Engagement photos are the first chance you’ll have to get to show your fiance how much you love them and want to celebrate their union with them. With those sentiments in mind, it’s important to set your engagement photo session up for success by taking these tips into consideration!
According to the wedding industry experts, an engagement photo shoot (also called e-shoot, engagement shoot or e-session) is a short photo shoot where you and the love of your life will have a good time while your photographer just happens to take pictures of you.
Here is a behind of scenes video with tips from John Branch, a professional wedding photographer.
Finding an amazing photographer took a lot of time and effort, and you want your wedding photos to look amazing. The engagement session is a trial to see how you, your fiancee and the photographer work together. Some couples are more comfortable in front of the camera, while some others feel intimidated by the big honking lens. The engagement session gives you an opportunity to get yourself comfortable and act naturally in front of the camera.
Besides taking the best engagement photos you and your fiancée ever had, the engagement photo shoot helps you learn more about photography. Also, it gives you an idea about your photographer’s working style and personality so that you are comfortable in front of the lens on your wedding day.
An engagement shoot also gives your photographer an opportunity to learn about you. What makes you laugh, what you like, and what makes you cry.
For your engagement shoot, share your favorite engagement photo ideas with your photographer so she can learn more about your preferences.
Select locations that mean something to YOU and your fiancee, not simply because everybody on Pinterest has their engagement photos taken in a particular location. Do you want your engagement shoot to look like everybody else’s?
If you met or had a first date in a coffee shop, ask the owner’s permission to take a few engagement photos inside or at least in front of the building or on their patio. In Toronto, every couple has their own magic areas when they hang out and if we photograph your engagement session there, you will look natural and the results will be great!!!
While props look good in engagement photos, bringing a lot of of items could be a recipe for disaster. Quite a few many times the helium balloons flew away before the session even started, only to spoil the mood of the couple who spent time and money on those. Still, if you always wanted that amazing shot of you holding the… (insert the prop name here)… let your photographer know.
If you want your engagement session published, there are a few tricks to make such production happen. You will need a bigger budget for such photo shoot, but it is totally worthed.
In this case, first, you need to discuss a list of shots with your photographer, then you need a lot of props… blogs and magazine love props and detail shots.
You will need to photograph only when the light is perfect or use studio lights on your outdoor engagement session. Also, a good idea is to have a makeup artist and hair stylist follow you during the shoot. To increase your chances to have your engagement photos published, pick an original theme.
The best time to photograph is either 1 hour before to 1 hour after the sunset OR, if you are a morning person, 1 hour before to 1 hour after the sunrise. In Toronto, the latter option is better as the streets will be empty at sunrise. However, getting your hair and makeup done before the sunrise, while not impossible, presents a challenge.
Photographing your engagement session at sunrise or sunset allows us to obtain three different looks: daylight, sunset and night shots.
Pro Tip: Book two tentative days for your engagement session, so you have a backup if the weather is bad.
Unless you are an actor, model or you are super confident, it is normal to be shy in front of the camera. Treat your engagement photo shoot like a date and not a shoot. This mindset will help you have fun! Drink a glass (or maximum two) of champagne before or during the shoot to relax and enjoy the experience!
To make you feel more comfortable, during the engagement portrait session, your photographer might ask you to tell me a story or to do silly things to elicit reaction and make you feel at ease.
Finally, posing makes everybody look uncomfortable and that will show in your engagement photos. The antidote is movement, and a technique called posing in motion where the photographer will pose you, then break the pose, ask you to take a few steps, then ask you to step back into that pose. If you can, it will look natural, if not, you will get a few giggles. Using this technique on an outdoor portrait session never fails!! Also, you might want to discover the inner model in you and practice at home a few poses before your engagement shoot. However, most photographers will guide you along the way – don’t worry about it.
Wear comfortable clothes so you look natural in your engagement photos. For the night/evening part of the engagement shoot, consider wearing slightly more formal outfits.
When it comes to clothes, please stay away from bright whites, heavily visible logos or super heavy patterns. Pick the clothes that define you and consider the location where we are going to shoot. Red makes the subject “pop” so I highly recommend red tops/dresses/jackets.
Have a bag where you can place all the clothes, phones, keys, etc.
How many outfits should we bring? Ring 2-3 outfits (a casual and a more formal one) so that we achieve several looks.
As a general rule, the pants should be darker than the top. The eye travels to the brightest part of the photos, and you don’t want your fiancee white pants to be a distraction in all your engagement photos. You might want to bring a few sets of clothing and we can decide before we start.
Bring a lot of accessories.
Red, blue and yellow are primary colours and they always match to create a pleasing colour harmony that will look amazing in your wedding photos.
We are all big fans of shoes! Still, we encourage you to wear on your photoshoot only a few pairs that go well with your outfits. Also, bring at least a pair of flats or running shoes. You need to be comfortable while walking or climbing a hill. Your high heels will shine in those dramatic engagement images!! If you have a brand new pair of Louboutin, start photographing them first while they look immaculate… like we did in the image below of those gorgeous Sophia Webster Wifey for Lifey sandals. The future bride purchased them specially for this occasion and we started the engagement shoot, taking a few shots where they are the principal subject.
If you want a photo of a particular element or a specific location, please inform your photographers in advance and they will be happy to oblige. After all, it is your engagement session and not their photo shoot, so you need to be happy with the results.
Depending on the location where you want to have the engagement photos, you might be required to buy an engagement photography permit. Popular locations often require a permit.
Often parents want to meet the wedding photographer, especially if they pay for the wedding photography. Also, they want to help with the props, clothing, etc. Unfortunately, bringing your parents along on your engagement shoot is a bad idea. If the groom tens in front of the camera, having the bride’s parents present during the shoot makes things worse.
We know you look amazing with wearing DYI makeup during your engagement session. Still, we suggest you hire a makeup artist and hair stylist. They use professional cosmetics look good to the camera. Saving on your makeup and hair is not a good idea if you want to look good in your engagement photos.
Pro Tips: Have your makeup and hair trials done the same day as the engagement photo shoot (that way you will look stunning!!!). Many makeup artists and hairstylists offer trials, which you can schedule on your engagement shoot day. Build time buffers. Often makeup and hair take longer than expected and we lose the light, which is the key ingredient for beautiful engagement images.
Bring a hairspray with you just in case we shoot by the lake or it is windy or humid and your beautiful hair will need some help.
If you want to bring your pet along, our advice is to limit the pet photo-shoot to half an hour and to bring a human to handle your furry friend.
The type of engagement photos in which you are interested are created, not simply taken. The body language of you and your fiancee, the composition, lighting and emotion in your engagement need to be perfect.
Master the art of the “almost a kiss”. An “almost a kiss”, where you breathe each other in, is more sensual than a regular kiss. The tension of the almost a kiss helps create very powerful engagement pictures. The trick is that during the “almost a kiss” to synchronize the facial expressions: serious, funny, romantic. I will guide you at the right moments of the photo shoot.
Thank you for checking out these tips for perfect engagement photos. If you found them useful and inspiring, share them with your friends.
Getting the best engagement photos for your album means doing a lot of homework and research. A good starting point is this article, where you can read more about engagement photography as well as ideas for props and clothing.
To see more engagement photo ideas, please check out our Instagram page. You will discover how we make our brides shine in our image gallery.
We hope these tips will help you on your search to find the perfect photographer for your engagement shoot!