Engagement Session Planning Guide For Dayton, Cincinnati, And Columbus Ohio

Purpose Of An Engagement Session

As a professional engagement photographer, I want to get to know you and to be able to capture the celebration of your recent engagement.  I really want you to feel relaxed and comfortable with me, to build a rapport,  and to get excited about your upcoming wedding photography experience.

Knowing how I operate behind the camera will ease the stress on your wedding day, as we will have already worked together.  Many Ohio photographers offer engagement portraits, but I am one of only a few that offers a complimentary engagement session to every bride and groom!

Click here to see all of my engagement photography blog posts!  Check out my engagement session photo video slideshows to see several complete engagement session galleries!

A standalone engagement session (without booking a wedding) starts at $350 + tax.  Book your wedding now to get your free engagement session from one of the best engagement photographers in Ohio!

Engagement Session Planning Tips

I am invested in you, your engagement session, and your wedding.  Providing engagement session planning tips ensures I can exceed expectations with beautiful and candid engagement images.  These are my professional suggestions to make your session enjoyable and as beautiful as possible.

  • Outfits: Coordinate outfits without matching one another.  Wear colorful outfits that make you feel comfortable while avoiding too much white or black.  Multiple outfits are ok but most locations don't have anywhere to change.  Changing also eats into your one-hour time slot.

  • Shoes: If you wear uncomfortable shoes, bring other shoes for walking between locations.

  • Hair And Makeup: Having your hair and makeup professionally done prior to the session will ensure best results, although this is not always possible.  Bring hairspray on windy days to minimize blowing hair.

  • Be On Time: You have a one-hour time slot, so showing up late will eat into this.  Leaving extra early to get to your session will help make up for traffic or other things that can't be helped.  Please text or call if you are running late.  I am always early, so call or text if you also arrive early.

  • Props And Pets: I am always in favor of using props and pets during your Dayton or Cincinnati engagement session.

  • Don't Worry: Most couples have little to no experience being in front of a camera.  I will work with you to create the most pleasing and natural engagement photos that capture your personalities.  I keep the engagement session fun and casual so as to keep you relaxed and smiling.

  • Ideas: Many brides have ideas about the types of engagement photos they want, and that always excites me.  Send me a Pinterest board if you have collected ideas for your engagement session, or email me your ideas.

  • Suggestions:  If you have suggestions for poses or locations, I would love to have them.

Search For Images From Your Wedding, Reception And Engagement Venues

 Popular engagement photographer in Dayton, Cincinnati, and Columbus Ohio

Dayton Engagement Session Location Ideas

Downtown Dayton

  • Victoria Theatre

  • Benjamin and Marian Schuster Center

  • Wright Brothers Sculptures

  • Courthouse Square

  • Interesting Architecture

  • Why To Choose Downtown Dayton: The beautiful architecture, wide streets and endless backdrops make this great.

  • Why Not To Choose Downtown Dayton: Don’t choose this engagement location if you are looking for engagement images in a nature setting.

  • Sample Gallery 1 - Downtown Dayton

Oregon District

  • Brick Buildings

  • Colorful

  • Alleys

  • Historic Homes

  • Eclectic Buildings

  • Why To Choose Oregon District: Historic buildings, brick streets and a huge number of backgrounds make this one of my top engagement locations.

  • Why Not To Choose Oregon District: There is a lot of vehicle and foot traffic that can interfere with engagement photo shoots.

  • Sample Gallery 1 - Oregon District

  • Sample Gallery 2 - Oregon District

  • Urban

  • Bricks

  • Graffiti

  • Trains

  • Downtown Views

  • Why To Choose 2nd Street Market MetroPark: Brick streets, revitalized industrial building, trains and more make this a fantastic urban engagement session location.

  • Why Not To Choose 2nd Street Market MetroPark: This is a man-made environment and not good for people looking for nature.

  • Sample Gallery - 2nd Street Market MetroPark

  • Trees

  • Barns

  • Fields

  • Wildflowers

  • Large Lake With Boardwalk

  • Why To Choose Carriage Hill MetroPark: The lake with the nature-surrounded boardwalk makes this a very unique location.

  • Why Not To Choose Carriage Hill MetroPark: Limited evening hours may make this park challenging for an engagement session.

  • Sample Gallery - Carriage Hill MetroPark

  • Rivers

  • Trees

  • Foot Bridge

  • Colorful

  • Downtown Views

  • Why To Choose RiverScape MetroPark: Having the Dayton skyline, Fifth/Third Field and Great Miami River as backdrops make this a must-do engagement photography location in Dayton.

  • Why Not To Choose RiverScape MetroPark: There is very little shade at this park.

