Mandi & David: Badlands National Park: Destination Engagement Photo Shoot

engagement photo

This couples engagement photo shoot was made unique by choosing the Badlands National Park as their backdrop. Mandi and David have so much charisma and adventure that they made the whole photo shoot so exciting and inspiring. Although the park is smaller than some, the huge expanses and jaw-dropping formations all around make it quite exceptional! 

Scouting the Locations

I arrived in the park the afternoon before the photo shoot. This allowed me time to see the park in the same light that I would be shooting in the following day. I had visited the park about twenty years prior but looked forward to seeing it again. The beauty and grandness of the landscape overwhelmed me! Compared to other parks, the Badlands has fewer acres and one central road going through it. This made it was easier to cover in a short amount of time.

I had the previous day to explore and hike the trails off the beaten path. Three locations, in particular, stood out for the evening shoot. I had so many different ideas running around in my head! The rest of the next day was used to really hammer out the details. I wanted to be able to lead them seamlessly from one location to the next.

Evening Photoshoot

At the first location, I backlit Mandi and David with the sun setting behind them. I also used a little side lighting for drama. At the end of this location had them face the sunset. Having the light shining directly on the formations really accentuated the reds and yellows of the mounds.

The second location was, in my opinion, the best place for a sunset. It had a pinnacle feel with scenic views and 180 degrees of landscape to pull from. After a quick outfit change, we set out to the next and most scenic location on my list. The incredible sunset did not disappoint and neither did the images that came from that!

Although the sun had set, we raced to one more location to utilize the blue hour following the sunset. I chose the final location because it had more of a prairie feel adding some variety to the engagement pictures.

Sunrise Photoshoot

We decided to meet back up again at sunrise to take a few more shots with some casual clothing. I was able to utilize some locations that I missed the previous evening due to time. To me, getting out of bed early was worth it. Sunrise is by far the most beautiful and peaceful time of the day in the park. There weren’t many travelers out at this point, so it felt like we had the place to ourselves. Mandi and David were excited to see the park at dawn. I can’t say enough about how fun this couple was to spend time with. Their laughter and excitement made me never want to stop taking pictures. I am so looking forward to their Lake Placid, New York wedding next fall!

I would love to share more engagement photo shoots with you such as Kendal & Chase or Landra & Klayton.

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