You’ve seen them all over the place… on Facebook. Instagram. On your best friend’s wedding website. The Save the Date pinned up on your fridge. It seems like nearly every engaged couple takes engagement photos. But if you’re not sure if you want to take engagement photos, you’re in the right place. I’m digging into why to take engagement photos, when to take them, and what to do with them once you have them!
First… Why do I need them? For those of us who don’t enjoy being in front of the camera, engagement pictures may seem like a daunting task. However, there are a million and one reasons why you should strongly consider taking engagement photos. Consider this:
- Taking Engagement Photos Helps You Get Comfortable In Front of a Camera: If you aren’t accustomed to being in front of the camera, it takes some time to get comfortable. And even if you are, is your partner? Use this as an opportunity to get comfortable and relax while being photographed together. You might as well get used to kissing in front of a captive audience now!
- Taking Engagement Photos Gives You a Chance to Get to Know Your Photographer: Every photographer directs a shoot differently. Do you really want your first time working with your photographer to be “the biggest day of your life?!” Getting to know your photographer’s directional style before you walk down the aisle is never a bad idea. And honestly… your photographer is around you the most of any one else on your wedding day. (Yes… including your partner, assuming the two of you are getting dressed in different locations!). An engagement photo session is a great opportunity to get to know them a bit better!
- Taking Engagement Photos Lets Your Photographer Get to Know You: Not only is every photographer different, so is every couple! Your wedding day photos will benefit greatly by allowing your photographer time to get to know how you and your partner move and respond to direction. By having this time with your photographer, they will be able to better capture those special candid photos throughout your ceremony and reception because they will have a better understanding of your mannerisms and expressions.
- Engagement Photos are a Chance to Get Professional, Non-Wedding Photos of You as a Couple: You will, no doubt, want to share your wedding photos with anyone who shows even the slightest interest. But believe it or not, you will also want some great pictures of the two of you that aren’t just in your white dress or tux. Your engagement photos are an opportunity to really capture who you are as a couple, your personality and what makes the two of you unique. These are photos you will treasure long past the big day. And trust me… if your groom wasn’t into photos for an engagement session, when will you possibly get him to do another photo session with you?? It might be now or never!
Where to take them? And what do we wear??
Engagement photos are meant to be an accurate portrayal of the couple, so think about what defines you you and your partner. Are you a couple that enjoys going to sporting events and want to take your pictures at your local baseball stadium? Awesome! Dress for the occasion and show your team spirit! Are you a couple that enjoys the finer things in life? Fantastic! Throw on your favorite dress, get your partner looking all nice, and go take those pictures at your favorite downtown spot! Are you just a no fuss couple who wants some nice pictures taken? Right on. Just be yourself and be-you-tiful.. get it?! Lacking in the creativity department? No worries. Check with your photographer and see what locations he or she recommends. Your photographer will also likely be in the know about what spots require a fee to shoot there… yes, some places such as a hotel, sporting event centers, or wedding venues may require a fee to use the facility for photos.
Photo by Amy Karp Photography
Photo by Jenny & Eddie
Bonus point: Pets can make an adorable addition to your engagement pictures!
Photo by Perez Photography
When to take them?
Depending on the length of your engagement, you may want to use your photos for your save the dates. If that’s the case, you’ll want to make sure to take them early enough so your photographer has time to get you the proofs, you’ll have time to choose your favorite few, create your save the date, and get them mailed out to your wedding guests in a timely manner. Check with your photographer on his/her lead time on getting your photos back to you. A friendly reminder… save the dates are usually sent out 4-6 months before the wedding (I prefer 6 months). Destination weddings should have an even longer lead time. Think 7-9 months.
Not using them for save the dates but want to display them at your wedding? That’s cool! Same rules will apply. You’ll want to check with your photographer on their lead time and make sure you get the photos back in plenty of time for you to have them printed and framed before your wedding.
What to do with them?
You spent all this time and effort in taking your engagement photos, now let’s talk about what to do with them besides putting them on your Facebook and Instagram.
- Before the wedding: Use engagement photos on your save the dates, on your wedding website, you can even create custom stamps with your pictures on them! Engagement session photos also make for
- During the wedding: Create a guest book full of your engagement photos for your guests to sign. You’ll just need to leave ample white space so people aren’t signing on your faces! Websites like Shutterfly and Snapfish have photo book options that are easy to create and relatively inexpensive. Framed engagement photos are great to use for decorating at the reception. A few framed photos by the guest book or even on the edge of the bar add a personal touch toyour wedding!
- After the wedding: Sure… after the wedding you’ll have even more photos of the two of you together, but wouldn’t it be nice to have some photos of you in something other than your wedding attire? I’m willing to bet you don’t want your home together to only have wedding photos all over the place. And framed photos of the two of you make great gifts for family!
So… What do you think? Are you on the engagement photo train?