To make things more clear, we’ve organized the engagement photo locations in the following categories:
Congratulations on your recent engagement. This is such a special and exciting time in your life and a perfect reason to capture the memories with stunning engagement photographs.
You’ve already started looking for a unique engagement photo location in Charleston. Something that matches your vision and your personality as a couple, right? Clearly not an easy choice with all the possibilities in and around Charleston. No matter if you are familiar with the Holy City or not, this can easily get overwhelming.
If you are struggling with having too many locations to choose from or issues coming up with at least one, don’t worry, we got you covered. The following article will provide you with some insights to help you to pick the right engagement photo location in and/or around Charleston.
As Charleston Engagement Photographers we love to explore our environment on a daily basis and you might be surprised about the one or other location you haven’t even thought about as a perfect engagement location candidate so far.
Downtown Charleston is typically referred to as the Historic District, but you can break it further down into five separate districts, each offering its own unique and photographable backgrounds. Let’s start at the tip of the peninsula.
For the seventh year in a row, Charleston is the No. 1 U.S. city, according to the Travel + Leisure magazine’s “World’s Best” awards. We’re talking about Charleston, South Carolina. Charleston is the oldest city in South Carolina, on Charleston Harbor, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean. The Ashley and Cooper Rivers meet here and create the Charleston downtown peninsula.
The southern flair incorporates unique architectural styles and elements such as Colonial, Georgian, Federal, Classic Revival, Gothic Revival, Italianate, Victorian, and Art Deco. We believe that all of the above is the reason why Charleston is nothing like most cities in the United State. Sounds like you can’t do anything wrong by picking the Holy City (because of the large number of churches, synagogues and diverse religions) as the location for your engagement photographs, don’t you agree?
Most photographers provide enough time in their offerings to include more than just one location for your engagement photographs. Since most picturesque locations in Downtown Charleston are walkable we usually plan a tour ahead, ending up with about 4-5 different locations and backgrounds
Spanish moss-draped trees…Rare cobblestone streets…Centuries-old mansions…countless venues for art and music and fabulous local cuisine. As you walk past horse carriages and the antebellum architecture, you might think you've traveled back in time.
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Talking about the colorful Charleston houses, don’t miss one of the most famous Charleston sightseeing spots - Rainbow Row. Tradd Street will automatically lead you to East Bay Street where Rainbow Row is located. You will find a series of thirteen colorful Georgian houses in a row.
I actually don’t recommend planning to take the majority of your engagement photographs here, since Rainbow Row is one of the most touristy and crowded spots in Charleston - unless you arrive super early. However, if you find it empty when you get there, go for it! And if you are from out of town definitely take a couple of minutes and enjoy the view before you head back to White Point Gardens along the Charleston Harbor right before your two hours are up.
If you want to include the Battery while having Charleston Harbor and a water view in the back, you should definitely plan for a sunrise engagement session. The rising sun and the increasing amount of tourists later the day make it difficult to create romantic and intimate photographs.
From here we love to explore the less crowded areas of Downtown Charleston. Legare Street right around the corner offers some beautiful photography backdrops while Charleston’s famous and majestic oak trees offer shade during hot summer days. Continue all the way to the end where Legare meets Tradd Street. Head east and enjoy the beauty and variety of Charleston’s architecture.
Colorful houses - all shades of blue, pink, yellow or just plain white - combined with plantation shutters and a variety of Charleston’s typical front doors make your photography dreams come true. The unique door knobs and marvelous decorated flowerpots around each entrance complete the picturesque setup and we promise you’ll definitely find a framing that matches your preferences.
As its name suggests, South of Broad is located south of Broad Street, at the very tip of the Downtown Charleston peninsula. We would say, it is a primarily residential area with great views of the Charleston harbor. However, only a few of Charleston’s most expensive homes provide a good setup for your engagement photographs. Understandably Charlestonians value their privacy and therefore hide their houses and backyards from tourists.
