Top Tips For Engagement Photos

Oct 1, 2019 | Wedding Wisdom

Top Ten Tips For The Perfect Engagement Shoot

So you have decided you want an engagement shoot, these are our top tips for engagement photos. We cannot stress how important an engagement session will be to the quality of your wedding photographs. If you want to know more about this you can see our article on why you need engagement photos.

There are hundreds of varying top tips for engagement photos online which can all be a bit overwhelming. As Dorset wedding photographers, we have taken thousands of engagement photographs over a twenty-year period. Combining our acquired knowledge with our happy couples’ recommendations we have our ten most important tips for you.

Tip 1 – What To Wear

We are often asked, “what do you wear at an engagement shoot?” It is important to wear clothing you are comfortable and feel good in. Regarding top tips for engagement photos, it’s all about confidence. The experience is a great excuse for a new outfit as long as you are comfortable moving in it.

We tell couples to choose clothing and footwear appropriate to the location. A little black number and heels may look great in a luxurious hotel but won’t work so well on a windy beach.

Coordinating the style of your outfits is a bonus. Watch out that you don’t end up in matching clothing or wear clashing colours. Often photographers get hung up on outfit choices. As long as you are comfortable and happy that’s great with us.

top tips for engagement photos what to wear

Tip 2 – Location, Location, Location

The second of our top tips for engagement photos is if you can choose a venue that is meaningful to both of you. The more special and unique the location the better. Choosing somewhere familiar, where you feel comfortable, offering a variety of backdrops helps. We are always on hand for suggestions of potential venues.

In the past, we have created engagement photos at an incredible variety of locations. Examples include a favourite beach, pic-nic spot, zoo, coastal footpath, forest and variety of stunning wedding venues.

When you’re coming up with a plan for your shoot, think about what would most represent yourselves.

seaside sunset location for engagement photos

Tip 3 – Top Tips For Engagement Photos – Make A Date

The chances are that you will have the whole day together – fantastic. Many of our couples start the day as they mean to go on, connected as a couple. Use the opportunity as a great excuse for breakfast in bed or a boozy brunch.

Our engagement shoots take an average of two hours. So many of our couples then go on for an intimate dinner for two, continuing the romantic mood.

“Thank you so much Tom and Murray, we had a bloody brilliant day and have finally come down off our cloud.

After the fab engagement photos I am besides myself with excitement as to what you will come up with”

Kat & JP

(as featured on Rock My Wedding)

top tips engagement photos couple laughing on dorset beach

Tip 4 – Timing Is Everything

Choose a time of year that suits you. Spring and early Summer are the most popular due to the better weather and warmer days. Autumn and Winter can also produce stunning images with the changing colours, low sunlight and even snow.

We love shooting in ‘the golden hour’ which provides glorious warm lighting around sunrise or sunset. This period can vary by up to eight and a half hours depending on the time of year.

Rarely mentioned in top tips for engagement photos is to consider a night time shoot. A lit-up fairground or castle can look as stunning with the stars out as in the day time.

evening low sun timing for engagement photos

Tip 5 – Top Tips For Engagement Photos – Don’t Believe The Hype

We’ve seen it too. Many ‘wedding experts’ top tips for engagement photos recommend a wedding hair and makeup trial before your shoot. Bad idea. When was the last time you saw someone walking a coastal path done up with full hair and makeup for a wedding?

If you would like to do your hair and makeup that’s great. Your normal beauty regimen is going to be very different from the one you choose for your wedding day.

Blogs and magazines would also list in their top tips for engagement photos that bringing along props is a great idea. They claim it helps show off your personality. Again, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Unless they are appropriate to the location then your photographs are going to look weird and staged.

Props can actually get in the way of natural images when they are out of place. Let’s face it you aren’t going to be enjoying any level of comfort walking hand in hand through a ruined castle dragging your cello behind you!

natural engagement photograph without props

Tip 6 – An Activity Can Help

Adding in another ‘purpose’ to the engagement shoot can be a great idea for many reasons. Saying “We are just taking a walk through the forest with Tom & Murray” is less daunting than “We’re going somewhere to have cameras pointed at us”. Enjoyable activities are relaxing and distract from having your photographs taken.

We are full of advice and ideas for appropriate diversions. If you love hunting for fossils on a beach, running up and down sand dunes together, or playing hide and seek with the kids then your worries will fade away.

engagement photo shoot couple walking hand in hand through dorset field woods

Tip 7 – A Family Affair

Another popular question is “Should we bring our children or dogs to our engagement shoot?” If you would like them with you that is great. They are a big part of your life and relationship, which will shine through in the images. Children love to be involved in the planning of an engagement shoot. They often come up with amazing creative ideas.

Parents and other close relatives are a different matter. It’s lovely that they would like to be involved. However, engagement shoots are all about the relationship between partners.

One of our top tips for engagement photos is to remember that they are different from a family photoshoot. Quite often parents ask to attend so that they can meet us before the wedding itself. That’s fantastic, it shows they are interested in the planning and care about your big day. We advise that we meet with them after the shoot.

No one wants to be romantically watching the sunset, occasionally kissing your future spouse with your mother in law staring down the beach at you.

family children at engagement photos

Tip 8 – Don’t Worry = Be Happy

If you have chosen the right photographers an engagement shoot is nothing to be nervous about. This should probably be the first of our top tips for engagement photos. Within the first few minutes at any location, we will have a couple laughing and feeling relaxed.

A fun approach in a safe space goes a long way to putting your mind to rest.

We realise an engagement shoot may be daunting for many couples. One of the two of you will be a little more resilient to the idea. Planning and discussing the shoot as a couple will help them feel included. We encourage ideas from both partners when helping plan engagement shoots.

happy running silhouetted couple dorset countryside flowers

Tip 9 – Pick Our Brains

Talk to your wedding photographer. We want to know what interests you as a couple, your passions and your stories. We can then give you expert advice on anything engagement or wedding related. It’s good to talk and gives you a common ground with which to engage with your photographers.

As the wedding day gets nearer an engagement shoot is a great opportunity to go over your plans in detail. We love chatting about weddings and photography and often have our brains picked.

top tips engagement photos session dorset yew tree

Tip 10 – It’s Worth The Wait

You will have waited for the right time of year. Waited for the right time for your chosen location to be at its best. Waited for the right light. It’s all part of the recipe for creating stunning images and good things do come to those who wait.

The final of our top tips for engagement photos is that you will then have to wait to see your stunning photographs. Any wedding photographer worth their salt will take considered time to curate a collection of images from your engagement shoot. They should not only tell the story of the experience but capture the essence of your relationship.

Your photographs should convey the emotions and the loving interaction between you. To provide the best quality images possible we individually process each image in this selection. This labour of love takes time, and for that, you will wait. Depending on the season our delivery time can take from a working week to over two full weeks.

engagement photograph silhouetted engaged couple kissing sunset dorset countryside

Obviously, there are more than ten tips we would give you but we consider these gems to be the most important when planning your engagement photographs.

We have a wealth of knowledge regarding engagement photos so if you need more advice or are considering booking an engagement shoot get in touch.

Looking to book an engagement photo shoot?


We Are one thousand words

one thousand words Photographers Dorset wedding photographers

Tom Wishart & Murray Lambert

Documentary Wedding Photographers In Dorset & Hampshire

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