THE LOCATION MATTERS! Engagement Shoot Locations In The UAE – Expert Advice

Engagement Shoot Locations In The UAE

On hand for today’s BCME expert panel advice feature is one of our favourite UAE photographers, Maria Sundin. This article will be particularly interesting to recently engaged couples who are just beginning their wedding planning journey, and possibly considering an engagement photo shoot. But where should your photo shoot take place? Below, Maria gives us the inside scoop on some of her favourite locations. The good news is that there are so many different settings in the UAE, that there’s sure to be something for everybody, from the beach to the desert, and everything else in between! Today marks Maria’s last expert panel piece for BCME…for now! Read on to be inspired…

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When couples approach us about photographing their wedding, we always encourage them to include an engagement session in their package. Engagement sessions have become an important way to mark the beginning of a couples’ journey and they are also a great way to get to know your photographer and have a practice run for your wedding day. As a fine art photography studio, our focus is on creating images that have soft light and a luminous feeling, in the perfect location. To achieve this, finding the perfect location is very important. So, I thought I’d share with you some of our favourite locations for engagement sessions.

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Dubai and Abu Dhabi are famous for their beautiful beaches. What could be better than turquoise waters, soft sand and gently rolling waves? A stroll up the beach is a great way to get lovely engagement photos and put you both in the mood to show your true personality for the camera. Public beaches like Al Sufouh offer a great location for sessions of this nature.   

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Not many couples consider parks when looking for a location. The parks here offer a beautiful and unique location right within the city. Places like Creek Park and Zabeel Park in Dubai are beautiful spots with lots of lush greenery. In Abu Dhabi, Yas Island is one of my all time favourite places for engagement photos. Golf Courses can be another great option for engagement sessions, particularly if you are planning your wedding at the same location. 


Getting permission to take photographs in Dubai can be tricky. Establishing a good relationship with a hotel or restaurant/café can help to secure a beautiful location for your engagement session. There are a ton of locations we love for their beauty and unique flare. 

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If you are coming to Dubai for a destination wedding but don’t want to stay in the city, consider exploring a desert resort like Bab Al Shams. I’m currently in a desert phase and I just love everything that’s desert inspired. The classic Arabian architecture and the soft beige colours of the hotel walls against the backdrop of the sand just scream Arabian beauty, and are so pretty! It was also the perfect backdrop for Angela and Mark’s engagement session.

One of my other favourites in Dubai has to be One and Only the Palm. It’s a beautiful hotel with so many different locations right within the hotel grounds, perfect for couples who love the beach but equally as good for couples who are into beige and pink walls as a backdrop, which I personally adore!

A newcomer on my list of top engagement spots is Zaya, on Nurai Island, in Abu Dhabi. I had the pleasure of shooting an anniversary session at this location with BCME founder Rio and her husband Adam. This island’s tropical vibe has me hooked! Rio, from Bride Club ME should be featuring the full shoot soon, but in the meantime, you can see a few sneak peeks here.  

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Sometimes our clients are looking for that something extra, and they want to go where no one’s gone before for their engagement session; a location completely different from the rest. If you’re willing to go the extra mile to push your engagement session to another level of special, here are some of our faves:

  • The Fujairah Mountains (2 hours from Dubai). Here the rocks of the mountains have a beautiful reddish tone that work beautifully against lighter coloured clothing. We’ve got several mountain locations up our sleeve so if this is your cup of tea, we’re all for it.
  • Or why not go completely different and book a canoe ride on the eastern mangroves of Abu Dhabi? An island or desert retreat several hours away might be a mission but could it turn out to be the best couple photos you ever took. Is it perhaps worth the investment?


The desert. It’s probably one of the most popular options for engagement photos. I love how the dunes are always changing so the same spot never looks the same even if you keep coming back. The light in the desert is magic, the serenity and the openness so peaceful, truly the perfect setting for an engagement session!

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Last but certainly not least, we’ve also got a handful of secret engagement spots that we keep to ourselves. Our absolute favourite spots have the best of all worlds, a beautiful backdrop, magic light and something that sets them apart from the rest. That’s why we love them (and keep them a secret!) Shhhh….!

Looking for more wedding planning advice & tips? Click here.

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