As a photographer, I love taking engagement pictures. It’s an exciting time when a couple is still giddy over their new relationship status, but the stress of the big wedding is still far away. But here’s the thing: most couples I shoot with aren’t models. This means they’re sometimes nervous or unsure of how to go about a photoshoot. That’s where I come in.
I want your engagement photos to truly reflect your relationship and the special, once-in-a-lifetime love you share with your partner. So, I wrote this cheatsheet to get you ready before your big day — the engagement session. Let’s shake off the nerves and clear up any confusion with these engagement photos dos and don’ts.
What other time in your life are you obliged to take super cute pictures of you and the love of your life and then send them off to everyone you know? Just picture yourself hanging on your grandma’s fridge with your save-the-date. I mean come on, it’s adorable.
Plus, just like queen Taylor Swift says, “Capture it, remember it.” This is something I talk about a lot. Not only are you only young once, but this season of engagement won’t last forever. Capturing this exact moment in your lives will mean so much to you for years to come.
Remember that your engagement photo shoot with this person is a once-in-a-lifetime event (unless this is your second time getting engaged to this person, then that’s badass). Your engagement session is a time to take a break from the craziness of wedding planning for a few hours just to soak up the magic of this moment and this season.
Look, my job as a local wedding/engagement photographer means that I’ve worked with hundreds of people who are not professional models. So, I don’t expect you to know exactly how to move in front of a camera. Keep in mind that it’s my responsibility to make your photos look fabulous and all you need to do is show up and be in love.
One way I help my clients feel more comfortable in front of the camera is by doing as little posing as possible. Gone are the days of “move your arm a little to the left, tilt your head, knee bent, steady… steady… perfect!” I love to capture photos that feel like looking at a moment. I’m more likely to tell you to move around a bit, hug, kiss, and be in love as usual.
Also, keep in mind that when you hire me I’m working for you! If there’s any time you don’t like the way the session is going or you’d like to take a break or switch things up, it’s your call. I have your back
I’m all about scouring Pinterest for the perfect engagement photo ideas, outfits, and aesthetics. Pin away to your heart’s desire and I won’t stop you. Yet, while you’re scrolling, keep in mind that some trends are just that: trends. They come and go and in a few years — or even months — the aesthetic can be out of style.
Always have the thought in the back of your head, “Is this something I like?” Remember that at the end of the day, in 10 years no one will be looking through your Insta feed to see if your engagement photos were perfect. They are first and foremost for you. I hate to sound like your mom here but, just because it’s cool doesn’t mean you have to do it… especially if it doesn’t reflect you and your partner. Choose looks and aesthetics that reflect you two even if it means taking a risk.
Okay, I’m gonna let you in on my best tips to make your engagement pictures unique. Remember that these photos are like a little memory of this time in your life, so don’t be afraid to make them super specific to your relationship.
When it comes to location, think about any places nearby that have a meaning to you two. Maybe where you met or had a first date. Some couples even like to take pictures in their favorite restaurants or parks. Don’t be afraid to add any of your pets to a few photos or wear a special item of clothing.
Psst, heads up: if any of the above stresses you out, the good news is you don’t have to do all the heavy lifting. I’ve been a couples photographer in the Indianapolis area for 10 years so I know plenty of stunning spots and I can help you pick one that feels the most natural for you and your partner.
Let me say it one more time for the people in the back: you’ll likely be looking at these photos for the rest of your life. Do you want to look back proudly, or do you want your future teenage children to make fun of you?
There’s a big difference between what’s cool to wear to the movies or out with friends, and what to wear for your engagement shoot. This means it’s good to coordinate the colors and styles with your partner. You won’t need to wear the same exact outfit, but the same vibe makes for flawless photos. If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at some of the other engagement shoots I’ve done, or the photos below.
Something you’ll notice is that a lot of my clients love to take fashion risks and incorporate their own style into the shoot. I love this and I’m not afraid to have fun with your session!
As I said above, this is your shoot and I work for you! I might suggest things and try things to make your photos shine, but it’s all for nothing if the photos aren’t exactly what you imagined. That’s why it’s so important to communicate with me. I love when my clients show me their inspiration and try new things during our sessions. It’s all about you during those few hours, so don’t be afraid to tell me exactly what you want.
At the end of the day, what matters most is making your engagement pictures your own. Have fun and do what you’d like with your partner.
If you have an engagement photoshoot coming up, we should chat. I’d love to help your capture this season in your lives.
Love that you encourage your couples to really think through what they’re going to wear for this session! so important to the overall vibe and not always fully appreciated when it’s the first introduction to professional photos for many.