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While there are dozens of locations to choose from for your engagement session, it's best to find ones that offer a variety of spots and backdrops to use for portraits and all within a close range to one another. Our couples often ask for suggestions when it comes to engagement session locations, so we wanted to offer some insight about our favorite places to determine which might be a great fit for you!
Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest
One of our all-time favorite locations for engagement sessions is the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest -- for many reasons. Not only does the Bernheim have over 15,000 acres of land, including a 600-acre arboretum, there is a lot of gorgeous natural light to match the endless amounts of space there.
It's also a fantastic choice for a spring or summer engagement session with a natural or organic vibe, since the endless varieties of flowers and shrubs offer beautiful backdrops for engagement photos.
There is a $5 per carload fee that Bernheim charges visitors. Sessions do not have to be scheduled with a Bernheim representative.
Historic Whitehall House and Gardens
For a more elegant engagement session, one of our top recommendations is the historic (and beautiful!) Whitehall Mansion and Estate Garden. The mansion itself is a classy two-story building with tall white pillars that give off a timeless vibe we just love. And when you combine the home with the arboretum and gardens, there are few places in all of Kentucky that match the romantic ambiance of this place. We have loads of unique floral and greenery backdrops to play with for engagement sessions here, and we simply can't rave about it enough!
Whitehall charges a $100 fee and requires that sessions be scheduled in advance.
Falls of the Ohio
Although this one isn't actually within the Kentucky state borders, the Falls of the Ohio State Park is so close to Louisville (right across the Ohio River on the Indiana riverside) and is an option we love to suggest to our couples! Most people come here to look at the fossil beds, but we come here for the walking trails and the riverside views, which are perfect settings for scenic and fun engagement sessions!
Falls of the Ohio charges no fees to use the ground at the time we're writing this article! However, if you're coming from Kentucky to the Falls, there is an avoidable toll bridge. Sessions do not have to be scheduled with a Falls representative.
Are you sensing a theme here? What can we say: we love gardens for engagement sessions!
Yew Dell Botanical Gardens is another top-choice engagement location in the Louisville area that we can't get enough of. Between the abundance of natural light, colorful plants, fountains, and brick pathways -- not to mention a simple yet stunning stone castle! -- there is a lot to love about this engagement session option.
Yew Dell does charge a $75 fee to host an engagement session. All session must be scheduled in advance.
Wallitsch Garden Center
For a great indoor option on a rainy day, we love using the Wallitsch Garden Center! The greenhouses on site have a nice balance of giving an outdoor feel and natural light, all while being "inside" so we won't have to worry about a gloomy day.
Wallitsch hosts our engagement sessions at their discretion and must be verified in advance.
If you're interested in finding a more epic and scenic location to make an adventure out of your engagement session, please message us. We have a few waterfall places that are perfect for engagement portraits, and would love to bring a couple adventurous souls to our secret spots!
Want to try another spot?
We like to pick locations that allow us to shoot in various lighting conditions. A location with high trees or buildings that also has areas that aren't surrounded allow us to shoot with plenty of good light, regardless of where the sun is. With that said, we're open to any sentimental, destination, or other types of locations you have in mind.
If you have a spot that you'd like to try out, let us know!
If you enjoyed reading about our favorite engagement session locations, head on over to read another great blog post, How to Prepare for Your Engagement Session!
Looking for an engagement photographer? Contact us!
We’re Jeff and Michele, a husband and wife wedding photographer team based in Louisville, Kentucky. Your engagement and wedding photography experience is our top priority — we want you to cherish it forever!
We’d love the opportunity to be your photographers. Reach out to us online or give us a call at (502) 551-5799. We look forward to hearing from you!
One of the things we love most about our work is getting to know our couples prior to the wedding ceremony. And engagement sessions are the perfect way to do just that!
However, we also know that this is the first time many of our clients are taking professional photographs together — which often leads to a little nervousness in the beginning of the session. Whether you’re unsure about what to wear to your engagement session or how best to prepare for it in advance, we’ve got a list of quick tips to help you:
1. Choose an outfit that will look flattering and great on camera.
When going through your closet or maybe even ordering something special from to select your engagement session outfit, look for clothes that are soft and muted in color or go with something white, off-white, or blush — what we like to call “neutrals.” Tight, repetitive patterns and flashy colors can drag the eye away from focusing on the intimacy of you and your soon-to-be spouse.
And if you have a hard time selecting just one outfit, bring a backup option. Although we like to focus most of the session on your top choice, it can help ease nerves a bit to know you have a second outfit ready to go. When in doubt: ask our opinion, we love to help!
Want more inspiration for your outfit? Be sure to check out our Engagement Session Wardrobe Board!
Also, if your looking for something fun to wear just for your engagement session, consider something like Rent the Runway.
2. Use the opportunity to get dolled up.
It’s not every day that you get portraits taken together, so use the engagement session as a chance to get your hair and makeup professionally done! It’ll also immediately make you feel more confident going into the session, especially since these photos are ones you’ll likely want to hang on your walls!
And if you already have your hair and makeup artist selected for your wedding day, you may ask to use this as your “trial” with them to test out a few looks before the session. Or head out to dinner after we’re finished taking photos, since you’ll both look dressed up and ready for a night on the town!
We HIGHLY recommend wearing SPF free make up, especially in the case of doing an indoor engagement session. SPF make up may make your face look paler due to how it reflects certain types of light.
3. Know what to expect during the engagement session.
Looking for a little insight into what your engagement sessions will be like? Although every photographer is different, we tell our couples that you’ll quickly learn our four basic poses so you're not left wondering how to stand. From there, we may make slight adjustments here and there. You both will catch on pretty quickly, so no need to worry!
We also suggest to remember that this is a time when you two are simply spending time together. Remember to breathe, feel as relaxed as you can, and be conversational (both with us and with the love of your life!). It’s totally normal to feel nervous, but know that we have you covered and want the entire experience to feel personable and easy. Be yourselves and enjoy the moment!
4. Can we bring our pet?
Our policy=Absolutely! We love having your furry friends join us. We suggest having someone else come along so that your pet(s) can go with them after their done with their photos.
Another great tip if you're hoping to bring your dog along: take them to a dog park and let them run around for a few minutes before your session! This will help them to be a little more relaxed since they'll likely be more worn out and ready to sit for a few poses.
5. Where should we have our photos taken?
We have a few favorite places that we suggest. Generally, we are looking for a location that has several different scenes that are close together. That way we aren't spending too much time going from one place to the other.
We typically prefer outdoors with plenty of color, although indoor locations can also work great, especially when well lit!
If you're interested in checking out some of our favorite locations, be sure to see our Favorite Engagement Session Locations!
6. About what time should we plan to begin taking photos?
About 2 hours before sunset is the best time since the light is prettiest. So, for example, if sunset is at 7:30pm, we'll usually plan to start around 5:30pm.
Looking for an engagement photographer? Contact us!
We’re Jeff and Michele, a husband and wife wedding photographer team based in Louisville, Kentucky. Your engagement and wedding photography experience is our top priority — we want you to cherish it forever! We’d love the opportunity to be your photographers. Reach out to us online or give us a call at (502) 551-5799. We look forward to hearing from you!