05 Oct Engagement Photos: Everything You Need to Know
He put a ring on it! You’re officially getting married and now it’s time to take your engagement photos. It’s a super exciting step in the wedding planning process, and you will love looking back on the photos for years to come.
This guide explains all the basics for planning your photo shoot and making the day smooth and seamless. I learned everything I’m sharing from my own engagement shoot experience as well as working as a wedding planner and coordinating sessions for dozens of clients.
Who takes your engagement pictures?
You can use your wedding photographer or any other professional. The main benefit of using your wedding vendor is that you get comfortable with them and develop a rapport before the big day. My fiancé and I did our shoot in Paris, where he popped the question, so we found someone local. Flytographer is a super popular site if you’re looking to hire a photographer in a new city.
When should they be taken?
As soon as possible! For those of you hoping to use your wedding photographer, I’d start talking about dates immediately after signing your contract. You may need to wait for a warmer month if you’re hoping for outdoor photos. But the earlier you take them, the more ways you can use them, which brings me to…
What should I use my photos for?
Besides having prints or an album for your home, engagement photos work great in your save the date design. (These should be sent out at least 6-8 months before the wedding, btw.) Personally, I love using them for wedding websites. I used several photos from my shoot to create a cohesive look across the various pages.
Where should I take them?
Any place that has special meaning to you is truly *chef’s kiss*. This could be the rooftop of your apartment or the restaurant where you met. If you don’t have a spot in mind, a beautiful park, beach or the downtown area of your city will totally work. Usually your photographer will have some ideas if you’re stuck. P.S. In NYC, I love classic Central Park photos (Bethesda Terrace or Bow Bridge), the cobblestone streets of Tribeca, Grand Central, Madison Square Park and the Seaport district to name a few.
What should I wear?
The only thing that matters is that you coordinate with your partner on the attire. If he’s in a sharp suit and you’re in jeans and a sweater, it will look like you didn’t communicate. As far as colors, a lot of people say to stick to solids and neutrals, but I completely ignored that advice. A red floral dress felt much more my style, and I absolutely love how the final photos turned out.
How long do engagement sessions last?
In my opinion, an hour is the perfect amount of time. You’ll get plenty of great shots without feeling rushed. For multiple locations or outfit changes, I’d talk to your photographer about adding on extra time.
How should I pose?
Don’t worry about this at all! I’m not the most comfortable in front of the camera, but your photographer will direct you. Just follow their lead — even when it feels a bit awkward — and you’ll get some amazing shots.
What should I bring?
Pack light. Unless you want your bag in the photos, every time you switch locations you’ll need to find a new place to put down your purse or ask your photographer to carry it. They’ll already be loaded down with their own equipment so try to leave any non-essential items at home.
Should I include my pet?
Dogs make engagement photos even cuter. If you want to bring your fur baby, ask a friend or family member to come along to help. Take all the pet pics at the beginning and then ask them to take your pup home so you’re free of distractions for the rest of your shoot.
What else do I need to know?
Use your engagement pics as an opportunity for a hair and makeup trial. Besides having somewhere to go once you get glammed up, you’ll also see how the hair and makeup comes across on camera.
Last but not least, decide if you want to submit a wedding announcement to any newspapers or websites prior to the shoot and check their criteria. Here in NYC, The New York Times is the most coveted, and the photo submission must feature both people’s eyebrows at the exact same level.
Above all, just have fun with it and go with the flow!
What other questions or tips do you have for engagement shoots? Let me know in the comments!