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). But who should take yours? And when? We break it all down for you with the help of our friends at Zola, one of the best tools out there to help you plan your wedding. With Zola you can register for the best gifts (and honeymoon fund), create your free wedding website, design affordable and chic Save the Dates and wedding invites, AND organize your guest list, all in one place.
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. Zola has a huge selection of wedding invites and paper that your engagement photos can be used with, such as your wedding menus, programs, holiday cards, and more!
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. Not sure where to start? Aside from their great wedding registry and free wedding website creator, you can also search for wedding photographers and more with Zola’s vendor directory (or get matched to amazing vendors in your city by their team of experts…for free!).
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 $3,200 for your wedding day, with the option to add on a 3-hour engagement session for $700. Your engagement photos are a great opportunity to bond with your wedding photographer and get comfortable in front of the camera before your big day. Alternatively, having a photographer take your engagement photos is a great way to help you decide if you want to hire them or not for the actual wedding!
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 under $100.
Where Should You Take Your Engagement Photos (and What Should You Wear)?
A great local photographer will have ideas for the best photo opportunities around town (as well as the best times to shoot), 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. Zola makes it easy to keep guests informed about all the important details for your big day with their free wedding website creator. With customizable templates and over 250 designs that you can match to your Save the Dates and wedding invites, your wedding website is a great place to display all your new engagement photos.
Editor’s Tip: Be sure to include your wedding website info on your Save the Dates! Zola offers designs that allow you to display a beautiful engagement photo on the front, and all the important information guests need (like your wedding website url) on the back.
When it comes to your outfits, pastels and neutrals as well as cool tones always look great. 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.
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. (You can see our favorite grooming products here.)
*You will receive $100 to spend on Zola when you set up your wedding registry on Zola, and receive $500 in Zola gifts.