There are a lot of compelling reasons to do an engagement photoshoot outside the Washington DC metro area. As destination engagement photographers with considerable international experience, we understand all of them! In fact, we get the allure so well that our vow renewal and subsequent couples portrait session a few years ago took place in Germany. There is just so much to love about an engagement photo session in some enchanting foreign locale. And of course, there is so much to love about the destination engagement photos you get from it!
Not sure if engagement photos abroad are worth the price of airfare, hotel and everything else? And to be clear, those are not insignificant expenses! But not a single couple whom we have photographed in a destination engagement session has ever expressed any regret about their choice. Why? Because the photos they received were just that beautiful and special.
What is it that makes destination engagement photos so magical? The short answer is that you simply cannot get those kinds of images at home. Don’t get us wrong! The Washington DC metro area is one of the best places on earth for engagement pictures. It has just about every kind of location for beautiful couples portraits that you could ever want. Just about. What it does not have are gorgeous, snow-capped mountains and tropical beaches. If you want engagement pictures in either of those settings, then you are going to have to travel to make it happen.
But the short answer is not enough to explain why destination engagement photos are worth the cost of the trip. So let’s get into some more specific reasons:
As we mentioned above, locations abroad mean backdrops for your pictures that you cannot get anywhere else. A destination engagement photoshoot gives you the opportunity to get images with a rainforest towering behind you. Or with a beautiful tropical lagoon in the background. Or with a pristine turquoise mountain lake as a setting. Having your engagement session away from Washington DC literally opens up a whole world of possibilities.
All those new settings also make your engagement pictures magical in another way. When you take the world’s best wedding and engagement photographers out of their normal environments, it tends to spark their creativity. They see new possibilities and new opportunities to give you truly unique photos. Some of the most creative images we have ever captured have been during destination engagement photoshoots.
Arguably the best part of a destination engagement session? The fact that you can take an awesome vacation before or after! Why go to all the trouble to schedule and pay for a trip to a foreign locale for your engagement photos if you are not going to enjoy the place you are visiting? A destination engagement photoshoot can be a great excuse to take a trip with your future spouse that the two of you will remember for the rest of your lives!
We created this particular image of a bride- and groom-to-be during a trip to Italy. We were in the small Tuscan town of Certaldo for a Fearless Photographers workshop. While in that charming part of Italian wine country, we had the fortuitous opportunity to do an engagement session.
Like we do before any engagement photoshoot, we spent time beforehand researching possible locations for their betrothal session. Fortunately, we had lots of options. Though the town of Certaldo is small, it is divided into two very different parts. We could pose them in Certaldo Basso, the main, modern section of town. Alternatively, we could bring them to Certaldo Alto, a beautifully preserved medieval enclave situated up a hill from the rest of the city. Given that we have nothing like Certaldo Alto in Washington DC, we opted for that location for the engagement photos. Like we said above, unique settings are one of the main reasons to do a destination engagement shoot!
As it turned out, the road leading up from Certaldo Basso ended up being the highlight of the shoot. The path to Certaldo Alto wound a considerable distance from the town, passing through fields and vineyards on the way. We could not have asked for a better setting for couples photos in Italian wine country. The rolling hills, the rows of grapevines, the older part of Certaldo visible in the distance… Everything looked straight out of a travel brochure! Even the sky was cooperative that morning. We were treated to a lovely sunrise over Certaldo. It was the perfect place for this couple to get engagement photos that only could have been done in Tuscany.
We started their engagement session with some more tightly-focused images. The idea was to concentrate on their faces and the interaction between the two fiancés. We gradually zoomed out to get Certaldo Alto into the frame. That gave the images a bit more of a sense of place. After some time, we decided that we wanted to get photos that encompassed the entire scene. The couple had come to Italy for these pictures, so again, why not make the setting a part of the composition?
With that in mind, we hiked up a small hill on the other side of the road. We put our widest-angle lens on our cameras and asked the fiancés to walk hand-in-hand toward us. We happily clicked away and got the image featured here. In our opinion, it does a beautiful job of highlighting the location without losing sight of the main subjects.
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