5 Ways To Take Better Engagement Photos

There are several reoccurring questions I get asked when planning engagement session shoots. So, I decided to make a blog post on the 5 most important things you should know before your engagement session! I hope these questions help calm your nerves and give you more transparency in to the world of photography. I tried to be specific, but if you have any questions or comments please feel free reach out!

Number 1 - Location. Location. Location | Probably about the most important part of your shoot will be the location you choose.  I always ask client’s if they have a spot that’s significant to the them, whether it’s where you met, where he proposed, or a place that you frequent together. These place can be a great choice for your engagement session as they have meaning and give context to the photos. For Bryan and Nicole, (seen here), Central Park is where Bryan proposed and it’s where Bryan and Nicole go for a walk every Sunday. 

Number 2 - What to wear? | If we’re doing a summer shoot let’s wear something airy and comfortable. Show off the season and wear something that you will be comfortable in. If it’s 88* don’t go for the leather jacket just because you like the look. You’re going to sweat! On the other hand, if it’s 20* wear something warm, form fitting, and comfortable. It’s 100% doable, I promise.

If we’re doing a downtown city shoot (city look: cobblestone, yellow taxis, busy city, fashion - maybe Meatpacking) then something more casual dressy could work (jeans, a top, and nice shoes/ heels).  Basically, you want to wear something that you could see yourself in and something that also matches the look of the location.  Don’t go overboard either, because you’ll feel uncomfortable and it won’t be true to you. The goal of engagement shoot is to capture your personality and your everyday self. 

It’s okay to bring options! In NYC, it’s hard to change outfits, unless we’re talking about using a Starbucks bathroom as a changing room. I like to change outfits by changing small accessories. For example, change your jacket. Maybe wear the jacket in the first half of our shoot and then don’t wear the jacket or wear a different jacket. These small changes can really alter the mood of our shoot and give you more options in your photos.

Pretend you’re going on a date, or out to drinks with friends. You’ll not only look great, but feel great!

Number 3 - What time should be book our engagement session for? | Photography is all about light. I like to schedule engagement sessions for the afternoon, about an hour to an hour and a half before the sun sets. As our shoot progresses we get that awesome golden afternoon light and a dramatic dusk look as well.

Scheduling for too early in the day means you don’t get the changes in light and your entire engagement session looks like one long shoot. Then again, if the weather doesn’t cooperate and it’s grey outside there’s nothing wrong with that too. Grey days create super even lighting.

Number 4: Trust | Sometimes photographers see a scene completely different than what you’ll be seeing or feeling. But please trust us and go along with it. When we start our shoot we’ll start simple. There will be a lot of walking with one another, holding hands, holding arms, looking at one another, looking at me, one person looks at me and the other looks at your fiance. From there, I’ll incorporate more poses, a few kisses, and position you. The difference between a good photo and a great photo is all about posing (hand placement, how you turn your body, where you’re looking…).

Number 5: HAVE FUN! | Your engagement session should be fun!  Remember these are the photos that officially announce to the world that you’re getting married. It shows friends and family that the two of you love each other, can’t stop touching one another, and look FREAKING GREAT TOGETHER.  Unlike the wedding, you’re not in a rush, there’s no deadline or timelines, and you don’t need to keep track of the 1599999 different things going on.

So enjoy, have fun, and remember why the two of you are there. I often tell couples to “ignore me and just think about one another.” Pretend you’re on a date and be playful with one another. While you’re doing this I’ll shoot with a zoom lens from afar. These photos are usually a favorite because I capture real emotions, happiness, joy, and excitement.