More and more couples are opting to arrange for engagement photos months before the wedding as a way to capture their first flush of love before the pomp and pressure of the wedding, as well as procure professional photos for their “save the date” mailers or wedding websites. But since the practice of taking engagement photos is far from standard practice at this point, you might not have a clear idea of how to set it all up. For your wedding, you probably know that you need shots of events like saying your vows, exchanging rings, cutting the cake, and your first dance, as well as setups that include the wedding party, arranged formally, just for example. But what the heck do you do for engagement photos? Every bride will have to decide for herself, but here are a few things to consider.
First, you need to find a photographer you like, and this can actually work in your favor since it gives you the opportunity to work with the professional you’ve chosen for your wedding. If you decide it’s not working out for whatever reason, you’ll still have time to find a suitable photographer for your wedding day. And the nice thing about using a pro when it comes to your engagement photos is that he/she has probably done it before, which means you’ll get some suggestions and advice concerning location, timing, outfits, a shot list, and more. With the right photographer on your side, you shouldn’t have to do all the heavy lifting of planning the shoot.
Next, you’ll want to select locations for your session and there are a couple of ways to go. You should probably snap at least a few pics in the studio setting but skip the cheesy set-ups and opt for a classic black or white background that will be timeless and unobtrusive. From there you’ll probably find that your photographer has some locations in mind, such as parks, museums, or other local settings. And you may have the option of choosing a few locations that are special to you, as well, provided they’re not too public (you don’t want photo-bombs in your engagement pics) or difficult to get to. Remember that your photographer is hauling a lot of equipment.
Once you’ve chosen your locations you can start to think about what you’re going to wear. The attire you choose should be somewhere between casual and formal, which gives you a lot of latitudes. Your best bet is to go with something casual-dressy; you want to look better than normal, but not so fancy that the photos seem contrived. And while you certainly don’t want to clash with your honey, you also shouldn’t match. Plan your outfits ahead of time so that they’re complementary. And feel free to undergo costume changes throughout the shoot – the more options you have to choose from, the more likely you’ll end up with the perfect engagement photos. You may also want to take this opportunity to audition stylists (hair and makeup) for your wedding day.
Finally, you need to consider the tone you want to set in your photos. Some couples prefer classic set-ups that feature plenty of hugs, kisses, and soulful eye-gazing. But this may not be your style. If you tend to be a rather goofy couple, you could do some gag photos with props. Or you might prefer more casual, candid shots. It all depends on your personalities, but it’s something to consider before you hire a professional from a reputable studio. Your photographer likely has a playbook for this scenario, but you don’t want to get railroaded. Knowing what you prefer ahead of time can only help to ensure that your session goes smoothly and you are satisfied with the engagement photos that come out of it.