Click here to see the table of contents
Engagement Photoshoot: Capturing the Essence of Your Engagement Through Your Photographs
Your engagement photoshoot images are a lasting remembrance of the days leading up to your union as lifetime partners. Engagement pictures should reflect you two as a couple and your love for one another. You want to capture the essence of this time to reflect back on for years to come.
Engagement Photoshoot Styles
One of the things you need to think about is the overall look and feel of the photographs. There are a few basic approaches photographers usually take when shooting engagement and wedding photography. These include:
- Traditional Photography–classically posed photographs
- Photojournalistic Style–natural, candid images
- Editorial, fashion-based Photographs–posed images reflected in a photojournalistic style, similar to photographs seen in fashion magazines
Once you’ve decided on the style of photographs you’d like to have, the next step is finding the right engagement photographer at the right price.
Engagement Photoshoot Budget
As with most things pertaining to your wedding preparations, you need to consider your overall budget. A couple can expect to pay as little as a few hundred dollars for a budget photographer to shoot their entire wedding-related event, $1,000 to $3,000 for a moderate one, and upwards of $5,000 for an upscale photographer. For luxury weddings, the costs can range between $5,000 and $10,000.
One way to get the most from your money is to use shots from your engagement session for other things such as the “save the date” announcement, the invitation, wedding program, guest book, or even as a reception decoration.
Choosing a Photographer
With your price range in mind, you now need to hunt for a photographer. Engagement and wedding photography can be quite personal. You want to find a photographer who makes you feel comfortable as well as one who has the right personality and style for you as a couple.
You will want to take some time to discuss your vision and preference for your photography style. See how receptive prospective photographers are to your desires, and if they have any ideas of their own. Look for one who knows how to combine your wants with his or her added expertise. And don’t forget to look through their portfolios—you know what they say: a picture’s worth a thousand words.
You can also ask for references and find out how many couples the photographer has shot; not only for the engagement pictures but for the wedding pictures as well. A photographer who has done a lot of engagement photos but not a lot of weddings could be questionable as most couples will engage only one photographer for both.
You’ll need to consider where you’d like your engagement session to take place. Traditional and fashion-based approaches are often in-studio sessions, where the two of you, along with the photographer, decide on the background scene and any additional props desired.
If you’re considering shooting outdoors or in a locale outside the studio, you’ll want to think about the lighting in the area. Time of day will be an important element. Normally, sunrise, early morning, and sunset are preferred. Overcast days are also ideal. Visualize the colors of your preferred location and how to use them to your advantage.
An excellent way to choose a particular place is to select one that has sentimental meaning to both of you. You might want to shoot your engagement photos where you two first met or the site of the proposal.
Discuss all of this with the photographer, who should have some of his or her own thoughts to share to help maximize your choice location.
Are you aiming for a fashion pictorial or an easy, casual appearance? Whatever style you’ve selected, you’ll want your clothing to express it as well. Just be sure you and your fiancé are in agreement. Coordinating your fashion choices is essential.
If you’d like to try a couple of different styles, feel free to explore a few wardrobe changes. You might want a formal look in addition to your laid-back attire. This opens up options for you to use these photographs for other parts of the wedding.
Perhaps you want to do one set of photos in more formal wear, and another set in a more “costumey” look that speaks to your interests as a couple (Renaissance wear, comic book heroes, vintage chic, sports fanatic, etc.) as a fun alternative. More and more, couples and photographers are thinking outside the box, and the results are personality-packed images that bring smiles to the faces of all those who get to share in the happy occasion.
Makeup and Hair
Depending on the photography approach you’ve selected and your own personal sense of style, you may want to have your hair and makeup professionally done. Some photographers might have their own stylists, particularly if you’re shooting editorial fashion photos. If not, you might want to enlist your hairdresser to do a practice session in advance of your wedding. For brides applying their own makeup, try to wear a matte foundation, which photographs best.
Be Intentional with Your Timing
The time of day you take your engagement photos can greatly affect the outcome, along with the overall vibe and aesthetic.
When shooting outdoors, think about the overall location you’ll be taking photos at. Will you be somewhere like the beach where the sun is extremely bright and there’s not much shade coverage? Or, will you be somewhere more like the forest where there’s lots of shade coverage from the trees and it gets darker earlier in the day? All of these factors will impact the ideal time to take photos.
When shooting inside, consider when the location will have the most natural light coming through the windows. While your photographer might be able to use off-camera lighting, this can give the photos a different aesthetic. If you are planning to use an indoor location and want to only use natural light, try to stay near large windows or open doors to allow more light to come inside.
If you’re unsure of the best time to schedule your session, connect with your photographer and they’ll be able to provide you with recommendations. As a rule of thumb, ShootProof recommends starting your session 1-2 hours before sunset, during golden hour. This is when you’ll get some beautiful lighting.
Share Posing Ideas
While your photographer likely has several posing ideas in mind, if there’s a certain pose you’re hoping to do, don’t be afraid to ask your photographer about it. Remember, you’ll have these photos for years to come, so you want them to be images you love! Here are some posing ideas:
- Couple walking together holding hands
- Dancing and twirling together
- Doing a dip together
- Capturing a close-up of the engagement ring
- Sitting on a picnic blanket together
- Having an intimate moment hugging
- Foreheads leaned up against one another
- When in doubt, kissing!
Remember to just relax. When you do, your true selves will shine through in every shot. And if you don’t, there is no need to worry. You have editorial control!