If your wedding day is meant to be the biggest day of your lives, then there’s no doubt that getting engaged comes in at a close second. After all, it marks the very beginning of a lifelong commitment to each other (gushy, we know). Even though the wedding ceremony will leave you with hundreds of precious photos, many couples are also opting for engagement shoots to capture those special moments in their relationship after the question has been popped.
Aside from getting some pretty cool snaps of you and your boo, engagement shoots can also produce photos to be used on your save the dates, wedding invitations, or even just social media. They’re perfect for framing and displaying in your home, as well as for giving to loved ones for them to cherish.
With all of the benefits of an engagement shoot, we thought it’d be a great idea to give you the rundown on how you can plan one, as well as how you can gain the best results. Brides and grooms-to-be, get ready to take notes!
How To Plan The Perfect Engagement Shoot
If you’re thinking of planning the perfect engagement photo shoot, then you might feel overwhelmed with where to start. If this is the case, don’t fret – we’ve outlined everything you need to take into consideration below.
Discuss your ideas
The first (and best) place to start with any engagement shoot would be for you and your partner to sit down and discuss your ideas. Grab a blank piece of paper and begin jotting down anything that takes your fancy, whether it’s a specific theme or even certain emotions you wish to portray in your photos.
Think about things such as what makes you two unique? Where did you meet? What common interests do you share? All of these will serve as wonderful stepping stones to determining what you want to achieve with your engagement shoot.
Gather your inspiration
With your ideas firmly in place on paper, it’s time to gather some inspiration to translate those thought patterns into visual imagery that you (and your photographer) can constantly refer back to. Pinterest is a great place to start, as a simple search of ‘engagement photo shoot’ or ‘couple portrait’ will bring up a myriad of different shots. Collect your favorite images or ideas into a folder dedicated entirely to your engagement shoot and look for any common themes.
Do you prefer black and white photos or images bursting with color? What’s your preferred setting – the beach, a woodland, or in the comfort of your own home? Don’t forget to seek inspiration from other sources too, such as magazines or books.
Hire a professional photographer
The next (and perhaps most daunting) step is to choose a professional photographer, that is, if you wish to! While assigning the job to a friend or sturdy tripod can do the trick, many couples choose to go with a professional for truly stunning results. If you haven’t already had photographers recommended to you by friends or those who have gone through their own engagement shoot, then social media is the perfect place to start. You can either search hashtags related to your location or a quick Google search of similar terms can also help. Once you’ve narrowed your options down to a few photographers, simply contact each of them to enquire about pricing and availability. It also can’t hurt to meet the photographer in person to ensure they’re exactly what you’re looking for in terms of personality and professionalism.
Many wedding photographers will actually offer a discounted or complimentary engagement shoot as part of their photography packages. This is a great way to test the waters and determine if you want to work with that professional for your big day!
List out some special places for the location of the shoot
Once you’ve settled on a photographer (if you’re choosing to work with one), then you can also begin to narrow-down some specific shoot locations for you and your partner. As we mentioned before, this will largely depend on the initial ideas you brainstormed, as well as the thoughts you gathered earlier.
If you don’t already have some favorite locations in mind, then scouting around on Google Maps (or even your local area in-person) is sure to offer up many suitable places and spaces.
Plan for the best time of day
You’ve probably heard this a million times before, but when it comes to portrait photography, you just can’t beat ‘golden hour’. This celebrated time slot occurs around one hour before sunset, so it’s important to get your timing right.
Use a trusty weather app or website to find out the exact moment the sun will set within your region, then plan around this accordingly.
Choose your outfits
This is something couples may overlook (particularly if they’re in a hurry), but it’s also important to plan your engagement shoot outfits to make sure you won’t be clashing, nor will you be wearing any patterns that may capture poorly through the lens (stripes and gingham, we’re looking at you!).
Let your clothing reflect you each as individuals, or simply decide whether you want a casual or formal vibe in your images. While an accessory or two shouldn’t go astray, it’s also best to avoid anything too reflective or attention-seeking, as this can also detract from your shoot’s results.
Enjoy the moment
Last but not least, it’s vital that you enjoy the moment. While this can be easier said than done, we assure you that your engagement shoot will be over within the blink of an eye, so you certainly don’t want to spend this time stressing.
Not only will your negative emotions be evident in the photos, but you don’t want it to be an occasion you look back on with regret. It is meant to be the best time of your life, after all.
What To Do Next
So, what happens when you’ve gone through your engagement shoot and have just received your photos back? Rather than storing them away in an album that will become dusty (and probably forgotten about) over time, there are plenty of useful things you can now use your images for.
For example, why not use your favorite photo, or series of photos, for your save the dates or wedding invites? Not only does this personalize your wedding stationery, but it also gives guests (as well as yourselves) something precious to look back on.
Incorporating these images into your designs can be as easy as a few clicks of your mouse, thanks to BeFunky’s Designer, plus it’ll save you a whole lot of money in the long run. You can easily incorporate your favorite engagement shots in one of the stunning Wedding Invitation, Save The Date, or Thank You Card templates available in the Designer. They're so simple to customize (just drag-and-drop one of your images right into the template, then click-and-type to change the wording to reflect your own!). Besides, wouldn’t you rather use those additional funds to bump-up your bar tab or buy the dress of your dreams (you know, the one that is just out of your price range)?
Planning an engagement shoot doesn’t need to be stressful, nor is it a waste of time. Not only will the photos of you and your partner be something you cherish your entire lives, but they can also be used in many useful and creative ways to take your wedding to a whole new level!