How to Plan Your Boise Engagement Session (2024)

Why Should You Plan an Engagement Session?

Couple dances together during their snowy engagement session in Sun Valley.

Before we jump unto planning your session, I want to touch on a few reasons why engagement photos are important:

  • Being engaged is such a fun season of your life! Having your photos taken during this period will document the excitement and love you two are experiencing together.
  • Engagement sessions give you a change to ‘practice’ being photographed. Engagement sessions are a great way to gain confidence in front of a camera and learn how to be photographed as a couple.
  • Engagement sessions are an opportunity to work with your photographer before the wedding! If I have done an engagement session with a couple, it feels like I am photographing an old friend from the very beginning of their wedding day.

Now that we have talked about why you should have engagement photos done let’s jump into how to plan a Boise engagement session!

Hi, I’m Autumn!

I’m an Idaho Elopement Photographer + Planner

I help couples create experience focused elopements in the mountains of Idaho. I’ve photographed 75+ elopements and hiked 100’s of miles in Idaho’s backcountry. I’m a Leave No Trace aware photographer and lifelong outdoor adventurer.

Book Your Photographer

A couple walks holding hands in a mountain meadow at dusk. The couple is holding lanterns in their outside hands. This couple wore black and grey toned clothing for their engagement session in Boise.

If you’re reading this I hope I am your photographer 😉. But if I am not, here are a few tips for choosing an engagement photographer for your session.

My biggest tip is to choose your wedding photographer and then do an engagement session with that photographer. The main reason for engagement photos is to document this amazing season in your relationship but they are also an opportunity to have a ‘trial-run’ with your photographer before your wedding day. This gives you a chance to get to know each other and also gives you some practice being photographed before your big day.

If you are looking for a wedding photographer make sure you look through multiple photographers websites, Instagram and Pinterest to get a feel for what you like. Once you have found a style and photographer you like, inquire with them and schedule a phone consultation. I am a firm believer that you need to connect with your photographer on a deeper level than just emails and a website. Your wedding photographer is the vendor you will spend the most time with on your wedding day, so you really need to make sure your personalities vibe and you genuinely like each other.

Choose Your Engagement Session Date

If you are planning to use your engagement photos for save-the-dates you will want to schedule your session 8-12 months before your wedding date, so your cards can go out 6-8 months before your wedding day. If you aren’t doing save-the-dates, you will want to schedule your session 3-6 months before your wedding day. This will give you time to have your photos back to use for your invites.

Most of my couples do their engagement photos in the fall or winter months. I personally love winter engagement sessions!

(See more of this snowy McCall engagement session by clicking here.)

A couple playfully throws snowballs at each other during their engagement session in McCall.

Plan Your Boise Engagement Session Activity

A couple stands next to a mountain lake. There is an alpenglow on the mountains behind the lake and mist is rising off of the water. This couple chose a sunrise location for their engagement session in Stanley, Idaho.

It’s so much easier to relax and enjoy having your photo taken when you’re not in a ‘photo shoot’. My number one tip for having an amazing engagement session is planning an activity to do with your photographer instead of just meeting somewhere and taking an hour of photos. Doing an activity removes ‘photo stress’ because it focuses your attention on your partner and the experience you are having instead of worrying about posing or looking good together.

Doing an activity as part of your engagement session is important to the relationship you are building with your photographer as well. It gives you time to relax and get to know each other before the ‘client-photographer’ relationship begins. I like to spend the first 30 minutes of a session just hanging out or doing an activity (hiking, snowshoeing, etc.) before my camera comes out. This ensures we are comfortable with each other before a camera is added to the dynamic. Cameras make everyone nervous but the more comfortable you are with the person behind the camera the better your photos will look.

When you are thinking about choosing an activity for your session, think about what you love to do as a couple. Do you love hiking, kayaking, or going out for coffee? The biggest thing here is to choose an activity that has meaning to you! Not just something that might be pretty for photos! It should be something you would enjoy doing even if you aren’t accompanied by a photographer.

A couple Stands together on the Redfish Lake Lodge dock. The couple snowshoed into the lake for their engagement session.

Outdoor Boise engagement session activity ideas:

  • Snowshoeing
  • Hiking
  • Canoeing
  • Mountain biking
  • Skiing
  • Picnic dinner

Date night engagement session activity ideas:

Maybe planning something that involves your favorite restaurant or coffee shop is more your speed. Plan your favorite date night and bring your photographer along.

