

We’re going to level with you folks, if you’re looking to have your engagement session photos done in Charleston, WV, there aren’t a ton of great options for nice, natural locations with a roof over your head. But don’t despair! We’ve been photographing engagement sessions and weddings in Charleston WV for a long time, so we’re going to rescue you from that decision paralysis.

Whether you’re interested in imbibing while getting those photos done, or just looking to take advantage of some cool architecture and geometry in your photos, come along with us as we guide you to the coolest indoor spots for those perfect engagement shots around Charley West. Many of these spots are also great for family and senior portrait sessions!

If you want to do that engagement photo session outdoors, we’ve got a great guide to Charleston’s best outdoor portrait session locations too! Why not do a mix of both? Sky’s the limit!

The Best Indoor Portrait Session Spots in Charleston WV

Let’s find you some spots for the best indoor photos in charley west!

Fife Street Brewing

Man, we love Fife Street Brewing! This place serves up awesome beer and elevated grilled cheese sandwiches, which isn’t necessarily relevant to this guide (we’d argue it is), but this location actually makes for some really cool photos! The space gets tons of natural light thanks to its huge windows on all sides, and the fact that it’s located on the corner near Slack Plaza keeps it pretty well lit all the way to sunset.

Fife has become a very popular meetup spots for many a Charleston resident and tourists. If you’re coming here to get some photos in the evening you can expect to deal with crowds. Most nights have some sort of event going on: trivia on Tuesdays, live music on Wednesdays, and other happenings pop up all the time. Check their Instagram feed to keep up to date!

If you enjoy beer or just chill modern industrial vibes Fife is a great spot for some casual snaps while you sip. And hey, if you’re nervous about your engagement session, alcohol is known as liquid courage for a reason.

Cute engaged couple share a beer at Fife Street Brewing in Charleston WV.

Short Story Taproom

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Fife’s pal just a few doors down on Summer Street! The Charleston Short Story Taproom is another great spot for cold beers and eats. The space is also home to the awesome Lefty’s Place, serving up decadent Detroit style pies to soak up all those brews. This space doesn’t get as much natural light as Fife, but its darker colors and cozier aesthetic really create a nice romantic backdrop for engagement session photos.

Short Story is also a very popular space, but it is a bit bigger than Fife, so you’re less likely to have a crowd of folks hovering nearby during your session. Worth noting is the super cool, comfy back room area with couches kinda separate from the rest of the establishment that makes for nice, intimate photos.

if you’re not into boozing it up while you get your photo taken, you can also order a non-alcoholic beverage or a pizza and play one of the many board games on hand at Short Story!

Drew giving his dog a belly rub while everyone lounges in the bedroom.

Taylor Books

Fans of the written word, this spot is for you. Taylor Books is a Charleston institution. People have been coming here for decades to quench their thirst for hot bean water, hang with friends and purchase that next book they’ve been dying to read. The space also has lots of great art for sale from super-talented local artists, and it has a cute lil’ movie theater located in the basement so you can go see the latest arthouse flick after your session!

While the layout of Taylor’s is a bit cramped for photos, it does provide an opportunity for some engagement session pics nestled between the book-filled shelves. Just make sure you’re respectful of the folks who are there to browse the books!

The cafe area is another good photo spot, because who doesn’t love having some lovely engagement photos taken while swigging down a piping hot cup of the black stuff with some jazzy tunes playing in the background? It’s like a scene pulled straight from an old rom com! Just be careful with those kisses; coffee breath is real.

Couple smooches by the bar at Short Story Taproom.

Pies and Pints

We’ve always had love for Pies & Pints; in fact we fed our wedding guests pizza from this downtown Charleston mainstay! The building that Pies sits in has a lot of history, and we love the huge elephant mural that adorns the wall just as you enter the space. If you’re going to have some photos taken in here definitely try to snag one of the tables near the windows to get the best light!

This place is often extremely crowded, so don’t be a jerk and have a big photo shoot when the place is packed! We recommend coming in before the dinner rush, as this place is very packed on most days from 6-8PM.

