Congratulations! Now that you’re engaged, it’s time to start planning the wedding, right? Not so fast! Before you can celebrate your marriage, you have to celebrate the engagement. One way people like to do that is through engagement photos. But are they right for you?
This is a question that comes up a lot when I talk to couples. Especially if I’m designing wedding invitations or RSVP websites for them. If you’re planning to have professional picture done at your wedding (and believe me, you should consider it!) then why would you want to do the engagement photos too?
Normally engagement photos are taken as a way to not only celebrate the engagement, but also as a means to preserve the memories of such a happy occasion. They’re more laid back than wedding photos typically are, often feature the ring.
What do you use engagement photos for?
The most common reason my clients want engagement photos taken is to use them on their wedding invitations, save the date cards, or to announce their engagement. It’s becoming increasingly popular with modern technology to include a photo of the couple on wedding invites.
Some couples also elect to take a modern approach to their wedding and put together an online RSVP system or even a wedding blog.
Engagement photos are great keepsakes
Sometimes we need to just invent excuses to have professional photos taken. If it’s been awhile (or you’ve never done it!), why not use your engagement as a reason to take some fun couple photos together? You’ll have something to post on social media and you’ll appreciate looking back on those pre-wedding memories.
Engagement photos are great for printing and hanging in your home if you’re living together, or framed on your desk at work.
Another thing to consider doing with your engagement photos is to send them to family members who aren’t as “with it” when it comes to social media. I know my grandmother appreciates getting a printed photo sent her way every now and then even if she does text and use Facebook.
Preview Your Wedding Photographer with Engagement Photos
Typically couples use the same photographer for engagement photos and their wedding day. By having a lighter photo session before the big day, it gives you a chance to get to know your photographer. You can find out their style… And they can learn yours!
A wedding photographer is usually one of the big expenses for many weddings. If you find you don’t jive with the photographer you still have a chance to shop around before your wedding.
Spend time together as a couple (and practice posing)
How good are you at posing with your partner? An engagement photo session is one way to find out! Now’s your chance to try out some poses and see what works (and what doesn’t). You can use it as inspiration for your wedding day!
It will also give you time to spend together getting comfortable taking photos as a couple. On your wedding day you’ll be surrounded by people and likely on a tight timeline. This is the chance to get some practice in beforehand!
Use them as photos for your wedding invitations or save the dates
If you’re planning on sending out save the date cards this is a great opportunity to show off your engagement photos. Your photographer might even have some ideas or designs for you to choose from to make this process simple. Likewise, engagement photos are also excellent additions to your wedding invitation design.
Make sure you let your photographer know what you plan to do with the photos so they can offer suggestions for poses.
Bundle it into the proposal
If you can swing it, book a photographer to do an engagement photo session that your partner doesn’t know about it. My favourite way to do this is to tell your other half it’s a couple’s photo sessions so they’re dressed up. Then pop the question with a photographer there to capture the moment!
Then you can turn it into an engagement photo session. Assuming they say yes, of course. (I’m sure they will!)
When should you skip engagement photos?
Although they’re a lot of fun, engagement photos aren’t necessarily for everyone. Some people just don’t like having their picture taken! To be perfectly honest, I’m in that camp. Engagement photos just aren’t my thing personally, but I do love capturing them for other people. I’m just more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it!
If you want to keep things low key and more informal, something like formal engagement photos might not fit in with your style. If you’re on a second marriage and have already “been there, done that” you might feel like engagement photos are something you can skip. (Again, I don’t agree, but I get it!)
What if I can’t afford engagement photos?
If you can’t afford a professional photographer (or would rather put that money into the wedding budget) but really want to capture your engagement, there’s still a few options.
Trade services. There’s a lot of hobbyist photographers who are relatively new to their craft and trying to build a portfolio. You shouldn’t expect them to work for free, but if you can swap something of equal value that might work. Some ideas might be babysitting services, house cleaning, or anything else you do professionally.
Enlist a friend. Job for your Maid of Honor, maybe? Even if they’re not a professional, you can probably have fun taking a few engagement pictures. Look up poses online and try not to take it too seriously. If one of you have a DSLR camera you can probably get some decent quality shots, but even a newer smart phone can capture memories.
Photos are a personal thing. If you’re on the fence, and your budget allows for it, book the photo session. Especially if it’s with your wedding photographer. The worst case scenario is you find out what you don’t want for your wedding photos… But chances are you’ll be glad you did.
Did you take engagement photos?