For outdoor lovers, there is nothing better than leaving the world behind and heading up into the mountains. If that sounds like you and your partner, then why not head up to the mountains for your engagement photos?
Being a photographer in North and South Carolina, I have spent a ton of time capturing pictures all along the Blue Ridge Parkway with my couples. While there are a ton of pull-offs along the parkway that are really easy to access, there are also some great spots if you are up for a hike.
So, if you are looking for a bit of an adventure along with your session, let’s take a look at how to get the perfect Black Balsam Knob engagement photos!
How to Get to Black Balsam Knob
Before we jump into some tips for getting engagement photos at Black Balsam Knob, let’s talk about how to get there first. Black Balsam Knob is located in Asheville, North Carolina, and is an absolutely gorgeous place to be.
The views from here are stunning and you feel like you can see for miles. Whether you live right in Asheville or want to take a bit of a trip, this should absolutely be at the top of your list for mountain engagement sessions.
With that being said, I do want to note that it isn’t necessarily a drive-up and park type location. For most of the stunning areas that you can go to take pictures, you will have to do some hiking (which we will talk about in just a minute) so be sure you keep that in mind.
If you are coming from out of town, there are also a ton of places that you can stay around this area so you can even make a whole weekend trip out of it!
Tips for Black Balsam Knob Engagement Photos
Before you jump into your session here, I wanted to give a few tips for how to get the perfect Black Balsam Knob engagement photos. I headed up here with Stacie and Rachel for their engagement session.
These two love being outdoors and have been to an impressive amount of National Parks so this was the perfect spot for their session!
Be prepared for a hike
As I mentioned earlier, this isn’t necessarily a drive and walk out mountain. For most of the amazing views, you are going to have to do a bit of hiking, so be prepared for that.
When we went, we did a pretty strenuous hike to get up to where we had our session. A few parts of it were pretty steep and there were a couple of rocky sections that can definitely get slippery if it is wet.
I would definitely recommend wearing a good pair of hiking boots to get up there. You can definitely change your shoes once you are up there, but you are going to want good shoes on the hike up.
If you are used to hiking/being outdoors, you will totally be able to get up here. However, if you have never hiked before, or aren’t comfortable hiking, I would maybe look into some other areas that are a bit easier to access.
This is also a popular place to go so you will most likely run into other people. However, there are also plenty of places that you can slip off to in order to get a bit more privacy and have a session without a ton of eyes on you!
It’s also important to check the road conditions before you head up there. The Blue Ridge Parkway is not maintained in the winter, and you don’t want snow or ice to derail your session. Cell Phone service is spotty to nonexistent too.
Bring lots of water and even some snacks
Water is an absolute necessity and I would even suggest bringing a couple of snacks as well. As you hike up, you will 100% want water. Your session is definitely not going to be fun if you are dehydrated and hungry when you make it to the top.
Now, I would suggest bringing water to any photoshoot just because it is always important to stay hydrated, but I would bring more water than you think when you head up to Black Balsam Knob.
For snacks, you don’t need to bring anything crazy or huge, just enough to keep you going if you do start to feel your energy dip. Granola bars, trail mix, fruit snacks, or even some chips are great options that are compact, but will help keep you going throughout the session!
Wear comfortable clothes
I will always tell people to wear comfortable clothes for their engagement sessions but this goes two ways for a session here. You definitely want to wear clothes that you are comfortable hiking in to make it up the mountain.
Now, this doesn’t have to be the same outfit that you wear for your photoshoot. You can absolutely change once you get up there (which may be the best option to make sure you don’t get your outfits dirty before you take pictures).
Aside from just having clothes that you are comfortable hiking in, you also want to make sure the outfit or outfits you wear for your session are comfortable. If you don’t love tight clothes, wear something looser and more baggy.
If you don’t love dressing super formal, keep it more casual. These photos are really just for you and your partner so don’t feel like you need to fit into any mold for them. Make them whatever you want!
Check the weather beforehand
This is an absolute must and something that you should start doing leading up to your session. Weather can definitely change unpredictably and even more when you are talking about a mountain.
Make sure you are as informed as possible when it comes to what to expect when you get to the mountain. If it is going to be warmer, make sure you pack more water and maybe even sunscreen.
If it is going to be colder, be sure to pack more layers. This is especially important if you are planning on doing a sunset session. Once the sun goes down, it can get cold very quickly so pack extra layers that you can not only wear in your photos without them looking off, but also wear as you hike back down.
And as much as you don’t want this to happen, it’s also important to check the weather to make sure you can actually have your session on the mountain when you planned to do it.
Have a backup plan with your photographer
Obviously, you picked Black Balsam Knob for your engagement photos for a reason, and as much as you may want to have your session there, Mother Nature may have other plans.
Just like any other outdoor session, it’s important to talk to your photographer and make a backup plan just in case you aren’t able to be on the mountain when you want to be.
Depending on your photographer, this may look like a few different things. They may have a couple of openings that you can have your session during so you may be able to just postpone it.
You could also have backup locations that you can go to instead of the mountain. These don’t even necessarily have to be indoor locations either. Sometimes, the weather up on a mountain isn’t great, but at the base it is beautiful.
Whatever you decide to do, be sure you communicate with your photographer so that everyone is on the same page and has the same expectations!
Prepare for subtle autumn hues
We all love the bold and vibrant colors of fall and it is such an amazing time to be outside. However, it is important to know that the colors on Black Balsam Knob are a bit different than you would find in other spots in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The autumn hues here are a bit more subtle and you will often find more muted pops of red throughout. Now, don’t get me wrong, these are still absolutely stunning and create the perfect backdrop for your session, but it is a bit different than other spots.
You’ll also find fields with long, wild grass that are so beautiful, especially in the fall. It is even more beautiful as the sun starts to set and makes it feel like everything is almost glowing!
Pack a first-aid kit
Finally, pack a first-aid kit. I know this may sound weird and not something you would think of when it comes to what to bring to your engagement session, but I would definitely still suggest bringing one.
You never know what is going to happen up on a mountain and it can be really easy to slip and fall or get small nicks as you head up to your photoshoot location. A first-aid kit is one of the things you don’t know you need until you need it so it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Final Thoughts on Engagement Photos at Black Balsam Knob
Hopefully, these tips will help you get the perfect Black Balsam Knob engagement photos. This truly is a magical place to get your engagement photos taken and will create memories that you and your partner will cherish.
If you are still looking for a photographer to take this adventure with you, I’d love to chat! I love going up here and would love to help capture part of your love story. You can click here to get in touch and talk about how we can make that happen!