Since I live just over the border to the beautiful city of Boston (in Brookline, MA), I end up doing quite a bit of city engagement sessions in Boston (and also more recently in New Orleans, since my parents live there). From my experiences doing that, I would love to provide a few suggestions that will make your engagement session in the city the most amazing experience.
If you want a photo in a popular place, the best time is right after sunrise.
The best light is during “golden hour”, but keep in mind for huge skyscrapers you may have to alter your plans for that extra blocked light.
If it’s a park or a well known feature of the city make sure you have a photo permit if it’s required.
If you have an evening session, keep in mind you might have to work around people walking by.
Have fun with the city landscape!!
1) If you want a photo in a popular place, the best time is right after sunrise.
Generally in cities, the very popular destinations for taking photos are also the most heavily foot trafficked. Meaning, if you want photos there later on in the day, there will be a ton of people to work around and you may not get those images you were dying for.
An example of this is on Acorn Street in Beacon Hill, this area gets super popular with tourists anytime after the early morning hours. So during the day you often might have to wait on other groups taking portraits.
2) The best light is during “golden hour,” but keep in mind for huge skyscrapers.
The time I generally recommend that my couples do their engagement session is during what is called, “golden hour.” This consists of the first couple of hours after sunrise, or the last couple of hours before sunset. The light is at the most beautiful during this time, and will give you the most stunning images making you look amazing. One thing you do have to account for when you are taking photos in a city is how the skyscrapers can block that light.
For example, if the best light is at 5:30 pm everywhere else, you will actually probably want to be there at 4:30 pm because at 5:30 pm the sun will have gone behind the skyscrapers.
3) If it’s a park or a well known feature of the city make sure you have a photo permit if it’s required.
There are a lot of parks within the Boston city limits that actually require photo permits, same goes in New Orleans. In general a lot of city parks will require a photo permit, so if you want to take engagement portraits there, I recommend that you look over on the website to double check if you need one. You won’t always get in trouble for this, but sometimes they do have park rangers on patrol who will kick you out and in some cases fine you.
4) If you have an evening session, keep in mind you might have to work around people walking by.
Most people opt for the evening engagement session because well, most people don’t enjoy getting up super early. This is something I totally understand. For engagement sessions within a city, you just have to prepare yourself that people will be walking by and just practice some patience with this. In general people will be pretty respectful and wait for me as your photographer to take a photo before crossing in front but sometimes you do have to wait. I know that one popular place for engagement sessions is the Esplanade in Boston. You can get some gorgeous portraits there, but if there’s a path in front of where you want portraits, chances are you may have to wait for someone to run or bike by you before taking a photo.
5) Have fun with the city landscape!!
Most importantly, having a city engagement session should be fun. It’s so cool being able to grab portraits in front of the big sites of the city or within the small neighborhoods that make up the city. Every session that I have done within the city has been different and amazing at the same time. Depending on the weather, time of year, and time of day you can get vastly different looks which I find so awesome. Especially if this city is your city, it’s so fun to capture something that’s a big part of your life as the backdrop in your engagement session. A city engagement session should be lots of fun, and following these guidelines will give you the best experience.