This being said, let’s get started with White Point Gardens as our first engagement photo location. White Point Garden is a public park located at the tip of the peninsula offering enough free on street parking (up to two hours) and a white pavilion sitting right in the middle. Reason enough to start your tour here.
If you’re in love with the famous Charleston cobblestone streets and the old-world Charleston charm, you should head west of East Bay Street. Usually State Street is a good place for free parking (1-2 hours) and to start a tour through the district. There are many great engagement photo locations and it’s easy to customize multiple easy roundtrips.
Make sure you include Queen street, Church Street or Chalmers Street and you’ll be able to cover all the beauty Charleston has to offer in walking distance. Keep in mind that it is almost impossible to plan for specific buildings or backdrops since parked cars, groups of tourists or construction sites can change the urban image from time to time. However, this forces you to explore and get creative. You might discover the city from a vantage point you may not have seen before.
Just around the corner you’ll find Charleston Waterfront Park and home of the famous Pineapple Fountain. It’s a beautiful place to stroll along the Charleston Harbor not only for engagement pictures. Even though it has some pretty photo options, we’ve never taken engagement photographs there (yet). Similar to Rainbow Row, it’s always busy. But we are definitely open to give it a try some time ;)
East Bay Street with all its restaurants and cafes is considered the heart of the Charleston French Quarter. It separates Waterfront Park from the more residential area and is also the starting point of the famous Historic Charleston City Market. Right in front of the market is a quite impressive building which will catch your eye immediately.
The United States Custom House. Its architecture incorporates Greek and Roman design elements. The huge two-story, Corinthian limestone columns make it definitely unlike most other buildings in Charleston. It’s hands down one of our favorite engagement photo locations, since it provides a white and super elegant backdrop.
Tip: It is also the perfect “emergency” photo location in Downtown for rainy days since the area all the way up the stairs is covered.
And if you’d like to end your engagement session with a pop of color just keep walking next door. The famous Mills House shines in a light pink/rose façade. A very popular engagement photo location and one you’ll find all over Instagram and Pinterest.
Take your time at the end of your engagement session, have a look inside and don’t forget to order a glass of champagne to cheer to the new chapter of you life.
We recommend the lower end of Charleston’s business district if you’re looking for a very elegant vibe in your engagement photos, but still don’t want to miss variety.
To be more precise, we’re talking about the corner of Meeting and Broad Street. This intersection is the famous “Four Corners of Law” with Charleston City Hall, Charleston County Court House, the United States Post Office, and St. Michael’s Episcopal Church. Each corner represents a different branch of law: city, state, federal, and “God’s law”, as we have learned.
All buildings have a mainly white/grey appearance with darker detailing and ironwork. The overall majestic and elegant looking exterior, combined with the right engagement outfit, will easily add the wow factor to your engagement photographs. Right around the corner a few feet north on Meeting Street you’ll find Hibernian Hall , also seamlessly fitting in this elegant scheme.
Heading north on King Street leads you into a more rustic and slightly industrial area with Victorian commercial architecture elements. It’s a complete different style and creates a more modern atmosphere. Buildings such as Woolfe Street Playhouse offer another great engagement photo location. We personally love the industrial style since glass and steel elements add an interesting touch to your photographs.
The Cigar Factory is another perfect example and we really hope to see more of this style in Charleston in the future. Before we head to the next district we’d like to offer you one more alternative. It’s secretly one of our favorite engagement photo options. Actually, it is not even a specific location. Have you ever thought about taking engagement photographs on top a of a parking deck? Probably not because it sounds quite strange and not very romantic. But let me show you how stunning the results can be with these engagement photographs taken on the Meeting street parking Garage.
In Charleston you have the option to get on the water basically everywhere. The reason why we are listing this engagement session idea under ‘Harleston Village’ is because we usually prefer the Charleston City Marina or The Harborage at Ashley Marina. And if you’re looking for an awesome captain, let me introduce you to Jay!
