The engagement – the time between dating and saying, ‘I do.’ While this period is undoubtedly an exciting one, it’s often overshadowed by the stress of wedding planning and anticipation of the big day. It’s a relationship milestone that should be celebrated, though, and what better way to commemorate it than by taking photos?

Engagement photos have become increasingly popular among couples, often serving as a dry run with your photographer before the actual wedding. 

“Engagement sessions are a great way to get to know your photographer and see how he or she works. It also allows the couple to get a little more comfortable and confident in front of the camera. It’s like a practice run for the wedding day. Couples who usually do engagement sessions are a lot more relaxed on their wedding day and know what to expect from the photographer,” explains Courtney Bowlden, a destination wedding and elopement photographer.

How much do engagement photos cost?

Usually, an engagement session is included in a larger wedding photography package. On its own, Bowlden estimates her fees typically range from $300 to $600 for engagement photos, but this price will vary based on your location, the photographer and the length of the session.

What should we look for in a photographer?

With how accessible photography and editing equipment is these days, there are tons of options for high-quality photographers out there. So, it all comes down to style. 

“The biggest thing is their editing style and making sure that their editing work is consistent. If you want a film look, then look for photographers who shoot that style,” says Bowlden. 

She also recommends choosing a photographer that has experience shooting in the types of locations you’re interested in. If you want to take your engagement photos on the beach, you probably don’t want a photographer specializing in mountain photography and vice versa.  

When should we schedule our session?

If you plan on using your photos on a save the date or invitation, Bowlden advises scheduling your engagement photo session at least nine months before your wedding. 

What do we wear for our engagement photos?

Try to pick an outfit that’s timeless (so nothing too trendy) that you feel confident in and is comfortable to move around in (so you can get plenty of different poses). 

“I like to pick colors that coordinate nicely together, but that doesn’t match exactly. For example, if someone is going to wear a white shirt and jeans, maybe the other person should wear a grey shirt or navy shirt and jeans,” says Bowlden. “My other big no-no is matching prints. If one person is wearing a print, another should be wearing a solid.”

Also, take the time to do a little pampering beforehand, so you both look and feel your very best.

“I always suggest getting hair and makeup done for the ladies and maybe a manicure for the gentlemen. I personally take a lot of hand shots, and you don’t want dirty hands or chipping nail polish,” adds Bowlden. 

Where should we get our photos taken?  

In addition to what you’re going to wear, you’ll also want to put some extra thought into the backdrop for your photos. Many couples like to pick places with personal significance, like where you first met, the location of your first date or where you proposed. 

Bowlden also recommends looking to your home décor and personal style for inspiration.

“I personally like to look around my house and see what colors I have. If I have mostly natural tones, I would pick a field or beach to get a similar look. Unless you want an accent color, then I would suggest maying picking a place that has the colors you’re envisioning,” she says.

And don’t forget to take the time of year and weather into account!

“You may like a spot that has a gorgeous view of the mountain, but in winter, the trees will be bare, and it will look very different than what you had seen in a photo,” explains Bowlden.

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