Everything You Need to Know About Engagement Photos

I'm not exactly sure when it became a thing to have engagement photos taken, but I am so happy it's a thing! Perhaps it was because couples would announce their engagement in the newspaper and submit a photo? Do people still do that? Whatever the reason may be, you need engagement photos! In fact, you need photos all the time for any special occasion in your life, but thats not what I'm talking about today... 

Why should you have engagement photos taken?

Engagement photos are more than just an excuse to post your fabulous engagement ring all over the internet! You can do that on your own! *cue "does this ring make me look engaged?" caption* There are several reasons engagement sessions are important: 

  1. Pretty photos! DUH! Chances are the only photos you have of you and your fiancé are from someone's iPhone and that is totally fine! But now you have the perfect reason to celebrate and document such a special moment in your lives. You're either already living together or will be soon and you're going to need art to hang on your walls. Why not let the art be of you? Another great way to utilize your engagement photos is with the guest book on your wedding day. Print a book with your beautiful photos and have your guests write a sweet message for the newlyweds!
  2. Save-the-dates! If you've done any research about planning a wedding at all you've heard of a little thing called a "Save-the-Date." These are cards you send out in the mail to all the people you want to invite to your wedding waaaay before so they can plan ahead. You'll follow up with a formal invitation with all the details of your wedding day, but this gives them the most important detail of all; the DATE! For me, I love getting save-the-dates because I often schedule my plans very far in advance(the life of a wedding professional!) and I need to know when something is happening so I can for sure make it! Engagement photos are a great way to dress up your save-the-date and formally announce your engagement. Plus, you'll be featured on many of your guests refrigerators! :) Hey! If you're thinking about ordering save-the-dates head to basicinvite.com and use the code: HOLLYKIKER at check out for 20% off! Woohoo!
  3. The most important reason you should have an engagement session is so you can GET TO KNOW YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER! I love meeting with my couples before their wedding day over coffee, Skype, or a phone call. But even then I don't have a camera in their faces! Having an engagement session with your wedding photographer allows you to get comfortable with them and be comfortable in front of the camera. And NO, we aren't all the same and neither are our couples! Every photographer is different whether it be posing, lighting, or the terrible jokes they tell or don't tell! I understand all the reasons why you might have a different photographer or a friend take your engagement photos, but it really is important to have this opportunity with your wedding photographer. Even if the collection you decided on for your wedding photography doesn't include a session; ASK. You may be able to add it! Most importantly, your photographer needs to get to know you! They're YOUR photos and it's YOUR wedding day, so we need to learn how to make the experience and the photos the best they can possibly be. Having this sort of "trial run" of photos allows us to learn how you interact with each other naturally, whether you have a "good side"(trust me, both your sides are beautiful!), and so much more! Spending an hour with your photographer with no pressure or time constraint is invaluable! 

When should you schedule your session?

I normally recommend scheduling your engagement photography session at LEAST 4-6 months before your wedding. This allows plenty of time before the big day and you can avoid it being stressful when it should be fun. If you are sending save-the-dates allow enough time for editing, designing, printing, and shipping.  

Where should your session take place?

I always suggest that a couple tries first to think of a location that might be meaningful to them. Is there a place that you've spent a lot of time together, a family ranch, or anything with a bit of sentiment? Maybe there is and maybe there isn't! If you don't have a place that sticks out in your mind, don't worry, most people don't! Talk with your photographer about your hobbies or things that you enjoy and they will be able to find the perfect location for your photos!

What do we wear?

This is where things get tricky! I have a hard enough time finding something to wear to the grocery store let alone get my picture taken! I feel for you on this one, so I'll give you a few tips! Don't try to be too matchy-matchy. The trick here is to coordinate and not match. Don't be afraid to go for it! You know what I'm talking about here! You know that dress, the one you saw on Pinterest but decided you could never pull it off... YOU CAN! My favorite place for dresses is lulus.com and if you really want to step your game up check out renttherunway.com! Bring two outfits each. More than two outfits makes the session a fashion shoot instead of the romantic, fun session we want it to be.  Bring one casual outfit and one dressy. I suggest wearing the casual outfit first, so when you're warmed up and feeling like models you can break out something fabulous! Be yourself.  Above anything be yourself and be comfortable. If something doesn't fit quite right or you've never worn heels in your entire life, it will show. So make sure you wear something you can feel confident in! And if you are confident in heels, bring a pair of flats 'cause you could possibly be walking around a lot. 

We aren't models. How can we take good photos?

Let me just tell you one thing. You can roll your eyes at me all you want, but here it is: You will feel like models after your engagement photos!! When you're done reading this head to my portfolio, my Instagram, my Facebook, etc. NONE of those people are models. Not a single one. Even for styled shoots they are real life people just like you! Many of them have never had a professional photo taken of them.  Now here is the sad truth... you can have a bad experience when taking photos. But with the right direction from an experienced professional you can have a fantastic time while having your photos taken. You will not be alone when you show up to a photoshoot and say, "You're going to have to tell me exactly what to do cause I have no idea what to do with my hands, feet, or face." You know how I know this? Because 9/10 photoshoots start this way. And I always tell my clients, "Trust me, by the end of this you will be sending your headshots to agencies 'cause you're gonna think you're a model." And it happens every time. Especially with guys! Just recently I was wrapping up a shoot and the groom said, "Wait, what if we do this?" and the session went on for another 15 minutes.


You WILL take great photos that you will love! And you'll send save-the-dates to all your favorite people and you'll plaster your photos all over your walls! Engagement photos are fun and you will be so happy you had them done!

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