Why Do You Need Engagement Photos?

Wedding Wisdom

Top Ten Reasons Why You Need Engagement Photos

(updated February 2023)

Are you getting married soon and wondering why you need engagement photos?

Engagement photos are an essential part of your wedding journey and provide a way for you and your partner to capture the excitement and romance of your new journey together. Not only do they make for beautiful keepsakes, but they also come with a variety of other benefits.

We are often asked by bride and grooms to be, “why do we need engagement photos?” With over 20 years of experience and thousands of engagement photographs under our belts, we have condensed our knowledge into the top ten most important ‘need to knows’ for engagement sessions

We believe so strongly in the benefits of engagement photoshoots that we include them as standard in our all-inclusive wedding photography service.

Click a number below to see about the reason or scroll down to read all ten reasons

Knolton Church ruins engagement photograph of couple in silhouette

If you are worried about posed photographs reason number 5 will definitely cheer you up!

1. You Need Engagement Photos For No More Nerves

Relax In Front Of The Cameras

An engagement shoot is primarily a fun and relaxing experience for all involved. One of the most important things to do during your engagement session is to be able to relax and be yourself. After all, engagement photos are meant to capture who you are as a couple, not just what you look like. During the session, you should feel comfortable in front of the camera and allow your personalities to shine through. The more relaxed you feel on the big day, the better your wedding photos will be!

No More Worry About Having Your Photo Taken

If you are at all worried about having your photographs taken or how you look in them, an engagement shoot is definitely for you. You should never feel like you have “been thrown in the deep end”. Your photographer can work with you to create an enjoyable experience and relax you in front of the cameras.

Reduce Anxiety, Build Confidence

For more than a decade we have been working at reducing such anxieties for the couples we work with. Talking to life coaches and therapists we have developed our own approach. The common recommendation we received was “The best way to overcome a fear is to practice doing the thing you are afraid of”.

Great public speakers didn’t just wake up one day able to orate to the masses. They certainly didn’t just decide to stand in front of a crowd for the first time and sweat it out until something clicked. They started small and practiced with an ever-growing audience. This translates directly to building confidence at an engagement shoot.

Practice Makes Perfect

Your engagement session is a great way to practice being in front of the camera and increase your confidence. As the bride and groom, you will be the center of attention on your wedding day, so it’s important to know how to look good in photos without feeling unnatural. Your photographer will help guide you through poses and provide direction so that your engagement photos come out looking natural and beautiful.

sunset engagement session photo of couple kissing and smiling

Start Small And Gently Build It Up

During the engagement photoshoot your photographers have the opportunity to gently introduce the concept and feeling of having your photographs taken. They can do this in a variety of ways, choosing the most suitable for yourselves at the time. Over the course of the shoot, your confidence will increase in line with your exposure to the experience.

Apprehension and nerves go out of the window with an engagement photo session.

Couples worried about having their photographs taken then rave about their engagement shoot. They also tell us how relaxed they were being photographed on their wedding day thanks to the engagement session.

See… you can be confident in front of a camera and look stunning in photographs.

“We just wanted to say thank you so much for our engagement shoot we loved it! We are so much calmer about having photos taken on our wedding day”

Zoya & JP

(as featured on Rock N Roll Bride)

2. You Get To Know Your Wedding Photographers

In order to capture the entire story of your wedding, your chosen photographers will be the only suppliers that spend the entire wedding day with you. It is important that you get on with them and enjoy having them around.

Getting to know your photographers at an engagement shoot familiarises you with their personalities, sense of humour, and working methods. The more familiar you are with your photographer and their working methods, the better your wedding photos will turn out.

Familiarity Equals Comfort

You can use an engagement photo session to learn how your photographers best interact with you in order to achieve the best possible photographs. When it comes to engagement sessions, there is more to it than just taking the photo; this is your chance to get to know your photographer, build a relationship and become familiar with them in order to create a comfortable and stress-free atmosphere during the wedding day.


Want To Know About onethousandwords?

We are Tom & Murray, we love working as a team creating beautiful images, living in the countryside by the sea, and working on our creative photographic techniques

You Need Engagement Photos To Get Rid Of  ‘The Strangers’

Post-engagement session you will no longer have ‘relative strangers’ photographing you. You have Tom and Murray who you know are funny, relaxing, and ever so helpful.

An important tool for any wedding photographer capturing natural images is the ability to integrate themselves into the wedding. If your guests see your friendly relationship with your togs they are more likely to be relaxed in their presence.

Regarding this concept. One of the greatest compliments of our working style is when guests didn’t realise that we are wedding photographers. Thinking we are merely other wedding guests with cameras means they are unguarded.

Pick Our Brains

Professional wedding photographers have attended hundreds of weddings. They are crammed full of expert experience and advice that wedding couples often tap into at an engagement shoot.

