Category Archives: engagement

6 Tips for Engagement Photography

With engagement season soon to be in full swing, here is a blog post on important things you should know before your engagement session! These 6 tips for engagement photography should point you in the right direction.

1.  What time should we plan the engagement session?  Photography is all about having great light. Unflattering midday sun won’t allow me to deliver the engagement photos you’ve seen in my gallery. For outdoor locations, I encourage looking into what time the sun sets on your scheduled shoot date and starting a bit before the sun actually sets. For indoor locations, you won’t have glaring light coming through the windows either. Katie Spina and Brigham Hyde look stunning during time right after sunset as all the city buildings began to lit up. I especially love night photography, as long as its in an area with ample light.

Boston engagement guide from photographer Heather Parker2. What’s the best location? There are classic locations such as a park or landmark that first come to mind for many couples. Photographing in the park or on the water is a safe bet for “pretty” shots.  I find that the couples I work with have a closer connection to their engagement photos if they’ve chosen a location that is significant to both of you, whether it be where you met or where the proposal took place, or a favorite spot that you frequent together, that can be a great choice for your engagement session. Lorraine Ostanik & John Bellessa had their engagement session in the North End, a neighborhood that they enjoy spending time in that reads as iconic Boston. Prior to showing up to a location for a photo session, it’s always a good idea to check beforehand if you need permits or a manager’s permission to use the locations.

Engagement shoot Boston clothes3. What should we wear?  One of the most common questions I am asked is what to wear for an engagement session. I enlisted New York-based personal stylist Hilary Rushford of Dean Street Society for some pointers here. Its very important that both of you are dressed to the same level – whether it be casual or fancy. Another important tip is to make sure you’re comfortable. If not, this will certainly show in your expression and in photos. Ashley Leman and Nate Gravel arrived to their engagement session with a vintage Ford pickup truck and went with a rustic look polished up just a bit. It worked very well!

engagement boston props4. What about hair and make up? Although you can get away with doing your hair and make up yourself, I suggest getting it professionally done at a salon. Its not often that you get professionally photographed. Aeshna looked flawless for her winter engagement session with Beejal.

Boston engagement location ideas5. Should we bring props?  I encourage you to bring something that is personal or helps share your personalities with each others’ friends and family. You can always bring props and not use them, but it’s fun to play around with the idea. Be creative and have fun!

the boston props6. Trust Your Photographer.  I’ll see a scene completely different than what you’ll be seeing.  So if your photographer suggest something, embrace the idea and you will most likely be thrilled with the results.  For Tara and Sam’s Chicago engagement session, instead of going to Lincoln Park, Millennium Park or going for a jaunt through the Loop, I suggested to do an indoor engagement session at a gritty Chicago billiards hall established in the 1940s. They were on board immediately, and the contrast worked perfectly with their glammed up look.  Often times, the more alternative locations and hidden gems get a much more enthusiastic response once my couples have seen the photo results!

indoor engagement photos ChicagoConclusion: Have Fun!   Your engagement session should be fun! Unlike the wedding, you don’t need to keep track of everything going on.  So enjoy, have fun, and remember why the two of you are there.

fun colorful engagement photography in Boston with reviews

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Just got engaged? Read about where to begin.

Just got engaged? Read about where to begin. For many wedding photographers, there are two “busy” seasons. One is shooting season the popular times of year that couples tie the knot. The other is engagement season, the time of year when so many couples announce their engagement to their friends and family. The best photographers’ phones ring wild with couples rushing to nail down wedding vendors for their upcoming weddings. Jewelry advertisements on the radio and TV are abundant and it seems there are so many mentions of engagement rings and diamonds all over the internet.

After recounting how the question was asked and celebrating the occasion, its time to sit down and think about when you’d like to get married, talk about budgets, and determine what resources you’d like to have in planning your wedding. Pinterest is popular for designing a dream wedding, but a great wedding planner will help you work with realistic expectations. If you’re changing jobs, studying for the bar exam, or in the middle of your residency, setting a time frame as to when it makes sense to get married is a great first step.

