Engagement Session Tips: Choosing a location in South Florida

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We're sharing tips on choosing the perfect engagement session location from a few our fave photographers today. This morning, we were up in the Panhandle and Orlando, and this afternoon we're looking at spots in South Florida.

{photo by Elaine Palladino Photography}

Our Southeast and Southwest pros are Elaine Palladino and Set Free Photography... and I'll just let them take it from here!

Southeast Florida

Photographer: Elaine Palladino

As a South Florida photographer I know how lucky I am that I have so many places to choose from to photograph my couples. Though I always suggest shooting in places that are significant to them, my couples sometimes just want a great location where we can have some fun. And to that I usually answer, "Yes, please." Here are some of my favorite Miami engagement spots:

What's Miami without the Beach, right? My absolute favorite beach spot is Crandon Beach in the heart of Key Biscayne. The North Beach where the cabanas are is a treasure trove of awesome, especially during a weekday afternoon when it's empty. There is also a spectacular park hidden behind the cabanas where the old zoo used to be. It's one of my favorite places to explore thanks to the old animal exhibits that are still standing.

You can't go wrong with the zoo especially Zoo Miami that features more than the usual animal exhibits.

Rent a bicycle or a paddleboat, feed the giraffes or visit the bird sanctuary. There is plenty to do and lots of hidden corners that provide for fresh backdrops help you vary your pictures.

I might be biased because this is my neighborhood, but if you like urban and edgy then Wynwood is your place. You can't find color and texture like this anywhere else in Miami.

If you decide to shoot here, venture through the streets between North Miami Ave and NW 2nd Ave. There are so many gems between these two main arteries. This location is increasing in popularity, but the art is always evolving and there are plenty of ways to make unique portraits here.

Southwest Florida

Photographer: Stacy Sullivan, Set Free Photography

The location of your engagement photo shoot plays a dynamic role in the overall look and feel of your images, so a great question to ask yourself when considering location is this: "Where do my fiancé and I enjoy spending out time together?" For some, like Katie and Chase, the choice was clear; their favorite dining and shopping location, full of character and activity: 5th Avenue in downtown Naples.

If a manicured landscape is more your style, then residential areas with sidewalks and lush greenery are the perfect backdrop and color compliment to brightly colored wardrobe selections, as found in Lauren's coral dress.

Recreational activities that you enjoy can spark creativity and add a personal element to your photos, as found with Jamie & Matt canoeing down the Estero River accessed via Koreshan State Park in Estero.

Danielle and Wes found their perfect backdrop by honoring their family traditions and chose Danielle's family lake house in Lake Placid for meaningful images that her entire family treasure.

Finally, the romantic serenity offered by the cabanas along the sandy Miromar Lakes beaches were a great choice for Jackie & Tony, whose soft spoken grace and timeless style were easily represented by a combination of location and wardrobe.

Helpful tips as you prepare for your shoot:
- Check a local event listings to be sure that crowded events happening in your location will not conflict with your shoot
- Bring a comfortable pair of shoes if your location requires a lot of walking between photos
- Be mindful of areas that attract pests and carry bug spray just in case (especially if you are allergic or skin swells & turns red from insect bites)
- Be prepared with cash for parking meters and/or entrance fees to state parks, as not all accept credit cards

And last but not least, have fun! Long after the wedding, most couples still display engagement photos as they represent your everyday self, so be sure to let go and let your personality shine.

Aren't you loving all these great tips from our pros? Big thanks to Elaine and Stacy for sharing their knowledge, and we'll be back next Thursday with expert advice on styling your session!

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