Bobby and Emily of The Oberports chilling at Pies and Pints.
Photo by Wild Native

Kanawha County Public Library

After recently going a years-long glow up, the Kanawha County Public Library is now a jewel in the heart of downtown Charleston. It’s another great spot for book lovers to grab some cute engagement photos, but this one has much more space to work with than Taylor Books. The staircases and skyway over Quarrier Street are also great spots for photos.

I’m sure we’ve all been told to be quiet by someone in a library setting in our lives, so be on your best behavior and don’t make much noise in this space! Be considerate of others and you’ll find plenty of cool little photo spots throughout.

The Kanawha County Public Library is also home to the cozy Mea Cuppa Coffee Nook, so you can grab some books and enjoy a coffee while you get photos taken If you want even more coffee shop vibes, then Mea Cuppa has another spot for you below!

Couple works their way through a crossword puzzle over a cup of coffee at Taylor Books.

Mea Cuppa

The main Mea Cuppa coffee lounge located on Bigley Ave. is a perfect spot to pop into during an Elk City engagement session! Mea Cuppa has the best coffee in the city, and the mid-century modern aesthetics in the lounge are perfect for feeling at-home and comfortable during a portrait session.

We’ve done portraits here and we’ve even had our own photos taken here before (shoutout to Alexa at Wild Native), so we can verify from both sides of the lens that this spot is good stuff.

This is a prime meetup spot, and also lots of folks are in here throughout the day working on their laptops, so be considerate! This is a good spot to pop in for a few photos and then be on your way to some of the outdoor spots around Elk City.

Emily and bobby looking super cool at the Mea Cuppa Coffee Lounge.
Photo by Wild Native

Capitol Market

This is one of our favorite places in all of Charleston! Depending on the season, the outdoor portion can have loads of plants, produce or Christmas trees. Much of the farmers market is covered, so it’s a good outdoor/indoor combo spot for an engagement session.

The Capitol Market building itself was formerly a train station, so it definitely has the whole industrial thing going on. The Mea Cuppa coffee bar (they really get around) is a fine spot for a few photos and a quick coffee too!

This is first and foremost a place of business, so it’s important to be respectful of the folks shopping and running businesses at the Capitol Market! Don’t clog up aisles taking photos! And be aware that you need to pay a fee and clear photo sessions at this location.

Professional photography sessions at the Capitol Market require a $50 application and are subject to management approval. You can see the application here.

Couple hugging amongst the flowers at Capitol Market.

Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences

The Clay Center is one of the coolest attractions in all of Charleston, but it’s a great spot for a few indoor engagement session photos too! The art galleries are great spots for portraits, but be sure to bring money! Adult admissions to the museum are $12 per adult.

This is an awesome and popular destination for upscale weddings in Charleston, so don’t expect to get in here on weekends for an engagement session! See some Clay Center weddings here or learn more about using this space as a wedding venue in our Best Wedding Venues in WV Guide.

Nikki and Drew laughing over a beer at Sam's Uptown Cafe.

Your favorite bar!

(Sam’s Uptown Cafe, The Red Carpet)

We love the fun, laid-back vibes of engagement session photos in a bar! There’s something about the comfort of a dimly-lit space and the free flow of libations that really makes for authentic images. Sam’s Uptown Cafe and The Red Carpet are some of our favorite Charleston hangouts (we’ve even done a Red Carpet wedding before!).

Obviously you’ll want to keep track of what events are going down or what big sporting events are on TV before you head to the one of these spots for photos! You’re not going to want to do your romantic engagement photos at a bar overflowing with inebriated patrons! Or maybe you do? To each their own! Cheers!

Your house!

(assuming you live in Charleston of course)

This one seems like a no brainer. This is your comfy place! You won’t have to worry about strangers staring at you while you lovingly embrace your partner… well other than your photographer of course (hi!). If you’ve got furry friends at home, they get to be part of your engagement session too– unless they’re hiding under the bed.

Engagement sessions at home means you get documentation of the couch hangs, the kitchen hugs and some bedroom cuddle time (the PG version of course, we’re not those kind of photographers)! We’re big foodies, so we also love the idea of taking photos of people cooking dinner together!

Domonique and Ryan hugging at the Board Room in Charleston.

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