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Black Hills National Forest Couple's Session | Brianna + Connor

Updated: Mar 27, 2023

I am so happy to finally share these photos from Bri and Connor’s couple’s session in the Black Hills, South Dakota. These photos are particularly special because I went to high school with Bri way back when, right here in the same small town where we shot these photos - a town that we like to call “The Heart of the Hills”. If you’ve ever visited Hill City, South Dakota, you probably understand why it’s called that. If you haven’t had the chance to visit, consider this your sign to do so. And while you’re there, make sure to set up your Black Hills Couple’s Session as well!


Bri and Connor's Black Hills Lifestyle Photos

On the morning that we had this photoshoot planned, South Dakota decided to grace us with negative degree weather and a thick frost over all of the Black Hills, leaving the trees covered in frosty white tips. I reached out to Bri and Connor the night before, giving them one last chance to reschedule and stay safe inside and out of the bitter cold. But they were determined to get these photos done, and I’m SO happy that they were committed and just as excited to take these photos as I was.

Since it was -10 degrees, we decided to light a fire and have them cuddle up with blankets. The sole purpose of lighting the fire was for warmth, but little did we know these would turn out to be THE BEST photos from their session! Take a look!

How to plan for your Black Hills engagement photos.

The Black Hills have a charm to them that I took for granted growing up there. But now that I've been away for a few years, I see all the magic and beauty that exists here, and I think they are the perfect place to have your engagement photos done- whether you live in the area or are from out of town!

As we all know, the Black Hills experiences all four seasons in full swing. The summer is beautiful and warm, the spring brings blooms in vibrant colors, and the winters can be brutal - but breathtaking when it snows. Choosing the right season to get your engagement photos done is important! Because each season will bring a different vibe to your photos!

Creative ideas to incorporate into your couple's session or engagement shoot

My favorite shoots are when the couple has a unique concept that they want to incorporate into their session - like lighting a fire for Bri and Connor's photos! It's a simple idea but creates a unique experience for you and your partner! That way, it's not just about getting great photos, but also about the memories and emotions from that day. If you're brave enough to try something unique for your engagement shoot, then check out this list of ideas below that would be great for any Black Hills engagement shoot!

1. Rent a cabin OR a canvas tent from Under Canva - make it a whole experience and take photos inside the cabin. Sit by the fireplace, have coffee on the porch, or cuddle up in bed with your partner! Who says your engagement photos only have to last an hour?

2. Go for a hike - the Black Hills is the perfect location to grab your partner and take some photos out in the woods! Check out the best hikes in the Black Hills here.

3. Go play in the snow - if it's the right season of course! Snowy photos are always so playful and fun!

4. Have a picnic in the forest - grab your favorite snacks, some wine, and curl up on a blanket together, surrounded by pine trees.

5. Ride in a helicopter - I have ALWAYS wanted to do this with one of my couples! Check out Black Hills Helicopters if this is up your alley!

6. Bring it into your home for a lifestyle session - are you one of those people that prides themselves in their living? Do you and your partner feel most content when you're at home spending time together? Then consider doing more intimate, in-home engagement photos! Bake a cake, drink morning coffee, dance in the kitchen, or do another activity that you love to do together!

Ultimately, you should have fun and enjoy your engagement session, so make sure you choose an activity and a location that you enjoy!

Picking a location for your session.

Black Elk Peak - Are you an adventurous couple? Do you love the outdoors? Then consider hiking Black Elk Peak and taking your engagement photos at the top! The view is unmatched and sure to give you unique photos.

Sylvan Lake - If hiking a mountain for your engagement photos isn't for you, then Sylvan Lake might by the perfect alternative! Situated at the base of Black Elk Peak, this lake will give you a gorgeous backdrop of granite rock formations and shimmering water.

Downtown Deadwood - If you're looking for more of a city setting to get your photos taken, then Downtown Deadwood is a great option! The cobble stone streets and old brick buildings are a unique setting to give you a little city amongst the Black Hills.

Badlands - Look up one picture of the Badlands and you will understand why this is such a great place for engagement photos or a couple's session! Make your experience unique by camping out in the Badlands overnight and having your photographer capture some starry night photos!

Spearfish Canyon - The perfect photoshoot location, especially in the fall! During the months of September, October, and November, this area is transformed by aspen trees, covering the whole canyon in bright yellow leaves!

The Needles Highway - Hop in your car and go for a scenic drive through The Needles Highway! While the road is pretty narrow, there are places to pull off along the way which give you breathtaking views of the Black Hills from above.

The great thing about the Black Hills is that a large majority of it is public land with endless forests to hike around. Simply pull off to the side of the road and automatically have a beautiful setting for a photoshoot! Inquire with me to talk about more photoshoot locations in the Black Hills National Forest.

Ready to book your Black Hills Engagement Session?

Just tell me when :) Fill out my Contact Form to set up a consultation call and start brainstorming for your Black Hills couple's session or engagement shoot! In the meantime, check out my Pinterest Board full of Black Hills inspired photoshoot ideas!

Take a look at the rest of Bri and Connor's gallery below!


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