Thinking about Wilmington, North Carolina for your portrait session? You should be! There is a reason my husband and I live here: It's one of our most favorite places in the world! Between the historical downtown waterfront booming with character, the small, close-knit, beach town of Wrightsville beach and the incredibly colorful gardens scattered around the city, you really have everything you could possibly want for beautiful photo shoot scenery. If you just want to cut through all the B.S. of research for your upcoming shoot, check out my top four locations in Wilmington, NC that are indeed FREE to the public. Although some may kindly ask for donations! After all, everything has a cost.
1. Downtown Historical Wilmington, NC
Historical downtown Wilmington, NC gives you a plethora of backdrops. Between the gorgeous bridges, historical buildings, wooden boardwalk, charming mansions, you have a quaint backdrop right out of the Notebook. You can choose to do half of your session walking around the city, then the second half on the boardwalk overlooking the Cape Fear River.
2. Shell Island, the North End Marshes of Wrightsville Beach
Look at all that texture and green! Shell Island is the best place for sunset with a coastal backdrop. If you want to be nestled in with nature, the North end of Wrightsville Beach marsh is the place is for you!
3. The Arboretum
The Arboretum at New Hanover County Garden is a hidden gem just five minutes from Wrightsville Beach that many people prefer if they aren't a sand person or just don't want to deal with that 10mph wind coming off the ocean. This intimate garden features a pond, baby walking bridges, a rose garden and a cute play area for little ones. Want to know the best part? It's FREE! While it is open to the public, you may have some bystanders during your shoot but it has been pretty private almost every shoot I've done there. It may be free, but they kindly ask for donations for park maintenance and care for all the adorable koi fish.
4. South End Beach of Wrightsville Beach, NC
Sunsets, sound, and sea. This is the trifecta that is Wrightsville Beach's South End. You get the blend of the sound and sea and even a bit of marsh textures. Depending on the season, you can even bring your fur babies for easy access and watch all the boaters come in through the inlet.
5.Greenfield Lake Park
Another hidden gem is Greenfield Lake Park. Nestled in the outskirts of downtown Wilmington, this picture-perfect park features a beautiful blue lake with mossy trees, swans, and gazebos. Needless to say, all perfect accents for a photo shoot.
Now that I've shared with you my top five favorite (FREE) locations in Wilmington to do a photoshoot, which speaks to your heart? Let me know what you think and send me an email when you're ready to get your shoot on my calendar!
If you are one of my booked couples, you received a complimentary engagement session right in Wilmington! If you're not a booked couple and just want a little spicy shoot with your honey, then you're probably still wondering: What should my fiance and I wear at our engagement session? It is THE most common question I receive. Don't worry. You're not alone in this. That's why I've created this blog that will always be in my blog sidebar.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
Keep it simple.Keep. it. simple. Don't overthink it. You want your love and raw emotions to be the focal point of the photos not your clothes. Wearing a flashy or complicated outfit will distract from the love that brought you here in the first place. Trends come and go, so just think like this while combing through your closet: "Will I be embarrassed to wear this outfit 10 years from now?" If you have any hesitation, it's probably a trend. You'll look at these photos for the rest of your life. The last thing you want to think to yourself is "Why was I wearing that?"
SHOW OFF YOUR PERSONALITY
Personality is everything. If you are goofy and outgoing, wear something vibrant that reflects that. If you're more romantic, go for dark and moody colors. No matter what, your attire should speak to who you are. Don't wear something you'd never in a million years normally wear in every day life.
DON'T BE AFRAID TO BRING OPTIONS, BUT KEEP IT AT TWO.
I always tell my clients to bring two outfits each. Typically a casual and a formal outfit. I try to encourage couples to stay away from shirts with logos or graphics, and to stick to more neutral colors and no busy patterns. Think warm colors, pastels or neutrals, they are always less risky!
With that in mind, stick with two outfits. Don't fall victim to treating your engagement session as a full-fledged fashion photo shoot for two reasons. 1. You'll likely stress yourself out the night before trying to pick out that many outfits. 2. Let's be real, your fiance probably won't enjoy changing every 10 minutes. These are the pictures where you get to remember who you are at the end of the day when it's only the two of you. Two outfits are more than enough to reflect this in couples, and it ensures you won't spend your entire engagement session in a rush to change into the next set of clothes.
If you ever want a second opinion on which outfit is more photographic, don't be afraid to text or email me!
COMPLEMENT EACH OTHER
Complement each other, but don't match. There is absolutely no reason whatsover to have matching outfits unless its for a comedic reason. You both don't need to wear a white button down, different colors are actually preferred. When deciding how you and your partner will dress, look for complementary colors and solid prints. Try to stay away from anything too busy, as it can be an unnecessary distraction in photos. Check out this chart for best colors that complement each other!
THINK ABOUT THE SEASON
Yes.... that's right. I've had a couple ask if they can do bathing suit photos in the dead of 20 degree winter because they were having a destination wedding but that's taking it too far. Take advantage of the season you're in by styling a look that's in tune with the climate and location.No need to be shivering or sweating your way through the photos. When you're uncomfortable, it tends to show in the images.
Winter and Fall: Don't be afraid to bundle up and or accessorize!
Summer and Spring: Channel summertime vibes, think barefoot, flowy maxi dresses, denim jackets.
ASK YOUR FIANCE FOR HIS OPINION
It takes two to make an engagement shoot right? You will find yourself surprised sometimes that your fiance may have some input! He or she might stir up some inspiration too so ask your honey simple questions like these "Would you like to dress up or down? Is there anything you've always wanted to do?" If he/she doesn't care, then don't sweat it and have fun dreaming up the color schemes.
Kelsey + Rocci are getting married on July 21 and by the looks of these photos, they are so ready! They are so undeniably cute and just treasure each other through their body language. They live in Winston Salem but made a fun weekend out of coming to Wilmington for their engagement photos back in February. How sweet is that? I loved getting to know them through this morning session by the river and feel like we're best friends already! Looking forward to capturing the real thing in July. Congratulations again on your engagement, you two beautiful lovebirds!
Last Summer, Daniel proposed to Mary Shaw on a catalan near Ocracoke Island and even had the boat guide photograph the entire thing. Of course she said yes so fast forward a few months... the two lovebirds said their vows this past Saturday in Windsor, NC at Mary Shaw's grandmother's farm. Celebratory photos were captured yesterday as a memento that they survived the crazy night of love! I'm so so happy for you two—thank you for letting me ask you a million questions while I captured your beautiful souls. Congratulations!!
Ring: Daniel had it custom-made at Creative Jewelers in Nags Head, NC, goodness gracious it's a beauty.
Make-up: Dollface by Melissa came on location to do her magic!
Thanks for reading!