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The holidays are a romantic time, as many couples get engaged and begin planning their weddings. As couples celebrate their enduring love and the beginning of wedding planning, it is time to talk about engagement photography, and the ultimate guide for everything you should consider before taking pictures with your beloved! These are photos that you might choose to send out on wedding announcements or save-the-dates, or possibly even use at your wedding as an extra detail or decoration, so it is incredibly important to make sure you get it right!

Let’s consider some of the most important aspects of engagement photography, so that you know you are getting exactly what you want to out of your photos before you commit to a photographer, location, and theme.

Choosing a Photographer

Once you are engaged you will want to choose a photographer to take your engagement photos—you may not know it, but it is also an awesome opportunity to test out photography services for your wedding day! Rather than looking at engagement photos as a one-time use (for example, just going with whatever photographer is available on Groupon), you might want to do some more research and see what their engagement and wedding photography portfolio is like. Some photographers actually offer free engagement photos as a part of their wedding packages, so if you find someone you like, you might just want to go ahead and commit so that this can be included in the cost of photography.

In terms of choosing a photographer for engagement photos, you are going to want to consider the following based on the look and feel you want your photos to have:

  • What kind of style does the photographer typically shoot in?
  • What are their examples of indoor/outdoor photography?
  • What do you like and dislike about their portfolio?
  • Have they shot at the location (or a similar location) that you are looking to shoot at? How did they use the space?

The photographer may not have everything up on their portfolio website. So if you like what you see, you can always email them and see what their thoughts are on all of the qualities are looking to achieve and see if they can send some additional examples.

Location & Timing

A big question you will want to ask is WHERE you might want to take your engagement photos. You probably want to take them outdoors because environmental shots are so much warmer and unique. However, if you want to take them in the middle of a Chicago winter, you may have to be okay with snow (and negative degree weather), or doing your session in-studio or an indoor location. Once you and your fiancé determine the location you would like to take your engagement photos, then it is a good time to email or call your photographer and see if they are willing to shoot at the location of your choice.

If you do not know where you want to shoot, it is also nice to ask your photographer if they have any suggestions. Many times if a photographer has worked in a location for long time, they know what locations make for the best photos. Again, another thing to consider is timing.

Depending on when you get engaged, and when you will want to take your photos, there are a variety of things to consider with season, time of day, weather, etc.

While all of these things will impact what type of photos you get and what time of day you ultimately shoot, your photographer is really your guide here. If you know you need to take photos in January to get wedding announcements out on time, ask for their perspective and counsel for what they think might be the best approach to achieving the look you want. Remember that quality professional photographers studied lighting, location, season, and all of these aspects of a photoshoot and usually have multiple years of experience working with them first hand, so they can always advise you.

Choosing a Theme

This is definitely something your photographer will be an expert at, but you might want to start to consider it before you reach out. Do you want to use props? Do you want to dress a certain way? Do you want to work with the urban space?

Are you trying to play with a nature scene? All of these different details can really make engagement photos have a unique feel, and they are also details that a photographer can play with when planning a shoot. There are some really cool ideas that couples have done, so all it takes is a little searching and deciding you want to do a similar thing! On the other hand, if you want to be unique, you can also try to come up with your own creative idea or work with our photographer on a theme for your shoot, based on your own personalities and interests.

The Takeaway

If you are considering your engagement photoshoot, congratulations! You are clearly in an exciting chapter of your life. Photography can make all the difference in capturing the emotions, excitement, and joy surrounding this occasion. While a photographer usually has tons of insights on these shoots, it is important to remember to come to the table with some of your own ideas, opinions, and thoughts. After all, your partner and you know your personalities and interests better than anyone and you want to make sure that the photos lend themselves to your characteristics and uniqueness!

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