Location, Location, Location
I think listing the word three times calls for three of my top recommendations. If you’re central to the Green Bay/Fox Cities Area, here are some of my favorites:
Riverside Park, Neenah
You may know Riverside Park for its rocket playground – but its rockin’ fall colors and waterfront views deserve recognition, too. The park has no shortage of tall, full and mature maple trees. Each tends to reach its peak color and brightness at different times throughout October. But don’t sweat the guessing game. I’m no arborist, but I’ve gotten to know the park well enough over the years to know which specific trees look best when. And if your shoot is scheduled a bit past peak time – don’t worry. You can always count on gorgeous gold and orange leaves on the ground well into November. Those fallen leaves can create awesome opportunities for lying in leaf piles, taking seated portraits, and creating a kind of natural “confetti” for really cool soft-focus shots.
Lawrence University, Downtown Appleton
Fall is always a busy time on the Lawrence University campus. Along with bustling students, the grounds are sprawling with gorgeous, colorful trees. The iconic Memorial Chapel and many other campus buildings create breathtaking white backdrops at every turn – making it one of my favorite fall shooting locations.
As if that’s not enough, the Fox River also runs directly behind Lawrence’s Warch Campus Center. So if you’re looking to add a little blue with a waterfront background, you can’t pick a better place.
Pamperin Park, Green Bay
Titletown famously pairs green with its gold, but this time of year, it mostly goes best with red and orange. Pamperin Park exemplifies this perfectly. Situated near the northwest limits of Green Bay, it has everything from rolling hills and landscaped gardens to forested paths and flowing creeks. It’s also got a great assortment of maples and bushy pines (so, you can get your green in there, too!). Those act as an amazing backdrop behind the park’s centerpiece – a rustic wooden suspension bridge. It’s a great structure for standing, leaning – and kissing, of course.
Important to call out: If you live out of town or have a different location in mind, I find that most places with 20 to 30 feet of fall color generally works well for autumn engagement pictures. After all – it’s not just about the space you use. It’s what you do with the space you’ve got.
What to wear
I think we can all agree: Mother Nature looks stunning in red, orange and gold. But let’s talk about what’s going to look best on you.
Ladies – your job is very important. Not only do you need to make the men look good, but you also bear the crucial responsibility of bringing out those fall colors. I’ve seen a lot of success with eggplants, navies, and deep reds or burgundies. All of those rich jewel tones create beautiful contrasts against the bright backgrounds. It’s hard to go wrong.
Gents – my one piece of advice is this: Go neutral. A black or a gray is always a solid choice. No pun intended.
If you or your fiancé decides to wear a solid color, I’d encourage the other to experiment with a pattern. This doesn’t need to be in every shot, of course. But incorporating a patterned accent often adds an extra layer of dimension to your photos without overcomplicating the composition. It doesn’t need to be anything too flashy – your favorite flannel shirt or a plaid blanket scarf will work just fine. We can play around with this piece throughout the shoot.
I admit I’m not used to giving so much fashion advice. But as a final recommendation, I strongly suggest bringing along one casual and one formal outfit to your photo session. Three reasons for this:
Once you review your photos, you may prefer a more elegant vibe over a laidback one. It pays to give yourself options.
One outfit may photograph better than the other. Posing in a couple different looks helps guarantee that you’ll be pleased with your final pictures.
You’re getting married. Meaning, you probably have lots of uses for photos. Whether you’re printing invites, save-the-dates, thank you cards, or just want to upload a shot to your wedding website – it’s nice to share pictures with loved ones that don’t all look the same.
Props to you
To be clear: I think pumpkins, gourds, and apples make great seasonal props, and I don’t discredit them at all. I’ve been behind the camera for some incredible orchard-themed engagement shoots – and I’ve seen wedding dates painted on pumpkins make awesome save-the-dates. But in case you were looking for a few extra items to bring to your shoot, consider these 6 ideas:
Crate It Up: As ironic as it sounds, a wine crate can make for an out-of-the-box prop. They have an unmistakable rustic look that pairs well with fall farmhouse vibes. Compositionally, they also add incredible level, texture, and dimension – and act as a sturdy staging platform for additional props or your engagement ring. They also flip over for awesome seating. And if a crate isn’t really your thing, an alternative like a haybale, whiskey barrel or small wooden stool can create the same effect.
Bouquet All Day: A dried or fresh flower arrangement can give your photos an authentically romantic feel. If you’ve already met with your wedding florist, you may even ask him or her to put together a small bouquet of your selections to bring to your shoot. That works as a kind of Easter egg in your photos – subtly hinting at your wedding flowers and what the big day might look like. Not to mention, flowers in hand will look quintessentially bridal.
Coffee to Go: Coffee lover? Me too. To-go cups from a special date spot or a local coffeeshop can add a personal flair to your pictures. Plus, you’ll show your favorite brand some love while you’re at it. If you prefer your coffee “for here” – you’re in luck. Ivory or white ceramic mugs also photograph beautifully against the fall colors, and stand out in sweet close-up shots.
Say Something: I’ve seen a lot of cool messaging done with chalkboards and slate signs. They’re perfect for scribbling down wedding dates, “thank you,” and favorite quotes. Don’t be afraid to get creative.
Celebrate Nature: Acorns. Leaves. Pinecones. Even if you show up to your photoshoot empty-handed, rest assured that an abundance of great props is only a few feet away. We can craft creative ways to add a touch of nature to your pictures. And the results are always spectacular.
Showcase Your Hobby: I’m always fascinated by my clients’ hobbies, passions, and collections. I’ve seen everything from farming and football to fine wine and classic literature. That said, if there’s something special you and your fiancé have in common, a symbol of that shared interest can make for a powerful photo prop that most others won’t have. And if there’s something you love to do but don’t know how to incorporate – just let me know. We’ll put our heads together.
Photos you’ll fall for
Spring or fall, rain or shine, morning or evening, I’m proud to deliver perfect engagement photos that not only capture the season, but also the story and love each couple shares. Engagement photoshoots are included in my most popular package, as well as many of my other offerings. If you want to guarantee a date to catch those peak colors, let’s talk today.