3 planning tips for a National Park engagement session

March 18, 2022

Shelby and Harper’s Olympic National Park Engagement Session

Shelby is the sister of one of my past grooms so naturally I was super psyched when she inquired. She reached out to ask me to photograph her engagement session and wedding. I’m always excited to receive inquiries but it’s definitely a huge compliment to be hired by my past clients’ families and friends.

After some back and forth, Shelby, Harper, and I decided on Hurricane Ridge for their engagement photo session. The morning of their session, I checked the weather and it was clear this location was off the table. Because Hurricane Ridge sits at about 5200ft, aka mountain elevation, the weather is very unpredictable. That particular day the ridge was completely enveloped in a dense fog. The Hurricane Ridge webcam looked like the inside of a ping pong ball.

Under those circumstances, a location change was our best option. So I called Shelby and let her know we needed to pivot the plan. But not to stress because Olympic National Park has no shortage of incredible nearby locations for engagement photos. I also happen to be somewhat of a photo location expert so a quick last-minute change was really no big deal. Shelby and Harper handled the change like champs! 

Ultimately, we ended up at Lake Crescent for their engagement photo session. We checked out the Instagram famous Storm King Ranger Station. We wandered through a moss-covered rainforest to Marymere Falls, one of the most easily accessible hikes in Olympic National Park. Finally, we ended the evening on the lakefront in front of the Olympic National Park Lake Crescent Lodge. During their session Shelby said “this feels more like adventuring around with Leesha and less like a photo session” and really what more can I ask for? My goal is always to create a memorable and stress-free experience for my clients so I’d call this one a win.

3 planning tips for a National Park engagement photo session

If you want expert help planning your engagement session, reach out here.

In the meantime, here are my top 3 tips:

  1. Before your photo session, set some time aside to plan out travel logistics. Drive time, where to purchase gas and food, bathroom stops, permits and passes you’ll need, etc. Your photographer (hey, hi, that’s me!) should help you with this planning process.
  2. Research what the weather is typically like during the time of year you’ve chosen to do your photos and choose weather-appropriate attire. Check out this post to read my top 3 tips for what to wear for your PNW adventure session.
  3. To wrap this up, the most important planning tip, be flexible. Choosing to do your engagement session in a National Park means embracing a little bit of the unknown. Free your mind from strict expectations. If you do this ahead of time, I promise you’ll have a better experience and we’ll create awesome photos! Check out my article on dealing with inclement weather and why it’s not always a bad thing.

WANTING MORE ENGAGEMENT SESSION INSPIRATION? 

If you’re dreaming up your own elopement or engagement session in Washington State and beyond, check out more inspiration below! 

COURTNEY & TROY’S MOUNTAIN SUNSET ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS

EMMA + BRIAN’S STUNNING MOUNTAIN ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS AT RAINIER

FRANK AND OLIVIA’S LAKE CUSHMAN ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS

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Need help planning your National Park engagement photo session? This blog includes my top tips for planning a national park engagement session

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