Boston photographer for couples that got engaged

Today I spoke to someone who just got engaged and they determining if they’re having a wedding local, back in the hometown where they grew up, or having a destination wedding so that they can have a mini-vacation with their closest friends and family. Once you’ve got an idea of what you want, its important not to get overwhelmed with the resources that are out there. I’ve lost count of the different wedding blogs that have sprouted up over the last five years. It can be a daunting task to navigate to find trustworthy wedding vendors with great reviews.

Each year there are dozens of wedding photographers that quit their day jobs to take a stab at becoming a professional photographer. At the same time, many of these new photographers realize becoming a sought-after wedding photographer is much more difficult than showing up at a wedding and pressing a button on a camera. After a few years, they realize it was a lot more difficult than they thought. When you are looking for a wedding photographer, make sure they have professional training in photography. It’s not rude to ask if they went to an accredited photography school. Understanding artistic composition and having a solid knowledge technical knowledge of photography equipment isn’t something that can be learned overnight or even in a few years. Because there are no do-overs, your wedding should not be a testing ground for someone to grow their portfolio. If you’d like to learn more, check out my FAQ section and wedding tips pages.

If you are looking for a list of reputable wedding vendors with great reviews, I have a preferred vendor website that I have put together. I do not offer commissions or kickbacks so you can rest assured, this list is of people I have personally seen do an exceptional job.

Engagement photos in front of the Fairmont Hotel

There’s a magical time of day, just before the clouds get completely lost in darkness and the city lights. Whenever I am capturing engagement photos, if my clients are interested I try to align a portion of the session around that time of day.  For this particular shot, we took engagement photos in front of the Fairmont Hotel although I suppose because of what I am focusing on, you might never know the location. Does location matter? Sometimes. The main thing I look for when photographing a couple is the connection they share. Of course the Fairmont Copley Plaza and the areas surrounding it offer a great backdrop. In between all of the weddings I get to photograph, I’ve had the honor to meet some really cool couples during their engagement session. It’s a great chance to spend some time with my couples just being themselves. If you’re camera shy, it’s a great opportunity to get comfortable getting photographed. The great thing about engagement pictures is that they can be used for all sorts of details throughout the wedding. There are countless beautiful locations in Boston’s Back Bay for unique engagement photos. Whether you adore the classic Boston brownstones, a stroll on Newbury Street, or the Commonwealth Avenue Mall lined with trees, it’s an opportunity to create a magical set of memorable images that document such a special chapter in your lives. For this particular shot, I waited until my favorite part of the day – the twilight sparkle. After the sun has set and all the city lights come on, the shot looks richer and inviting.

Fairmont Hotel engagement

Night photography can be one of the most difficult types of photography for many people. Often a camera flash can kill the existing light, and a low shutter speed may add blur to the shot. As a photographer that specializes in low-light photography, many years ago I learned that the key to getting the best high quality night photography is balancing shutter speed and ISO, and waiting for the right moment when the light fills the frame perfectly. My goal here was to use as much natural light as possible because its so incredibly dreamy! For their engagement photos in front of the Fairmont Hotel, I waited until they walked directly past the lights of the famed red awning. They provided the best light for the shot and didn’t kill the natural highlights and shadows on the faces. I especially love how the vibrant background attains a buttery blur to allow these two lovebirds to be the main focus of the photo. We shot indoors at the Oak Bar in the hotel itself, and then headed over to the Boston Public Library just across the street. It was after we left the library and returned to the Fairmont Hotel that the beauty of this shot would become apparent. I’m looking forward to creating lots more documentary photos for this couple during their upcoming Boston wedding this autumn where I will be photographing alongside one of my favorite wedding planners Gracie Lou Events.

Boston Proposal and Engagement Ideas

A lot of thought goes into picking out the perfect diamond to complete the perfect ring. Everyone always asks how did you propose? A story is told, but rarely there are photos to go with it. Paparazzi can be intrusive but the way I go about photographing a proposal is to get a good understanding of location and timing beforehand.

