How to Style Your Engagement Session: Choose a Setting

Establishing your purpose and defining your style will help you immensely when it comes to choosing the right setting for your session.

While we love for you to have some options and variety in your images, we don’t need a ton of locations to make really beautiful photos! In fact, more locations can actually detract from your photos because it takes time to get settled and comfortable in each new location. Less truly can be more!

Milwaukee fine art engagement photography

A Setting That Reflects your Personalities

Location plays a key role in the story your photos will tell. So it's important that the setting you choose is true to who you are as a couple. 

But Instead of a literal interpretation—choosing the very place you met or exactly where he proposed, it's usually best to chose a place that allows both your personality to shine through and us to create beautiful work.

For instance, if he proposed to you at your favorite park, you may want to have a park-like setting for your engagement photos because you have a natural love of the outdoors. Rather than choosing the exact location and celebrating the literal event, I love the idea of telling the story of the couple behind it!

Maybe You’re the adventurous type? How can you reflect that in your location? Are you are quiet and introspective? Let’s leverage a setting that makes space for that softness to shine through.

More than anything else, I love it when people see your photos and say “oh, this is just so YOU!” When you choose the perfect location, people will know right away!

Outdoor Locations

We prefer outdoor locations few reasons: we get to utilize the most beautiful light available, we find nature really inspiring and relaxing, and we enjoy adventuring with you! When you’re looking for outdoor locations, I’d recommend searching in a few particular areas:

State & County Parks

unlike city parks, filled with playgrounds, softball fields, and cars, state, county, and national parks offer more space and a wider variety of settings. These parks can offer you waterfront options, rolling hills, or pine forests, depending on the environment you’d like.

Arboretums and Botanic Gardens

These beautiful settings are usually research gardens and therefore have some really beautiful settings that you couldn’t find elsewhere. Orchard groves and manicured gardens live next to prairie land and towering pines. Be careful, though. These locations always have specific photography regulations you should check over.

City or Neighborhood Locations

if part of your story involves city life, we're all in! We adore wandering with you on city streets, using architecture and quaint neighborhoods to tell your story. Walking your pup or grabbing a latte together at your favorite coffee shop could be just the thing to help you unwind. 

I'd recommend taking a walk in the neighborhood you'd love photos in around 2-3 hours before sunset. Note the parking situations and lighting as that's probably the closest conditions to what you'd have on your engagement session.

Things to consider: Permits, Parking, and Pets

Once you’ve selected a setting that best represents your personality, visit their website. Often parks have cash-only entrance fees, parking regulations, pet restrictions, or hours you should be aware of.

Look specifically to see what their photography policies are. If they require a permit, you'll want to secure that in advance and bring it with you. You won't want to risk getting asked to leave mid session.

Lifestyle Sessions

We love it when couples choose to have part of their session in their home-usually these couples want to reflect a sense of how they live life together. I absolutely adore capturing sweet little moments while washing dishes, preparing a meal, or dancing barefoot in the living room.

If you’d like a lifestyle session in your home, here are a few tips:

Light

we need quality, directional light from a singular source. Turn off all your lights in the afternoon and observe the light. Where does the light stream in the windows? When does it feel dark inside? If you have your windows covered, pull back your curtains, raise your blinds, and note the way the light fills your space.

Clear and Stage Your Home

in your home photography, less is more. Put away everything on your kitchen counters except for stylistic elements, like a crock of wood spoons or a french linen dish towel. Hide the coffee maker, anything on the refrigerator and framed photos. Your space will feel bigger and you won’t have distracting elements in the backgrounds of your photos. 

Find Something Fun To Do!

Choose something that reflect your life together, whether it’s playing vinyl and dancing in your living room, washing dishes and talking together, or curling up on the sofa together with coffee and newspapers.