What’s the most important photo you have ever taken? Particularly appealing baby photos and images of relatives who have since passed on may wind up being the most treasured memories you have. But these often seem to be planned snapshots, rather than something taken spontaneously.

When it comes to planned photography, though, the most important pictures many people will ever take are from their engagement and wedding. You’ll cherish these moments forever, and everyone wants to capture the beginning of their marriage in the best way possible.

Beyond Facebook and Instagram, many couples are finding ways to share these unique photos of their happy moment even more broadly. By putting them on the save the date notice you mail out or thank you cards after the ceremony, you not only give your loved ones an image to remember but get a bit more mileage out of the professional photos you paid to capture.

So how do you get most memorable, stunning images? More and more couples are choosing to do something special by memorializing their engagement with destination photos. And the following locations offer some of the best options if you want to create a truly magnificent shoot.

1. Beachfront

engagement photos

Nothing says happiness and joy like the ocean. If you can get yourself to a sandy beach in Southern California or the rocky shores of Maine, your engagement photos are certain to come out amazing. Of course, there are many waterfronts across the United States. But there’s just nothing quite like the pier of Santa Monica or the Portland Head Lighthouse to serve as an unforgettable backdrop. One rule to remember: Iconic sites make for iconic photos.

2. Mountaintop

Whether you are the outdoor adventurist type or simply love natural beauty, consider staging your engagement photos on a mountain. Nowhere in the United States is as majestic as the towering peaks of the Rocky Mountain in Colorado. Vail is a skier’s Mecca — for obvious reasons — but don’t overlook this and other nearby options even in the summer. A lush, green background can be even better than the snowy landscape, and there are so many areas throughout the whole state that would be perfect. Plus, you are much more likely to not face the wintry, unpredictable, inclement weather that could ruin your shoot.

engagement photos

3. Cityscape

Let’s face it: The outdoors isn’t for everyone. Many people were born in a big city or flock there in adulthood out of an innate draw to the excitement and chaos of the bright lights. Fortunately, this too can make a phenomenal location to frame your engagement memories. Nothing will help you showcase the moment better than New York City. Whether you place yourself on the Brooklyn Bridge, Times Square or near the arch of Washington Square Park, there is nowhere quite like the Big Apple.

engagement photos

4. Desert

Most people associate water and fields of green with spring and new beginnings of in life. The desert, by contrast, presents more of a dramatic and harsh setting. Still, especially if you and your loved one have a connection to the Southwest or have spent time hiking in the more arid regions of the country, this could be perfect. Imagine how spectacular your photos could look at sunset in Arches National Park or Joshua Tree. Sure, it will take a bit more planning to do something off the beaten track, and your photographer may not be able to carry all their studio lighting. But if it was easy, everyone would do it, and you would never stand out.

Capturing Yourself

engagement photos

The most important part of your engagement photos will always be you and your partner. You want to stage yourself in a place that is meaningful to you and fits your personality. But don’t forget that the whole world is your oyster. You don’t have to just look for the one local backdrop that will end up looking boring and a little cliché a few years down the line.

Take a trip to the beach in California, aspire to summit a beautiful peak in Colorado, live it up in a New York minute, or explore the unmistakable splendor of Arches National Park.

Think about it: Why be ordinary when you can be extraordinary?

If you get out there and explore — tying your photo-shoot to a vacation or adventure — you will have much more than just a few nice images to remember. You will have true memories and be able to spend the rest of your lives recounting that wonderful experience every time you see the photos.