Whether you are proposing by walking around the lake three times at Wellesley College, asking for a hand in marriage on the Brooklyn Bridge, or are presenting a ring during a walk along the water after a special dinner, I can discreetly capture one of the biggest surprise moments in someone’s life. I will talk with you on your engagement and together we can walk through your ideas on exactly how and where you will be proposing down to the tiny details. After the proposal, the moment will be available to view online by your friends and family. If you are looking to make it official and want it documented, get in touch!

Boston proposal photography engagement

Boston Proposal Locations

Some favorite spots in Boston to propose are the Boston Public Garden, the ice rink at Frog Pond, Top of the Hub, Fenway Park, the Boston Marathon, Oak Bar at the Fairmont Copley Plaza, Fort Point Channel, college campuses, or the Harborwalk.

Chicago Proposal Locations

Notable spots for proposing in Chicago are the Sears Tower / Willis Tower, Millenium Park, Signature Room, the lakeshore, or right in the median strip of Michigan Ave.

Michelle and Anthony

I had a wonderful afternoon with Michelle and Anthony and got to document their love together before they tie the knot in May. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect. I photographed them not far from where they had their first date. Here in the midst of this bustling neighborhood, they share a quiet moment together.

Michelle and Anthony before their wedding

Stephanie + Caleb’s Chinatown and Boston Public Garden Engagement

Some couples were just made to be in front of the camera! Stephanie and Caleb headed to Chinatown for their engagement session. Their wedding reception will be in the same neighborhood this summer. After wandering past dozens of restaurants, a family-owned grocery store, and other neighborhood shops with this adorable couple, we headed to Boston Public Garden to get some photos in the park. To my surprise, the park was full of purple alliums everywhere – how lovely! Before the shoot, Stephanie had her wedding hair trial at Lindsay Griffin + Co. Boston Hairstylist salon and also worked with Tara of TADA Makeup & Weddings for makeup. I’m very much looking forward to photographing their wedding ceremony at the chapel at Wellesley College followed by their traditional Chinese style reception!

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Hairstylist: Lindsay Griffin Boston Hairstylist + Co.
Makeup: TADA Makeup & Weddings

Not your tourist location engagement shoot

Elizabeth and Bill will be getting married at barn on an orchard this summer just north of Boston which I am looking forward to shooting. Ahead of their wedding they hired me to shoot some engagement photos for them. Rather than choose typical tourist spots to shoot these photos, they chose a neighborhood that was meaningful, and locations that were a bit more unique. We scheduled a time during the day that would offer the best lighting and had both indoor and outdoor locations planned ahead of time. I had never photographed at the locations Elizabeth and Bill chose, but was ready for a new challenge and had a ton of fun!

Boston engagement Elizabeth and Bill by Heather Parker



Hairstylist: Lindsay Griffin Boston Hairstylist + Co.
Makeup: TADA Makeup & Weddings

Engagement – Boston Public Library | Boston Wedding Photographer Heather Parker

Not long ago, photographed this lovely couple who had recently descended on Boston, a city they now call home. They come from two very different parts of the world and will wed later this year in Texas. I hadn’t met them before the shoot and saw that they were the perfect match in the first five minutes I spent with them. Engagement shoots have been a great way for me to explore different neighborhoods, different cities, and this time the shoot allowed this busy couple a chance to explore the Back Bay neighborhood’s most prized possession: the Boston Public Library. They enthusiastically toured around the beautiful space and it was a perfect location to showcase the love they had for each other. While many couples yearn to shoot outdoors, sometimes hunting for a unique indoor engagement shoot location makes for some pretty fabulous photos!

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Boston wedding photographer Heather Parker | Cambridge Engagement

Andrew and Elizabeth had an engagement session with both indoor and outdoor options. We took photos in some of their favorite neighborhoods that are significant to them as a couple. We were able to shoot in Kendall Square and took a quick drive over to Inman Square to squeeze in some shots before the rain came. They are great fun to work with and I am looking forward to photographing their wedding ceremony and reception which will be at the Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center this summer.

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