So, you’ve either booked your wedding photographer or you’ve booked an engagement session with a photographer to feel out what it’s like working with them. What’s next?! Choosing an engagement session location. Some photographers probably have a style guide or location guide they’ll send you once you’re booked on their calendar. If so? Great, be sure to browse through their guide for ideas. If not? Here are a few tips to get you started while brainstorming the perfect location for your session.
A quick note on “epic” locations: First things first, I think it’s important to note that really amazing photographs can be created anywhere. My number one priority in any session, elopement, or wedding is always to find excellent light first. Location is secondary – so much so that I’ve created beautiful images in an old parking lot (seriously!) because the light was so beautiful. You’d never even know where we were. So, with that in mind I’d suggest always trusting your photographer’s judgement when it comes to exact spots at your session location of choice. Spots you think might look epic in photos might not translate as well in camera (i.e. really bright backgrounds, reflective surfaces in harsh sunlight, etc.). So, trust your photographer – you’ve hired them for a reason. You don’t always need an extravagant location or an unheard-of spot to create photos with a wow factor. Below I’ve listed my top tips for choosing the right engagement location for you.
1. Be Mindful of the Season
Vermont is gorgeous and has so many great locations that photograph beautifully throughout the year. However, some photo session locations are a little easier to navigate in some seasons vs. others. For instance, the toll road leading up to Mount Mansfield makes for unbeatable photos in May through October, but is closed for the winter.
Likewise, photos along the shores of Lake Champlain can be stunning in all seasons, but are often exceptionally chilly on windy winter days and exceptionally buggy in late May and early June. If you’re hoping for a cozy, snowy vibe – be aware of how evergreen trees vs. sugarwoods might look in your photos with their current leaf count. Your photographer can certainly help in many location decisions, but it’s important to know that the vision you have for your engagement photos may very well be season-dependent!
Aesthetics Tip: If you’re planning to use your engagement session photos for your invitations, think about your overall color theme and what might look best with your invitation suite (neutrals, bright colors, etc.).
2. Plan for Some Variety
The engagement galleries that I love delivering most are often those ones that have a bit of location variety. If you’re choosing a location full of fields and green grass, maybe also plan to take a few photos in a nearby Vermont “downtown” for some variety in your final gallery.
If you’re only looking for outdoor and scenic images, try choosing a location offers trees, open fields, and gardens will give your photographer more options for backgrounds, foregrounds and light variety. A great example of this type of location is Shelburne Farms.
If you are hoping for more of an urban look, finding locations with different textures (think brick, pavement, steel, etc) can help to mix up the final look of your gallery. You can find these in most Vermont downtowns, plus cute offerings like coffee shops, ice cream stands, and little walking bridges.
Pro Tip: Choose a location that also offers an activity you two do together regularly. Whether that’s stopping at a favorite coffee shop, local brewery, or a nearby creemee stand (aka soft serve ice cream in Vermont terms), these are always fun options that add a little extra variety in your final engagement gallery.
3. Choose a Meaningful Location
My last, and perhaps most recommended tip, is for you to choose a location that holds some sentimental significance to you and your partner. For example, in the photo on the bottom left, Laura and Mike chose to have their engagement photos captured near the ocean where Mike works as a lobsterman. Emma and Oz (center image) asked to capture engagement photos near a seasonal camp and social club Emma’s family has been members of for six generations. Similarly, Mary and Mike (bottom right) asked to be photographed near Mike’s Nantucket family home.
Remember that your engagement session is an opportunity to document your life (and relationship) as it is right now – use your engagement session as a way to document your favorite daily moments and memories. You’ll never go wrong in choosing a location with sentimental value as it always adds a little extra emotion to your images. Plus, 20 years from now you’ll cherish having printed images of you both in places you love, or doing activities together that you love.
For all of my current clients, please reference the Client Resource Lounge that has been exclusively sent to you – these tips are in there, and many more!