How to Prepare For Your Engagement Photos

So you’re engaged to the love of your life, and you want the world to know! You’re planning to send out save the dates or invitations for your wedding to your loved ones, and want to include photos of the two of you. So you book an engagement session with your favorite photographer… now what? Here are 6 tips on how to prepare for your engagement photos.

engaged couple sitting holding hands and sharing a drink together in Downtown Spokane

Choose a location that fits both you and your future spouse.

There is a lot to take into consideration when choosing a location for your engagement photos. The best way to start thinking about locations is to pick somewhere that means a lot to you both, or fit both of your personalities. The location you choose sets the entire vibe and theme for your session. Here are some suggestions:

  • Downtown
  • In the forest/surrounded by trees
  • On a mountain
  • Near a body of water
  • Your first date spot
  • Your favorite local bar/restaurant
  • A park you frequent with your pets
  • Inside your own home
  • On vacation (destination location)

There are so many other examples besides what’s on this list, but these are some ideas to get you started! In many cases, you can also pick more than one location. Is your favorite bar also downtown? Is your home located close to the park where you walk your dog together? Whatever the case may be, you can always personalize your session to fit the two of you.

Be sure call ahead of time for public spaces, and consider if where you’re planning to take your engagement photos requires permits/parking passes.

What time should we plan our photos for?

Choosing a time entirely depends on the location that you choose. If you picked an outdoor space, most photographers will suggest a sunrise or sunset time depending on crowds, lighting, weather, and possibly other factors of that area. If you decided to go with an indoor space such as a restaurant or bookstore, the timing will depend on the business’s hours and availability. Your photographer will help you plan accordingly.

Engaged couple holding hands and walking

Plan your outfits (and appointments) in advance.

The goal when choosing your outfits for your engagement photos is to choose something that matches the vibe/mood/atmosphere of the location. This means you should wear something you would normally wear in that space.

For example, if you decided on a winery for your engagement photos, it might be best to wear more formal attire, such as a dress or slacks and a tie. If you picked a more casual location, like a camping spot that you visit every year, then a sweater and beanie would be a better fit.

engaged couple sitting together, the future groom giving the future bride a kiss on the cheek
engaged couple sharing a kiss in the Davenport Hotel in Downtown Spokane

What about outfit colors and patterns?

When it comes to colors, neutrals are always an excellent choice. Picking a neutral color palette ensures that your clothes are not distracting or taking away from the main focus – you two and your love. Earthy tones are always flattering on everyone.

If you want to wear a brighter color, make sure it still fits the setting of your photos. Lets say you have an incredible red dress that you’re dying to wear, does red clash with any of the colors within the location you’re taking your photos? Make sure you have an idea of the colors that will be present at your location to avoid choosing ones that won’t photograph well in the area.

If you are being photographed at multiple locations, this means you can pick multiple outfits! Choose outfits that fit each area, as shown below:

engaged couple standing on the boardwalk in Downtown Coeur D'Alene Idaho
engaged couple kissing on the beach at Coeur D'Alene Idaho

About patterns: try to coordinate, not match. If one of you chooses to wear a pattern, like flannel, for example, the other one should wear solids. If there are too many patterns going on between the two of you, this will be distracting.

Try to avoid logos. This includes logos on shirts, hats, sweaters, etc. Logos draw your eyes toward them, and that’s something to stay away from!

Overall, the most important thing is that you choose an outfit that you feel comfortable and yourself in! The main goal of your engagement photos is to look like YOU.

What appointments should I make in preparation?

  • Your hands will be photographed a lot, so you want your hands and nails to look their best! If you like to get manicures, schedule that 1-3 days in advance from your session.
  • Along with your hands and nails, get your ring cleaned! Most jewelers will do this for free in just a few minutes. Get this done the same day as your photos. Having a sparkly, clean ring is always so fun.
  • If you’re planning to get your hair cut or colored, book that appointment 1-2 weeks in advance. If you’re anything like me, you prefer when your hair still looks fresh from your stylist, but also a little lived-in.
  • Speaking of hair (and makeup), are you wanting someone else to do it for you? Book this appointment the same day as your session. Add in buffer time of a couple hours from when you’ll be done at the salon to when your session time starts. Avoid feeling rushed or being late! This appointment is also a good time for your hair and makeup trial for your wedding day.
  • Do you self-tan or spray tan? If so, make sure to do this 5-7 days in advance. This is to ensure that the color is correct, and there are no flaws in the tan.

Make sure you schedule anything you need in advance. This helps you avoid feeling rushed or overwhelmed. 🙂

engaged couple holding hands on a mountain in Spokane Washington

Use items/props that are significant to your relationship.

Do you two have any pets that are the center of your universe? How about a favorite beer or cider that you both love? Or maybe there’s an activity that you love to do together, like reading or cooking? All of these things can be incorporated into your engagement photos. Use your favorite things to make your photos really feel like the two of you!

engaged couple holding their pet cats at their apartment in Spokane Washington
engaged couple having drinks and sharing a kiss at Inland Pacific Kitchen in Spokane Washington

Schedule your time wisely.

Don’t be that person. You know, the one that’s running late. The one who overbooked their schedule and now they’re out of time to prepare.

The worst thing you can do for yourself on the day of your engagement photos is to overbook your schedule. Make sure all of your appointments mentioned earlier are scheduled when they need to be, and leave enough time on the same day to get ready without being rushed to make it on time. Lay out your outfits and accessories the night before to make sure everything is ready to go in advance.

Try to plan your engagement photos on a day that neither of you work, either on a day off, or take a vacation day. If you have to work the same day, plan to get off at least a couple hours before your scheduled session time.

Whatever you do, do not come to your engagement session on an empty stomach! Eat a light meal or a snack beforehand. You and your partner will have a lot more fun if neither of you are hangry.

If you tend to be nervous in front of the camera, consider having a drink before or during the session. Something small might help to alleviate some of those jitters! This can be part of the props you use.

Plan a date out of the experience.

Clear your calendar! This time should be completely set aside for the two of you. Make reservations at your favorite date night spot (or a new one you’ve been wanting to try) for after your session ends. If its too early or too late for dinner, plan brunch or drinks instead! This gives you a whole date to look forward to, and its already planned for you both.

engaged couple standing on a bridge in Spokane Washington

Have fun and be yourselves!

If you take anything away from reading about how to prepare for your engagement photos, the most important thing to remember is that this experience is about you and your favorite person in the world. Your main focus above everything else should be to enjoy the experience, and take in this moment with your partner. Your engagement doesn’t last forever, and soon you’ll be married! Remember to slow down, take a breath, and really savor the time you spend together during your engagement photos.

Feeling prepared for your engagement photos and ready to do this thing? Book with me here!

engaged couple standing back to back with sunglasses on
engaged couple doing a piggyback ride in the snow



How to Prepare For Your Engagement Photos

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About Morgan

Morgan is a traveling wedding and couples photographer based in Spokane, Washington. 

On this blog, you can find galleries of weddings and sessions with the coolest clients ever, and helpful information about wedding planning.

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