  • Coffee shop or ice cream date
  • Brewery or winery date
  • An evening at the county fair

Pick An Engagement Session Location

A couple stands together on a rock. There are mountains behind them. The man is hugging his fiance and her dress is blowing in the wind. This couple hiked to this location for their engagement session in the Stanley, Idaho mountains.

After you have decided what you would like to do for your Boise engagement session you can pick a location and choose a time of day. This is the fun part and something your engagement photographer should be involved in.

How to Choosing Your Location

Your photographer is a big resource here because finding cool places is part of our job. I help my couples find locations that are inline with their vision for their engagement photos by spending time on my own exploring and checking out cool looking spots I find on Google Earth. If your photographer doesn’t offer help with choosing a location you can always go check out hikes on Alltrails.

My number one tip is to choose a location that will have few people in it. Having to share your location with others just isn’t a relaxing and comfortable time. Some of the best engagement sessions I have photographed have been in locations we had to ‘work’ to get too. When you get off the beaten path you won’t see others and you will have a fun experience adventuring together.

Whether you are planning to hike or head to your favorite park for your engagement session, do some research and pick a time of day and a location that will allow you to have a more private experience.

A couple sits on a rock along the Salmon River. They are holding hands and smiling at each other.

Outdoor Boise Engagement Photo Locations

Here are some location ideas in the Treasure Valley:

  • Boise Foothills
  • Eagle Island Park
  • Boise River
  • Swan Falls
  • Snake River
A couple lays on the snowy ground together during their engagement session. Their faces are away from the camera and they are looking at a frozen mountain landscape.

Engagement Photo Locations Outside of Boise

Here are a few location ideas that are within 3 hours of Boise:

  • Stanley
  • Cascade
  • McCall
  • Riggins

Interested in adventuring for your photo session? You can see a full list of some of my favorite engagement session locations in Idaho by clicking here.

A couple sits with their dog in the early morning sun. The couple is wearing blue and orange tones. This couple hiked to a lake for their sunrise engagement session in Boise.

Best Time of Day for an Engagement Session

Locations and time of day go hand-in-hand. Some locations are better at sunrise and some are better at sunset, but in general any location is going to be pretty around dawn and dusk. The sun during this time of day is low to the horizon and this makes long shadows, soft lighting, and deep color tones. Generally speaking, you want to start taking sunrise photos 30 minutes before the sun rises and sunset photos 60-90 minutes before the sun sets.

I encourage you to schedule your session when your location will have the best lighting AND when you will be at your best. If you’re not a morning person don’t signup for a sunrise engagement session, instead stick to the evening when you’ll have a better time.

Choose Your Engagement Session Outfits

Choosing what to wear is probably the most stressful part of having your photos taken. I know I spend way too much time thinking about what to wear when I am having my own photos taken! I’ve written a helpful article on how to pick the perfect engagement session outfits. You can find my engagement session outfit guide here: Click Here

Don’t Feel Like You Have to Include Props

If you look around on Pinterest you will see a lot of cute styled engagement session ideas. If this is you, then totally style the heck out of your session! But don’t feel pressured to bring a bunch of stuff to your engagement. Your favorite can of beer or the donuts you love to eat say a lot more about you than any prop idea on Pinterest. Just be yourself and don’t stress!

Here are a few simple things you can bring to you session that make cute photos:

  • Your favorite drink or snack
  • A blanket that goes with your outfits
  • Musical instruments
  • Recreational gear (fishing poles, hammock, etc.)

How to Include Your Pet in Your Boise Engagement Session

If you have a fur baby you should definitely include them in your session! Your pet is part of your family and life, so you should bring them along. Including your pet will help you feel more comfortable and it will give you something to interact with. Some of my favorite images are of couples hanging out with their pets!

Here are a few tips for having a great session with your pet:

  • Look for a location that won’t have a bunch of people and other dogs in it. Your pet will do much better if they aren’t distracted or wanting to play with someone new.
  • Bring a leash! That way you can tie your pet up or I can hold them during photos they aren’t included in.
  • Remember treats and wag bags! It’s always important to follow LNT when adventuring outdoors!

And thats a wrap! I hope this guide helps you plan your own amazing engagement session!

A couple walks with their dog during their engagement session at Ponderosa State Park in McCall. The couple is wearing blue and green toned clothing. The sun is peaking over the mountains and highlighting their silhouettes.

Interested in working with me for engagement photos?

Reach out to learn more.