5 Best Engagement Locations in Victoria

Best & Worst Outdoorsy Engagement Photo Locations...

My clients want amazing photos that showcase the beautiful nature we have here on Vancouver Island, but some of the most popular places are soooo hard to make look pretty in pictures. If you’re not a photographer, you won’t realize the light comes from the “wrong” direction, and other places are generally too crowded to get a clear picture without people in the background! 

That’s why I put together this list of the best, and just as importantly, the worst places you could choose for your couple’s engagement session. (Or any photo session for that matter!)  Save your time, and your photos by simply choosing one of the recommended places! I hope this helps :0)  If you’re looking for an engagement photographer, check out my photos and services!

Top 5 Best Engagement Locations for Outdoorsy Couples 

  1. Thetis Lake – With its labyrinth of trails, serene lakes, and moss-covered trees, Thetis Lake offers a haven for couples seeking enchanting scenery. Best visited in spring or fall when the moss regains its vibrant hue, this location promises a captivating blend of natural beauty and tranquility.
  2. Hatley Castle – Couples can create timeless memories reminiscent of a fairy tale romance. Don’t miss out on Charlie’s Train, a wonderful forest trail with big trees, ferns, feels like the middle of the forest but it’s close to town. Note, you can’t go inside the castle, and a permit is required for weddings.
  3. View Royal Park – This hidden gem provides the perfect canvas for intimate moments amidst nature. Usually not busy except for a few dog walkers in the morning. Has a nice beach area and forested walking trails. Low tide is essential or access to the beach is limited.
  4. Goldstream Park – Endless opportunities for capturing the raw beauty of Vancouver Island’s wilderness. Huge provincial park with lots of trails, forest and several waterfalls that we can hike to. Good for longer photoshoots where time for hiking is considered.
  5. Francis King Park – Huge trees and lots of old-growth trails. Ample opportunities for nature photos and very close to the city!


5 Worst Engagement Locations for Outdoorsy Couples

I know what I am about to say below is contrary to popular belief – these are great places after all. But here’s the problem, people love water views! And they also love sunny days. Put those two together and you have a recipe for a mediocre snapshot, not a beautiful portrait. 

The places on my “worst” list are beautiful places to visit and experience in real life, I just wouldn’t personally choose them for a photo session. Because, more often than not it will be difficult to create nice photos unless you have ideal weather and few tourists, two things that can’t be planned in advance. 

  1. Beacon Hill Park – probably the most popular park in town and also notably busy with tourists. Majority of park area is green and grassy which causes green shadows on skin. Hard to find pockets of usable space for nice photos. Easier to get nice photos here in fall or winter when there are less tourists and it’s not sunny.
  2. Parliament Buildings – another popular choice for tourists and hard to get a shot without plenty of people in the way. Also it will only have “soft” light after sunset as there is no shade during the day. If you really want photos here, I’d suggest the back of the building, which offers pretty columns and architecture and less people. 
  3. Inner Harbor – Can you tell I don’t like crowds yet? The Inner Harbour is lovely in real life and worth a visit, but for your photo session it’s just too busy and offers no reliable backdrop to use since things/people are constantly moving around the area. There is no option for shade and your photos will not that that soft “blurry background” that many people love.
  4. Saxe Point Park – I love this park and have good memories going here as a child, but for photos I’d pass, unless we’re going at sunrise or sunset or a cloudy day. It’s just too open to the elements and there’s nowhere for shade on a sunny day. (see my post about why I don’t like photographing on sunny days for more info)
  5. Esquimalt Lagoon – If you’re looking for a beach, this one can work but it’s generally quite busy. like Saxe point, it’s too open with no option for shade, so I don’t recommend it as a location unless we can go at or near sunrise/sunset.

If you’re visiting Victoria as a tourist, I can totally understand why you might want photos in these popular locations.  They serve as memories for the landmarks of our city.  But, for locals or very outdoorsy couples, I recommend choosing from the “best” engagement locations. They have more opportunities for nice photos and a variety of shaded options on sunny days.

Do you want to see photos of each location?

I’ve created a free pdf download that shares my favourite spots mentioned above, with detailed directions and multiple photos of each so you can compare and see what’s right for you! 

Request my free Guide “Top 5 Spots for Engagement Photos in Victoria (for Outdoorsy Couples)”

Did you just get engaged? Congratulations! If you have any questions for me about planning your wedding to be the most photogenic possible or want to get engagement photos, please feel free to reach out!

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