How to choose a location for your engagement session
Choose a location that suits you
The goal of an engagement session is to capture what your love looks like, but also to get to know your photographer and for him to get to know you, and to learn prompts from each other that help you fall in place on the wedding day.
Think about what works for you as a couple. It is helpful to choose something you’re drawn to.
Do you love nature? Let’s go to a campsite. Or maybe you want to show your love for coffe, the we could meet at a coffee shop with some big windows. Or maybe you have a wonderful, personalized home!
The time of the day is even more important
Have you seen those beautiful pictures at sunset? Well, the thing about those is that they happen… at sunset! All the beautiful locations that you might be thinking of, are not going to look great at noon. If you have seen an amazing sunrise at certain location, let’s say a mountain, it probably won’t be the same at other time of the day.
What we recommend is to do the session thinking about this, from a little bit before sunrise during the next two hours, or two hours before sunset, so we can have the best light for the most quantity of time possible.
Matching clothing to location
Think about the time of the year and the place to decide on your wardrobe. If what you want to show is an autumnal, outdoors session, aim for a time at the end of the peak of foliage, head into a forest with long colored socks, rubber boots and jackets. If you want something romantic and warm, consider a flowing dress that allows for a lot of movement and aim for a location that may have a bit of wind, like a beach or a field. A beach session with business suit is as out of place as a flowing lace dress and a floral crown in front of a coffeshop.
Tourists... Tourists everywhere
A packed outdoor market with tons of people can work for really interesting movement and atmosphere in the photos, but it may happen that a random stray person giving you stink eye while wondering into your pictures isn’t what you have in mind. A park session in the city sounds convenient until someone has parked their car under your favorite tree. While there may be a beach you have in mind, keep in mind that other people also like beaches. It’s important to be mindful of areas that have heavy traffic on the weekends and some locations, like a cute row of stores, ice cream and coffe shops, may be packed inb the afternoon on a weekend. Our job as photographers is to assure you it’s normal, wait it out, and time the photos appropriately, but if this doesn’t sound like your scene, we totally get it. This is why we recommend to make the engagement sessions during week days.
And just a note! One place that’s probably not busy that you’re already familiar with is your home (which, bonus, says a lot about the two of you, too!). It can be a great place for intimate portraits and it requires no location scouting at all.
Think about the shoes you'll be wearing
When scouting your location, be aware of the effort it takes to get there and also that this could mean walking kilometers up a mountain or standing precariously like a baby goat.
If you’ve found a spot you loved because you hiked up a mountain with hiking boots and pants to keep mosquitoes from skinning your legs, know that repeating this feat in heels is probably not going to work. If your dream is wearing heels for your session, you probably don’t want to plan any hike for it, even if the views are amazing, or simply bring a change of clothes with you.
Be aware of rescheduling policies
If you’ve had to get a permit to shoot at your dream park, see if it’s movable to another day in case of rain. And ask your photographer what their policy is!
Ask yourself what you feel comfortable with, too. If your photographer sticks with the date regardless and you need an indoor back up plan, look up photo policies at local museums, find a coffe shop or a library. Or if your photographer says “let’s grab some umbrellas and rubber boots and do this thing” that could be perfect, too, even if it means putting the glittery dress away and bringing out some brightly colored cardigans or socks to make colors pop on an otherwise soft lit, coold tones day.