how to choose an engagement shoot location

It feels so important and intense, choosing just ONE location for these photos that will mark these happy chapters of your lives together.It might also be hard choosing any at all—maybe you’re stuck because nothing seems to fit. I find it’s most fun when you can think of more than one option that aren’t necessarily something you’ve seen before (on Instagram, your best friend did it, etc.).

I’ll try to help you. Grab a sheet of paper and your lady/dude and follow along.

Think of or find at least one place that simply catches your eye.

Drive or walk around with your love if nothing comes to mind immediately. Take tuns driving through the country or the town or some back roads. What makes you say “ooh slow down, that’s a beautiful thing”? It could be a store, a cool tree, the side of a building, a patch of grass underneath a canopy of pines, the view from the top of a hotel in Chicago, whatever. Look for the things that excite you a little to see (or, frankly, make you want to take a picture of them). Pro tip: Check what time the sun is setting on a nice day and make this trip half an hour before sunset. You’ll thank me for the light.

A rooftop view of Chicago during an engagement shoot in golden light

What’s your “place”? take your love there. also me.

Do you love sitting and reading at the coffee shop in town? Grab your lady and let’s go. Does he often nap in the hammock in the back yard? Let’s do that. Maybe it’s going for a run at sunrise (I’m game. Not to run, that is. But maybe to visit the spots you run to with you at sunrise) or trying on silly clothes at the thrift shop. Let’s do it.

A couple in an engagement shoot in Philadelphia by a brewing company

Search through AirBnB.

Find a sweet AirBnB you might like to rent—maybe it’s got a window overlooking mountains or a sweet claw foot tub. It might even just be a teal wall or a sweet armchair in the place that you like. Find what inspires you and rent it for the night (make sure to ask the owners if we can take engagement photos there!). Here's a bonus: you get to spend the night there too!

An engagement shoot in an AirBNB

Ask for help.

If you can’t think of anything, or you’d just like more options, ask people who care about you for ideas. Chances are they might remind you about a beautiful place you’ve been or recommend something great. You can ask me too, I’ll do my best to scout some more personal options for you.

Beautiful Indian Ringneck. He's the best.

If nothing else feels perfect, think of a date.

Honestly—can you think of something more you as a couple than your favorite date? Maybe it’s your first date. Maybe it’s just visiting the place you met. Someday, after you’ve grown old together, you can flip through the photos and remember how you used to get Thai food together after a walk through the park.

Hint: date ideas might be going to a museum, taking a walk through a city, going on a hike, getting pretty ice cream or frothy cappuccinos, riding the carousel at a fair, or even going to IKEA in search of a new couch.

An engagement shoot in Philadelphia during golden hour in Old City

Do any of these ideas strike your fancy?

home or airbnb

  • baking cookies
  • lying around your beautiful decor
  • pillow fight! or bed lounging
  • a walk in the garden
  • playing board games
  • exploring hobbies (old records, stamp collections, making smoothies?)

uncommon dates

  • the zoo
  • exploring a big, beautiful library
  • abandoned buildings
  • mountain picnics
  • roller rink (please!)
  • a field of lavender or sunflowers
  • shopping in Target for snacks

destination locations

  • a beach
  • a mountain
  • a forest
  • a museum
  • a pretty bridge
  • a little town
  • a lighthouse

aesthetic inspiration

  • editorial
  • classic
  • dreamy
  • playful
  • Wes Anderson (duh)
  • serious
  • moody

Did you write everything down? Cool. Snap me a picture of your sketches. :)

Let’s get shooting!