Tips for choosing an engagement session location in Madison, Wisconsin

You’re getting married!!! In this blog post, I’ll be sharing my biggest tips for choosing engagement session locations in Madison, Wisconsin.

You’ve got the ring, wedding date and now photographer! Let’s plan an engagement session that is right for you as a couple! In Madison, Wisconsin, there are a ton of places that appeal to most couples like the Capitol building, State Street, Atwood area, Willy Street or even the Arboretum, just to name a few.

couple stands on frozen lake in madison wisconsin and laughs as they hold each other

How do you choose the best location in Madison, Wisconsin, for you and your partner?

I start taking to my couples about their engagement session on our intro call! I don’t just want to know about your wedding (although that’s a big part too!). I tell each couple that engagement sessions aren’t required, but I do love them. It’s a chance for you to get comfortable in front of the camera and learn how I work and you’ll feel a billion times more comfortable on your wedding day!

It’s also freaking bomb to have nice photos of yourself in normal clothes, amiright?

I could sprout off locations for your shoot all day, but that’s no fun if you’ve never been there before or if you have no attachment to that bar or block that photographs well.

Tip #1 – Think of places that mean a lot to you as a couple

Do you love to go outside together and bike ride through your Madison, Wisconsin, neighborhood? Do you love to go to that bar down the street from your place? What about where you walk your pup? Maybe you just like to chill at home and make cocktails and listen to vinyls. Hell yes! Let’s capture you doing the things you love! I’m not scared of a messy apartment (trust me mine is far from minimal), but I do encourage you to lightly clean up so there’s not dishes on the counter or dirty clothes in the corner.

couple makes old fashioned drinks in their kitchen and laugh

Tip #2: Time of day

The best time to take photos is when the sun is closest to the horizon. It creates a soft, golden light that is flattering at almost any angle and also helps create dramatic silhouettes. In Madison, Wisconsin, there are a lot of great places to photograph at sunset like the lakes, the Capitol or the Union, but they also come with a side of people. Photographing at sunrise is a pretty sure fire way to guarantee all of the locations you want to photograph in will have close to no people.

Keep in mind that if you wanted to travel to a few locations for your engagement session, we may miss key lighting time if we are running behind. I always recommend starting at least 2 hours prior to sunset. This gives us the time to photograph in great lighting while also giving us plenty of time to go to at least two locations and get there with no travel delays or issues.

couple embraces in park with trees behind them

Tip #3 – Match your outfits to your location

When you have chosen your location, be sure to think about your outfits in relation to that location and the current season. Springtime blooms pair well with pastels and lighter colors. The changing leaves of fall go well with rich neutrals like maroon, navy and cream, just to give some inspiration!

I always suggest to wear neutral colors and minimal patterns and graphics so when you look back on your photos, they will be timeless. But if you both love metal bands or want to wear your Packer jerseys I’m totally okay with that!

couple pops champagne during their engagement session in madison wisconsin

Tip #4 – Make sure your pet can come with!

One of the first questions I ask my couples is if they have any pets!! Pets are the best and really show us how you connect as a couple and bring out so much love.

When deciding a location, it’s important to make sure that we can bring your pup. Tons of parks in the Madison area don’t allow dogs like the UW Arboretum or Pope Farms. I know most places that do or don’t, so it’s always good to ask before bringing your pup along with!

couple pets their dog during their engagement session in madison wisconsin

Tip #5 – Be flexible

Weather is unpredictable. In Wisconsin, it can be 60 one day and snowing the next. It can be perfectly sunny before a late afternoon thunderstorm rolls in. There’s no way to be 100% prepared for your session in terms of weather and that’s why it’s extra important to be flexible!

I always bring umbrellas, hot hands, water and some extra essentials when I go on a shoot or a wedding, but it’s important for you two have backups too! Bring an extra pair of shoes in case it’s muddy from heavy rainfall a few days prior! Have a hat and scarf if it’s a little chilly. Bring an extra leash and poop bags for your pup if they are coming with!

It’s also important to think about backup dates for your session in case of crazy weather! I recommend backup dates for all of my sessions! Especially in the spring and fall when the weather is a bit more unpredictable. It helps that I only book 1-2 sessions / week so there’s a lot of flexibility!

Couple canoe down a river during their engagement session

Tip #6 – It’s your session – do what you want!!!

Do you want to wear neon colors? Skateboard at the park? Bring your cats to your session? That’s totally okay with me because it’s your session. Who am I to tell you what you can and cannot do you at your very own engagement session?! I welcome all new and rad ideas that may have not been photographed before! Let’s make your session one to remember.

It’d be boring if every single couple had their sessions at the same place. Your relationship isn’t like everyone else’s, so why should your engagement shoot be?!

couple plays arcade game in downtown madison arcade bar

I hope these tips for choosing an engagement session location in Madison, Wisconsin, have helped! If you’re ready to book your session, click that button below! Learn more about my engagement session details here.

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