If you’re planning a surprise engagement at Lago di Braies, there’s some general rules of thumb I’d suggest following. These are my 7 tips for planning an engagement photo session at this iconic Dolomites lake:
No matter what time of year you choose, getting engagement photos at lago di braies will mean sharing the views. If you don’t want to be surrounded by total chaos, however, and surge pricing for everything in the area, book any month of the year except July or August.
You’ll hear this over and over from vendors and other people who live and work in the area, and it’s for good reason. Not only is it a popular month for more high altitude activities like via ferratas, alpine climbing and glacier hikes, but most of Europe is taking the month off for summer holidays. You’re competing with world travellers, locals with time off and Europeans on holiday all at once.
Locals go back to school in late August/early September, and most Europeans go back to work around the same time.
If you’re travelling from abroad, try to book your visit in June, September or October. If you like snow, the rest of the year opens up as well!
Sunrise is the best time of day for engagement photos at Lago di Braies for a couple reasons. The first, is that there will be by default far fewer people up and around. Most people up this early are other photographers and hikers. The swarms of tourists and families with kids are normally still in bed during sunrise hour – so it’s your best bet for a bit of privacy.
Second, don’t forget that the light this time of day is the best it will get. Sunset is also great for light, but in the mountains, the clouds tend to settle overnight, and chances for a truly clear sunrise is best in the morning.
Third, the air is also calmer, meaning less to no wind. As the sun rises, and temperatures increase, wind picks up. This changes to conditions of the lake, and you’re far less likely to get moody morning mist and glass-like surface water the longer the sun is up.
Plan to start shooting 30 minutes before sunrise so you’re prepared for those lightening fast 10-15 minutes where the sunrise light peaks!
Especially if you’re planning a sunrise session, cutting out transport times to the lake from another area will make a far less stressful experience. Parking at the Lago di Braies visitor lots is €8-25 depending on if your a car or camper van, and how long you stay.
If you book at the Hotel Pragser Wildsee, Lago di Braies, you’ll wake up right on the lake. The hotel is a beautiful historic building and an authentic Dolomites cultural experience as well.
Bonus points if you book one of the lakeside rooms with a balcony on a higher floor!
No matter what time you’re at Lago di Braies, there will be others around you. It’s extremely rare to arrive at a time when no one else is there. It’s one of the most famous places in the world, so come with a bit of patience, and ignore the stares if you’re dressed up for photos along the lake.
The trail around Lago di Braies is wide, flat, well worn and easy to navigate. It’s about as easy to walk on as most city sidewalks. It’s only steep and slippery on the more eastern side of the lake, where there are wooden stairs navigating around some of the stone cliffs.
You do not need hiking boots to walk around the lake.
However, it’s not ideal for heels or shoes with flat, gripless soles. If you want to bring a pair of nice dress shoes, heels or flats, definitely bring them! But have a comfortable pair of sneakers with you as well. Those white Air Force 1s or Vans look great formal outfits anyway!
Remember it can start to rain any time, and the white stone in the Dolomites is extremely slippery, especially when wet.
A good mentality to enter your shoot is with the intent to have a darn good time! Indulge your inner child. Explore. Play. Run around and leave yourself breathless under the drama and magic of the Dolomites. Interact with the environment. Run your fingers through the water. Get your feet wet. Lie on the white stones. Wander down an interesting path and have FUN!
There’s a reason those boats are the most ‘grammed thing on the internet. They’re adorable, well built and cruise around some of the most stunning emerald, aquamarine alpine water you’ve ever seen. They are also a great way to distance yourself from the crowds and find some solace among the stone cliffs.
Boat rides start at 8am unless the weather is windy or rainy. During the high season (July and August) bookings cannot be postponed or rescheduled due to weather, but you won’t pay for a reservation in that case. During off season times, you may reschedule if the boats stay docked due to rain.
For a sunrise boat tour, book here.
For all other booking info, look here.
If you’re booking a session June – October, it’s very likely many photographers started booking for these times and locations a year ago. Don’t wait until 2-4 weeks out to book. The talented full time professional photographers you follow will already have booked for that date months ago. A Lago di Braies surprise engagement is a great way to highlight your trip to the area, so plan early!
Get in touch with a photographer as early as you can. Many times, they know the areas very well, and can give you lots of tips. They’ll also help you plan what to wear, and how to coordinate the best way to surprise your partner with a proposal or engagement photo session.
Hire local and get you a photographer who can “do both”! I’m Mariah, elopement photographer, trail athlete, and part mountain goat. I am uncompromising in delivering the BEST elopement experience possible. I am dedicated to creating immersive spaces for my couples to be themselves on their elopement day. More than a photographer, I am an empath and storyteller who’s passionate about holding space for my couples to connect. I don’t pose you. I guide you through romantic connection, with the goal that you know each other even better, and feel even closer, at the end of your session.
You should be able to feel your photos in your bones, and your engagement photos should be like lightning in a bottle every time you revisit it.
Does this sound like the kind of “heck yes!” experience you want to remember for your engagement?
Then let’s talk.
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