More and more couples are choosing to get engagement pictures taken, and we love the idea! Dive into everything you need to know about engagement photos, including how to plan for an amazing engagement photo shoot.
What is the Purpose of Engagement Photos?
There are a few reasons a couple may choose to have an engagement photo shoot. First, it is a great way to celebrate your engagement. Second, you can use your engagement photos for your Save the Date cards to both announce your engagement and prep people for your upcoming wedding.
Lastly, it is good practice for the big day, especially if you or your partner are uncomfortable in front of the camera. A pre-wedding shoot helps you get familiar with the process so you know what to expect on your wedding day. Having gone through the engagement photo shoot, your wedding photo shoot will feel more relaxed. Plus, if you have the same photographer take your engagement and wedding photos, you can build rapport and get to know their style.
When Should Engagement Photos be Taken?
It depends on how you plan to use the photos. For example, if you’re using the images for your Save the Date cards, you should plan to have your photos taken at least six months before your wedding. That way, there is plenty of time for your photographer to edit and send you final versions to use.
However, if you want your engagement photo shoot to be an extension of your engagement celebration, take them one to two months after your engagement. That way, you’re still in celebration mode before the in-depth wedding planning process begins.
How to Prepare for an Engagement Photo Shoot?
Your engagement photos are a representation of you as a couple, so it’s important to “come as you are” in a sense. Choose outfits that feel like you. While you definitely can have a fancy outfit change for some photos, others should be more natural (you’ll get your fancified ones at your wedding). For a happy medium, choose “date night” attire.
When choosing your outfits, be sure to pick pieces that complement each other and don’t clash. It’s best to prepare two outfits, but you can talk with your photographer ahead of time to verify how much change of clothes you should have prepared.
Because you’ll have these photos to last a lifetime and to grace your wedding stationery or website, make sure you feel your best. Whether that means getting your hair and makeup professionally done or wearing your favorite, most flattering pair of jeans, do what feels right and most natural for you.
How Much is an Engagement Photo Shoot?
Many photographers offer an engagement photo session as part of their wedding packages. If you plan your engagement shoot ahead of time, you can include the price with your wedding day photos. If your photographer doesn’t offer engagement shoots, that’s ok. Look into finding another photographer for the day shoot or check with your wedding venue, as some offer free or discounted engagement photos once you book their venue for your wedding. All in all, pricing will differ depending on who takes your photos, if they are packaged with other wedding events, the length of your session, and your location. However, prepare to spend between $200 to $500 per hour or more depending on how many outfit and location changes you want.
Tips for an Amazing Engagement Photo Shoot
Now that you know all of the logistical details of planning your engagement shoot, let’s talk about how to make the experience one to remember.
1. Choose Meaningful Locations
Whether it’s the place you first met, where the actual engagement took place, or another memorable location, choose to take your photos in a spot that holds a special place in your heart. That will make the entire experience that much more special and comfortable for you. Let your photographer know the location ahead of time, so they can research the area and help you choose the best time of day to go depending on the weather and lighting.
2. Have Fun with It
If you’re uncomfortable with being in front of the camera, having an engagement session can feel intimidating. The best thing you can do is try to have fun with it, from the locations you choose to the outfits you wear to the poses you try. Even if you feel silly or awkward, just go with it. Photographers have this art of capturing gorgeous shots in the midst of uncomfortable laughter and silly moments.
3. Ask for a Preview During the Shoot
If you can’t seem to relax during the photo shoot, ask your photographer to show you a glimpse of what they see on the other side of the camera. Often, a photographer will have you do a pose that feels awkward or silly, but the picture they capture is breathtaking. Seeing how the photos turn out throughout the session may help you relax and feel confident in posing for the camera.
4. Make a Day-Date Out of It
Rather than rushing through your engagement photo shoot, make a day out of the entire experience. Start your morning at your favorite coffee or brunch spot. Invite your photographer to meet you there and maybe even snap some photos before heading to your next location. Bring water and snacks, so you stay energized. Don’t rush through the pictures, but take your time so you can find your groove. The more connected you are with your partner at the beginning of the day, the more natural, comfortable, and connected you’ll feel during your session. And, when it doubt, kiss it out.
At SPC, our platinum package includes help scheduling and attending your engagement photo shoot to ensure everything runs smoothly. Additionally, we help you find creative locations and engagement styles. Learn more about our full-service wedding planning services today!