  • Sample Gallery 1 - RiverScape MetroPark

  • Waterfalls

  • Pond

  • Fall Foliage

  • Wildflowers

  • Open Fields

  • Why To Choose Charleston Falls Preserve: The large waterfall and scenic pond make this a unique engagement photo location in the Dayton area.

  • Why Not To Choose Charleston Falls Preserve: It is a 1/2-mile hike to the falls and even further to the pond.

  • Historic Buildings

  • Train and Trolley Cars

  • Vintage Busses

  • Unique Backdrops

  • Carillon Bell Tower

  • Why To Choose Carillon Historical Park: This venue is great if  you want to include iconic pieces of Dayton's history in your engagement photos.

  • Why Not To Choose Carillon Historical Park: The hours are limited and there is a $30 fee paid to Dayton History for use of the park.

  • Flowers

  • Building

  • Stream/Creek

  • Trees

  • Why To Choose Smith Gardens: The selection of flowers and plants make a beautiful backdrop.

  • Why Not To Choose Smith Gardens: The property is very small and may be crowded.

Webster Station / Cannery Loft Apartments


National Museum of The United States Air Force

  • Large Airplane Hangars

  • Aviation Theme

  • Aircraft

  • Colorful Backdrops

  • Why To Choose NMUSAF: Choose this location if you want aviation-themed engagement photos.

  • Why Not To Choose NMUSAF: The limited hours and dark interior make it a challenging location.

  • Near Downtown

  • Outdoor Sculptures

  • Historic Building

  • Downtown Dayton As Backdrop

  • Why To Choose Dayton Art Institute: Art lovers can have art-themed engagement photos.

  • Why Not To Choose Dayton Art Institute: The limited hours and dark interior make it difficult to create indoor portraits.

  • Sample Gallery - Dayton Art Institute

  • Trees

  • Flowers

  • Boardwalk In The Woods

  • Water Feature

  • Why To Choose Wegerzn Gardens MetroPark: Flower and greenery lovers may feel right at home here.

  • Why To Not Choose Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark: The park is small and the area may be crowded.

  • Sample Gallery - Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark

University of Dayton

  • Brick Buildings

  • Good For UD Alumni

  • Green Space

  • Beautiful Chapel

  • Why To Choose UD: Alumni and fans of UD will feel right at home.

  • Why Not To Choose UD: Images can look UD-specific.

  • Sample Gallery - UD

Cincinnati Engagement Session Location Ideas*

  • Great American Ball Park

  • Paul Brown Stadium

  • Fountains

  • Roebling Suspension Bridge

  • Ohio River

  • Downtown Backdrop

  • Why To Choose The Banks / Smale Riverfront Park: The number of possibilities for backdrops is endless.

  • Why Not To Choose The Banks / Smale Riverfront Park: Parking is not free, and the area may be crowded.

  • Sample Gallery- Smale Riverfront Park

  • Pond

  • Fountain

  • Field

  • Gazebo

  • Historic Park

  • Beautiful Views

  • Why To Choose Eden Park: This Cincinnati Park is easy to access and is close to downtown Cincinnati.

  • Why Not To Choose Eden Park: There is limited parking and a good amount of walking to these areas.

  • Pergola

  • Ohio River Views

  • Stone Pavilion

  • Easy Parking

  • Less Busy Park

  • Historic Venue

  • Why To Choose Alms Park: The wedding ceremony pergola overlooks the Ohio River and is beautiful.

  • Why Not To Choose Alms Park: The Alms Park Pavilion is small and can't hold a large group of people.

  • Large Pavilion

  • Pergola Overlooking Airport

  • Steps With Fountain

  • Well Manicured Lawns

  • Wildflowers

  • Why To Choose Ault Park: This is the most classic looking wedding reception venue in Cincinnati, and it is stunning.

  • Why Not To Choose Ault Park: This is the most popular Cincinnati wedding venue and may be crowded.

Downtown Cincinnati

  • Architecture

  • Streetcar

  • Fountain Square

  • Over The Rhine

  • Beautiful Building Lobbies

  • Why To Choose Downtown Cincinnati: The choices of backdrops, textures, lighting, and architecture make this an ideal location.

  • Why Not To Choose Downtown Cincinnati: Parking is not free, and the area may be crowded.

  • Ohio River

  • Cincinnati Views

  • Pedestrian Bridge

  • Colorful

  • Historic Structure

  • Why To Choose Newport On The Levee: Having Cincinnati and the Ohio River as backdrops makes this a beautiful location.

  • Why Not To Choose Newport On The Levee: Parking is not free, and the area may be crowded.

* There is a $100 one time fee for Cincinnati engagement sessions