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how to prepare for engagement photos


How to Prepare for Engagement Photos: My Favorite Tips & Tricks

August 30, 2022

So you are finally engaged and starting to think about your engagement photoshoot. For some, this may be your first time in front of a camera and it can be a little nerve-racking. When it comes to how to prepare for engagement photos, you can sometimes feel a little overwhelmed. 

That is where I come in! I give each and every one of my couples a style guide to help them prepare for their shoot and make sure they are as comfortable as possible before they step in front of the lens. 

Here are some of my top tips on how to prepare for engagement photos. 

Choose a location that’s meaningful to you

When it comes to picking a location, there are an endless number of options and that can be a little overwhelming. My top tip is to pick a location that is meaningful to you. This can be something as simple as your backyard, the place you had your first date, where you popped the question, or anywhere else that is special to you both. 

Doing your photoshoot somewhere that is meaningful to you will also help you be more comfortable during the shoot. This is most likely somewhere you are familiar with so you will know exactly what to expect when you head to your session. 

If you do choose to pick a new location that you have not been to before, I suggest heading over to the location before your day. This will allow you to get used to the location a little bit before you start your session and help you feel more comfortable! 

Think about the colors and materials of the outfits you are wearing 

This is where my style guide really comes in handy for my couples but there are a couple of main tips that everyone should know. 

First, colors. The colors you wear in your photos are super important and can help elevate them or cause you to blend right in. When you think about what colors you want to wear, I always suggest picking neutral colors. These aren’t just gray, black and white, There are neutrals for almost every color. Earth tones and dusty colors are also favorites of mine when it comes to your outfits. 

You should also pick colors that complement each other and try to avoid matching outfits exactly. While that may have been the thing to do years ago, you definitely do not need to do it now. Instead, pick outfits that help show your personality and style. 

If you are having trouble picking out the perfect colors, you can’t go wrong with black and white outfits. Black and white outfits are timeless and you are able to dress them up or keep them casual with relative ease. You can also add a pop of color to your outfits by using props (which we will talk about later)! 

Now you may also be thinking, what about patterns? Patterns can be great but you do have to be a little careful with them. If you do choose to wear something patterned, I suggest keeping the patterns small and subtle. Wearing loud or large patterns can sometimes distract from your faces and pull the attention away from you. 

You also want to think about where you are shooting. It is not the best idea to wear floral patterns if you are getting photographed in a field of flowers or plaid/lined patterns if you are in front of brick buildings, for example.  

Pick comfortable clothes that you won’t feel stiff in 

This is super important and is something you can easily overlook when thinking about how to prepare for engagement photos. If you are not comfortable in what you are wearing, it can show in your photos and you can sometimes look very stiff. 

I always suggest wearing something that you already have in your closet for your shoot so you know how you feel in your outfit. If you do want to go out and buy a new outfit, make sure you can move around in it and feel good. You can even wear it around your house or out with friends a couple of times before the shoot to help break it in. 

Bring any props that can help elevate your photos

couple sitting on floor together with disco balls

So when I say props, I don’t mean the cheesy props you can buy at the dollar store or props that are super outdated. Props can be hats, flowers, sunglasses, a real picnic set up, drinks, blankets, a fire, a motorcycle, a guitar (if you actually play it), your dog, a champagne pop at sunset… the options are endless!

Props like this can also help you feel more natural and relaxed during your shoot. Having something to do, like set up a picnic or hold a drink, can help take your mind off of the shoot and getting the perfect “pose”. This can help make your shoot feel more natural and comfortable for you and your partner. 

Prepare for the weather 

Mother Nature is very unpredictable and you don’t want to get caught unprepared. If you are planning an outdoor shoot, I would suggest keeping an eye on the weather about a week out from your day. This should give you plenty of time to prepare for any inclement weather or potentially change your shoot location if you have to. 

While you may think a cloudy day or rain can ruin your photos, that is not necessarily true. Cloudy days often create the best lighting for your photos. Rainy days can help create a magical backdrop for your photos. You can even add in some props like clear or fun-colored umbrellas or boots to add a little bit more personality to your photos. 

Have a backup location plan

While no one wants to think about shooting anywhere other than your dream location, it is always a good idea to have a backup location just in case (especially if you are planning an outdoor photoshoot). This can help ensure you are still able to have your shoot if the weather is a little too rough to shoot outside (like a thunderstorm or snowstorm). 

When thinking about how to prepare for engagement photos, I would suggest picking one indoor location and one outdoor location just to be safe. You may also want to pick an indoor location where you don’t need any passes or permits just so you don’t lose any money on deposits in case you don’t need to use it (which we hope is the case!). 

Trust your photographer 

Now, this one may be a little hard, but it is super important that you trust your photographer. Your photographer is a professional and has a ton of knowledge when it comes to getting the perfect photo and having the perfect photoshoot. 

Most photographers will help you set up the perfect shots and make sure you and your partner feel comfortable throughout the entire shoot. It is their job to give you the best experience possible so be sure to take a step back and let them do their job! 

Relax and have fun 

woman holding mans face while the both smile

My biggest tip for how to prepare for engagement photos is not to stress out! Relax and have fun with your day. This is a super exciting time for you and your partner and you should enjoy it. 

Don’t focus too much on looking perfect or posing perfectly. Instead, just focus on your partner and enjoy this time with them. Take a breath, and interact with each other like you would on an everyday basis. This will make you feel most comfortable and the results will definitely show in your photos! 

There you have it! My top tips on how to prepare for engagement photos. 

Still looking for the perfect photographer to capture your engagement session? Click here to get in touch and see how we can make your dream engagement photos a reality!

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Photographer, amateur snowboarder, dive bar connoisseur,  inspired by music, good movies, and you.

I'm a Charlottesville wedding photographer and I specialize in capturing wedding days with a documentary approach. Love is pretty rad, and your photos should be, too.