How to Choose a Great Engagement Session Location
So you've chosen to have an engagement session, you see the value in it and you know it's going to be a great time together with your fiance as we capture candid, fun images, and give you a good sense for what it's like to be photographed on your wedding day.
Now the question is, where should you have your engagement session?
As a photographer it's important to me to share a story, YOUR story. The location we choose together helps tell your story and share it for years to come.
In the area surrounding Washington DC there are hundreds of options available to you. Within two hours you could:
- Have an engagement at the monuments or your favorite DC museum.
- Visit a local park like Rock Creek Park, Great Falls, Mason Neck, the Manassas Battlefield, the Prince William Forest, and many others.
- Go to your favorite coffee shop, bookstore, or any venue you like to frequent.
- Walk the streets of DC, Georgetown, Alexdandria, Manassas, Occoquan, Fredericksburg and more.
- Head to the waterfront at Leeslyvania Park, Alexandria, Georgetown Park, or the National Harbour.
- Hike the trails at Bull Run Mountain, Pohick Bay, Fountainhead Regional Park.
- Make the trek to stunning locations like Harper's Ferry, Sky Meadow State Park, and the Shenandoah National Park for the best landscapes and vistas in our area.
These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to thinking about a location for your engagement session. Ultimately, here are a few things to consider:
Choose a location that is meaningful to you.
The best location for an engagement is one where you will feel at home. Maybe that is the place where you went on your first date, maybe it's your favorite restaurant, your most hiked trail, the place where you had your favorite picnic, or the location where you proposed! Think outside the box and let's go somewhere that means a lot to you.
Go with or against your wedding day style.
Getting married in the city? Choose a location that features the great outdoors. Having a mountaintop wedding? Let's head into DC for engagement photos on the streets.
On the fip side, it's can be great to emulate the look of your wedding style. If you're planning a barn wedding in the middle of nowhere an engagement in a similar location will give continuity to your wedding day.
Turn it into a date or a day away!
If your ideal location is an hour or two hours away, make a day of it! Take some extra time to put the wedding planning aside and invest in each other. I'll meet you at your favorite place, we'll capture those awesome portraits, and you can go right back to enjoying time with each other.
Don't forget about fees and permits.
It's not the most fun thing to have to remember, but many parks and museums have entrance fees and photography permits which must be gathered before we can schedule your engagement. Check their websites for more information, but we'll talk through this and I will help you through any permitting process. For places like coffee shops and restaurants, it's best just to ask! Usually they don't mind, they think it's pretty cute.
Mother nature has her way.
As much as I love the snow and the cold, going to the Shenandoah in January or February isn't a simple process. Skyline Drive might even be closed if there is enough snow. Some parks look great in the spring, some look better in the fall. If it's a windy time of year we may not want to go to the waterfront. If it is a cold time of year such as late fall or early spring we can plan to be both indoors and outdoors. Don't forget to think about mother nature!
Time of day.
The Alexandria waterfront faces east and isn't the best for epic sunset photos, sorry! I'll make sure to help you think about the direction of the sun when choosing your location.
Sunset may not be the best time to get photos with the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin if you don't want people in your photos. Think about the possible crowds and events going on around the location that could impact the session.
Plan your clothing accordingly.
Be sure to match what you want to wear to the location. A high fashion gown may not look right on the top of a mountain (then again, that might be a neat juxtaposition).
Shoes! If we are hiking up a mountain or around the city, wear comfortable shoes. You want them to look good, but you want to feel your best for your engagement.
These are just a few things to think about when planning your engagement session and they are all things I'll help you consider as we go through the process together.
What else should you consider when planning your engagement location? Let me know in the comments!
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