As a photographer that specializes in engagement sessions and weddings, I’ve done my fair share of location scouting—and nothing compares to BC’s outdoors. You know that friend of yours that’s effortlessly gorgeous (and you kinda hate them for it)? That’s nature. No matter the time of year, it offers up a stunning backdrop for my sessions.
And because so many people have asked me to share my top spots, I finally sat down to write a post for you all. The wait is over—here’s my top ten favourite spots for engagement photo sessions!
Talk about a one-stop shop! This park is one of my go-to locations. In addition to a variety of forest trails—including one that takes you to a waterfall—there’s a beautiful lake called Alouette Lake that has epic mountain views. Yep, I said it—epic. Depending on traffic, you can get to Golden Ears Provincial Park in 1-2 hours, but because the sun dips behind the mountains earlier than normal, make sure you get there with ample time to take advantage of sunset!
Sessions in both summer and winter offer their own charm. However, during the winter, there are sometimes road closures due to ice and snow. If you’re shooting in the winter, it’s always a good idea to check online before you go to make sure the gate is open. If it’s not, don’t fear! You can park your car at the main horse corral. It’s the first parking lot as you enter the park, just before the gate. So even when the road and gate is closed, we can get in there and score some pics—I got chu.
This is hands-down one of my favourite spots where I shot last year. And yes, it’s another lake with mountain views (spoiler alert: these make for amazing photos).
I always encourage my clients to go on adventure, and Jones Lake allows for that. A popular camping destination, Jones Lake is great for taking a little dip, packing a picnic, or having a little bonfire.
It’s a bit of a trek to get there (roughly 2 hours from Vancouver) and be aware that there’s pot holes along the way (I drove up the entire squad in my fiance’s truck, affectionately called Big Bertha). However, the rule of thumb is that the harder the location is to get to, the less people there will be. When we went, there was nobody in sight. So if you have the wheels for it, make a day out of it! Leave early and drive slow.
Okay now that I called attention to the fact that a lot of these locations are lakes with mountain views, I feel awkward following up with another lake with a mountain view…but I can’t deny Pitt Lake’s beauty. Although there’s not much of a shoreline, there are many long roads and trails to create some dramatic shots.
Unlike Jones Lake, which requires a hefty vehicle to get to it, Pitt Lake is also very accessible. So much so, that there will likely be other couples and photographers shooting there. If you’re looking for something more private, this may not be the spot for you. But from experience, I can say that everyone is super courteous of each other’s sessions (#thatamazingphotographycommunity). Let’s continue to share the space and make sure everyone walks away with beautiful memories.
Plot twist, this is not a lake with a mountain view. Okay wait, that’s only half-true—there’s still mountain views. But imagine trails between tall grass and streams. It’s a great spot to bring your pup or even go for a bike ride.
It’s a not-so-secret gem, though. It’s right off the highway. My recommendation? Head there 2-3 hours before the time of sunset. Although it’s only an hour or so from Vancouver, the sun sets much earlier at the Squamish Spit because it’s located behind mountains. Plus, you may need to wander a bit to score some shots away from others. Check out a full Squamish Spit Engagement Gallery here!
Options, options, options! Do a bit of a Google search and you’ll see so many spots in and around Chilliwack Lake that are ideal for your engagement session. Even on your drive to the lake, there’s fields, mountain backdrops, long straight roads, and woodsy trails. It’s got it all!
It’s about 2 hours from Vancouver. Given all the photo-worthy spots along the way, I say don’t rush the drive—take advantage of all those different locations. Work smarter, not harder, am I right?
Wanna stick closer to home? Somewhere that’s accessible by transit? About a twenty-minute commute from downtown Vancouver by car—or about an hour by public transit—Pacific Spirit Park is a huge park right by University of British Columbia chock-full of tall trees and lush trails. Despite its accessibility, there’s so many trails that you can definitely snag some private moments for your engagement session. If you’re looking for moody, mystical forest vibes, look no further.
Bonus points: Pacific Spirit Park is also very close to Wreck Beach. So if you’re interested in some beach shots, you CAN have the best of both worlds. However, it is a nude beach. To avoid any unwanted cameos, it’s best to go early and avoid the crowds.
I love shooting at Campbell Valley Park. It makes my job (and your job) very easy. No need to think up any wild activity. With its wide open fields and tall grass, all you have to do is frolic around—or throw down a blanket—to come away with some gorg engagement photos. Easy peasy.
If you’re booking a fall session, I highly recommend checking out this spot. As you can see in this photo, the grass becomes a beautiful golden colour. No insta filter needed for these insta-worthy photos! And from downtown Vancouver, you can get to this magical spot within an hour. What more could you ask for?
Caulfeild Park has a beautiful rock shoulder that grazes the ocean and offers sea views with boats and trees. Plus, there’s a ton of little paths to sneak off to. I love taking clients here because it truly sets the mood. With such a stunning view at sunset, you can’t ignore the love that’s in the air. #Romance.
Plus, it’s another engagement photo location that’s close to downtown Vancouver. So if you’re looking for a location that fits into your busy schedule, a half-hour drive can get you there.
You wouldn’t believe from this photo that Iona Beach Regional Park is nestled in between Richmond, Vancouver, and an airport, would ya? With ocean views and golden grass, it’s a stark contrast from city vibes. And is an unreal location for a sunset beach engagement shoot. Since it takes a half hour to get to, it’s another spot that doesn’t require a whole day off.
One thing to note is that it can get quite windy over here. I recommend packing some layers to make sure you can take advantage of wind-swept hair, but not freeze your tush off!
I’ve talked a lot about mountain backdrops. It’s time to go into the mountains and wrap yourselves in its beauty! In the summer, it offers trails and unparalleled views from the top (if you’re into hiking). But can we talk about its scenery in the winter? Snowy trees and sparkling city views—WOW. If you want to make a statement, this is it. Mic drop.
It’s about a half hour drive to get to this location. If you’re driving up between October 1st and March 31st, though, make sure you have proper winter tires!
When it comes to engagement photo locations in Vancouver, that list just scratches the surface, believe it or not. There’s many, many more. In fact, I’d love to hear what gems you’ve found in your own hunt! I’d love to hear about them in the comments below—or, any other content you’d like from me. Planning engagement sessions can be a lot of work—and if I can make it easier on you, I’ll be a happy camper (Cue: Homer Simpson “woohoo!).
Until next time,
Love love. Thanks for the tips!
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