Crafting the Ultimate Engagement Photography Experience

February 8, 2024

Engagement photos mark one of the biggest seasons of transition in your life as a couple. We may have all mastered the art of the selfie, but nothing quite captures your wild blossoming love like a professional portrait session. Awe! In this blog, we share our secrets for crafting an unforgettable and personalized engagement session with your photographer, covering locations, attire, and optimal timing.

How important are engagement photos, really?

I might be a little biased but…really important! An adventurous engagement session is an incredible way to connect with your fiancé, as well as to get to know your wedding photographer before the big day. Your personality should shine through your photos, giving your loved ones a chance to celebrate this important milestone with you in a way that’s true to you and your partner’s unique relationship. It’s about freezing those special moments before you officially say “I do” and turning them into keepsakes you’ll cherish forever.

Think of them as your love story captured in snapshots – the giggles, the stolen glances, the goofy or still moments that make your relationship uniquely yours. It’s your chance to tell the world, “Hey, this is us, and we’re crazy about each other!”

Not to mention the practical side of these photos – save the dates, social media announcements, personalized wedding websites. Having a set of high-quality engagement photos gives you versatile content to share your love story with friends, family, and guests.

Location, location, location!

Ocean, forest, waterfall, epic views, sand dunes, a lake, a mountain view, a city skyline, graffiti, a small town, a sports venue, a country meadow, a park or garden, a greenhouse, the river, a sentimental spot from your relationship…The world is your oyster!

Just a few more questions to consider when choosing a location:

1) How far are you willing to travel?

2) How can you incorporate your hobbies or activities you enjoy together? Think: making cookies at home, painting or a picnic in the park, a jam sesh with your musically talented bae, an arcade, a cruise down a river, or a wild hike in the wilderness.

3) How much adventure do you want to have during your session? Does a chill session at home drinking tea sound perfect or a 4 mile rugged hike to a waterfall? (For the record, we’re 100% down for crazy epic adventures with you!).

4) Are there any other elements or props you want to include in your photos? Maybe a journal or pieces of jewelry that’s an important part of your love story.

5) What type of lighting situation are you drawn too? Sharing photos that you are particularly drawn too can help your photographer narrow down your location, season, and time to recommend for your shoot.

Ready to book your adventure? CLICK HERE to reach out!

Northwest Oregon Photo Locations

We will focus our specific location suggestions in and around our home base – Northwest Oregon. Oregon has it all, so here is a list by general area to get your brain started:

The Oregon Coast

  • Hug Point
  • Cannon Beach
  • Pacific City/Cape Kiwanda
  • Proposal Rock
  • God’s Thumb
  • Drift Creek Falls


  • Downtown Portland
  • Portland Bridges/Waterfront
  • Hoyt Arboretum
  • George Rogers Park
  • Lewis and Clark College
  • Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden
  • The Rose Garden
  • Forest Park
  • Saint John’s Bridge

The Columbia River Gorge

  • Latourell Falls
  • Cascade Locks
  • Sugarpine Drive-In
  • Rowena Crest
  • Multnomah Falls (especially if you can find a day to avoid the crowds) 

Mount Hood

  • Trillium Lake
  • Timberline Lodge
  • Snow Park overlooks

The Willamette Valley

  • Your favorite winery
  • Champoeg State Park
  • Linfield College
  • Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm (late March – early May)
  • Wayward Winds Lavender Farm (mid May – July)

Salem + Surrounding Areas

  • Bush Gardens
  • Salem Carousel/Waterfront
  • Deepwood Museum and Garden
  • Silver Falls State Park
  • Abiqua Falls

But what should I wear??

Here are a few pointers:

1) The number one rule is easy to remember – wear something you feel confident in! If you feel confident, that’s what will shine through your photos.

2) We would encourage you to compliment, not match your partner. It’s best to think more about the style and level of formality of your outfits, but not to worry about matching the colors. Wearing neutrals is always a great way to coordinate and also to keep the focus on your love and your story. 

3) The focus should be on classic rather than trendy looks, it can be helpful to note that these photos will be around for a long time and they will probably hang on the walls of your home as well as be sent out as wedding save-the-dates.

4) Wear the colors you love but (as a general rule) our advice would be, don’t wear the brightest, loudest colors that you have. Again, the focus should be on your love, not your clothes. Bright colors and loud patterns tend to fight the camera and reflect their own colored light onto your face. You don’t want your chin and the area under your nose to reflect your brilliant orange shirt. Nope. Wear a darker, more muted version of your colors instead. As a general rule, solid colors tend to be better and more pleasing to the eye than busy patterns. 

5) Create visual interest and warmth with interesting fabrics and pairings (think fur, lace, leather, layers and accessories)

6) Your outfit choice should reflect your personality and location. A garden session is a very different vibe than a city skyline; this should be reflected in your outfit choice. This is a great opportunity to express your hobbies and interests – especially the ones you share with your partner! Are you a painter or an avid reader? Think about a soft sweater, jeans and your art form or your favorite book. Are you guys into the fun and funky? Show that with fun textures or a bug furry jacket. Do you love the city? In an urban setting you can wear more bold, structured clothing and take more fashion risks. You get the picture. 

7) Bring options. I encourage people to bring a more casual look and a more dressy look (when requested, we bring a changing tent for a comfortable outfit change).

8) Accessorize! Bringing a standout accessory is always a great way to spice things up. Hats, jewelry, layers, headpieces, and jackets are a fun way to express yourself. Bringing options can change up your look quickly.

Actionable Steps

Start by creating a mood board on Pinterest to curate the ambiance and aesthetic you envision. Share this board with your photographer to provide insight into your preferred lighting, poses, and overall vibe. Drawing inspiration from throwback photos can add a nostalgic charm to your shoot (I read another blog about this and I absolutely love this idea). Embrace the opportunity to express your unique love story through every aspect of the session. From location choices to outfit selections, choose elements that reflect the journey of your relationship. Don’t be afraid to get creative!

Final Notes

Engagement photos are a fun way to celebrate the future, boost your self-confidence, and should be a beautiful expression of what’s important to you as you move on to the next exciting phase. Just like your wedding photos, documenting your engagement will only grow in sentimental value over the years.

At Hereafter Photography, we help our couples plan Adventure Engagement Sessions as EPIC as their relationship deserves. If you would like to chat with us about scheduling a session, give us a holler!

Much love,


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