Before leaving the downtown peninsula, let’s look at one last and very romantic option — especially when you’re from out of town. Wentworth Mansion is a luxurious Charleston inn with splendid interior and hands down one of the best places to stay in Charleston.
Its Second Empire style makes you feel like traveling back in time. This is also the perfect place to stay if you’re about to propose!! The small cupola that towers from the mansion’s roof provides you with a spectacular 360° view over Charleston and makes for the perfect spot for watching the sunset.
The great news is that Canon Park is located slightly north of the museum and makes a great addition to the Greek accents. Looking at it the first time it might appear as some kind of amphitheater or stage.
The Greek columns are remains of the old Thomson Auditorium following a fire. The park has plenty of trees flanking the ruins providing more variety.
Let’s stop here for a second and consider a drastic location change. What are your thoughts on an engagement session on a sailboat, overlooking the Charleston peninsula while sailing into the sunset? It is definitely something special, given that you don’t get seasick of course. It’s also super easy to style up with props like a picnic basket and champagne. Coordinate with your captain and voila, there is your very private and romantic date night combined with your engagement photo session.
Let’s not forget about the west side of the Charleston Peninsula. We’d like to add some atypical engagement photo locations to our list. Ever thought about a historic Greek style scheme for your engagement photographs but didn’t think Charleston would offer a fitting backdrop option? Consider the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum. Similar to the Custom House, the building is in the Greek Revival style and was inspired by the Temple of Jupiter in Rome.
Originally it was a Methodist church built in 1856. The ornaments, the columns and the fact that it is far from the usual tourist locations, makes it a true insider tip for everyone who is looking for a somewhat different and intimate engagement photo location.
Obviously, we can’t miss including Charleston’s gorgeous plantations and gardens as one of the most sought after options for an engagement session. Did you know that there were more than 300 of these plantations in Charleston County? Many of them were built along the banks of the Ashley River. Today quite a few are open to the public. Either you’ve been in Charleston before and visited the plantations, or saw them in pictures or movies like “The Notebook”. You might already be familiar with one of the plantations.
The most famous are Middleton Place, Cypress Gardens, Magnolia Gardens, McLeod Plantation and Boone Hall Plantation. They still retain their historic agricultural culture when cash crops including rice and indigo were plentiful. While some are mainly lovely gardens with paths leading through a sea of flowers (especially in spring), others are operating farms that look more like a huge manicured backyard.
Your choices are endless. Tell us your dream and we’ll create it in Charleston.
Note: Some (most?) of Charleston’s plantations and gardens charge a fee for professional portrait sessions — from around $100 per session to $500 for an annual license. Also, they all close about 5pm.
Charleston beaches offer the best engagement photo locations. From the Isle of Palms to Folly Beach, down to Kiawah Island, there are palmetto trees, driftwood, sand and gentle waves.
Successful beach photos require timing. Pay attention and TRUST the forecast and YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER!
Sunrise, sunset…you can have it all! Our favorites… Folly Beach and Morris Island Lighthouse….
Are you in for a session but you don’t know what to wear? Head over to get our most trusted dressing tips for your engagement photographs!
Sounds all good but you still haven’t quite found what you are looking for? Tell us more about your vision and we are more than happy to find something unique for your session!
I highly encourage you to be creative and to think outside the box. The most unlikely locations can make a great backdrop for an engagement session. Maybe a private estate where you have exclusive access or an island with some secret ruins? The sky’s the limit and we are always excited to discover something new together with our couples.
If you’re more of a nature lover and would like to include this into your engagement photography location, then the numerous state and county parks around Charleston are worth a look. Palmetto Island County Park is our favorite.
Walking along a gorgeous deck while looking over the sheer endless marsh, shimmering with golden light during sunset. This park creates its very own romantic atmosphere that you can almost feel when looking at the photographs of our couples.
As you can see, the variety and options of engagement photo locations seem to be endless in Charleston.
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