Engagement photos: tips and tricks
One of the first steps after get engaged gets those engagement photos! Whether you like it or not, you probably will need it. Even if you don’t do photos on your Save The Dates, you’ll probably want some for your wedding website. It’s a good idea to make something out of it, no matter what looks like you. Here is what I learned from our session …
Tip 1: Pick a place that feels authentic to you as a couple.
We knew we definitely didn’t want photos in a field or at the beach – it just didn’t look like us! So many couples do their engagement photos this way and they always turn out to be GORGEOUS, but frankly, we’re not really people on the outside! You’ll likely find us indoors working (we’re both capable of working from home), playing with the puppies, or on the couch watching Netflix. If we’re not indoors like couch potatoes and traveling, we’re probably going to have dinner or go to the movies. We wanted our photos to represent who we are in a relationship with.
Movies for us are super special – it’s one of the first things we bonded over. I grew up performing in my local theater and Jesse (who was in film school when I met him) grew up making videos with his friends. Every time we watch a movie we’ll be talking for hours about what we liked, what we didn’t like, and everything in between. It really is our favorite thing to do.
So, after having bounced around a few ideas, it seemed right to us to take our engagement photos in a cinema. Los Angeles’ iconic Vista Theater would provide the perfect backdrop. We shot with Jesse’s friend who is also a super talented photographer, Jose prado. He really helped our vision come to life. We even took some pictures on a film camera for fun.
I’ve seen engagement photos in many unexpected places – in grocery stores, in museums, in homes… so my advice is to think about what you like to do together and go from there.
Tip 2: Don’t feel like you have to spend an arm and a leg if you don’t want to.
I have known a lot of people to grab their friends who have a decent camera and take pictures in their neighborhood. I don’t think you need to spend thousands of dollars on engagement photos unless you think you’ll be using those photos forever. If you’re someone who likes to frame photos and put them around your home, this might be a reason to spend more.
Another reason you might want to spend more is if you want to take photos with the photographer you will be using for your wedding day. I have a few friends who have done this and it is a great way to build a relationship with your photographer so that you are more comfortable on the same day.
Tip 3: Look at the inspirational photos – both of them!
If you’re not going to bring in a professional photographer or someone to direct you the same day, be sure to look at some inspirational photos, pin a few on Pinterestand have a good idea of what you want the end photos to look like before you start taking them.
Coming from someone who is used to having their picture taken, I’ll be the first to say that posing is DIFFICULT. Especially if you are not used to posing for photos! It’s going to be awkward and looks awkward, especially if you haven’t planned the poses you want to do in advance. You will both want to be on the same page for this.
Tip 4: Do something to relax beforehand.
I’m not trying to promote alcohol consumption, but if you’re someone who drinks alcohol, it might not be a bad idea to take a photo of tequila before taking any photos. We did NOT do that – only to talk to all of my married friends afterwards who were like, “Oh, haven’t you been drinking before?” Apparently that’s a THING. It’s a good way to relax and feel comfortable in front of the camera. If that’s not your thing, tell yourself silly jokes or watch a funny video to make yourself laugh.
Tip 5: Wear something you normally wear – do your own hair and makeup.
Unless you have someone you have used for hair and makeup before, I tell you to make your own. I’ve had friends who get their hair and makeup done before the photos just to hate how they look in the photos just because they don’t recognize each other. If you prefer to do this, do a trial session ahead of time and take a few photos on your cell phone to make sure you like the way you look at the photos.
When it comes to the wardrobe, I think both of you will naturally feel more comfortable wearing something that you normally wear. Jesse went with a denim shirt and jeans, which he wears all the time, and I got a special dress but in a figure that I already know I love and feel comfortable in. .
Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the process! There will be hundreds of photos taken and you only need a few to look perfect, so relax and enjoy!
I’d love to hear any advice you have when it comes to engagement photos – let me know in the comments below!