Wedding planning often consists of setting not one, but two very important dates – at least the photography aspect anyway! Of course your wedding date, but also your engagement session date! Save the dates are typically sent out 9-months in advance, so I advise all my couples to ensure we have a session on the books as soon as possible. Part of that process includes not only selecting a date, but a location, which is actually the hardest part for most couples! Over the years as a Washington, DC wedding photographer, I’ve gathered a few tips about how to select a location that I am excited to share today!
Consider… Time of Year
I truly believe each season has something wonderful to offer for an engagement session (more information on that here!), so it’s just a matter of personal preference. That being said, some locations photograph better at certain times of year. For example, if you want to shoot in a garden or at the Cherry Blossoms, spring is your best bet. Peak summer is best if you love the waterfront areas in Georgetown. Or if you’re interested in those tall grasses, shoot for late summer before they are harvested. Some locations, like the DC monuments, never change and are great all year round!
Consider… Time of Day
I only photograph engagement and anniversary session at sunrise or sunset to ensure we have the best light for the session. But there is a big difference that time of day which is why nearly 80% of my couples opt for a sunrise shoot. The reason being? Crowds! City location especially, but really anywhere, will be much more crowded in the afternoon/evening for sunset. To avoid having lots of people in the back of your photos or having an audience while you pose, opt for sunrise — the light is so worth the early wakeup! And, bonus! Being on the East Coast means sunrise is extra beautiful!
Consider… Your Pet
If you want to bring your furry family member to our shoot, you’ll have to find a place that allows pets!
Consider… Your Outfit
Want to wear a beautiful, floor-length ballgown from Rent the Runway? Trust me, I would too! But those look best in a city setting as they are somewhat out of place in a field. So if you have your heart set on a particular outfit, think about where it would look best. Otherwise, I recommend selecting your location first and outfits second so they will definitely coordinate! You can read so much more about what to wear for your session in this post!
There is nothing I love more than shooting at any of DC’s famous backdrops, but it’s important to know that many require a permit to photograph there. The great news is, the fees are minimal and I will help you obtain a permit! Several other venues have been introducing fees as well, so that’s something to look into before you decide!
What do you and your partner LOVE to do!? Is it go for a walk in the Constitution Gardens? Hike in the Shenandoah? Do a wine tasting in Charlottesville? Washington, DC is great for couples who love the city, travel, architecture, and iconic backdrops. The surrounding areas outside the city have quite a bit to offer as well! Think about your hobbies, likes, and dislikes, and that will help you determine a great spot for your shoot! After all, it should be a reflection of you as a couple!