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Welcome to the blog! I’m a small-town Florida girl and Army wife relocated to the Seattle Suburbs, documenting love from one coast to the other. I live for a good PNW mountain breeze, sweat pants, and local eats. Let's be friends!

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Washington Elopement and Intimate Wedding PHOTOGRAPHER

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How to Plan Your Washington Engagement Session

It’s safe to say I get a little excited when it comes time to start planning your Washington engagement session. Engagement sessions are SO much fun and one of my favorite milestones to document. They’re an evening (or SUPPPPPERRR early morning) full of adventuring, love, and all kinds of giggles. But, they can be so much more than that. They are an opportunity to show off your personalities in a location that you love, document this sweet time of bliss in your life, and of course, have an epic adventure!

Your engagement session is also a great opportunity to get comfortable with the way I work, being around a camera, and can build so much confidence in how you photograph. Let’s face it – most of us tend to feel a little anxious in front of a camera. FEAR NOT. You absolutely do not have to know what you’re doing, feel in tip-top shape or be model status to have the best time and get SO many gorgeous photos.

When you leave your engagement session, you will be more excited than ever for your wedding day. We’ll start with a timeframe, choose a date and then I’ll guide you through the entire process.

Complete guide on how to plan your Washington engagement session with Megan Montalvo Photography.

Start with a Date or Time of Year for Your Washington Engagement Session

Locations (especially in the mountains) offer different perks and “looks” during different seasons which can drastically vary the look of your photos. It’s important to understand how the season in Washington affects accessibility, weather, and the look of locations.

  • Spring: We love the coast in the spring – more sunshine peaks through on the coast while the mountains are still packed full of melting-snow! Areas surroundings lakes, forests, and waterfalls tend to be extra lush this time of year! Low elevation locations have bloomin’ wildflowers that will make you giddy!
  • Summer: Washington Summers always feel like they fall a bit short and this is the time to access those areas we can’t reach the rest of the year! Boundless peaks and layering mountain views await us! Fire lookouts and high elevation locations tend to be my go-to-s when the snow melts out (typically mid-July-September)!
  • Fall: Beautiful colors filter through in the fall affecting higher elevation locations first. This also tends to be that moody time of year where fog begins to creep in and rain becomes more frequent approaching the Winter months. Gently snow-dusted foliage is my absolute favorite and I’m personally a fan of Washington’s Falls!
  • Winter: The colder it gets the more precipitation increases. In decent weather conditions, high elevation locations can offer a wintery wedding paradise. Some lower elevation areas begin to collect snow-fall as well. If conditions don’t prove ideal, forests can be a lovely green escape!

Location

Once we’ve narrowed down a date, location recommendations are much easier to throw around! I have a Washington location guide I can send your way to get a great starting point then we’ll hop on the phone so I get an idea of your vision and send over custom recommendations.

Timing

Normally sessions are scheduled during “golden hour” about 2 hours before sunset. Occasionally an early bird will head my way and we’ll aim for sunrise instead! We’ll start by setting a general time frame based on the date and location. I will give you an exact meeting time once I have a better idea of the weather forecast. That means, sometimes you’ll the exact time a week out and sometimes the night before. It all depends on how tricky the forecast is!

If you live in Washington, I’m sure you’re familiar with the struggle. 😉

Outfits

The biggest thing when it comes to selecting your outfit is starting early and dressing for the season. I’ve got a whole interactive style guide that you can access HERE!

The Week of Your Engagement Session

The goal is the be the best version of yourself – nothing too crazy but a little effort goes a long way! Getting a fresh haircut or color can give you the boost of confidence you need! Don’t come to your session with grown-out roots if that’s something you’re conscious about. Groom your eyebrows, nails and make sure to clean your ring. Steam, iron and de-pet-hair-ify everything!

All of these things make a huge difference in your photos. Ladies, if your man doesn’t know what to expect during your engagement session, take him through a blog or two and let him know that he won’t have to stiffly stand and smile for an hour. Often times guys are not overly enthusiastic about photos and we want him to know that it will be loads of fun!

The Night Before

Lay everything out you need to wear one final time the night before. Pack a bag with extra comfortable shoes, touch-up makeup, and anything you may need to bring with you! Most times I find that if anything is forgotten – it’s the correct shoes! If it’s going to be chilly, pack some hand warmers or a blanket.

The day of – Let’s do This!

Look, most of us are just normal people (not professional models). I don’t expect you to have any clue on what to do. I have all kinds of tricks up my sleeve to calm nerves, have fun and forget there’s a camera involved!

Plan on making a day, weekend, vacation or date night out of your session! How do you feel right after work? Ya – I don’t think I’d want my picture taken either. Set the day up for success by making it a relaxing one!

After Your Engagement Session

Your entire gallery of stunning images will be ready within 3 weeks for you to gush over, download, share, and print!

Couple hiking through the snow to engagement session | Megan Montalvo Photography
Sunrise engagement session at Artists Point in Washington | Megan Montalvo Photography
Proposal at Artists Point in Washington State. Photos by PNW Adventure Photographer, Megan Montalvo Photography.
Proposal at Artists Point in Washington State. Photos by PNW Adventure Photographer, Megan Montalvo Photography.
Proposal at Artists Point in Washington State. Photos by PNW Adventure Photographer, Megan Montalvo Photography.
Engagement session in Washington State | Megan Montalvo Photography
Engagement session in Washington State | Megan Montalvo Photography
Sunset engagement session after proposal | Megan Montalvo Photography
Winter engagement session in Washington State | Megan Montalvo Photography
Couples engagement session | Megan Montalvo Photography
Proposal at Artists Point in the PNW | Megan Montalvo Photography
Winter engagement session at Artists Point | Megan Montalvo Photography
Engagement session after proposal during sunrise at Artists Point | Megan Montalvo PhotographyDouble exposure at Artists Point | Megan Montalvo Photography
Sunrise engagement session at Artists Point | Megan Montalvo PhotographySunrise engagement session at Artists Point | Megan Montalvo Photography

If you have more questions about how to plan your Washington engagement session, please contact me here!

Megan Montalvo is a PNW Elopement Photographer based out of Seattle, Washington. Megan offers intimate wedding and elopement photography to surrounding PNW destinations such as Tacoma, Olympia, Mount Storm King, Lake Crescent, Hurricane Ridge, Mt. Rainier, Lake Quinault, Snoqualmie, Snoqualmie Pass, Cle Elum, Suncadia, Leavenworth, Ruby Beach, Cape Kiwanda, Canon Beach and the San Juan Islands.

Your guide to planning your Washington engagement session by Megan Montalvo Photography.

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