You may recall that Mr. Whale and I are having a semi-destination wedding in the Blue Ridge Mountains, about nine hours from where we currently live. That’s made vendor hunting a bit more challenging. One of the most important vendors to meet (so I hear) is the photographer. After all, one usually spends quite a few hours with this person on your wedding day. They’d better be someone you’re willing to hang out with for a while. We finally chose a photographer after much disaster, and we’re so pumped to have her. But unfortunately, we still haven’t met her. We’re also not doing a first look, so if we don’t meet until the wedding, she literally wouldn’t see both of us together until I walk down the aisle. Whoa. That’s probably not ideal.

For this reason, we are definitely finding a way to do engagement photos. Mr. Whale and I end up in the Atlanta area (where our photographer is) a couple of times each year, because that’s a good place to stop when we’re driving from Maryland to the Mississippi Gulf Coast (where Mr. Whale’s family lives). And so we decided that we could have our engagement photos done during one of these stops. But”¦unfortunately, the only time we’re going to be in Atlanta between now and the wedding is”¦January. Brrrrrr!

Thus begins the debate: should we try to have pictures taken outside, even though we’ll be freezing our bums off? Or should we find a great indoor location? From a photographer’s perspective, outside is always better. Indoor lighting is just a bit yucky for photographs. However, an outdoor photo shoot in January isn’t going to have bright blue skies and lush green grass and trees with lots of leaves. We’ll probably have grayish skies, dead grass, and brown leafless trees”¦

So I started looking for indoor ideas. There are a lot of couples who have taken AMAZING engagement photos inside museums.


Image by DC Photographer, Amber Wilki


Image by Amber Wilkie

Children's Museum Houston Engagement Photography - Thuy   John

Image by Serendipity Photography

I love the idea of using a cool museum! But, could I find a really awesome one in the Atlanta area? Well”¦that’s a bit of a challenge. Yet again, we don’t live in Atlanta. I don’t know where the cool museums are. I don’t even know what museums they have! But I didn’t let this stop me. The High Museum of Art seems to be a very popular location for photos, and they have a cool wall of mirrored hemispheres.


Image by Blume Photography

I think this is nice, but Mr. Whale and I aren’t super excited about art. I mean, we love certain types of art, but having our engagement photos at an art museum doesn’t really feel like “us.” Another popular location is the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, because they have an indoor section.


Image from Alternative Life Photography

It’s beautiful at the Botanical Gardens, and it would almost be like being outside. But”¦it costs $150 to have a photo shoot. In fact, most of the indoor locations in Atlanta charge between $100 and $250 to have a photo shoot. Le sigh.

But then”¦I saw something that really caught my eye. I’ve always loved pictures of couples walking on train tracks.

rustic engagement, train station photo, train station engagement, antique engagement photo, old suit cases, antique suit cases

Image by Aylin Marcello

I’m not really into metaphors (not that I don’t like them, but I suck at coming up with them or recognizing their existence in literature or artistic things), but I feel like the train tracks represent transition. So they seem really appropriate for an engagement, as we transition from our separate lives to a lifetime together. And it turns out”¦Atlanta has a train museum—the Southeastern Railway Museum! I was able to find a handful of couples’ engagement photos taken there, and they’re stunning!


Image by ArtStar Photography


Image by ArtStar Photography

Image by Claudia McDade

They’ve got the best of both worlds. There seem to be tons of great locations inside the museum, and then we can run outside and take some cool outdoor ones (on the train tracks! I’m such a sucker for those pics).

What does the hive think? I love this idea, but we’ve still got a little time. Did I miss a great Atlanta area location?


Mrs. Blue Whale

College Park, MD
Wedding Date:
May 2013
Rehearsal for the Rehearal: The Conclusion
One Ring to Rule Them All
Add a comment


  1. Member
    emma20130601 341 posts, Helper bee @ 10:46 am

    We’re doing a January engagement shoot also, but we’ve decided to do it outside! I found some really cute winter engagement pictures so we’ve decided to go that route. Cross our fingers it’s not too cold out (we’re a little further north than you). :) I’m sure yours will turn out lovely! The idea of a museum is really cool and so are the train tracks. :)

  2. Member
    stephk527 987 posts, Busy bee @ 11:58 am

    Some of our pictures took place on train tracks and a handful of them are my favorites. Definitely worth it for the awesome shots!

  3. Member
    lisaelanna 530 posts, Busy bee @ 12:11 pm

    We had to do our engagement shoot in an in-between period too – when everything is dead, but there’s no chance for pretty snow pictures, etc. Our photographer had us take pictures in an industrial sort of area – there were old (kinda run-down) buildings and some of them had some very bright graffiti. It might sound kind of odd, but there was a ton of ‘texture’ to the area which made the pictures turn out really interesting and beautiful. I can’t claim to know anything about Atlanta, as I’ve never been there, but I would bet there are some similar areas of the city to do something like that…

    I found these just by a google search:

  4. mstoadstool Member
    mstoadstool 2485 posts, Buzzing bee @ 12:35 pm

    I love the pics. It’s fantastic you can have pictures both in an outside.

  5. Member
    glasgowbound 3169 posts, Sugar bee @ 2:18 pm

    Th e aquarium In Atlanta is AMAZING!!!!!!!!! I have no idea if they allow photo shoots but its an idea

  6. Member
    littlemisshostess 1040 posts, Bumble bee @ 6:35 pm

    we had a similar issue as we are being married about 2.5 hrs away but the photog we chose is about 4 and it was going to cost us extra to have him come to us….. we did outside this past thanksgiving weekend in boston and while friday was really nice it took a turn on saturday when our shoot was scheduled! Luckily I went to school w a uniform as a kid so tights in the cold wasn’t too bad but it was definitely a little less enjoyable than it would be in the nicer weather.

    I think the train museum is a great compromise – fun outside for some quick shots with a bunch inside in the fun scenes. You can totally have a crazy fun vintage outfit for one look too which would just be so cute (to me!)

  7. mspony Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 6:37 pm

    I think the train museum is a great idea, especially since you never know about the weather too!

  8. graywolf Member
    graywolf 725 posts, Busy bee @ 7:46 pm

    cool idea and very coincidental since you like those photos!

    that top photo is amazing – it’s recent too, that cube is an ai weiwei work at the hirshhorn right now. anyone in DC should go see the exhibition, it’s awesome.

  9. painauchocolat Member
    painauchocolat 2298 posts, Buzzing bee @ 8:20 pm

    A photo location with indoor and outdoor options is smart. You can’t guarantee sunny weather!

  10. Member
    BabyBlueEyes 235 posts, Helper bee @ 4:56 pm

    I don’t know if y’all are into this kind of thing, if you’ve already looked into it, what the price would be, or even if the pictures would be good…. But I know Atlanta has an AMAZING aquarium! We are passing through Atlanta on our way home from our honeymoon just so we can spend a day there!

  11. bluewhale Member
    bluewhale 638 posts, Busy bee @ 4:00 pm

    @Glasgowbound: and @BabyBlueEyes: We definitely considered the aquarium! We’ve been, and it was awesome! Plus, it totally fits in with our love of sea creatures :) But… once we realized that just getting us in would cost almost $100 (tickets are $30 per person), we decided it probably wasn’t worth it. Sad day.

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