I'm Amanda and I am a Raleigh wedding photographer! I serve excited and enthusiastic couples with an elegant and elevated wedding photography experience! This is where I share sneak peeks from my latest weddings, engagements, and sessions! Check out my Raleigh wedding photography blog to view my latest weddings, engagements, styled shoots, tips, venues, and more!
Newly engaged? Well you are in the RIGHT place! Welcome to the Ultimate guide to Raleigh Engagement Photo Locations! I’m Amanda and I’m a Raleigh engagement and wedding photographer! I serve excited and enthusiastic couples with an elegant and elevated wedding photography experience! Today I’m sharing all the best engagement photo locations in Raleigh along with tips and tricks to get the most out of your engagement session!
Engagement season is such a fun time in your relationship! It can be a bit overwhelming to start the wedding planning process. Being in the thick of it all can make you lose sight of why you’re doing this all in the first place. I’m here to tell you that there are ways to build in time together that ground you to your why and to each other. Engagement sessions are one of the ways I encourage couples to come together and share in the whole wedding experience.
I am not one of those photographers who “require” engagement sessions. Making you do anything you don’t want to do is yucky so if the thought of cramming one more thing into your schedule gives you hives then fear not – you don’t need it! But – if you’re on the fence I have some great things to share about engagements and why you should consider them!
I spend a fair amount of time during an engagement session literally just engaging. I love hearing about your stories and what you are most excited about for your wedding. It makes me so excited to hear about your wedding plans and envisioning your big day right alongside you!
Pullen Park is such a gorgeous park for photos! It is ideal for Raleigh engagement sessions and family sessions – and even elopements! If you schedule your visit correctly you can even catch a ride on the carousel! talk about some super fun images! I love all the walkways and bridges along the water – it makes for such beautiful light at almost every time of day! There is a wealth of options to add variety into your session here and amenities for outfit changes!
Dorothea Dix park is HUGE. It is perhaps most well known for the skyline views and their WRAL festival of lights during the holidays. There is no shortage of photo opportunities within the park. During the summer they plant a huge field of sunflowers which is super popular. I love the openness and that opportunity to explore new areas of the park. My biggest recommendation for the BEST skyline views is to hit the park at sunrise or evening golden hour when the sunlight is the softest.
Located in the heart of downtown Raleigh – the North Carolina State Capitol Building is a superb Raleigh Engagement Photo location! If you’re looking for a downtown feel with clean colors and architectural lines then the capitol building is the best! I love photographing at the Capitol building because it reflects beautiful light at almost any hour of the day and is surrounded by a beautifully maintained campus with big mature trees. Bonus – it is a super short jaunt to the museum campuses – so you can make a day of it and that is also a great place for photos!
In addition to being a huge art museum – the North Carolina Museum of Art encompasses a large and very popular park. It is an absolutely stunning location for photos that blend both modern and natural elements to create a unique photography experience.
If you are looking for year-round beauty then look no further then the JC Raulston Arboretum. This is an extremely popular park for photo sessions and intimate weddings. There are various intimate gardens to explore and is a small enough park to explore it all! The most popular areas are the rose garden, various flower beds, zen garden, and gazebo! I think my favorite spot is toward the back – there are rows and rows of different flowering plants and a huge willow tree that gets the best glow!
The WRAL Azalea gardens are a free and public greenspace in Raleigh. Loaded with lush greenery and flowering and non-flowering plants, the Azalea gardens are a beautiful park option for engagement sessions. One of the perks of this location is that there is no fee for photographers and reservations are not required!
If you are looking for those epic Raleigh skyline views then a stop at the Boylan Avenue Bridge is an amazing option. The bridge runs over the train tracks and has a great view of the skyline. This is a great engagement session location for the couple who is looking for something very iconically Raleigh!
Yates Mill Park is a historic site and native wildlife refuge. The park is characterized by the old mill and abundance of natural elements. The park includes over three miles of hiking trails that traverse pond, creek, forest and wetland habitats. If you’re looking for a park outside of downtown Raleigh and want to do some exploring the Yates Mill Park is a great option!
Lake Crabtree Park is the hidden gem of Raleigh Engagement Photo Locations in my book. There is plenty of room for exploring this park and the location is so accessible! Views of the lake are a must and with such a huge park there is no shortage of places to add variety to your session. This park is right off of Aviation Parkway and the highway making it a super convenient jaunt from the RDU area and Raleigh! I especially love that you can get SO close to the water and there are even some sandy beachy areas!
Located outside of city limits in southeast Wake county is the 27-acre Historic Oak View County Park. The park includes historic farm buildings and structures, a visitor’s center and gardens. The historic farm buildings provide a beautiful and elegant backdrop for photos – and you can even visit some cute farm animals! I love the white buildings and fences that serve to create beautiful images in my preferred light and vibrant style!
The Raleigh Warehouse District is a neat engagement session location that offers a unique backdrop. Think industrial mixed with a downtown vibe. There is an abundance of places to visit and even some places to rent to do photos inside!
College campuses in Raleigh and the surrounding area are super popular photo locations for couples who love to honor their history (especially if they met in college!). NC State campus, Meredith College, Duke University (including Duke Chapel and Duke Gardens), and UNC Chapel Hill are among the most popular universities for photos. Be mindful the time of year you are planning your engagement session – the campuses can be super busy around graduation season for photographers. It is also important to be mindful of any special permits to be on campus and taking photographs.
If you’re looking for an engagement session location that is true to you and your story then I have some other fun ideas for you to consider!
A lot of popular wedding venues actually include the opportunity for their booked couples to use their facilities for their engagement session! I LOVE this because this is an amazing opportunity for us to take our time through the venue. We can find some hidden gems and amazing spots around your venue for engagement photos AND scout the BEST locations for your wedding day! It is not necessary for me to see a venue before photographing there! I always budget time for location scouting! However, this is a great opportunity to get ahead of some of that too!
Engagement sessions should feel true to you and your goals. If your goal is to be comfortable posing or being around people then heading off to a location is a great idea. But – what if you what depicts you best as a couple is just – staying home? Maybe your idea of a good time is opening a bottle of decent red wine and splitting your favorite pizza – or making your own pizza! Or tacos! Or margaritas! If you love doing those things together and cuddling on the couch or with your pets then a lifestyle session is the way to go! You don’t have to have the Pinterest house either – its a come as you are session for everyone and it captures the everyday nuances that make up your life! If you are looking for a certain aesthetic we can also explore studios and airbnbs to meet your vision!
Locations that draw a lot of my couples in are the ones that are meaningful to their relationship. From first date locations to regular haunts we can go anywhere that is important to you! Consider your favorite bar, restaurant, coffee shop, bookstore, brewery, or bakery for your engagement session! It can be where you met or where you just love to spend time together!
Engagement sessions are such a great way to get in front of the camera for the first time! It should be a fun experience for you and your partner and I am all about bringing the fun! If you are ready to plan your engagement session I would love to hear from you! Reach out today and let’s get to exploring all of the best Raleigh Engagement Photo Locations!
March 1, 2023