Wedding Wednesday - Choosing a Location For Your Engagement Session

We are back it again today with our Wedding Wednesday series and today we are talking about something that all of my couples ask me about - where they should do their engagement session!  Very rarely does a couple come to me knowing exactly where they want to do their engagement session, so this post is for all the couples out there that don't know what to do!  To make it easy, I am going to give you a few "rules" to follow when coming up with your engagement location and share some of my all time favorite places we've done engagement shoots along the way!

Rule 1 - Consider your wedding

 Are you having an outdoor barn wedding and looking to use your engagement photos for save the dates?  Are you planning a ballroom wedding and love a classic city style?  Is your wedding in the spring but you really love the look of fall photos?  Do you want your engagement photos to "match" your wedding look and theme or are you hoping for something totally different?  Depending how you answer those questions, you can get going in a great direction for your engagement session!  If you are looking for your engagement photos to go along with the look and feel of your wedding, one great idea is to see if you can photograph your engagement photos at that location!  Want something more classic to go well with your downtown wedding?  Maybe photographing around the city would work best!  Consider how you want your wedding to impact your engagement photos (all the way, as inspiration, or not at all) and then talk to your photographer about any ideas that they might have!

 These two are having a family centered wedding this winter and so for their engagement session they wanted to do their photos at their family home!  And their hunting vibe matches their wedding perfectly!  

These two are having a family centered wedding this winter and so for their engagement session they wanted to do their photos at their family home!  And their hunting vibe matches their wedding perfectly!  

 These two got married at a beautiful estate that had a lake, so for their engagement photos they picked a park that looked a lot like their wedding venue and the results was perfection!  

These two got married at a beautiful estate that had a lake, so for their engagement photos they picked a park that looked a lot like their wedding venue and the results was perfection!  

 Monet has planned a industrial, classic Philadelphia wedding for later this month and so her home and roof deck was the perfect location for their engagement session!  

Monet has planned a industrial, classic Philadelphia wedding for later this month and so her home and roof deck was the perfect location for their engagement session!  

 Stephanie and Dan had a gorgeous fall wedding and so for their engagement session, she wanted to capture all the gorgeous fall colors in the sunset!  

Stephanie and Dan had a gorgeous fall wedding and so for their engagement session, she wanted to capture all the gorgeous fall colors in the sunset!  

Rule 2 - Think about the time of day and year

We often get asked to do center city Philadelphia engagement session and one of the things our couples often forget is that the city is busy!  There is this iconic engagement photo in front of the "Love" sign that everyone always sends me from pinterest and they always say how they love that no one is in the background!  To get that look, you've got to be willing to do your engagement session really early in the morning and for some, that's not something they would be interested in!  Time of year also plays into this as some locations will be more or less busy depending.  If you can, checking out the location around the time of day you want to photograph and seeing how busy it is, what is typically going, ect can be really helpful.  

Along with that, think about the time of day too!  If I am shooting your engagement session, chances are you love the glowy light that you see in almost all of my engagement sessions!  In order to achieve this look, we have to shoot around 2 hours before sunset!  We photographers call that golden hour and it is how you achieve that glowy, golden look!  If you are looking to shoot earlier in the day, shade is something we will definitely be looking for!  So wide open fields, beaches, and the like aren't great locations for that time of day.  

 For Angela and Rita's engagement session we shot at Villanova University and avoided crowds by shooting on a Sunday evening and a cloudy day!

For Angela and Rita's engagement session we shot at Villanova University and avoided crowds by shooting on a Sunday evening and a cloudy day!

 For Mary and Arielle's engagement session, we walked around some of their favorite parts of center city, but we avoided the crowds by finding little side streets!  

For Mary and Arielle's engagement session, we walked around some of their favorite parts of center city, but we avoided the crowds by finding little side streets!  

 These two lucked out and got all the glow and sunset prettiness at their engagement session!  

These two lucked out and got all the glow and sunset prettiness at their engagement session!  

 We got both glow and less people by shooting at Eastern University during the summer in the evening for this engagement session!  

We got both glow and less people by shooting at Eastern University during the summer in the evening for this engagement session!  

Rule 3 - Think about places that are special to the two of you

Have a favorite park?  The place he proposed?  Where she always takes you when your having a bad day?  Those sentimental locations make for GREAT engagement session locations because they mean something to you!  Some couples will even plan a date and have their photographer follow them around capture their engagement photos in a more lifestlye manner at places they love!  

 This park on the river was really special to these two so it was an easy choice to do their engagement session there!!

This park on the river was really special to these two so it was an easy choice to do their engagement session there!!

 Peddler's Village was one of their favorite date night spots and so when we did their engagement session, Stephanie asked if we could do their session there and of course - we said yes!  

Peddler's Village was one of their favorite date night spots and so when we did their engagement session, Stephanie asked if we could do their session there and of course - we said yes!  

 Cindy and Scott choose to do not only their engagement session but their wedding at one of their favorite places - Mercer Museum!

Cindy and Scott choose to do not only their engagement session but their wedding at one of their favorite places - Mercer Museum!

Rule 4 - If stuck, ask the professional

One of the worst things you can do is just pick a place at random and tell your photographer you want to shoot there!  Often couples will feel stressed that they don't have any idea where they want to do their engagement photos so they will pick somewhere someone else did theirs or a random place that looked pretty online.  And that can equal disaster.  Instead, if you haven't been able to come up with a location, ask your photographer if they have any favorite places.  For me, I have 2 places in Center City I love, 2 locations near me, a park in Jersey and vineyard in Bucks County I love.  If a couple is stuck, I will recommend one of those places based off of where they live and what I think would match who they are.  Those places are ones I know, love shooting in and can show past work from, so clients feel confident going into their session!  So if you find yourself stuck...ASK FOR HELP!  Its what we are here to do!  

 Ebony and Creig had no idea where to do their engagement session but they knew they wanted bright, winter photos!  I suggested Tyler Park and they LOVED the results!  

Ebony and Creig had no idea where to do their engagement session but they knew they wanted bright, winter photos!  I suggested Tyler Park and they LOVED the results!  

 Heather and Simon had no idea where they wanted to do their engagement session and this sweet park I suggest was the perfect background for their style!  

Heather and Simon had no idea where they wanted to do their engagement session and this sweet park I suggest was the perfect background for their style!  

 Brooke loved the look of fields, flowers and nature but didn't know where would work best for their engagement session!  I suggested my favorite park and it was exactly what they were looking for!  

Brooke loved the look of fields, flowers and nature but didn't know where would work best for their engagement session!  I suggested my favorite park and it was exactly what they were looking for!  

I hope that helps!  While those rules aren't the end all of how to choose an engagement session location, they definitely will get you going in the right direction!  Do you have a wedding question you want answered?  Drop us a line in our contact form and we will be sure to answer it an upcoming #weddingwednesday post!