Don’t Overthink Your Engagement Session Location; The "What" is More Important Than the "Where"
Updated: Apr 15, 2021
The question has been asked, the outfits have been purchased, and now it’s time to create some memories and take engagement photos. All you have to decide on is the most perfect spot for this once-in-a-lifetime session that will be on your walls for the rest of your lives; no pressure!
Seriously though, most of the couples we talk to feel this exact sense of pressure: that their engagement location has to be this perfect location with hills, a pine forest, sand dunes, a rock formation, a cityscape, a beach shore, perfect flowers and did I mention tons of oak trees!
Umm….. I don’t know how to say this politely, so I won’t try … that one magical spot does not exist. At least I haven’t found it to exist, especially in south Louisiana and within the two-hour driving limit that most of our couples seem to feel restricted to. The good news is you don’t need to have ALL those things to have the breathtaking engagement photos of your dreams. Honestly, if I had to scale it out, location would be the absolute least important component of the engagement session, behind comfortable clothes, nice weather, and a partner that you’re down to snuggle with! So why are we overthinking this aspect of the session so hard?
Thank Pinterest and Instagram for creating a platform that just amplifies the heck out of location envy; envy that, I promise, I understand completely. As an artist, I’m guilty of it too, always seeking out opportunities for beautiful photographs in front of incredible landscapes. When I first started, (while trying to build a name for myself), I thought there wasn’t anything as great as an epic Instagramable moment that could draw extra eyes to my work. After years in this industry, I’ve learned that while not everyone can afford plane tickets for destination engagements, not everyone needs to!
Don’t overthink the location!
Why location is the least of your worries
While scrolling through past social media posts, I realized the images that were often loved the most were perfectly photographed candid moments of couples at local locations that I’ve been to a million times before. Why was I putting so much needless pressure on myself to travel, to always find a completely unique spot for my couples, or to find myself at as many of the nation's most picturesque locations as possible? In the end, the value of those destination photos was no greater than any of my other non-travel work. Don’t get me wrong, I still crave a change in scenery and am in no way discouraging you from letting me tag along on mini-vacation of any sort; I just mean to explain that travel is not a necessity and in most cases, you can't beat local. Travel merely for the sake of photographs could cause stress over the logistics, taking away from your experience, therefore we recommend staying local unless traveling is something you do often or are willing to work a bit harder for.
“Lightning doesn’t strike in the same place twice!”
While, in actuality, the above statement is totally false about lightning, it is true for photography, in that, no matter how many times I’ve been to the same location, even the same spot, I will never produce the same photo more than once. There are so many variables you capture in one photograph that will produce varied results: the time of the year, time of day, models, outfits, and the chemistry of the couple. Even the most subtle changes can create a drastically different look. If you don't have the means to travel for your engagements, you shouldn’t feel like you're settling or are somehow missing out by choosing to have your photographs taken close to home.
What SHOULD matter when selecting your engagement location
You should focus less on finding a spot that no one has ever been photographed and more on choosing a spot that you’d want to be photographed most. The couple photographed in this blog, Lyndsey and Daniel, picked downtown Lafayette, but specifically, Pamplona’s on Jefferson Street. Why? This was the location of their first date. I can assure you I’d photographed Jefferson Street hundreds of times before their fall engagement session - but these photos were some of the most unique of my engagement galleries. In fact, their album includes some of my all-time favorites couples images because being hyper-focused on this one restaurant on Jefferson challenged me to find unique angles I’d never seen before. Their session is truly one of a kind, and their images won’t be like anyone else’s, past or future.
Think "what" instead of "where!"
I like to challenge couples to think outside of the usual parameters of engagement sessions. Rather than deciding on a where, consider flipping the script entirely, and planning WHAT you’ll be doing. A cute picnic in the woods or on rides at the state fair are a couple of fine ideas we’ve captured in the past. We are lifestyle artists at heart, and while we often give our clients galleries of traditional smiling photos that grandma is guaranteed to enjoy, we find our work thrives on modern couples allowing us to capture a real-life experience rather than just posing uncomfortable portraits that for some can be extremely exhausting and unnatural. Instead, plan a fun date and invite us to go with you to a pottery class. Plan a meal for two and get messy cooking it up in the kitchen. You can even use your session to “kill two birds with one stone,” for example; if you’re moving into a new place together and will be unpacking boxes anyway, why not make that a fun intimate in-home session.
Rest assured, however or wherever you decide to take your engagement photos, we strive to capture real love in a unique way. We can find beauty in the simplest settings because we make sure your love is front and center. If you’re the cuddly type, we’ll capture every sweet snuggle. If you’re less about PDA and more about the laughs, we’ll give you tons of giggle shots to frame. The rest is just the background and usually that part is blurry anyway! :)