Engagement photoshoots are getting more popular nowadays. Couples often want to celebrate their love and commitment with professional pictures that capture the start of the new family. It’s true that proposing to a partner is something rather intimate, and people might not want someone else intruding in this process, but an engagement photoshoot can happen after the proposal as well.
Engagement photoshoots can be used to let people know that the couple got engaged by posting the pictures on social media. They can use the photos for the wedding invitations, make an album for themselves, or just keep the memory of planning their future together.
If you are a photographer that offers this kind of service, the planning of an engagement photo session might not always be a walk in the park, whether you are already an expert or just starting out. Different clients can have different needs and demands, but there are definitely ways to make every single one of them happy.
You just have to follow some guidelines for the process of shooting engagement photos, but it’s very important to keep an open mind to your clients’ desires, as long as you don’t go overboard fulfilling them.
Usually, people take you as the expert, so they ask a lot of questions. They rely on your expertise and experience, so don’t be surprised if they need advice even for the smallest details, like what to wear or how to pose. Just be patient and understanding – they are in a rush of feelings, and the excitement might make them want to reach for the moon.
It’s not impossible, but you should try to keep them as grounded as possible and explain everything you know about the engagement session from the expert’s point of view.
Table of contents
- 1. Find inspiration for your work
- 2. Create a mood board with your clients
- 3. Pay attention to your clients’ needs
- 4. Discuss wardrobe, accessories and other props
- 5. Don’t put too much emphasis on the “when”
- 6. Choose the perfect backdrops
- 7. Come up with cool ideas
- 8. Include their pets or children
- 9. Use editing software
1. Find inspiration for your work
The internet is probably the best place to start looking for inspiration. There are a lot of examples of how a professional engagement photo should look like and creative ideas that you can use in your clients’ photo sessions. You can find images, tutorials like this one, or forums where couples discuss their vision of the perfect poses, the perfect places to have the shoot, or maybe trends they want to be a part of.
Another way to find great ideas is to follow other professional photographer’s work. Whether you find their pictures in an album in hardcopy or an online portfolio, you should definitely see what others in the industry are doing.
2. Create a mood board with your clients
People change their minds quickly, especially when they’re experiencing something as exciting as an engagement. They will want the perfect engagement photoshoot, so they will start fantasizing about all the cool things that can be included in it. And this can do your job very hard because sometimes, you’ll not be able to meet all their expectations.
This is why you, in collaboration with your clients, should create a mood board using the research you did previously. The mood board will be a mix of your vision and your clients’ desires for the project. Creating such a thing is very important as words can sometimes mean different things for different people. If you’re not sure how this works, you can read more on what a mood board is and how to create one for your clients.
3. Pay attention to your clients’ needs
As mentioned before, the course of the discussion might be hard to follow, especially if you’re just at the beginning of your career. Try to focus on what your clients emphasize the most and be aware of their preferences.
You can, of course, shape them according to your vision since you’re the expert. But try to keep in mind what they ask for – get creative and make suggestions. Maybe there are things they didn’t even think of. If you are genuinely interested and you show it, your clients will be very grateful they chose you, and they will be more likely to recommend you to their friends.
4. Discuss wardrobe, accessories and other props
Well, there’s no book that tells you exactly what your subjects should wear – and most of the time, you’re not the one who has control over it. However, many couples tend to ask the photographer for everything. Or, there are cases in which they feel lost, even when it comes to their wardrobe. Feel free to ask them if they need some suggestions or advice from your past experience.
You can even show them some samples of your previous work if you have something. But if you’re just at the beginning of your career, don’t worry. You can create a mood board for them and showcase some examples that inspire you.
This way, they get some guidance from you so you can shoot something that you find appealing as well. Whether your clients want to go a bit formal or casual is their choice. You can advise them about the style according to the place chosen for the engagement photoshoot.
The props and accessories should match the outfit, but they shouldn’t be the ones standing out besides the engagement ring. Remember that the clients’ happiness is the center of the engagement session, so advise them not to go overboard with the styling.
5. Don’t put too much emphasis on the “when”
There isn’t only one right timeframe for an engagement photoshoot. It could be the future husband and wife’s choice entirely, or you can present them a few options and each one’s implications and then let them pick the one that suits them best.
Assuming the couple will not want the photos were taken at that specific proposal, a day or two after is the best time if they just want some photos to remember the moments. Those few days after the proposal are very thrilling, and they will show genuine happiness. Capturing that will leave the couple speechless, and they will have something to cherish over the years.
If your clients want to announce the engagement in their local newspaper or on social media, then they might want to do it in the first month after they get engaged. If they want to submit the formal announcement to a newspaper, make sure you know if they have any specific guidelines or requirements regarding the poses and print quality. You can usually find it on the newspaper’s website.
The engagement photo session can also happen when the couple has set a wedding date. In this case, they will probably use the pictures for the invitations, which are the most common items that the couple designs according to their vision, so you should keep that in mind.