An engagement shoot is also the perfect opportunity to ask your photographers any important questions you have about the experience and the wedding day itself. Don’t forget to pick their brains about the engagement photo shoot itself, how to prepare, what to wear, and other tips for achieving the perfect engagement photographs.


swyre head engagement photographs couple holding hands with moon

“We thoroughly enjoyed our engagement/practice shoot with them in the lead up to the wedding – it really helped in getting used to being photographed and getting to know Tom and Murray better”

Jenny & Chris

3. Your Photographers Get To Know You

Just as important is your chosen photographers spending time with you. The connection with your wedding photographer works in two directions.

An engagement photo shoot is a perfect opportunity for your photographers to get to know you and your relationship.

It’s not all about the engagement photos themselves, we can learn a lot from a couple of hours of fun chatting. Your likes and dislikes, your quirks, and your style are all important when creating photographs of the two of you together.

Working Together At Your Wedding

A good photographer should move the conversation toward discussing your thoughts and feelings about couple and wedding photography. This can help all involved focus on your vision for the wedding day itself.

Throughout your engagement session, your photographers will be discerning the best way to capture both of you and your relationship. This will directly translate to how they work with you on your wedding day.


4. You Need Engagement Photos To Experience ‘The Process’

It’s not all about the photographs. Yes, they are important, but the overall goal of an engagement shoot is to help you with your wedding photography and your photographers to produce the best possible imagery.

Practice And Experience

Practice may make perfect but there is no trial wedding day. Engagement photos are the next best thing and give you a taste of the complete experience for your wedding photographs.

Knolwton Church coloured ribbon engaged couple hugging in silhouette

From Concept To Creation

We know that many couples may be nervous about having their photographs taken. So, using their skills photographers can guide you through an enjoyable overall experience. From first meeting, and having your photographs taken to seeing the final professional images delivered. This builds a level of trust and confidence in your photographers, their working methods, and your abilities. You then take this confidence with you to your wedding day helping to create a more relaxed experience.

5. You Get To See Why You Don’t Need To Be Posed

Forget contrived posing, forget what the wedding blogs and less experienced photographers tell you. Fake, unnatural posing is not necessary (particularly with documentary wedding photographers).

Direction Not Posing

You need engagement photos as part of a relaxed photoshoot that will show you manipulated poses in contrived situations are not required. Let’s be clear; WE HATE POSING!

Yes, overly posed photos are easier for photographers to create. This is, however, no reason to warrant their existence. They look great on tog’s galleries, portfolios, Instagram, and shiny magazine covers. Unless you are a professional model they will look amazing to everyone except yourselves and anyone who knows you. Who wants photographs of themselves where all they see is unnatural awkwardness?

Check out our wedding photographs on Instagram, believe it or not, none of them were posed.

studland beach engagement shoot couple sand dune blue sky yellow sand

What The Hell Should I Do With My Hands?

We may give you a bit of advice like “hey guys, walking along the beach hand in hand would look great” or some general guidance on how best to stand for an awesome photo. That’s about as much as is necessary. With us any ‘posing’ is fun. It involves subtly evoking your natural feelings towards each other. We want to document the relationship between you, where you feel at ease.

Ask All The Questions

If you still feel a little unsure in these situations an engagement shoot is a time to ask the questions and iron out the creases. It could be as simple as pocketing a flailing hand or closing your eyes, but at least it is resolved before your wedding day.

Questions About Engagement Shoots

Are you planning to have an engagement shoot? Don’t worry, we have you covered. We’ve combined our expert knowledge with couple’s recommendations to give you our Quick Top Tips for engagement sessions.

6. You Get Amazing Photos Before The Wedding

A relaxed, enjoyable engagement shoot will provide you with a series of gorgeous images to last a lifetime. Trust us, you will want to share them with everyone!

You Need Engagement Photos To Show Off You

How many professional photographs do you have of the two of you in non-wedding clothing? How many times have you been gently guided by a professional who knows how to get the best photographs possible?

Engagement photographs and that fleeting part of your life are worth being shouted about, and shown off to family and friends. Some couples likle to use their engagement photographs to announce their engagement to the world, others like to show it off.

Your Engagement Photos On Social Media

Modern times being as they are, engagement photos tend to end up all over social media. On couple’s Facebook profiles, Instagram feeds, and even framed on their walls. We include an engagement photo slideshow in our client’s gallery that is easily uploaded to TikTok and video-sharing platforms.

You Need Engagement Photos For Wedding Purposes

Are you thinking of having some pictures of you on your wedding invitations? Will there be images of you at your wedding day? Are you looking for images for your wedding stationery? Are you thinking of creating a wedding website for your guests and featuring your engagement photographs?

Well, after an engagement shoot, you will have some seriously beautiful photographs to use for all these things and more.

King Alfred's Tower engagement shoot couple laughing in blue jackets in Wiltshire woodland

7. Your Wedding Couple Photographs Will Be More Efficient

You Need Engagement Photos To Relieve The Pressure

You can think of your engagement photos as a ‘practice’ for your couple photographs on your wedding day. With all the pressures a wedding day brings you will no longer be going ‘in the deep end’ when it comes time for your couple photographs.

