Are you recently engaged? Congratulations! Your engagement is such an exciting time, filled with lots of dreaming and planning about your wedding day. Some of the planning for the big day can get a little stressful, so one of the most fun things to do at the beginning or middle of your engagement is to take a break for an engagement photo shoot. Looking for engagement photo ideas and wondering what you can do with your engagement photos? You can use your engagement photos for your save the date cards, or engagement announcement photo in the local paper, and of course, your family will always like to see photos of you two!
Engagement photos are also great practice and research for you both in preparing for your wedding photographs. My husband and I are really snuggly in private and around friends and family, but put a photographer with a big camera in our faces and one of us (surprisingly, me!) practically hyperventilates! The idea of having to be smoochy in front of a camera can be a little uncomfortable, so it’s a great idea to have a little practice before your wedding day.
So let’s talk tips! Here’s what you should consider when planning and preparing for your engagement photos.
Let’s talk about the style of your engagement photos first. There are so many different looks and vibes you could choose for your engagement photos, but the best advice I can give is to opt for a style that reflects you as a couple. Have a dog and love walking him together? Consider bringing him along on your engagement shoot. Love packing picnics for your local park? Consider inviting your photographer along. You’ll likely be more relaxed if you’re doing something you normally do than putting on a show just for the camera. That said, if you and your partner don’t mind a little acting for the camera, you can play that up. Dress up like you’re heading to a premiere or to a five star hotel and have your photographer capture your glam style!
Once you’ve decided on the style of photos you want, consider the location. Out in a field with picnic, in a row boat in the middle of a lake, on a busy street with people and taxis whizzing by, there are endless options. Spend a little time in front of the computer with your partner and narrow down what you want your look to be.
Your photographer will also be able to help with this, so have a conversation about your engagement photo ideas and the best locations to use to get the best result. My husband and I never had engagement photos taken, but we had an anniversary shoot last year. Our photographer scouted out a park and managed to find the only cherry blossoms still blooming late into the season! She also chose a few spots around the same park that gave us a few other looks – spots we would never have thought would look good but turned out amazing!
Another thing to keep in mind – if you have your heart set on a location, make sure you have permission to shoot photographs there. If your photographer is local, he or she will likely know where you will have to ask permission and can take care of that. But the last thing you want is a grumpy security guard interrupting your shoot!
All those glowy, atmospheric engagement photos you see? They’re usually taken during the “golden hour”, what photographers call the hour before sunset when the light is optimal. The light is usually the best at the start or the end of the day, so you’ll want to take that into consideration when you’re choosing a location. If you’re hoping to use a park in the late afternoon or evening, make sure you know when that park closes so your shoot doesn’t get cut short.
What to Wear
Choosing outfits for an engagement shoot can be tricky! You want to coordinate with your partner, but you don’t want to look too matchy-matchy. You also want to be relatively comfortable so you can look relaxed in the photographs. Finally, you want to be dressed appropriately for the season if you’re taking photographs outside. Depending on your package with your photographer, you might be able to choose a few different outfits, which can be nice if you’re not 100% sure about your outfits.
When I’m planning my outfits for shoots, I like to make a list of each piece of clothing I’ll need and fill each in. I usually pull clothes out of my wardrobe and lay them on my bed next to each other – visualization helps! Of course, keep in mind your background for the photos. When I knew there would be cherry blossoms in our photos, I chose a purple skirt that would look a little springy. Ideally, I would have been able to wear bare legs and cute heels, but April in Dublin is chilly and I knew I’d end up with blue lips and goosebumps everywhere!
If your partner is opinionated about his or her clothes and insists on wearing something you don’t love, bring along a few extra options just in case. My husband wouldn’t listen to any of my suggestions for coordinating our outfits, but I did have a few extra options in my bag in case what he chose really clashed with what I was wearing.
Getting ready for your engagement photos and coming up with engagement photo ideas is like a trial run for your wedding photos. If you’re hoping to be in better shape for your wedding, use your engagement photo shoot as an extra incentive. You can also use your engagement shoot as a trial for your hair and makeup stylist. You’ll likely have a different look on your wedding day because engagement shoots tend to be a little more casual, but you’ll get a sense of whether your makeup shows up well in photographs or if you need a little more or less coverage.
Most photographers recommend using teeth whitening strips a week or two before your shoot, and if you’re planning for a spray tan for your wedding, you could try that out here as well. If you’re too dark for your engagement photos, that’s better than being too dark in your wedding photos!
That’s a whole lot of information for your engagement photos, but keep in mind they should also be a fun break from wedding planning for you and your partner! There’s only one other day you’ll get to be smooching in front of a camera, so enjoy it! And if you have tips to share from your own experience, do share!
Emily Westbrooks is an American-born writer and blogger based in Dublin, Ireland. She is the Online Editor for Confetti Magazine, one of Ireland’s top bridal magazines. She also writes her own lifestyle blog, From China Village, where she chronicles her adventures in Dublin, travels around Europe, DIY projects and Irish design. She shares her home with her husband, one cat, and four sassy chickens! Browse Emily’s unique tips here.