Shelly Pate

Couples Adventure Session: Plan an Adventure to Be Whatever You Make It

Ready to add a little adventure into your couples session? The great thing about adventure sessions is they can be whatever you design them to be! From an all-day adventure to a few hours doing an activity you love. A day of adventure is exactly what you two make it. See all the possibilities available for turning your photo session into a couples adventure!

Couples adventure on top of mountain in Shenandoah National Park

What a Couples Adventure Session Can Mean For You!

Since an adventure session can be anywhere or anything that you choose, the definition of what counts as an “adventure” is totally up for grabs! Generally, I define a couples adventure photo session as going off the grid by exploring the outdoors and traveling to multiple locations in one day.

Couple sits holding pregnant belly at maternity session

You can really take your time by making it an all-day event. Think of it as a date with just the two of you and pretend I’m not there! You can spend half the day in Washington, DC for all the city vibes, and enjoy the sunset at Shenandoah National Park to close it out. We can even begin in nature and end the day in the city under the twinkling city lights!

Couples stands holding hands on top of mountain in Shenandoah National Park

How to Plan Your Couples Adventure Session

Husband kisses wife's forehead for couples adventure on top of mountain

Together we will plan your couples adventure session according to three major factors: time, location, and activity. What you want to do and where you want to make it happen determines the length of your session. Here’s what I walk my couples through as we plan out their adventure:

Choose Your Adventure Session Type

  • TIME: generally lasts 2-6 hours depending on the activity, location, and the time of day that we want to catch the light (sunrise or sunset). Two hours to a half day works if we are staying in one region. Up to six hours are necessary to factor in travel time between locations (travel included for the DC Metro Area) and what it takes to walk or hike to the special spot. Doing a roadtrip style adventure for couples will also include stopping for lunch and/or dinner. Turn a half-day or full day session into a weekend away like this couple did for their Assateague Island engagement session with their pups! 
couple walks holding hands through woods at couples adventure
  • ACTIVITY: hiking, walking downtown, sitting in your favorite coffee shop, picnicking on the beach, experiencing something new to you both, hiking a mountain at a national park or walking through a local open field, enjoying an iconic Washington, DC landmark or neighborhood, paddle boat ride, or catching the sunrise or sunset at a gorgeous urban or outdoor location. Make sure you bring your pups and cats too!
couple walks holding hands through field at sunset couples adventure
  • LOCATION: indoors, outdoors, city, urban, or both!

Regular engagement sessions last about 90 minutes and involve either one location or two very close locations. We can definitely add a bit of adventure to a regular session with a short hike that includes off-road views. We just have to stick to one general area because of the time constraints.

All-Day Adventure Session Sample Timeline

Couples embraces seated on top of mountain in Shenandoah National Park
  • 1:30 PM Walk through Washington, DC and eat lunch at your favorite spot.
  • 2:30 PM Leave for Shenandoah National Park.
  • 4:30 PM Arrive at Shenandoah National Park (gate check-in can take some time on Saturdays).
  • 5:00 PM Arrive at Big Meadows.
  • 6:00 PM Head to the mountain-view trail.
  • 6:30 PM Short hike up for the view.
  • 6:45 PM Sunset mountain photos.
  • 7:15 PM Head back down the mountain.
couple walks through forest holding hands at sunset maternity shoot

Top Spots for Washington, DC Area Adventure Trips for Couples

If you’re looking for ideas in the DC Metro Area, I have so many spots to recommend!

Old Town Alexandria, Virginia Waterfront

Fells Point Neighborhood, Baltimore, Maryland 

Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC

Georgetown, Washington, DC

The National Arboretum, Washington, DC

couple kisses on mountaintop at Shenandoah National Park maternity session

Adventure Ideas

An adventure is seriously whatever you make it and it can be as adventurous or as simple as makes sense for you as a couple. There’s no need to copy someone else’s story. If walking to your favorite coffee shop or brewery is your kind of adventure then let’s make it happen! These are the types of life events that can be turned into memories through an adventure session:

  • Couples Session: mark a special celebration or just where you’re at in life including the places and activities you two love doing together! This looks like a home or local session capturing your favorite spots or celebrating a new home or job! 
couple sits on rock embracing at sunset couples adventure
mom sits on mountaintop while embracing pregnant belly at maternity session
  • Motherhood:
    • Maternity (can also be done boudoir style).
    • Journey through pregnancy: starting with an initial pregnancy announcement session followed by mini session every two months marking the growing bump to newborn photos.
    • Intimate Family Portraits with your kids capturing any stage of motherhood by playing, snuggling, and doing activities together that they love at this age.
couple embraces on mountaintop at sunset maternity session

Your Couples Adventure is Whatever YOU Make It!

couple walks holding hands on mountaintop at sunset maternity session

Katie and Jon decided to turn their maternity session into a couples adventure marking the coming birth of their first child! Even with the physical limitations of walking around with a woman who is pregnant, we found ways to get out into nature and capture their love both for each other and their baby-to-be! These photos also marked their five-year anniversary!

For these two, making memories together through adventure was already a part of their story. As Katie mentioned, one of their favorite adventures together was a “spontaneous road and camping trip to see the wonderful national parks. Each is absolutely breathtaking in their own way!” Katie and Jon have held a national park pass for the past few years so it was important to them that their photos were taken in one.

couple walks holding hands on mountaintop at sunset maternity session

They particularly wanted to capture the magic that they experienced hiking Old Rag Mountain in Virginia as Katie recalled: “we chased the sunrise and it was so worth it. The sky was absolutely stunning!” Shenandoah National Park provided a short hike with gorgeous views and a meadow at sunset with the mountain range in the background to get the skies that they love at their session!

The thing is, you don’t need a reason. Everyone should set aside some time to document the experience they are having together in their current life. These two were so easygoing and sweet as they just embraced the entire experience! The point is: ya’ll can make the time as adventurous as possible in a way that matches your personality, your love story, and the interests you share.

Ready to visit your local favorites or explore a place new to you both? Let’s start planning your adventure!

couple embraces standing on top of mountain at sunset couples adventure

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