33 Amazing Ideas for Your Destination Engagement Photos
Life is a journey, and so is the road to the altar, so celebrate the adventure you're on, your love of travel, or amazing locations both near and far by planning a destination engagement photo session. It's a great opportunity to do something special, especially when you consider that there are so few opportunities in life when you'll have a professional photographer following you and your future spouse around. You and your sweetheart might be fortunate enough to have a stunning setting close to where you live, but if you crave something a bit more exotic, rustic, or historic, consider hopping on a plane or driving to a jaw-dropping locale.
Make the most of a planned vacation or map out a new trip specifically for your engagement session, then tap a local photographer to take your portraits in your chosen destination. Your wedding photographer might be up for traveling with you, too, so it doesn't hurt to ask. Either way, you'll end up with an excursion to remember and photos that will last a lifetime.
Some destinations may require you to be a bit more adventurous than others, but if you're up for a bit of fun—or possibly an early wake up time—we assure you the end product will be worth it. Consider this shot, taken just before sunset at Ireland's Cliffs of Moher. A few other spots—like a classic lighthouse or a dreamy chateau—just require that you show up. Work with your professional photographer to map out a loose game plan and the best time frame for the perfect light and you'll be good to go.
The following engagement photos took place at quite a range of locations, but one thing is consistent throughout: they're anything but boring. If you and your future spouse love to travel, these photos will certainly make the case for planning your own destination engagement shoot.
Lands End Outlook in San Francisco, California
Northern California boasts countless options for your destination engagement photos, but you'll want to think about Lands End Outlook, on the edge of San Francisco. The trees let the sun shine through in an almost magical way.
Atlanta Botanical Garden in Atlanta, Georgia
The Atlanta Botanical Garden was a fitting choice for this pair as the bride had once lived in the city. Whether you're based in the Big Peach or plan to travel for your photos like this couple did, this spot is one to consider.
The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch in Carlsbad, California
Not far from San Diego lies the Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch, where 50 acres of colorful ranunculus flowers grow on a hillside overlooking the water. Their season varies by year so check the website for exact dates, but it's typically early March through May.
The Mountains of Dillon, Colorado
Consider the season when planning your engagement session. If you're a fan of winter and the snow that comes with it, think about a beautiful setting with snow-capped mountains in the background. This couple cozied up in Dillon, Colorado.
Sankaty Head Lighthouse in Nantucket, Massachusetts
Sankaty Head Lighthouse served as the backdrop for this duo's actual engagement, so it was only fitting that they headed back to this Nantucket landmark for their e-session. It was an extra special spot for the bride, whose family has vacationed on the island for generations.
During a trip to celebrate their engagement, this duo explored Tuscany and Cinqueterre with a photographer in tow to document their adventures.
Joshua Tree National Park in California
The Mojave and Colorado deserts come together at Joshua Tree National Park, creating a truly unique setting with a range of plants, animals, and backdrops formed by the area's strong winds and occasional downpours. If you're up for a little hike through the various geological formations, this could be the spot for you.
La Mamounia Hotel in Marrakesh, Morocco
Once a palace, La Mamounia in Marrakesh, Morocco, is now a luxurious hotel that showcases the storied (and enchanting) architecture reflective of the local culture and history. You'll find there's no shortage of spots for a photo op.
The Superstition Mountains in Apache Junction, Arizona
This duo wanted to celebrate their love (and the city where they met) with a photo session in Old Havana. They had an early beginning to their day, as starting at sunrise meant they had the streets mostly to themselves.
Pichon Baron in Bordeaux, France
What's dreamier than a French chateau? Pichon Baron, just outside of Bordeaux, has us swooning. The couple took their cue from the façade of the building by wearing equally stunning neutral outfits.
Brooklyn, New York
If you want your engagement photos to have that iconic New York City feeling, check out Brooklyn's Dumbo neighborhood, which boasts views of the Manhattan skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge (especially from Washington Street). The cobblestone streets can get busy, so getting there early in the day can be the key to a great shot like this one.
These brides headed to Flåm, Norway, for their epic engagement session, which offered them the opportunity to explore the fjords by land and sea. Naturally, amazing photos were also part of the deal.
This photo was shot right at sunset in the beautiful lavender fields of Provence, France, in the town of Valensole. The summer date of this engagement session meant the herbs were in full bloom. If you're choosing a location for its flora and fauna, consider the time of year to ensure everything looks as you've imagined it.
