Congratulations! You’ve found the love of your life, have started wedding planning, and are now ready for your first wedding photoshoot as a couple—the engagement photo session! These are some of our favorite photoshoots, and by following these tips for your engagement photo session, it can be one of yours too!
Of course, these are the pictures you’ll be sending out to all of your family and friends with your wedding announcements and invitations. But, the engagement photos session also gives the two of you the chance to be in front of the camera before you get married. This is going to make your wedding day experience feel so much more smooth, seamless, and comfortable.
You only get to be engaged for a short period of time, so live it up and let us capture your love story. We’ve created this guide for you and packed it full with all of our best secrets of how to prepare for an unforgettable engagement photo session experience.
Choosing A Photographer You Love And Trust
Thinking about just having a friend take your engagement photos? We get it. Not only will this take a smaller chunk out of your wedding budget, but it is also more fun to do a photoshoot with a friend behind the camera rather than a stranger. However, there are some very important things to keep in mind:
- You definitely get what you pay for! If you want photos that look professional, hire a professional.
- It is important to work with the photographer you’ll use for your wedding day because engagements can be redone but your wedding day photos cannot.
- Using the same photographer will keep all of your photos consistent in the same editing style.
- We want to become your new best friend! 🙂 And promise to do our best to help you and your fiancé to feel comfortable at the photo session.
Looking for more tips to help you choose an incredible photographer? Check out these 10 questions to ask a wedding photographer (before you hire them)!
Scheduling A Date And Time
Your engagement session can take place any time before your wedding day, but we recommend scheduling it at least 2-4 months in advance to avoid any stress. Most of our weekends are devoted to photographing weddings and popular locations are often crowded and hectic on the weekends. So, if it works with your schedule, we recommend choosing a weekday evening for your engagement session.
The best light of the day (called “golden hour”) takes place thirty minutes before sunrise and two hours prior to sunset. We always aim to shoot during this time frame! Being on time to your session is important so we can get the perfect lighting, if you’re more than thirty minutes late to your session, we will reschedule for another time. Unless it’s weather related, we also ask for at least a two-day notice if you need to reschedule your engagement session.
Picking Out A Location Or Two
If you’re hiring a professional photographer, they’ll really be able to help you with this! So make sure you check with them because the locations available and fees involved will vary depending on the time of year. Ultimately, the location for your engagement session is up to you! Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Decide what type of location best fits your personalities. Are you adventurous, nature-obsessed, or looking for more urban & city vibes. We’re blessed to live in Utah where there’s an abundance of amazing locations and landscapes!
- Consider the season since some locations are better depending on the time of year. We do offer adventure engagement locations if you’re interested in a little travel, but a travel fee may apply if the location is outside of Salt Lake Valley.
- Is there a location with a special meaning to you? Maybe where you first met, your first date or where you got engaged. It adds so much to your engagement session when the location is a place that contributed to your love story.
If you’re looking for specific options, take our quiz which will give you some great locations based on what you’re looking for.
Styling Tips For Her
There really is no such thing as “too dressed up” when it comes to your engagement photos. It’s time to buy that outfit you’ve always wanted to wear. And we actually recommend having at least two different outfits for this photoshoot: a casual outfit and a more dressy one. This will allow for a fun variety of photos that will really showcase your personalities and love story. Just be prepared to change in your car (or out in nature) depending on where your photoshoot is.
When it comes to the more formal outfit, dresses and skirts look the most stunning and flattering in pictures. Consider a softer fabric (like tulle or chiffon) since long, flowy dresses and skirts bring extra movement to photos and look absolutely amazing! Here’s a list of our favorite dress stores (where you can also find great bridesmaid dresses):
- Baltic Born
- Called to Surf
- David’s Bridal
- Ivy City Co
- Latter-Day Bride
- Mae Threads
- NeeSee’s Dresses
- Nest Boutique
- Piper & Scoot
- Wren & Ivory
Pairing accessories like earrings, a necklace, a belt, bracelets, a watch, and a really great pair of shoes with your outfit will also add great visual attraction. But make sure you choose just one or two of these so your accessories aren’t competing for attention.
And don’t forget that your beautiful ring will be a center stage during your engagement session! It’s a good idea to get it cleaned and give your nails a little extra love!
Getting Your Hair And Makeup Done
Getting your hair and makeup professionally done is at the top of our clients’ checklists! And one of our major tips for your engagement photo session. A true professional will know how to bring out your natural beauty and give you a boost of confidence in front of the camera. As an added bonus, you get to enjoy being pampered and eliminate the stress of getting ready on your own.
This is also a great time to book a hair and make-up trial for your wedding day. That way when your big day rolls around, your hair and makeup artist will already know your preferences and hair texture so she’ll be able to make you look your beautiful best! Here are five of our favorite hair and makeup artist recommendations:
Styling Tips For Him
As you’re coordinating outfits with your fiancé, keep your color palette in mind. You don’t necessarily want to be “matchy matchy”, but the pictures will look more cohesive if you coordinate colors. We recommend wearing a different dominant color but stay within the same color family.
For example, if the bride is wearing a white dress with light blue accents and nude heels, the groom could wear a light blue shirt with tan pants and brown leather shoes. His outfit would then have a different dominant color while still coordinating with the accents of her outfit. Here are some other helpful tips to keep in mind:
- Shirts in solid shades of gray or navy are a strong compliment to most women’s outfits. No graphics or logos. And cameras have a hard time picking up small patterns.
- Layers always look great on camera! Adding a jacket, blazer or cardigan will bring extra dimension. Anything too loose, baggy, or tight, will be distracting. Long, fitted pants with close-toed shoes is the most sophisticated and masculine look for men.
- Look for outfit inspiration ideas on Pinterest!
Final Tips For Your Engagement Photo Session
Get ready to have some fun! And make sure that you both have the best attitude possible for the photoshoot by eating a snack beforehand. No one likes feeling “hangry”. And since most men aren’t overly eager to take pictures for an hour or two, tell your fiancé why you chose your photographer. Let him know you’ve hired a professional and by the end of the night he won’t believe how comfortable and natural it was.
We also recommend planning a date for after your engagement session. It will give both of you something to look forward to and will make this special day even more memorable!