Of course, there are a lot of other things that can be done with the engagement photos, like creating a video or slideshow with moments from the future wife and husband’s life together. Whichever the purpose of the snapshots is, they will need a professional to do it.
You can also have clients that didn’t think of having an engagement photoshoot at first, but they figured out they want one along the way. The good thing is that it’s never too late for this, not even when there’s just a few months left until the wedding.
Brides usually try out some looks – make-up and hair – so they can choose one for the big day. You can advise her to use those trial looks for the engagement session – this way, she can save money and do something productive as well.
6. Choose the perfect backdrops
When talking to couples about where the photoshoot should take place, you will find that some prefer a studio, others prefer the outdoors or even their home.
Some people’s idea of a professional engagement photoshoot may consist of them being photographed in a studio. It may not seem very natural, but you can find some great ideas for them if this is what makes them feel comfortable. A nice backdrop and a few decor elements can make a huge difference. If you have the time and resources, you can build your own studio at home. It’s nicer than renting out places, and you can style it as you want – and the investment will pay off in time, that is for sure.
Some clients will want to be in an environment where they feel most comfortable and relaxed – their home. Even though it may seem a bit off at first, for them, it’s a way to show how much they love each other by posing in their little love nest.
It’s more intimate, and it can show the future they want to build together. Plus, the photos will have that authentic touch without too much effort. This idea doesn’t occur to many, so try to make this suggestion to your clients if they have doubts about where to have their photographs taken.
The most popular option is by far the great outdoor. I know this is a vast term when it comes to choosing a place. It can be anywhere – just match it with your clients’ vision about the engagement photoshoot. Depending on where you both live, you can choose a lot of places.
Try suggesting places that have meaning for them: maybe the place where they had their first date, where they first said “I love you”, or anything similar. Do a little bit of digging in their minds to find that perfect location – it will be of great help for you too, as everything that has a meaning can make the engagement session even more amazing.
7. Come up with cool ideas
You can be the most creative person in the world – you’ll still need some inspiration from time to time. We’re here to provide you with some of the greatest engagement photoshoot ideas that will help you step up your game. Besides your clients’ proposals, you can come up with some cool, funky ideas that will definitely make them recommend you.
And guess what, it’s not entirely necessary to have a whole photoshoot on one theme. Go crazy and integrate a few pictures that will bring a smile to the future wife and husband’s face. Being an engagement photographer means that you have to surpass your creative side each time. No one likes a boring photographer – go crazy!
Start with activities that they usually do together. This one is not on the crazy side, but it’s definitely a go-to for some couples. Show their intimate side in their day-to-day activities, like laying in bed together or playing a game. These things will remind them to cherish every moment and enjoy the little things.
Next, you can ask them to recreate a scene from their favorite movie. Even if this might seem like an already super used idea, I tell you that it’s an actual game changer. And that is because this one is very general, so you’d be surprised by what people consider their favorite movie or TV series. Try to recreate it using what you have around and be creative. It doesn’t have to look perfect from the beginning – you can do some touch-ups later and surprise them.
Another idea is to go to their favorite restaurant. Does this sound boring as well? Think it through. Talk to the staff of the restaurant to help you improvise a nice scene. Or, if your clients accept, try out anything that crosses your mind.
Ask them for a funny story that happened there and recreate it or make them have a toast with hamburgers or fries instead of champagne. Sounds weird, but everyone will have a lot of fun, and your clients will definitely loosen up and have something to remember.
8. Include their pets or children
Some couples have pets that they love very much. In some cases, they can even have children already. If your clients want, find ways to include them at least in some of the pictures, because after all, they are also part of the couple’s everyday life.
Both children and animals look cute and brighten the atmosphere instantly. Also, it can be so much fun working with animals because they can be completely unpredictable. In a good way.
9. Use editing software
It’s no secret that every engagement photographer uses editing software to make the engagement photos look professional. It’s that little something that makes everything look spectacular. The only thing is that you, as an engagement photographer, should choose the editing tool that suits you best.
Even more, if you’re just beginning this journey and don’t have a lot of money to invest in something that is well-rated on the market, you can easily find some free alternatives for this. We have a list of the best editing software for beginners that we recommend for anyone who’s starting out – it includes both free and paid tools. Find your favorite and try to master the editing skills with it.
You don’t have to worry – becoming a professional takes time. Just give your best in the meantime, stay focused, and look for any opportunity you can find. You’ll look back on your progress and be amazed at how much you’ve grown. But until then, work hard and give everything and everyone a chance. You never know where it might lead you.
Don’t forget to make a portfolio, so you can show off your best pieces. It’s not enough to be good at something if no one knows what you’re doing. Advertise yourself in order to make things happen.
As said before, it’s up to you to get started and make the best out of every experience. It’s important to take everything seriously, but remember to have fun as well. You’re working in a creative industry, and this means that you get to try out a lot of things. But don’t forget that even if it can be amazingly fun, you also need to make some extra steps.
Now let’s take some cool photographs, shall we?