Engagement photos can be a nerve-wracking process, especially if you are uncomfortable being in front of the camera. Whether you’re engaged already or you think the big question may be coming soon, we want to offer a few tips we’ve learned over the years for helping you feel more comfortable and nailing your engagement photos. From what to wear to where to go, keep these eight things in mind before your upcoming photoshoot!
Why You Should Take Engagement Photos
If you’re reading this post, there’s a good chance that you’ve already decided to take engagement photos. But if you’re still on the fence, that’s alright too. There are a lot of reasons to take engagement photos–it helps you get to know your wedding photographer, helps you share your happiness with loved ones, and it’s something that you can look back on for years. Not convinced? Don’t take our word for it, listen to Junebug member Olivia & Dan Photography.
“Engagement photos are an amazing way to foster a strong relationship with your wedding photographer. You will get a chance to see how they work, and your photographer will also be able to gauge how you are as a couple, how you connect, and the best way to capture that. Some couples are quiet and intimate, while some are very energetic and vivacious. The more you know about each other, the more natural and relaxed you’ll feel on your wedding day!
Most couples are not comfortable in front of the camera, so this can be much like a practice run before the big day. There is so little time on your wedding day for couple shots, that you don’t want to spend the first half of it warming up, or figuring anything out. They are also a chance to have some gorgeous portraits of you together which can be used for wedding invites or your guest book.”
1. Wear Something You’re Comfortable In
You’ve probably read some form of this tip before, but it really is the most important thing. If you choose clothes that are too tight or clingy, you’ll potentially spend your whole session picking at them or covering yourself up. If you choose something you’ve never worn before, you’ll be worried about how you look in it or may discover it’s actually terribly uncomfortable, which can come across in your photos.
Choose outfits that make you feel like a million bucks. If you do purchase something new, take it out for a test run–hello, date night excuse–with plenty of time to launder it before your session in case of a spill or other mishap. You also want to think about how they’ll photograph during your session.
We asked some of our wonderful Junebug photographers for their advice on choosing the perfect outfit and we loved what Katelyn Mallett had to say, “My biggest advice is comfort over everything. If you never ever wear a suit but are considering it for your engagements because it is what you have seen, just skip it and wear that band tee that you love! These photos are representative of your own personalities, and you should feel like yourselves and dress like yourselves, too!”
2. Steam Or Iron The Outfits Ahead Of Time
Speaking of what you wear, be sure to de-wrinkle your clothes before your session. A photographer’s least favorite question is “can you just Photoshop that out later?” Oftentimes having things like wrinkles retouched in your photos comes at an additional cost per image. Save yourself the stress and get wrinkle-free ahead of time.
3. Consider Professional Hair And Makeup For Your Shoot
If you feel confident in your hair and makeup skills, you can skip on down to the next tip. However, if you’ve never done makeup for photos or you aren’t really sure what to do with your hair, you may want to hit up the salon before your engagement shoot.
Photos require slightly more saturated makeup than your every day look so that you don’t become washed out. Haven’t done your hair and makeup consultation with your wedding day stylist yet? It can be a smart move to schedule that consult the morning before your session to knock out two birds with one makeup brush! (P.S. You can search for hair and makeup stylists in your area right here)
4. Make A Day Out Of It
One of the best pieces of advice we’ve heard from photographers is to make your engagement session part of a day-long date. Not only does this give you plenty of time for photos without feeling rushed, but starting your day in this mindset helps you feel connected with your partner as you head into the photoshoot. Start your day with brunch or coffee at your favorite spot and invite your photographer to meet you there to grab a few shots before changing locations.
5. Set The Scene
Location is everything, so before heading to your neighborhood park for engagement photos, think about what you really love as a couple and what places reflect that. If you relish making coffee together and snuggling on the couch with some good ol’ Netflix, maybe an at-home session is right for you. Are you an adventurous couple who spends your weekends hiking? Take your photos in the forest or mountains, hiking gear in tow. Don’t be afraid to incorporate your favorite activities like riding bikes or taking a canoe down to the lake.
We love what Junebug member The Stars Inside had to say about location scouting, “When it comes to choosing the location, opt for a place that has a profound meaning to you both as a couple, like a familiar neighborhood you consider home, or a place that marked a special turning point for your relationship–a first date, a first “I love you, a proposal, etc. Or you could simply choose somewhere with lovely views that reflects your identity as a couple in some way–an adventurous mountainscape, a twinkling city skyline, or a peaceful beachfront (a great excuse for a mini weekend break maybe?). Either way, make sure you choose somewhere where you know you will feel comfortable laughing, cuddling, and generally interacting easily with the space.”
Is a special place not coming to mind? Get inspired with our guide on how to set the scene for your engagement photos.
6. Schedule The Session Around The Sun
You may be familiar with golden hour–the beautiful time of day just before the sun sets. This is when you want to shoot if you’re looking for that glorious, golden light in your photos. It’s important to be aware of when the sun is going to set–you can use your weather app to find this out–so that you have plenty of time to shoot before the light is gone.
The early afternoon may sound like a good time for photos schedule-wise, but keep in mind that the light is much harsher at this time because the sun is directly overhead. Early morning light can also be magical, so if you’re a morning person, consider a sunrise session where you arrive at your first location just as the sun starts to rise.
7. Hire A Professional Photographer
This should go without saying, but you are going to get the best photos by hiring a professional to take your engagement photos. Your engagement is such a short and special chapter in your life and your relationship, and you deserve to commemorate that time with beautiful photos together.
If possible, we highly recommend booking your engagement photos with your wedding photographer. This gives you an opportunity to get comfortable and connect with your photographer prior to your big day, making for even better photos from your wedding.
8. When In Doubt, Kiss It Out
If you haven’t spent a lot of time in front of a camera (and let’s face it – who has?), you may be pretty nervous or become stiff during your shoot. A quick way to loosen up while still getting great photos is to go in for a kiss! This can help you connect with your partner and forget the camera is even around, which makes for more natural photos anyway.
Now you are photo-ready! Remember to relax and have fun, and we promise you, your engagement photos will come out beautifully. Now that you’ve tackled photos, it’s time to take on the world that is wedding planning. We understand that it can be overwhelming, to say the least, which is why we’ve put together the ultimate wedding planning guide – a step-by-step roadmap!