The two questions everyone asks about engagement photos are what to wear and where to take them. Here are the thing you should consider when choosing the most fabulous location around Austin.
Try to avoid somewhere that’s going to have bystanders in every single shot. I’m looking at you, South Congress. If you do want to shoot in a populated area, find a side street or separate area that isn’t so crowded. There are some cool things you can do with crowds (like standing completely still and creating a blur of people walking by, or splicing shots together to make it look like it’s just the two of you), but you can only do so much of that if you want a variety of photos.
I really recommend just keeping it simple. Don’t overthink this. The focus should be on YOU, not what’s around you. It’s nice to have a beautiful backdrop for your beautiful faces, but we’re taking these photos so that you have lovely memories of yourself and your partner. Don’t stress if we research and realize your location of choice isn’t open to the public or something like that. Dressing well and having your hair/makeup done nicely will do miles more than the location. What’s even more important? Big smiles and great attitudes.
You see a photographer’s work and you love it. Their photos are so great! Everything they have showcased in their portfolio is shot in urban downtown environments, but you really want to shoot at Enchanted Rock. Well… you might consider shooting with someone else. Sure, a great photographer will probably be excited to shoot somewhere different and capture something new, but the results could be mixed. That photographer is going to nail it if you’re shooting in an environment they’re familiar with, but they might not knock it out of the park shooting something completely different. Just something to consider. This doesn’t have to be a deal breaker, but should be something that you’re thinking about.
When choosing a location (or collaborating with your photographer), make sure you choose a location that has multiple mini-locations. If you’re shooting next to the lake, you can shoot next to the lake, in the wooden area nearby, on a boat, maybe on a cliff… you’ve got options. If you’re shooting in the middle of the city, you can shoot next to the W, sitting at an outdoor cafe like Jo’s, or in a metro park. Want to shoot on Graffiti Hill? Well, you’re only going to get graffiti, so make sure you’ve discussed a second location to mix things up.
Try to make all aspects of your session feel cohesive. You know those cutesy burlap banners that announce the date of your wedding? That’s going to look out of place in front of the Driskill. Want to pose next to your corvette? That probably looks better with a skyline background on the roof of the South Lamar Alamo Drafthouse than next to the greenbelt. You can definitely pull of a romantic formal dress in a rustic park, but stiletto heels might look a little funky. Just be considerate of your location when you’re planning the details
There are a ton of amazing private and public spaces around Austin that you’d probably love to shoot at. Be aware that many of them charge facility fees to shoot there. Mayfield Park, Laguna Gloria, Sekrit Theater… all very lovely spaces, all require a facility fee. They may also have restrictions on days and times, and might be scheduled out a bit in advance. If it’s important that you shoot at one of these spaces, by all means, you should shoot there! Just be sure to consider facility fees in your budget and be mindful that you might need to be a bit more flexible with your availability.
You REALLY want to shoot your engagement session on South Congress? Do it. You go Glen Coco. You’ve read my advice, but shoot where you want to shoot! Know that there are issues and obstacles with certain locations. As a photographer, I’m going to make you aware of problems we could run into, but I want to shoot where you’re going to be most delighted to shoot.