Engagement photos in the Italian countryside? Weathered stone, cypress trees? And the light? Don’t get us started with the light. What photographer coudl resist? Though a lovely idea, it was a bit far for one Tennessee photographer, but luckily, she had another local location in mind: Olive Garden.
Photographer Shea Cravens is no stranger to photoshoot locations that are a little off-the-beaten path. If there’s potential, she won’t knock it for being unconventional. “I’ve never shot photos at any other restaurant, but I’ve done a photo shoot outside of Big Lots because it was a really neat area that caught my eyes to take photos at,” she told BuzzFeed.
How the Olive Garden engagement photos came to be
Cravens was inspired one day after dining at Olive Garden with family, remarking to her mother that the exterior of the building would be a good place for pictures. It’s easy to see why. The neutral stone beautifully reflects the light—and with a savvy crop, no one is the wiser. Is it a 13-century Italian castle-turned-winery or a restaurant chain? From the dreamy images, whose warm tones Cravens nabbed at sunrise, it’s a tough guess.
Carlsey Bibb and fiancé Caden Mills are friends of Cravens. “I asked Shea…if there was anywhere she had been wanting to shoot but hadn’t yet. That’s when she mentioned Olive Garden!” Bibb told BuzzFeed. “They were way better than we could’ve ever imagined.”
These Olive Garden engagement photos are going viral
With more than 260,000 views and 24,000 comments on TikTok, Cravens’ Olive Garden engagement photos are picking up steam with photographers and the media—even Jimmy Fallon had to talk about them. On Instagram, the same video has been watched 387,000 times. Cravens’ TikTok profile now reads “that Olive Garden photographer.”
The restaurant itself has weighed in, too. “Never-ending love calls for never-ending refills,” the pasta chain wrote.
A word of warning
While it might be every creative’s dream to go viral, there is a cautionary note to the story. One interested media publication commented on the TikTok video, asking “Will you irrevocably grant NBCU permission for unlimited use of the video and on all NBCU platforms and media, worldwide, in perpetuity?”
Another user replied, “Don’t do anything without asking for payment! These vultures will get your videos and get rich off of them without giving you a penny. Happened to me.”
While getting in front of literally millions of people who might like your work sounds like a dream, there’s a cost, too. So, photographers, when your moment in the spotlight comes, know how to protect yourself.