Montana Engagement Photo Location Guide
There are lots of options when it comes to engagement photo locations and we're here to help find the perfect place! Engagement sessions aren't just so you can meet your photographer and get comfortable, it's also to tell your love story. We want to choose a location that is meaningful for you. If you met for the first time at a coffee shop, we could photograph you giggling over lattes just like the first time. If you have a passion for hiking and the outdoors, we'll adventure together in the mountains. It's completely up to you!
pssst... if you're still looking for wedding venues, don't miss our Montana Wedding Venues Guide! A Complete Guide to 50+ Venues.
WHY DO YOU NEED AN ENGAGEMENT SESSION?
An engagement session is a special time of its own that deserves to be documented! An engagement session is the first on- camera interaction that you will have with your photographer and it is great “practice” for your wedding photos. It’s the perfect opportunity to get to know your photographer and feel out the way he/she works. You should not skip out on this opportunity!
HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR ENGAGEMENT SESSION
Schedule hair, makeup and nails.
This a special occasion so take the time and treat yourself! There will be multiple close ups of your hands- the ring shot, holding hands, holding your partners face, etc. So having your nails done will make the photos look polished (no pun intended!). You may also want to consider getting your hair and makeup professionally done this day or scheduling a fresh cut and shave for your guy! You want to step into the shoot feeling like the best version of yourselves so spend a little extra time and preparation coming up with a beauty plan to both look your best!
Pick your outfits.
You are welcome to create a couple different looks for your session. Again, use this opportunity to treat yourself to a little shopping spree!
A couple things to remember when planning your attire…. (see the full list on the Ultimate Guide on How to Prepare for Your Engagement Session!)
Comfort and fit are key! You want your clothes to fit properly and you want to be comfortable and feel your best in whatever outfits you pick. You want to be able to move and flow naturally during your shoot. You don’t want to have to keep pulling your dress down or have your photographer keep adjusting your dress straps. For the guys, avoid baggy clothes- they end up just looking messy on film.
Coordinate your outfits, don’t match. Keep it timeless- Avoid busy patterns with bright colors or a lot of contrast and avoid clothing with logos or emblems. See the hottest engagement session trends on our guide.
MISSOULA ENGAGEMENT SESSION LOCATIONS
Blue Mountain is a type of “city park”- just Montana style. It’s a convenient location to Missoula with great background views of the Missoula Valley, and the Sapphire and Rattlesnake mountains. Other photo opportunities here include tall grassy fields, 41 miles of trails, tree- covered forest service roads and numerous conveniently located little tree forests that truly light up during golden hour.
See the full post from a Blue Mountain engagement session.
Maclay Flats is a little under a 2 mile loop that runs next to the Bitterroot River with great views of the mountains around Missoula. The paved trail makes for an easy walk (suitable for heels, ladies!) but there are also side trails that cut off to the river and woods and through adjacent meadows.
See the full post from a Maclay Flats Engagement Session
Welcome Creek Trail in Rock Creek is somewhat of a hidden gem. You have to cross a suspension bridge to get down to the water and the whole area is somewhat overgrown like a “fairy forest” with soft, springy moss covering the forest floor. It’s much less populated than most day hiking trails so it provides great privacy for those a little more nervous about shooting with an audience around.
Formerly an old logging road and close to Missoula, Rattlesnake Trailhead is a popular spot for day hiking, backpacking and mountain biking. Rattlesnake Trail is a slightly rugged trail that follows the river with many hidden side trails to explore.
See the full post from a Missoula Wedding at White Raven.
KALISPELL ENGAGEMENT SESSION LOCATIONS
Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is one of the most beautiful places in the world and the hardest part about planning your engagement session here is choosing which part of the 1,583 square miles of the park to use. The most popular epic views of Glacier’s peaks exist in Logan Pass, with easy access from Going to the Sun Road. West Glacier is accessible year - round so it’s great for sessions even during the winter months. Lake McDonald lives in West Glacier and showcases pristine blue water with colorful rocks and peaks that color the whole area peach during sunset. See this full Adventure Session at Lake McDonald.
The incredible mountain views of East Glacier are described as the “Switzerland of Montana” and St. Mary’s gives you that “top of the world” mountain feeling with great panoramic views from a convenient car ride to the top of it’s peaks. Finally, Many Glacier is considered one of the most romantic and private parts of the park.
See the full post from a Glacier National Park engagement session
Just picture it: a barefoot sunset session with your lover in a delicate flowy dress on the rocky smooth banks of Flathead Lake. For the most perfect romantic and moody images let’s sneak off to a private corner of this glacier created lake. It’s a photographer’s dream and we have just the spot!
Lone Pine State Park
Lone Pine State Park boasts a beautiful stone overlook area that would be absolutely perfect for romantic images during golden hour. This idyllic and peaceful spot showcases breath-taking views of the Flathead Valley.
Cute Coffee Shop/Brewery
There are endless possibilities for outdoor photo session locations in Montana but let’s change it up a bit and throw around the idea of a cute little coffee shop or brewery session in Kalispell! Kalispell has a great downtown area with lots of little alley ways to pop into and beautiful old buildings that line the main drag of Kalispell. We can finish with a cup of coffee or beer at one of Kalispell’s independently owned coffee shops or breweries.
Colter Coffee Roasting is a great choice with a large panoramic window and exposed brick walls. Kalispell brewery is a modern industrial style building and has an outdoor rooftop patio where we can end the evening cheer-sing (word?) beers to the sunset overlooking town.
BOZEMAN ENGAGEMENT SESSION LOCATIONS
Hyalite Canyon is a great place for an engagement session in both winter and summer but requires a slightly adventurous couple willing to chase the light all through Hyalite Canyon. The area on the far side of the lake has great views of the mountains but requires walking off the plowed roads to get there. Once you do though, you can romp and play in an open meadow with great views of the peaks or wade barefoot into the lake to catch kisses in that dreamy mountain sunset.
See the full post from a Winter Engagement Session at Hyalite Canyon
Close by is Big Sky with so many gorgeous hikes and parks for engagement sessions. See the full post from this Big Sky Wedding at Rainbow Ranch.
Madison Buffalo Jump State Park
The overlook at Madison Buffalo Jump State Park is going to take a little effort to get to, but once there, offers a unique spot for engagement photos that is both peaceful and epic. Let’s get to know each other as we hike the 2.1 mile moderately trafficked Inner Loop Trail located near Three Forks, Montana. Don’t forget to bring your Pendleton blanket to enjoy the views and pop some bubbly while the golden sun sets over miles and miles of the Madison Valley!
Prairie Dog Town State Park
There’s not a lot around this little prairie dog town, but Prairie Dog Town State Park offers golden grassy meadows and wide open spaces create a “desert highway” feel. This location a great spot for you and your motorcycle honey to bring the bike for a styled motorcycle engagement session. The wide - open prairie fields turn golden and light up during sunset so this time of day would be a must here. The lack of foot traffic and just lack of traffic in general would create the perfect, intimate spot for this type of shoot and then you lovers can ride off into the sunset along the Yellowstone River.
Missouri Headwaters State Park
An easy 3 mile drive off Interstate 90, Missouri Headwaters State Park is a green and lush, historic area that displays beautiful plains and meadows surrounded in every direction by lofty mountains. Sitting in this State Park is a tee- pee tent that is just waiting to be rented and styled for your engagement session! With the help of a florist and some props we can create a little tee-pee picnic and then bonus points because you get to camp overnight in a tee-pee!
See a full post from Bozeman Wedding at Chico Hot Springs.
POLSON ENGAGEMENT SESSION LOCATIONS
Located in the Southern corner of Flathead Lake, within the Flathead Indian Reservation, sits one of the best farming areas in the state- Polson. Polson is known for its cash crop- it’s cherry orchards. Bordered to the south by the Mission Mountains, the combination of blooming cherry orchards in the spring and this jaw-dropping mountain backdrop make for the sweetest little engagement session location! (No pun intended! ;)
See the full post of this Cherry Blossom Wedding Inspiration.
A seemingly unthought about location for engagement photos, Kerr Dam, has a moody Alcatraz Island feel and would be the perfect early morning session location and a truly unique spot! The thousands of pounds of roaring water spilling over the dam creates a misty mountain backdrop. The view is grand from the parking area but if we want to get a little closer, there are 257 stairs that lead down into the dam viewing point where you will find the eerie ambiance of deserted boat deck tunnel walkways and rocky banks with views of the dam house behind. The Kerr Dam would make for a great backup location for a rainy day because if we are extra lucky, maybe we will catch a rainbow!
See the full post of this gorgeous Polson Wedding at Sky Ridge Ranch.