You did it! You’re engaged, and have probably started wedding planning by now. One of the first things on your many lists to check off is more than likely your engagement photos. There are a lot of things to think about when taking your engagement photos, what to wear, when you want to have them, etc. That’s why I put this guide together so that you can be prepared and ready to have the best engagement photos possible. Let’s get into it!
So you’re taking wedding photos, why would you need engagement photos as well? Engagement photos are super popular for a couple of different reasons. You and your partner are super in love, you’re as young as you’ll ever be ever again, and your life isn’t going to look this way forever. Engagement photos are an awesome opportunity to take some time and document what your life looks like right now, before your wedding day and any changes that may happen over the next couple of years.
If you’re planning to send out save the dates or want thank you gifts for people like your parents or other family members that are planning to contribute to your wedding day, you’ll want to have some fresh photos of you and your partner to use for those! Engagement photos are an awesome way to announce your engagement and give some new photos to the people that love you the most.
There are so many couples that go into their wedding day with nerves about what their portraits will look like from their wedding day. So many couples are nervous or uncomfortable in front of the camera, so it’s good to have a practice round with your wedding photographer so that you can get to know each other, gain some confidence in front of the camera, and know what to expect on your wedding day.
What is an engagement session like? Engagement sessions are SO much fun. Believe it or not I will be spending just as much time with you on your wedding day as you will be spending with your spouse. Crazy right?! So during your engagement session, we will spend a bit of time at the beginning getting to know each other and learning how to communicate with one another so that you and your partner have the best possible outcome in terms of photos on your wedding day.
When you’re in front of the camera, I will guide you through the entire process. I will make sure your hair is in the right place, I will make sure you know what to do with your hands and I will talk to the two of you to make sure you’re feeling comfortable and present with each other while we are taking our photos.
There will be a lot of messing around, a lot of loving and a lot of me making a fool of myself to get you to laugh with each other in front of the camera. Through the whole process you two will be MUCH more confident in front of the camera, you will have an idea of what to expect on your wedding day, and we will be comfortable with one another heading into your wedding day.
With living in the Midwest, the possibilities for your engagement photo locations are truly endless. There are SO many cool places to take your photos. Most of my couples will opt to have their engagement session in two locations within a short drive away from each other. Going to two locations it’s a great opportunity to have two very different looks for your engagement sessions. Now how do you choose where to go?
I always encourage my couples to think through some of their favorite places or activities they like to do with one another when they begin to plan their session. Are you homebodies who really just love snuggling and watching movies with your pups? Or maybe you LOVE your nights out on the town together at your favorite local bar. OR maybe you’re a little more on the outdoorsy side and you’re obsessed with taking your camper out to the middle of nowhere for a sweet bonfire. Take some time to think about some of your favorite places and things to do and then you can begin to plan your engagement session locations!
If you’re still not sure where to have your session or need a little more inspiration I have a blog you can check out here that gives a full rundown on the best places to take engagement photos. And if you plan to have me document your engagement, remember I will help you throughout the entire planning process and help you to decide where the best place will be for your session.
As you look at your locations think about the colors that you see throughout the space. Are these colors that will go with your wardrobe or will you have to pick out something new? You’ll definitely want to make sure not to wear a sage green dress into the forest on the day, or a sky blue suit that matches the sky. Find and wear colors that compliment the colors that make up the surroundings for your engagement photos and you will be good as gold.
So in terms of seasons, you’re going to want to try to take your engagement photos at least a year prior to your wedding date. That way you have plenty of time to print your save the dates and get them out to your friends and family. If the two of you have a favorite season that you were really hoping to take your engagement photos in, don’t feel like you have to use them on your save the dates, you can put one in your wedding invitation or not use them for the invitation process at all!
After you decide what season you’re hoping to take your engagement photos, you’ll want to start thinking about what day and time you’ll want to take them. There are a couple of factors that play into the day and time you’ll want to think about when you’re planning your engagement session date.
First, you’ll want to think about what kind of experience you want to have for your engagement photos. If you two want a more intimate evening just the two of you, you might want to choose a weeknight for your engagement photos, especially if you want to go to a popular city or forest preserve location. You’re much more likely to have the place to yourself on a Tuesday afternoon than a Sunday night.
Second, you’ll want to think about the weather. If you two HATE sweating, you’re not going to want to have your session on July 10th, and if you really don’t like the cold, you’re definitely not going to want to have your session on January 5th! Along with the temperature, take a minute and look at your wardrobe. Do you have a season of clothing that you prefer over others? Does your fashion thrive all summer but the winter is filled with cozy pajamas? You might want to think about having your session in May or August if that’s the case as you want to be comfortable and confident in what you wear for your engagement photos.
After you choose your day, take a minute and check out what time the sun rises and the sun sets. For engagement sessions I always try to work with the light around me for sessions to give your photos that documentary style feel. That being said, if you’re looking to have your session at an outdoor location, we will want to have your session earlier in the day, within 3 hours of sunrise, and the same goes for sunset. So if sunrise were at 6am, we would want to start your session around 6:30am so we can be finished with your session before the sun is too high in the sky. The opposite goes for sunset sessions. You will want to start your session around 2-3 hours before sunset. That way the sun isn’t too bright for the start of your session.
When planning what to wear for your engagement photos be sure to check the highs and lows of the day. Some fall days in the Midwest can have a high of 60 degrees and a low of 30 degrees all within a span of two hours, so be sure to dress accordingly! Also, be sure to check the weather for the time of your session very regularly in the days leading up to your session. If there is a chance of rain or other unruly weather, you will want to be sure you’re prepared with the proper shoes and coats.
If you plan to have part of your session indoors. We will want to start this part of your session as close to mid-noon as we can. With the sun a little higher in the sky, there will be more light pouring through your windows so we can see the inside of your space as well as yourselves without having to rely on artificial light.
The nice thing about indoor engagement photos is that you can really wear whatever you want because it will be a temperature-controlled setting. If you and your partner tend to run on the warmer side in general though, I highly suggest starting with your home a touch cooler than usual as you two will be doing a lot of moving around! The last thing you want to do is sweat through your outfit halfway through your in-home session.
Not quite sure what you want for your session? Don’t forget I will be helping you through the entire planning process!
Now for one of the most popular questions in terms of engagement photos, what should we wear?
Most couples wear one or two outfits for their engagement photos and I always suggest showing off two different looks when choosing your outfits. So if one of your outfits is on the more casual side, don’t be afraid to dress up a bit for your next look. When you’re choosing your outfits the most important thing to remember is you want to feel comfortable and confident AF.
When choosing your outfits, first make sure to check out the weather. With us living in the Midwest, the weather can tend to be a bit unpredictable, but there are certain aspects you can always count on! For example, if you plan your engagement photos in November, you could start your session in the 60 degree weather range, and then end the session in the 30s. In instances like these LAYERS ARE SO HELPFUL!
I’m here to help, so please text me with any questions or concerns. Feel free to send me photos of your outfits beforehand if you want advice or just because you’re excited. This should be a fun experience for you and your partner, so I want you to be comfortable and confident in what you’re wearing, where you’re going and when you’re having your engagement photos taken. If you’re looking to have me as your photographer for your engagement session and your wedding, fill out my inquiry form and let’s get to planning!
an illinois Boudoir and Wedding photographer based in bloomington, Il.
Available for travel throughout Chicago, Peoria, and the midwest!