As there will be an already established connection with your photographer direction will be so much easier. You will know exactly what they are talking about. In a more calm and relaxed environment, your photographer will be able to achieve stunning wedding photography in a more efficient manner, they won’t have to work as hard to capture you ‘naturally’ as you will already be in a lower-pressure headspace.

Time Restraints Of A Wedding Day

As you should by now, every wedding day that has ever occurred has, at some point, not run to time.

A wedding day brings its own time restraints for couple sessions. Especially when you consider the unexpected and the weather playing its hand. With the experience behind you and your enhanced confidence in your photographer’s ability, your couple photos will flow faster. You will be back with your wedding party well in time for your master of ceremonies and caterers.

swyre head dorset coast sunset best engagement photograph
Bride and Groom at sunset on stony beach photograph taken through war time tank traps at Kimmeridge Bay in Dorset

“Tom and Murray were absolutely brilliant from start to finish. On the day they were so friendly and easy-going. They are both so professional they know exactly what shots will work for the group and couple photos and got them quickly so it doesn’t eat into the day. ”

Lizzie & Rob

8. You Can Include Others Important To Your Relationship

, There, we’ve said it- it’s not all about you! A loving relationship between two people rarely evolves in a vacuum.

Beyond Just The Two Of You

Personal relationships are by definition complex and often involve a shared love for others (be them more or less hairy). For this reason, parts of many engagement sessions will often include children, family, friends, and of course pets.

Not only does an engagement session allow those significant others to get to know your photographers and experience ‘the process’, it captures your relationship as a couple, in a broader context, with them.

We are by no means saying that you have to bring the entire tribe along to your engagement session. But it can work well to help you relax and may take ease some of the logistical components.

The Location Can Be A Part Of Your Relationship

Any photographer worth their salt should at least suggest you have your engagement photographs at a location significant to both of you and your relationship. This may include a favourite place you visit together, the place where the proposal took place…basically anywhere that has a meaning to your relationship. More about locations later.

why you need family engagement photographs at Dorset stately home
King Alfred's Tower engagement photos of couple walking through trees followed by pet dog

9. It’s A Time To Celebrate Your Engagement

An engagement, the period between proposal and wedding can be so short-lived. With the business of everyday life, it can seemingly pass in the blink of an eye. It is a significant period that tends to be less documented than others, yet just as special. How often have you looked through family photos and been able to determine which were ‘engagement photos’?

You Need Engagement Photos To Take Time Out

You can think of an engagement session as an opportunity to take some time out of the hustle and bustle of daily life to celebrate your relationship. Choosing to have your engagement shoot in a meaningful place can make the experience even more special.

More often than not our couples find that their engagement shoot was an unexpected bonding experience that they can treasure again and again through their photos.

engagement photo shoot couple eating ice creams beach

10. Location, Location, Location

How many times have you chosen a location specifically to have photographs of the two of you?

You Need Engagement Photos Because There Are No Restrictions

With little to no restrictions common at weddings, a vast array of options are available for your engagement photoshoot location. Do you both love the sea? Have you a passion for stately homes or ruined buildings? Are the woods or a particular beach calling to you?

With the greater amount of time offered at an engagement photoshoot (compared to a couple shoot at a wedding), it is possible to explore the varying features of location or even utilise multiple nearby locations. This then provides a greater variety of photographs with different lighting, feels, and even the opportunity for spectacular sunrises or sunsets.

An Example – A 90 minute Engagement Shoot

A great example would be Lizzie and Ben’s engagement photographs. They chose a place (and time) that allowed us to capture a wonderful variety of locations all within two minute’s walk of each other. Photographs in bluebell woods, yellow flower fields, open countryside, and a wooded sunset were all possible.

Yellow spring flowers countryside field engagement photo shoot by one thousand words
why you need engagment photographs so you can look like you are walking on clouds at sunset

It Is All About You!

Delving deeper into your relationship, you could choose a location that is especially meaningful to you or one based on shared interests. Do you regularly walk your beloved dog through the park in which your partner proposed? Is there a hobby or activity you two love doing together so much that it has become a part of your relationship?

Make It Personal

The more personal the location is to the two of you the better the experience will be and the more evocative your engagement photos will be when looking back on them in years to come.

Saying that, some of our couples can be overwhelmed by the number of possible choices and come up blank. Again, this is where your photographer’s knowledge and experience comes in. They should be able to talk to you and guide you, narrowing down your options with helpful suggestions so that you get the best out of your engagement photographs.


An engagement photoshoot is a really important tool for a variety of reasons, mainly to help with the quality of your future wedding photography.

An engagement shoot can be used to reduce any anxiety you have about being in front of the camera and build your relationship with your photographers.

Engagement sessions will result in a set of stunning images created in a time and location dedicated to celebrating your relationship that will last for years to come

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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