Since a ton of people get engaged between Christmas and Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d share some beautiful and interesting engagement session locations in Greater Victoria.
An engagement session is a chance to get to know your wedding photographer and learn how you work together. If your photographer doesn’t live in the city you’re getting married in, it can still be fun to take some photos with a local photographer and use them for your wedding website, save the date cards, newspaper announcements, etc. It’s also great to get engagement photos taken to remember this stage of your life, and to get some awesome professional photos where you look like your everyday self.
These locations also work for other portrait sessions, of course. I love taking portraits of couples at all stages of their relationship.
You can click on the linked name of each location to see blog posts from shoots I’ve done there.
Gardens and City Parks
Gorgeous gardens at the University of Victoria. They have a wide variety of flowers, trees, and a pond. It’s quite colourful there.
Another place that has gorgeous gardens with no admission fee. There tend to be fewer people around than at say, Beacon Hill Park, though you may run into some wedding parties. The gardens range from well tended rose gardens to rocky steps and garry oak forest to more formal settings.
This is a favourite spot for tourists and locals, and probably one of my most photographed locations. I can get a bit tired of clients suggesting it, but there really is a lot of variety there. There are several bridges and ponds, a petting zoo, a playground, fields of tall grass, a rose garden, a hill overlooking the ocean, and tons of flowers and trees. And ducks – let’s not forget about the ducks.
Uplands Park is across the street from Cattle Point (listed under beaches), so I’ve shot there frequently so that we can visit both places. There’s an area with a memorial statue and some tended gardens, but most of the park is rocky ground and garry oaks.
Places with a View
Mount Tolmie has a great view of the city and is easily accessible by car, with lots of parking on top (as opposed to Mount Doug, which has limited parking). There are a lot of garry oaks, other trees, and rocky hills. There are also some easy hiking trails.
Mount Doug has an amazing view of the city, with the ocean beyond. It’s easy to get lost there, but only temporarily. It has a bit more of a wild, forest feel than Mount Tolmie.
Gonzales Hill has a great view of the south part of the city and a close view of the ocean. There’s an observatory here, which has a white building and stairs that are great for photos. It’s a smaller park, but easy to access.
This place has beautiful wildflowers at the start of the summer, along with lots of trees and a great view of the city (after a short hike to the summit).
This is one of my favourite beaches as it tends to not be very busy. The light is best in the evening and can be really pretty at sunset (though sunsets in Victoria often just go from light to dark without a visible sunset). There’s a pebble beach and rocky areas, which can be slippery in the winter. If you hike along the beach to the east, you’ll find some fields of wildflowers and sometimes an adorable cat that follows you around.
Another favourite spot, which tends to be fairly quiet. Cattle Point has some great rocky beach and lots of driftwood. There are fields and bushes surrounding the beach and it’s right across the street from Uplands Park, if you want more variety.
Clover Point itself can be pretty busy, but the nearby beach isn’t so bad. The light is really pretty in the evening around sunset. If you like dogs, this is the place to go.
Island View is one of those rare sandy beaches on the island. It’s not terribly exciting, but I hear there are wildflowers there sometimes (which I haven’t seen) and there are some grassy and treed areas for some variety.
This is a very quiet beach near the Victoria Golf Club. Depending on the tide, there are some big rocks you can climb on.
This park also includes a beach and it’s one of my favourite spots, though it’s almost an hour’s drive from downtown Victoria. The forests are gorgeous and there’s a big field surrounded by trees. Some of the hikes can be challenging if you’re not wearing decent shoes.
Thetis is a gorgeous area closer to town. There are some heavily forested areas, along with a public beach, and a variety of backgrounds.
Elk Lake is a less wild version of Thetis and tends to be fairly busy, but the dock is great for photos (when not in use by rowers) and the trees frame the trail nicely.
The corn maze makes for some really unique and fun photos, especially if you’re a playful couple. There’s not a ton of variety here, but it’s still a great choice for some memorable photos.
The marina makes for some interesting photos among the boats, plus you can feed the seals.
Another place you can feed the seals, plus a playground and lots of colourful float houses.
This park contains the remnants of an old fort, making for some unique portrait backgrounds. It’s also close to the ocean.
These locations are all in downtown Victoria, which isn’t that big, so you can easily walk between several of these spots. There are a lot of interesting buildings and shops throughout downtown, so wandering is encouraged.
Chinatown is full of great little alleys. Fan Tan Alley is ever popular, and adorable, but tends to be quite busy. Fisgard is a colourful spot to shoot with all the shops and neon signs.
There’s a bit of variety in scenery here, and it’s a great spot to visit if it’s raining as a lot of the square is covered.
The lights hanging across the alley make for some gorgeous night shots.
People really like to have photos taken here and it is a cool spot, but there tend to be too many people around to really take advantage of it. The side and back of the building is usually less busy, but you may have to move out of the way for events or wedding parties (which book in advance).
This isn’t too exciting, but it can be a good taste of Victoria for non-locals. I also like the line of trees along the wall.
Nature in the City
The Galloping Goose Trail is full of great scenery, which I’ve noted while cycling or running by. I’ve mostly shot around the Selkirk Trestle and waterfront area, which is always lovely. Watch out for bikes.
The walkway near the Delta Hotel has a great view of downtown and isn’t usually too busy. I haven’t taken photos along the entire walkway, but there are a lot of interesting buildings and trees along there, along with a gazebo and staircases. It’s an easy, pretty walk.
This is a classic Victoria photo op. They’ve recently installed railings on the breakwater, which makes certain photos not as appealing, but I like the way the railings frame the scene. There’s a lighthouse at the end, if you feel like taking a little walk. A nearby concrete staircase to the east is also a good location.
For more wedding planning tips, check out my wedding magazine by clicking on the image below.
Want to set up an engagement session with me? Get in touch.