I document adventure obsessed couples eloping in the world's wildest landscapes, and assist other photographers and creatives to achieve their business goals through passion infused website copy and branding.
I'M MARIAH - WRITER & ADVENTURE PHOTOGRAPHER
Adventure photography coverage is for couples who love the outdoors. It’s for couples who value our planet and how they interact with it. If you and your partner are passionate about the outdoors, or just love to travel and explore, adventure engagement photos are a great way to celebrate (or re-celebrate) your love!
What are adventure engagement photos? Definition:
Adventure engagement photos are from a shoot where the focus is on the experience and NOT the photos. Think of your last favorite hike, or that epic sailing tour you took. Remember that road trip, or the last time you went skiing in fresh powder, or sat on the top of an overlook with the wind on your face? THOSE are the kinds of things you do in an adventure photography session. The photos happen quietly, off to the side. You barely need to think about them.
What is an adventure engagement photography session? Definition:
An adventure engagement session is a shoot for engaged couples where you and your partner pick one of your favorite things to do together, and HAVE FUN! It’s a way to kick off and document this new chapter of your life together.
If you’re planning a surprise proposal, definitely reach out to your photographer to start coordinating things early!
Most couples get engagement photos taken, so how do you make yours stand out, or really feel personal to you? You just need to think of what things you and your partner truly love doing together and planning an hour or two doing exactly that — just with a great photographer as a third wheel!
You get to have a fun date doing exactly what you love
You get photos that really express who you are as a couple
You can show your unique bond and love story in a way that a normal portrait session just can’t capture
How to plan an adventure engagement photo session:
Especially if it’s a surprise engagement, you’ll want to start planning and coordinating with your photographer early. First, decide on a location and activity that you both really enjoy. This should be FUN and it should feel like a date! Second, decide if there are any specific poses or views you want, and have your photographer help you plan how and where to go to match your vibe. Last, keep in mind there are some times of day that are more ideal for photos than others. On a sunny day, you’ll want to photograph closer to sunrise and sunset for the best lighting. On a thick overcast day, it’s less important!
Adventure engagement photo poses & ideas:
Plan a surprise proposal
Go on a short hike
Have a 50s inspired burger & milkshake date
Have a picnic
Walk your dogs at sunset in your favorite park
Explore somewhere new while traveling, hire a local photographer
Go on a canoe ride
Have a swim together, or chase a waterfall
Ride a gondola to a scenic peak
Ride bikes/ATVs or take a ride in a jeep or classic car
Sitting, face to face with your legs wrapped together
Spin and twirl
Piggy back ride
Whisper something dirty
Stand facing opposite directions
Stand back to back and hold hands, looking up
Lay on the ground, resting you heads ear to ear, on each other’s shoulders
Here are some pose ideas to save on Pinterest for later!
What you’ll need to wear for an adventure engagement session depends a lot on your location, time of year and chosen activity. Regarding activity specific gear and layers, consult your photographer.
Other than that: express yourself! Go to your favorite thrift store, buy that top you’ve been telling yourself you shouldn’t! This is a special occasion and you want to LOVE your photos, so you need to feel fly AF. That said, there are a couples rules of thumb I’ll share:
What to wear:
Solid or block colors. Solid colors photograph REALLY well. They aren’t distracting and create a neutral atmosphere where you and your expressions are the focus. However, choose colors that work well for your skin tone and bring out your eyes. Purple or red works great for those with green eyes. Blue or gold looks great for green eyes. For darker skin tones, bright colors compliment well, and for lighter skin tones, avoid bright yellows, oranges and pinks as they can wash out a fair complexion.
Neutrals. Neutrals. NEUTRALS. Neutrals compliment everyone, are non-distracting in photos, and are timeless choices for photos that you want to look back on for many years.
Varying textures. Mix up textures like leather, lace, chunky knits and silk. Textures add a lot of emotion to photographs, so while I don’t suggest mixing lots of colors or patters, go wild with texture!
Layers. They key to great styling is in the layers. Layer lots of solid colors, neutrals and fabric textures for a chic and dynamic look, no matter what your stile is. Adventure gear, urban chic, biz-casual, laid back or sporty — layers just WORK.
Accessories. Keep your base outfit simple (steps 1-4) and add fun accessories. Scarves, kimonos, jewelry, a blazer, patterned socks and your designer watch. These are all things that show off your individual style, but aren’t overwhelming. Plus, you can take them off and mix and match easily for a variety of poses!
What not to wear:
Absolutely no graphic shirts or distracting patterns. Yesss, it’s clever…sure, it’s your favorite band. But in all my years doing this, one of the things I hear most after delivering galleries is “wow, I shouldn’t have worn that, the pattern/phrase/graphic is so distracting!” Things that normally look amazing sometimes just hit different in photos. Make sure you’re wearing solid colors that put the focus on you, your partner and the beautiful location you’re in! I.e. no plaid, no patterns, no large logos or graphics.
No neons. Unless specifically planned for, neons rarely photograph well and are intentionally distracting visually. Like an unwanted house guest, they show up and refuse to leave! They cast harsh reflections onto skin that are impossible to color correct and completely dominate everything in the photo. Leave the hunter’s orange for the hunters, and the neon pinks and greens for the festival.
Anything that makes you uncomfortable or not feel yourself. We’ve all been there…in the fitting room with that friend who insists the shoes/top/dress you’re trying on looks amazing, but you’re just not convinced…Don’t do it. Adventure photo sessions are supposed to show the real you, so if you show up in something you wore because it’s what you *think* is supposed to look good, versus what actually makes you *feel* good, it’ll show in the photos. Be yourself. Be comfortable. Just don’t break rules 1 & 2 above!
Do we need to be super fit to have an adventure engagement?
No! Adventure engagements are for all bodies and all abilities. Talk to your photographer about the best options for you.
We’ve never had photos taken before…what if we’re awkward?
No such thing 😉 you’re not models, and this isn’t a fashion shoot — this is a shoot to document how you normally interact doing things you normally do! Don’t worry about what to do with your hands, you’ll be too busy having fun.
We have kids/dogs, can we bring them?
YES! Your kids and/or pets are a huge part of you and your life. Bring them!
We have kids/dogs…do we have to bring them?
No, you only need to bring them if you feel this is a moment they should be a part of. If you feel that this is a (human) adults only kind of thing, then choose what is best for you.
We’re already engaged, does it still make sense to have an adventure photo session?
Absolutely, 100% YES. If you “missed” getting photos as part of a surprise engagement, then an adventure session is perfect for you. You can focus on your story and unique love instead!
If you both love adventure, nature, deep and meaningful connections and travel, then an adventure session is for you. If your relationship is centered around the outdoors, exploration and travel, then you have a unique bond to those activities and should do something which celebrates that!
Otherwise, if you just want a couple quick portraits and to be done in 15 minutes, then an adventure session is probably not right for you.
However, if you care about the storytelling power of photography and intentional experiences, then I think it’s time to book a session!
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