Preparing For Your Blue Ridge Mountain Engagement Photos

Neika and Elijah stand on top of Hawksbill Mountain at sunset in the fall. The trees are filled with color and the orange sunset blazes around them.

If you’re looking for a stunning and adventurous spot for your engagement session, look no further than the Blue Ridge Mountains. From panoramic mountain views to roaring waterfalls, there’s so much that the mountains have to offer. If you’re looking for some wild beauty as the backdrop for your love story, here are a few tips for preparing for your blue ridge mountain engagement photos.

Decide on your location type

There are SO many beautiful locations that deciding what you want can be a little overwhelming! Even before you decide on your location, deciding on what *type* of location that you want will make narrowing down a beautiful spot for your photos that much easier. Consider some of these questions when you are thinking about your location:

  1. Do you want views of the mountain ranges?
  2. Is something like a river or a waterfall session more of your style?
  3. Is a forest setting or a wide open mountain field more appealing to you both?
  4. How much hiking do you want to do? Are you looking for an easy, low key stroll through the woods for your photos or are you wanting to work up a sweat in exchange for those epic nature images?

Once you figure out what setting works best for you and your partner, it will narrow that long list of gorgeous spots down to locations that speak to you both.

Pick your location

Once you decide what type of location is your vibe, you can start looking into specific locations that match what you want. A few of my favorite locations within the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina include:

Hawksbill Mountain Trail

Located in Burke County, NC, Hawksbill Mountain Trail is the perfect location if you don’t mind a little bit of a hike (2.1 mile out and back) for some gorgeous panoramic views of the Linville Gorge. The trail is less popular than it’s neighbor just a few miles away, Table Rock Trail, which makes this hike and overlook a little quieter and more private. Although the road to this location is maintained, it can get a little rough, so it’s a good idea to bring a vehicle with a little clearance! Hawksbill Mountain Trail is especially gorgeous in the fall when you can see miles and miles of the trees adorned with their red, orange, and yellow fall foliage!

Table Rock Trail

Also located in Burke County, NC, Table Rock Trail, like Hawksbill, offers sweeping mountain views of the Linville Gorge. This shorter and slightly easier trail is much more popular than Hawksbill Mountain Trail, so your chances of running into other hikers is much higher. Table Rock Trail shares the same road as Hawksbill, so it’s a good idea to bring a car with good clearance if this is the spot you’re envisioning for your engagement session! One huge plus for this trail is that there is a paved parking lot and a bathroom onsite (yay!)

Crabtree Falls

Is a waterfall session what speaks to you? Consider the gorgeous 60ft waterfall that is Crabtree Falls. Located directly off the Blue Ridge Parkway about 45 miles outside of Asheville, NC, this waterfall is worth every bit of hiking required to get to it (about a 3 mile loop). If the waterfall itself wasn’t impressive enough, there is also a bridge nestled in the woods in view of the falls and the pool at the bottom of the falls is the perfect shallow depth for some romantic “The Notebook” style water photos!

Flat Top Lookout Tower

If you’re looking for a location with variety, Flat Top Lookout Tower might be a location to consider. Located in Blowing Rock, NC and sharing a parking lot with Moses Cone Manor, this hike has so many unique and beautiful spots for photos. If you look up this hike, don’t let the 5 mile out and back distance intimidate you! Most of the hike is gradual and feels like a pleasant walk through the woods, fields, and mountainside. You also don’t have to go all the way to the top to get some gorgeous images (although we can, and there’s an awesome Fire Tower right at the top!).

Beacon Heights

I can never leave Beacon Heights off my list of favorite spots for engagement photos. If you’re looking for a beautiful spot that doesn’t require a lot of hiking and has views of the mountain ranges as well as beautiful spots for forest photos, Beacon Heights is a perfect spot. This 0.7 mile out and back trail opens up to panoramic views at the top that is a magical location for glowy mountain sunset photos! You don’t even have to hike the trail to get some beautiful images as the winding gravel drive leading through woods at the bottom is a favorite spot of mine for some amazing shots!

Decide on your outfits

Now that you’ve picked out your style of location and the perfect spot, it’s time to pick out your outfits! This can be a super fun step in planning your engagement session, and Pinterest can be a great resource and keeping a board full of outfit ideas can really help you visualize what you want your session to look like!

I usually like to say that the goal is to compliment each other, rather than try to match each other. The best way to do that is through the colors you choose for your outfits! When it comes to outfits, I always recommend neutrals or pastels. They look stunning on everyone, I love the way they photograph, and it really compliments my bright and airy style! I have also found myself loving jewel tones, especially if you want a backdrop filled with the bright green of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the spring and summer time! If one of you chooses to wear a bright color, I would recommend your partner try and wear a more neutral color to help balance your color palette.

While this step can be fun, some couples find it to be a little overwhelming. If you’re looking for tips to help you put together the perfect outfits that compliment each out for your session, check out the wardrobe section in my Engagement Session Tips page!

Remember, even more so than finding the perfect outfit or the perfect color pallate for your session, what’s most important is that you are wearing something that you feel confident and comfortable in! When you love what you are wearing, it makes our session together so much easier and so much more fun!

Pack your bags for adventure

You know where you’re going and you know what to wear, hooray! Pack your adventure bag and let’s get ready to make some amazing memories capturing your Blue Ridge Mountain engagement photos! I always recommend bringing a day bag to all of my couples, especially if we are doing any type of hiking. You’ll want to make sure you have all the things you need during our time together. Here are a few of my recommendations for what to bring:

  • A rain jacket/windbreaker – The weather in the mountains can be unpredictable, so it’s always good to have a jacket in case of rain or if we get a bit chilly hiking down the mountain after sunset!
  • Hiking shoes that you can easily change in and out of – Hiking to our location in anything but supportive shoes isn’t super fun. I always recommend bringing your nice shoes in your pack with you and wearing your outdoor shoes until we get to our photo spot. Your feet will thank you!!
  • Water – Always, always bring water!
  • Snacks – I don’t know about any of you, but I always pack extra snacks for hikes in case I get hungry! For sunset sessions, we will most likely be photographing during normal dinner time, so snacks are a good idea!
  • Sunscreen and bug spray – These are always good things to have in case!

That’s it! Hopefully this guide has given you a few ideas about how to plan your Blue Ridge Mountain engagement photos! If you’re looking for a photographer who looooooves the outdoors and who would love to capture your love story surrounded by the beauty of nature, let’s chat!

Thanks for reading!


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