5 Secrets to Taking Amazing Engagement Photos

best engagement photos

If you’re anything like my husband and I, you have very few photos of the two of you together. Sure, somebody might snap a random pic at a party, or there might be a few selfies on your camera roll that barely capture that vacation sunset behind you. But guess what? Getting engaged is the perfect excuse to take professional photos that you can actually use for everything from your Save the Dates to your wedding website. My husband and I never took engagement photos, and honestly it’s one of the biggest things I regret from our wedding planning process (that and not hiring a wedding videographer).

Once you do decide to take engagement photos, there are a few other things you should keep in mind. After all, goofing around and taking photos with your friends is one thing, but standing in front of a photographer for photos everybody you know will see is a WHOLE other thing. While hiring a stellar photographer is key (this is the perfect time to test out future wedding photographers as you can often get package deals), the five pro secrets below will make sure you get exactly the photos you want.

But first, let’s get into the basics!

When Should You Take Your Engagement Photos?

This all depends on how you plan on using your engagement photos. For instance, if you want to use your engagement photos for your Save the Dates and your wedding website, plan on taking them 9-10 months before your wedding date (or 1-2 months after you get engaged). This will give you time to not only take your photos, but to get them back from your photographer and design your Save the Dates with them, which should be sent 4-6 months before your wedding date (and even longer if you’re planning a destination wedding).

If that doesn’t work with your schedule, you can always take engagement photos as soon as you book your wedding photographer (more on that below) or at any point before your wedding.

engagement photos
With Minted’s Find It Fast™ feature, you can upload your engagement photo and instantly see what it looks like across every style.

Who Should Take Your Engagement Photos?

Since the best wedding photographers are often booked months in advance, you should start your search for the perfect one as soon as you begin looking for a venue. Often venues will have a preferred vendor list, which is a great way to find a photographer. You can also search by hashtag on Instagram using your wedding city (IE: #miamiweddingphotographer).

Once you begin interviewing prospective wedding photographers, be sure to ask them what their wedding packages include. For example, Aperina Studios offers a base wedding photographer package of $3,900 for your wedding day, with the option to add on a 3-hour engagement session for $1,200.

engagement photos

The New Save the Date Collection From Minted is Here!

Find a card that works perfectly with your engagement photos.

Having a potential wedding photographer take engagement photos is a great way to see not only if you like their photography style, but if you get along. It’s also important that they make you and your partner feel comfortable in front of the camera. (More on that, below).

If engagement photos are not offered as part of your package or if a separate engagement session is not in your budget, consider hiring a separate photographer for the day. Services like Snappr connect you with a qualified photographer in your area, starting at around $150 for an hour.

Now, on to the tips!

How to Get the Best Engagement Photos

As soon as you book your photographer, you’ll want to start planning the when and where and WHAT to WEAR.

1. Choose the Right Location

A great local photographer will have ideas for the best photo opportunities around town, however you’ll also want to think about locations that have meaning to you as a couple. Was your first date at the park? Or maybe you went to the museum? Consider adding those spots to your shot list, and be sure to tell guests all about them in the How We Met section on your wedding website.

WGM Says: Be sure to include your wedding website info on your Save the Dates! Minted offers designs that allow you to add an optional additional photo as well as your website url and password.

engagement photos
You’ll definitely want to add your wedding website url to the back of your Save the Date. Via Minted.

2. Take Photos Like Nobody’s Watching

OK. OK. We know this is easier said than done, but there are a couple tried-and-true photo tricks that can help you get the perfect photo.

First, PDA (from sweet hugs and hand-holding to full-on kisses) help capture an ultra-romantic moment. Plus, I don’t know about you but not having to look directly at the camera or having something to do with my arms always makes me more comfortable! Which brings us to our next tip…Take LOTS of candid shots! These are the photos your photographer will take of you walking, talking, getting your future spouse to tell a funny joke—anything—to get a genuine moment. These often end up as the best photos (this applies to your wedding photos, too. I love our candid shots the most!)

engagement photos

3. Coordinate Your Clothing Colors

When it comes to your outfits, pastels and and cool tones always look great. Soothing blues, yellows, light green and other pastels (as well as neutral colors) are always a good choice. You’ll want to avoid wearing anything too busy (like that stripe shirt) as it can take away from the real stars of the photo—you and your sweetie! While you don’t want to match, you do want to wear complementary colors, and try to avoid any patterns or designs that are too “busy.” Most of all, you’ll want to wear something that you BOTH feel comfortable in.

4. Aim to Shoot During the ‘Golden Hour’ for the Best Light

They don’t call it the Golden Hour for nothing! This is the time shortly after sunrise or about an hour before sunset, when the sun is low in the sky but still gives off a beautiful, warm light. To figure out when Golden Hour is around you, check out this calculator here. Can’t shoot during this time frame? Don’t worry! Photographers can use reflectors or post-editing to adjust the light and colors in your photos. Same goes for bad weather. Just because it rains or snows during your shoot doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it. Think umbrellas, snow boots, and rain jackets for the ultimate impromptu engagement photo props.

5. Schedule a Hair and Makeup Trial for the Same Day

If you want to get your hair and makeup done for the occasion, you might want to consider coordinating your hair and makeup trial on the same day. Even if you’re planning an updo you can talk to your hairstylist about how to convert it to a more casual look for your engagement photos. If you’re not able to schedule your trial for that day, you could get a blow out the day of or before (my hair always looks better the next day), and even do both at home using a service like Glam Squad. Or just glamorize yourself with a focus on natural-looking makeup like blush, a nude lip, and mascara. And grooms, don’t forget about your hair! Put a little extra love into it for your photos, and don’t be afraid of products.

wedding concierge

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Not sure which design is right for your engagement photos? Book a free, 30-minute consultation and find out!

Next Steps…

Once you have your engagement photos back from your photographer (a process that can take several weeks, so be sure to plan accordingly) you’ll want to show them off! The best places to use your engagement photos are on:

  • Engagement announcements
  • Your wedding website
  • Save the Dates
  • Thank you/holiday cards
  • Wedding day decor

Are you planning on engagement photos? Let us know your plans in the comments section, below!


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