May 13, 2024

Greenville, SC, Weddings

Furman University engagement sessions are some of my favorite sessions to photograph year round! My first ever paid couple’s session ($25 in 2018?!) was actually at the Furman University Rose Garden. (The couple found me through Facebook, I had no idea who they were, and I drove over to Furman University with my brand-spanking new driver’s license—imagine the mixture of anxiety and thrill!!) 

As a photographer living in Greenville, SC for more than 15 years, there’s definitely an advantage when it comes to finding the best photo spots around the area. 

Tip: Click here for nearby Charleston Instagram Spots (including Folly Beach, Rainbow Row, and the Pineapple Fountain). 

However, Furman University engagement sessions definitely do stand out amongst all the Greenville Instagram spots. The campus provides the perfect ensemble of nature (trees, gardens, blooms, the lake) and architecture for any engagement session. 

When to Visit

If you’re simply visiting or looking for couple things to do in Greenville, SC, make sure to visit Furman University which is open to the public. The best times to go are when the students are gone during spring break, summer break, Thanksgiving break, or Christmas break. Although, Christmas break is pretty frigid and bare… My favorite seasons to photograph Furman University engagement sessions are autumn and spring! 

Tip: Make sure to search any dates you’re looking to visit on the Furman University Academic Calendar to make sure the campus is not overcrowded for a game or festival of some sort. 

Most of my Furman University engagement sessions are in the evening during golden hour (mostly because I’ve never done a sunrise session there and because I like sleep). 

Best Starting Times (IMO):

Spring: 4:00 pm
Summer: 7:00 pm
Fall: 4:00 pm
Winter: Just avoid, lol. Jk, if you really must shoot in the winter time start earlier at 4:00 pm and try to avoid dead grass.

Where to Park

Parking at Furman University can be quite tricky, but it’s easy once you know the map of Furman University.

I find that parking near the Duke Energy Village and the Susan Shi Garden (“Koi Pond”) offers access to most of my favorite instagram photo spots around the lake.  

If you’re looking to photograph the Rose Garden, I recommend parking near the Barnes & Noble Gift Shop

Tip: The Rose Garden begins to bloom in May. Watch this “Furman University Bridal Photo Behind-the-Scenes” to see what the Rose Garden is like near golden hour!

The Daniel Chapel has its own parking lots on either side. 

Greenville Instagram Spots at Furman University

The Furman Bell Tower 

Furman University Engagement Session Bell Tower

This famous marker provides a symmetrical line of trees for a beautiful backdrop. I recommend having a shallow depth of field to create a creamy background because the trees are very gangly, even with the leaves out! 

Keep an eye out on the sun because this bell tower sits in the middle of the Furman lake. Because of this, anything around the bell tower is truly quite a distance from it, giving you little to nothing to ground (provide contrast to) your subject besides the water. If it’s super sunny out or if the sky is cloudless, and you only have the water as the background, your image can turn out really bright and blown out. That’s because the water will be reflecting the sun and the bright sky, giving extra illumination to your image. 

Furman University Engagement Session Bell Tower
Furman University Engagement Session Bell Tower

Tip: Learn artistic principles like symmetry for photography here. 

My Favorite Spots 

When photographing Furman University engagement sessions, I like to stay around the lake where the Koi Pond is. When photographing near golden hour, I’m able to hop from one set of Instagram photo spots to another: the Bell Tower line of trees, the lawn with the Bell Tower in the back, the willow tree, the Susan Shi Garden / Koi Pond, and even the Duke Energy Village. 

Across the Bridge (on the Swamp Rabbit Trail) 

Furman University Engagement Session Swamp Rabbit Trail

A little further down from the Koi Pond and past the amphitheater, you’ll find a wooden bridge that connects you to the other side of the lake, onto the Swamp Rabbit Trail (which I recommend biking or running!). I would visit this Greenville Instagram spot across the lake hours before the actual set golden hour because it’s pretty wooded. 

Rainy Day Covered Furman University Engagement Session Spots

While most of my favorite spots are outdoors, here are a few covered areas at Furman University for photoshoots in the light drizzle. 

Around the Lake

Furman University Engagement Session

The amphitheater is the only covered area I’ve found that provides enough light and offers enough space for big groups (like a bridal party). 

If it’s just the two of you adding Furman University to you “couple things to do in Greenville, SC list,” you can still admire the beauty of the Koi Pond and the lake from the Duke Energy Village cottage while it’s raining. 

Towards the Front of Campus

If it’s raining and you don’t mind missing the lake, the Daniel Chapel provides a front covered patio. This Greenville Instagram spots will provide a clean white backdrop for your Furman University engagement session. There is a parking lot to the left and the right of the chapel. 

Another spot I’ve scouted but never shot at before is above the bridge near the campus police department. The sun is nice here during golden hour or in the afternoon, but it is pretty much in the woods. 

Furman University is about 15 minutes from Downtown Greenville and 30 minutes from Downtown Greer. Make sure to follow along on my blog to learn more about Greenville, South Carolina, and travel tips for other cities we grow to love.

Thank you for reading my blog post; I really appreciate it and I hope you’re inspired and feeling confident to Capture Joy in your Next Adventure. 

just abby joy

just abby joy



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *