The weather forecast for this Donner Summit engagement shoot had me raise an eyebrow. While the sun was shining brightly outside my window, a different story was unfolding in the atmosphere above California. A powerful low-pressure system with frigid winds was on the horizon.

This isn’t unusual for fall, so I sent a message to my couple reminding them to layer up. Instead of worrying, I saw the potential for a truly unique shoot. And like all the other places for photos sessions in the Tahoe Basin, I know how to plan a shoot so that we stay warm!

After all, what better way to capture the warmth of their love than by photographing them cuddling close in the woods, finding refuge from the elements? Plus, the wind could add a dynamic and unpredictable energy to the images. I couldn’t wait to see how it all unfolded!

Spinning around on Cloud 9 at a Donner Summit engagement photoshoot.

A Stunning Location in the Mountains

One of the best things about engagement photos around Donner Summit is that you rarely see anyone else. This is especially true during the shoulder season, but I also have some favorite spots that are never crowded. I believe this is one of the best places for photos in Tahoe. It’s perfect for anyone that wants a more private photoshoot without other people watching.

Compared to all the other locations for engagement photos in Lake Tahoe, this one always shines. It offers amazing scenery of peaks, valleys, and ridges. Also, the light evolves beautifully during the course of our session.

As the sun sets, the north face of Donner Peak goes into shadow. In the photo below, I juxtaposed the highlights of the couple against the dark shadows of the mountain.

The iconic bridge near the top of Old Highway 40 is known as both Rainbow Bridge and Donner Summit Bridge. Here, I framed the couple within the arch of the bridge.

Engagement photoshoot next to Donner Summit Bridge.

Golden Hour at Sunset

I always enjoy exploring the way the light and shadows fall on this dramatic alpine landscape. Shortly before sunset (and during an especially gusty period), we ducked into the forest for cover. The golden hour light filtered in through the trees and we made one of my favorite photos of the afternoon.

A couple shares a special moment during Golden Hour at their Truckee engagement photoshoot.

Believing that this image captured the feeling of that blustery afternoon, I submitted the photo to an engagement photo contest. When the results came in from the Wedding Photojournalists Association, I saw that this photo received a Diamond Award! The WPJA Diamond Award recognizes engagement portraits for their unique, artistic compositions and lighting techniques.

In the next photo, I used the leading lines of the road and the rule of thirds to draw attention to the couple.

In my photos, I try to show the ways that people give and receive love. Especially during a pre-wedding photoshoot. In the photo below, I captured a loving embrace during the evening’s last rays of sunlight.

A warm embrace at sunset during a couple's engagement photos near Sugar Bowl Resort.

Lake Tahoe Engagement Photoshoot

Are you looking for a Lake Tahoe engagement photographer? You are in the right place! Whether you need a wedding photographer who also offers pre-wedding portraits, or just someone to take engagement photos while you are visiting the area, I can help.

Head over to my contact page and shoot me a message to check my availability. You can also see more examples of my work on my engagement photography portfolio.

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