I haven’t always called Raleigh home, but after working in over 20 states and countless cities, it’s become my favorite place on the planet to be. Not only is the atmosphere amazing, and the food incredible, but it offers such a range of diversity photographically. Within a very small radius, you can find an array of backgrounds, from modern to historical, with a range of over 220+ years of history. If for some reason you can’t find something you need right in town, you’re also a short drive from Durham, The North Carolina Coast, and the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, so there’s plenty around.  Below are my favorite engagement photography locations in Raleigh, North Carolina and the surrounding areas.

Downtown Raleigh, NC

Before you feel the need to go anywhere else, if you’re looking for a city feel, Downtown Raleigh offers you several options. With multiple parks immersed in the cityscape, you can create a ton of diversity without walking far at all.

best engagement photography locations in raleigh north carolina

best raleigh north carolina photography locations

JC Raulston Arboretum

If you want a variety of natural backgrounds, JC Raulston is Raleigh’s hidden gem (that’s becoming a bit less hidden). A pond, a lot of green, and the ability to shoot in any light you prefer, JC Raulston is an easy place to shoot.

Address: 4415 Beryl Rd, Raleigh, NC 27606

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david shay photography

Yates Mill

Yates Mill offers you a few distinct variations. You’ve got the Mill, a waterfall, the lake, and some more nature. If you prefer shade over harsh sun, you’ll have a lot of options here.

Address of Historic Yates Mill County Park: 4620 Lake Wheeler Rd, Raleigh, NC 27603

engagement and wedding photography

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[Related Reading: Best Engagement Photography Locations In Toronto, ON, Canada]

Downtown Apex (Apex)

While we’re technically outside of Raleigh, a short 20-minute drive brings you to downtown Apex (the peak of good living). It’s got a great small-town feel and looks just as good at night as it does during the day.

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photos of engagement couple

American Tobacco Campus (Durham)

20 minutes northwest you’ll find yourself in Durham. You can basically pick anywhere for a great location, but if you want to specifically capture the Bull-City feel, the American Tobacco Campus is a fantastic way to do it. PS- if you want the most magical $10 burger or amazing tacos you’ll have in your life, check out Only Burger or Gonzas Tacos y Tequila. You’re welcome.

Address: 300 Blackwell St #104, Durham, NC 27701

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Raleigh-North-Carolina engagement photography

Pullen Park

While pullen park does require the City of Raleigh Parks permit to work at, it’s a really nice location with a lot of scenes for you to choose from. The nice thing about this location, in particular, is how much shade there is to shoot in. If you’re looking for an easy shoot, this is a great option.

Address: 520 Ashe Ave, Raleigh, NC 27606
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There are so many great places in the Triangle for engagement sessions, so talk with your clients first and see what suits them best. The same couple that looks and feels natural downtown might feel uncomfortable in a park, so give them the choice! Pick a great spot, and if you ever see me around, make sure to say hi!

You can find more of my work via the links below:

Dave Shay: Website | Instagram | Facebook