YOU’RE ENGAGED! YAYYYY!!! Now it’s time to get your engagement photos done and share them so the whole world can celebrate your happy news with you! Engagement photos might feel like another thing you have to check off the to do list but that’s never how I like to approach it. Instead, I encourage my couples to try and make their engagement session more of an experience that they will enjoy and are excited about… kinda like a really fun date night! Doing this will help make you two feel more comfortable and relaxed, which is how you want to feel when you’re in front of the camera.
So how do we do this?? I always like to try and make engagement sessions personal for every couple. Doing the same thing gets boring and lacks creativity. We want to make your experience unique because no two couples are the same. Doing so will not only make the experience more fun, but your photos will end up being totally different from your friends’ (just trying to give you some things to brag about here😜). So here I have listed some great ways that you can make your engagement session fun and totally unique!
The location of your photoshoot does not always have to be a place you think is pretty and looks good in photos. I love to talk with my couples way beforehand to find out if there’s any place that is really special to them. Places like where you had your first date, where you got engaged, your favorite hike together, or a place with great childhood memories are just a few examples that work great for this. Being in a place that you love automatically helps you to feel more relaxed and more at home.
Another thing in regards to the location is to consider picking a place you have to travel to. For example: let’s say that everybody you know has gotten their photos done here in Phoenix; the Superstition Mountains, the saguaro cacti… it’s beautiful but you just don’t want the same thing as everybody else. Instead, you have always been drawn to Sedona and think it’s a gorgeous place. So we choose to do your engagement session up there and you decide that you’re gonna go up early; go to Tlaquepaque, eat a nice lunch, do some shopping, and make a whole day out of it. So you just spent a great day with the person you love, in a place that excites you and now you’re headed off to your engagement session! What a great way to get things started on an awesome note. And to top it all off, you’re going to get your photos back and love them even more because they remind you of a great day and they feel super special to you and your experience.
Bring a Fun Outfit
Outfits are always one of the most stressful things to think about when it comes to your engagement photos. For me, it brings out my worst qualities (indecisiveness for the win 🎉). (check out my What To Wear Guide) Obviously you want to look your best in the clothes that you’ve chosen to wear, but what if you decided to just throw that out the window for a few shots and wear an outfit that you love, even if it’s not “nice”?? Maybe it’s band t-shirts from a concert you guys went to together. Maybe it’s jerseys from your favorite sports team (even if they’re rivals, that’s fine too). Or maybe it’s sweatshirts from the college where you guys met and fell in love. Whatever it is, wearing one outfit that makes you feel comfortable and reflects a shared interest can be really fun and help to change things up a bit.
Incorporate a Hobby That You Love
I don’t know of any rule that states you have to stand next to each other in a park and look pretty doing awkward poses the whole time for your engagement photos (if that rule did exist I would definitely be found guilty of breaking it – aren’t rules meant to be broken anyway?). I always say that we look our best when we are enjoying ourselves, surrounded by the people we love, doing the things we love. So why not do that for your engagement session?!
Maybe you guys love to go offroading every weekend in your jeep. Then let’s go offroading to one of your favorite spots! Maybe you love paddleboarding at the lake. I think that’s a great idea. Maybe you guys love to longboard. Let’s do it! Or maybe you enjoy picnics with a pizza from your favorite local place. Well I am always down for pizza. 😅 My point is, if there’s any activity that you guys love doing together and it’s something we can incorporate into your engagement session then I will do everything I can to make those dreams come true.
One of my past couples actually wanted to try out something new for their engagement session and ride a hot air balloon at sunset! It was the coolest thing, and such a fun way to make their session a memorable experience. That’s our goal; make your session something you will look back fondly on and never forget!
Read Each Other Letters
If you’re someone who leans more on the romantic, sentimental side and loves to bask in all the emotions then this one’s for you. This is something I especially love to do during bridal sessions, but I think it works great for engagement sessions as well. Write down a few words you want to share with each other. It could be a favorite memory you have, what you’re excited about for the future, or something you just want the other person to know. Spend a few moments during your session reading them to each other and connecting with your partner. This is less about photographing any sort of pose and more about capturing you two just naturally interacting with each other. I always love to capture real emotion and your authentic relationship, and this is a great way to accomplish that.
Take Advantage of the Environment and Season
We all know that when the season changes that means new experiences are possible again! Holidays in the Winter, camping in the fall, lake days in the summer; these aren’t just things you can enjoy in your normal life – they can also be incorporated into your engagement session for added fun and memories.
In the Summer, we could choose to have your session by the lake or river and at the end go for a quick dip in the water to cool off. In the Spring, we could hunt down the perfect wildflower patch and get beautiful photos playing in the flowers. In the Fall, we could go to a pumpkin patch and carve pumpkins. Or maybe you wanna do something completely different and spend the shoot camping out of your van and roasting marshmallows. Or in the Winter, we could travel up north and spend the day playing in the snow for the perfect winter wonderland themed shoot.
There really are endless ways we could use the environment and season to our advantage.
I am NOT talking about cheesy props like signs that say “she said yes” or “we’re getting married”. I mean, if you’re into that then that’s cool ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ but honestly that is not my kind of thing. No no, I’m thinking more along the lines of props that you can either use as an activity (champagne popping and sparklers) or that add texture and atmosphere in the background (smoke bombs). Props can be related to the environment or season — like the roasting marshmallows mentioned above or even a blanket to keep you cozy in the winter. Anything that gets you moving and distracted from the camera is great.
Bring Your Fur Babies
For couples who have pets, I know how important this may be for you. Bringing your pets along to your session is a great way to get your “family” involved in the photos and show the world that YOUR FAMILY IS GROWING. Pets always make us feel more comfortable and lighten the mood which is exactly why they are perfect to have them there with you. If you think your animals can do great with pictures then why not bring them along? Make this a fun day for the whole family!
Obviously your engagement photos don’t always have to be the “MOST FUN GREATEST EXPERIENCE EVER!”, but like I mentioned before, anything you can do to make yourselves more comfortable and distract from the camera will definitely help in the end. It’s so important to remember, you do not have to do any of this. If picnics are not your thing, don’t do one at your engagement session! But if you are looking for ways to spice things up a bit, make sure you pick something that feels authentic to you and your relationship. As a general rule, if it’s fake then it will look forced, and that is not the look we are going for. 🙅🏼♀️
This is just a short list of things I’ve been able to come up with over the years that I’ve been in the industry. More than anything you should make it your own! Find something that feels like you and be true to that. If you consider these tips and ideas then your engagement photos are gonna be a huge crowd pleaser and you are going to always look back on the experience as a great one.