So you and your boo have decided to make it official and tie the knot! Now you’re scouring Pinterest, utterly overwhelmed by the amount of wedding inspiration you have to sift through. And don’t even get me started on finding the perfect engagement photo locations. It honestly seems like the research will never end. Trust me, I get it. Been there, done that.
As an elopement photographer, helping our couples find the right engagement photo locations is one of my favorite parts of the job. And over the years, I’ve collected my fair share of useful tips on how to find the ideal spot. Let’s get right into it!
There’s nothing worse that seeing photos where the couple is clearly in an engagement photo location that doesn’t match them at all. Not every location is meant for every couple, and that’s okay! Honestly, the best and first thing you two should do is sit down and really think about what types of landscapes you two vibe with. Do you like mountains? Deserts? The ocean? Do you want to go backpacking? Or maybe have a short walk to an overlook?
One thing I ask my couples to do is come up with the top 3 words that describe their vibe. From there, finding the right engagement photo locations becomes so much easier. Do you both love adventure and live for the next adrenaline rush? Take your session to an epic mountain road in a national park or go for a dip beneath a waterfall. Are you the kind of people that live each day as it comes? Go for a laid back beach session where you can take the time to smell the salty air and feel the sand beneath your feet.
Real talk: most of us don’t want a crowd at our engagement session. Here’s the thing, though: some of the best engagement photo locations also tend to get pretty crowded. Whether it’s a gorgeous overlook in the mountains or a blossoming meadow, people tend to flock to beautiful places. But there’s no reason this should stop you from having your engagement session in one of these spots.
The key is going during hours when most people wouldn’t usually consider visiting these locations. Still want golden hour light without the golden hour crowd? Get up for a sunrise session. These are honestly some of my favorite sessions, since we get to see some seriously gorgeous engagement photo locations right as the dawn breaks above the horizon and there isn’t another person in sight.
It’s peaceful, beautiful, and intimate all at the same time. You could also go during weekday evenings. If you’re having your session in a national park, a weekday evening could be the perfect time for you. Since most people tend to visit these places on weekends, weekdays are a nice sweet spot.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. I have certain locations that I don’t share with anyone else. If there’s one thing I’ve noticed, it’s that once a photographer shares a certain location (like Horseshoe Bend for example), all of a sudden everyone wants to shoot there. And now that spot is no longer unique to the small group of couples who’ve been photographed there. Hell, some of them wind up becoming tourist traps in and of themselves, where they end up getting completed trashed and destroyed. My goal as a photographer is to capture each couple’s unique love, and a lot of the time secret spots are how I make that happen.
Even if you’re just going into the outdoors for a short time, being prepared for what you might face is important. Proper footwear, cold-weather layers, and headlamps can be the difference in a fun adventure engagement session and a supremely uncomfortable engagement session. I’ve written this checklist on planning for your elopement, and included some of our gear recommendations at the bottom of the article. While some of the recommendations will be elopement-specific (you won’t have to worry about vow books for your engagement session!), it will still give you a good idea of some things you won’t want to leave behind.
P.S. As a Colorado elopement photographer, I pride myself on not just documenting your elopement or small mountain wedding, but helping you navigate the little details as well — like helping you figure out the perfect time of year for your engagement session.
I’m a firm believer that your adventure wedding photographer should be a resource and guide to you during the whole adventure elopement planning process. So if that sounds like your vibe, I’d love to chat with you about your adventure engagement session.
Check out some of our favorite elopement and adventure wedding planning resources:
Empowering You To Have Your Adventure Elopement, Your Way
Colorado Elopement Photographers + Adventure Wedding Photographers