Great Dunes National Park in Mosca, Colorado
A national park can be a great backdrop for your engagement photos, especially when you consider the various range of landscapes at each. This couple chose the Great Sand Dunes of Mosca, Colorado, and smiled the whole time.
Logan Square in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
These up-for-anything grooms went for it, when they hopped into Philadelphia's Swann Memorial Fountain in their suits.
Ajuda Botanical Garden in Lisbon, Portugal
Ajuda Botanical Garden is a former royal garden and one of the oldest botanical spots in Lisbon, Portugal. The bride-to-be grew up visiting it, so she wanted to return with her fiancé for a photo session. The sentiment surrounding the tree of life and planting roots as part of a marriage, and those ideas were perfectly reflected in the couple's snapshots.
Knapp's Castle in Santa Barbara, California
All that's left of Knapp's Castle in Santa Barbara, California, is its incredible brick bones. The structure, which was built in the 1940s, was taken by a forest fire, but what remains makes for a picturesque backdrop. Coordinate your timing so the sunset over the valley makes it even more breathtaking.
Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada
Head north for the remarkable beauty that is Moraine Lake in Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. It was this couple's first time in the area but the photos they'd seen online were enough to draw them there. We're willing to bet their engagement photos (taken in July at sunset, when the park empties out) will inspire other couples to do the same.
Just because your destination is rugged terrain doesn't mean you can't wear your Sunday best. This sharp-dressed twosome dazzled in this spot in Aspen, Colorado. We love their pops of red against the otherwise neutral setting.
Over Yonder Cay in the Bahamas
If you don't have time to travel during your engagement but are having a destination wedding, you can take plan to take extra photos a day or two before guests arrive. "Often we find an engagement session the week of the wedding is a great way to take advantage of the beautiful wedding destination, get some great shots outside of the wedding day, and warm everyone up for the big day," says photographers KT Merry, who climbed rocks and explored the private island of Over Yonder Cay with this bride and groom.
If there's a city you've traveled to or lived in that holds special meaning, it might be worth revisiting for your engagement portraits. In this case, the bride had studied in the charming city of Puebla, Mexico, and fell in love with the rich culture and architecture. After her groom proposed in the city, it made sense that they pose for engagement photos there, too.
You can never go wrong with the rolling hills of the Italian countryside. Many destination wedding photographers—and local ones, too—shoot weddings throughout the year and post their travel dates on their websites and social channels. Consider hiring one whose already there for your engagement portraits to make planning a little bit easier.
Le Diplomate Restaurant in Washington, D.C.
The destination you choose for your engagement photos doesn't have to be a sprawling landscape or historic monument. You can think on a smaller scale and select a go-to spot. This couple chose Le Diplomate in Washington, D.C.—which looks like it could be in France!—as it's a mutual favorite and where they went for dinner the night they got engaged.
Pismo Beach, California
Pismo Beach, California, offers a multitude of breathtaking landscapes—dunes, beaches, and this rocky cliff. That means you'll get three different looks from one single destination.
This couple traveled from Russia to realize their destination engagement session in the lavender fields of Gringnan, France. We love the sprig of lavender added to his lapel and how her dress perfectly echoes the color of the Provencal country side.
Grand Teton National Park in Jackson Hole, Wyoming
You don't have to hike to the top of a mountain for a postcard-like snapshot. This pair and their photographer stayed at a lower elevation in Grand Teton National Park, with the warm summer sunshine surrounding them.
Brooklyn Bridge in Brooklyn, New York
Caprock Canyons in Quitaque, Texas
Some of this couple's best memories have been made in Caprock Canyons State Park and Trailways in the panhandle of Texas. The groom specifically requested this location and both were game for a bit of a hike to get there. If you're trekking along to a similar environment, consider bringing the attire you'll be wearing in a garment bag and changing when you get there.
Folly Beach, South Carolina
You can venture out on the dock, or you can take a walk below it for equally great results. This picture was taken under the pier at Folly Beach in Charleston, South Carolina, just as the sun began to dip low enough to cast shadows through the pillars.
Dead Horse Point State Park in Moab, Utah
Cliffs and canyons abound at Dead Horse Point State Park in Moab, Utah. If you're not afraid of heights, hold on to your sweetheart and dare to get close to the edge.
The City of Light is full of striking scenarios for your engagement photos, but the most iconic of all—the Eiffel Tower—makes a truly impressive addition to the background. Remember that getting an iconic landmark in the frame of your photos means you might have to get some distance between you, otherwise you may not be able to tell what it is, or where you are in the world.