Choosing where to shoot your engagement session is the least of your worries once you get engaged and begin to think about planning a wedding. Every photographer has her (or his) set of locations in their back pocket to make the session planning process easier. First and foremost though is choosing a location that is appropriate for the couple.
Since I do all my sessions on location, we’ll have to decide on where is a good place for you two. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Is there a location that’s significant or special to you? Where you first met? Where you got engaged?
Some of the most popular spots I use for sessions are parks, gardens, historic locations, downtown areas, cities, or even your own backyard. Keep in mind, some locations, like well-manicured private gardens, often require a photo permit. It is the client’s responsibility to obtain and pay for any required permits. So check a site’s website before we make plans.
Since the majority of my sessions are during the weekdays, crowded locations aren’t usually a concern. If we are planning a weekend session, consider if we should plan around high traffic times. Imagine the first nice weekend in spring at a local park or move-in day at a university. It’s packed and will likely mean lots of photo bombers in our shots!
I also prefer to shoot in quieter locations because most people don’t like having an audience during our session. If a passerby happens upon us it can make an already nervous subject feel even more uncomfortable. The more you are focusing on each other and not distracted by the environment, the better our shots will be!
Here are a few of my favorite spots when it comes to gardens and parks:
Duke Island Park
Colonial Park (perennial gardens)
Olde York Cellars
Black Wells Mills (D&R Canal)
Cross Estate Gardens
Here are a few of my favorite spots for downtowns of cities and historical sites:
Nevis St. Bridge in Raritan
East Jersey Olde Town
Downtown Somerville / Courthouse grounds
Bonus Tip: What time should you schedule your session?
My preference is always to start sessions 90 minutes before sunset. This gives us plenty of time to utilize the softest and most flattering light of the day. We also get the opportunity for some beautifully painted skies as a background for an engagement silhouette picture.