The engagement session is one of my favorite parts of the planning process with my couples. It gives them the chance to be in front of my camera before they get married so that on their wedding day their experience with me is completely comfortable. With all the planning that goes on with a wedding day, it’s so important to take time out to just celebrate the season you are in right now. Cherish this time, it goes by so fast!
Choosing Your Time and Date
As a film photographer, I believe that rich, natural light creates the most timeless photographs of you as a couple. I typically begin engagement sessions two hours prior to sunset, so we can take advantage of the time before sunset known as “golden hour”, or right before sunrise. Being in Wisconsin, we lose the sunset over the water since the sun sets to the west, but if you are an early riser – we can chase that sunrise and get gorgeous photos on the water. Another advantage to a sunrise session is that most city locations are totally clear of people! Shooting in Chicago often, I have to navigate crowds – choosing an early morning session eliminates the need to shoot around large groups of people in the more popular spots of the city!
When selecting a date, remember that the sun sets much earlier in the winter months than in the summer. We have to start as early as 2 pm in months like November and December to achieve the same look we get by starting at 6 pm in June! Keep that in mind when planning a date night after the session or if you need to get out of work a few hours early.
I love for couples to chose a location that is sentimental and meaningful. Engagement sessions not only document this season of your life (you only get to be someone’s fiancé for a few months after all!) but tell an important part of your story together. Did your fiancé propose on the beach or on a mountaintop? Did you meet in college? Favorite park to walk your dog? Location of your first date? Start there and you’ll have the perfect spot in no time!
Think outside the box! Want to travel to your engagement session location because you want something different? Go for it! Ask friends and family members who might have access to more exclusive locations like the family farm, a lavender field or even the gardens at a historic building!
Be aware that some of the more popular locations in any city may carry a photography permit or an admission fee. Make sure to look up the policies in any location you are researching!
Above all, engagement sessions should be fun and capture who the two of you are as a couple! It’s a time to get dressed up and take a break from planning for a few hours.
Having trouble picking your engagement session photo location?
Here are some of my favorite midwest locations!
Where to Have My Engagement Session in Milwaukee?
Lions Den Gorge
Retzer Nature Center
Delafield Fish Hatchery
Boerner Botanical Gardens
Villa Terrace & The Charles Allis Museum
Where to Have My Engagement Session in Madison?
Wisconsin State Capitol
Olbrich Botanical Garden
Where to Have My Engagement Session in Door County
(literally, anywhere! Door County is so beautiful!)
Cana Island Lighthouse
Peninsula State Park
Coffee at Bearded Heart Cafe in Bailey’s Harbor
Orchard County Winery
Where to Have My Engagement Session in Chicago?
University of Chicago
The Art Institute
The Adler Planetarium
Lincoln Park Zoo