5 Insider Tips for Perfect Engagement Photos

For most couples, engagement photos are the first step when it comes to wedding planning. Although we’re sure you already know, these photos are important. Not only do they set the tone for your wedding, but it’s how many couples choose to officially announce their plans to get married, which means they’ll be seen by everyone. In order to have a great engagement photo session experience, there are a few big things to keep in mind.

Here are the top five tips every soon-to-be married couple should consider when planning their engagement photos.

  1. What to Wear. Any search online and you’ll see that couples differ greatly on what they believe to be “appropriate” wedding attire. And, while there’s a way to make most outfits work, the biggest concern is making sure that you and your significant other are comfortable - and happy. Considering how important these photos are (only second to wedding photos), you’ll want to make sure that you love what you are wearing. Whether you choose to go formal (with maybe a long flowy dress and a nice dress shirt) or casual (perhaps your favorite pair of jeans and a t-shirt), above all you should make sure that the clothes reflect who you are - on your best day. Yes, we love casual, down-to-earth couples, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put some thought into the clothes you wear. (And please, don’t wear matching shirts and jeans - coordinate instead.)

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2. When to Shoot. Photographers love working with light when it’s at its most magical, which usually happens early in the morning (sunrise) and just before sunset. Of course, the time of your shoot will depend on the season. While you can (and should) absolutely choose the general time frame for your photos (like desired weeks or month), let us help you decide when is best to shoot depending on location, season, weather, etc. The best advice we can give you is to clear your schedule for the day and make a DAY out of it. Go out for breakfast and spoil yourselves before your session or plan a nice dinner after - you’re all dressed up anyway.

3. Save the Date Cards. Most couples decide to use their engagement photos for their save-the-date cards, which means that the timing of your engagement photos needs to align with when you need to send out your cards. If you don’t have a date set yet, then this won’t be a problem. But, if you’ve already booked a venue and selected a date, you’ll want to be sure that we can get you your final pictures well before you want to send out your cards. Nothing is worse than feeling pressed for time or sending out save-the-date cards too late.

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4. Location Options. Just like what you wear should reflect your personality, so should the location you choose. This doesn’t mean you can’t ask your photographer to come to your backyard or take photos of you at your favorite restaurant. However from our experience, getting outside and into the wild helps to bring couples together in a fun and exciting way. Even if you’re not super outdoorsy, finding a beautiful overlook or tree-filled grove can help to make your photographs feel special. And, if you are super outdoorsy, show it! Most photographers are more than willing to accompany you on hikes (or whichever adventure is your cup of tea) in order to help you capture that perfect shot.

5. The Perfect Photo. Speaking of the perfect photo, movement is absolutely key. Time and time again the best shots are those that capture couples interacting and moving with each other because they are the most natural. Avoid photos that look staged or static at all costs. Have fun together and don’t feel weird about starting a random dance party while you’re out. Kiss, laugh, hug, run, jump, simply have a good time and good photos will follow - guaranteed.

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And, before you book your engagement session, be sure you do a thorough dive into your photographers gallery and portfolio of work. If you don’t love the photographs you see, there’s a really good chance that you won’t love the pictures you get back. In our experience, the more you can connect and relate to your photographers, the more likely it is your pictures will be ones you’ll treasure for years to come.

Surprise Full Moon Adventure Session with Melissa, Brennen and Snowflake

We’ve gotten to know Melissa and Brennen over the last year and have discovered that they are two of the kindest, most down-to-earth people we know. They LIVE for adventure and get outside whenever they can - and, living in Tahoe, that’s almost always. Gearing up for a year-long South American adventure, we decided to drop everything practical and spend the day together hiking and shooting.

As we imagined, everything about the adventure shoot was perfect. The lighting and surprise full moon was wonderful, but the best part of the day was getting to soak in their positivity. They even brought their long lived travel mascot, a stuffed horse named Snowflake, along for the fun!

Our hike was filled with beautiful nooks and views, which we took full advantage of during the session. We burnt through the daylight and perched ourselves to view the sunset together, which lived up to the legendary Lake Tahoe status Lake people talk about. To our surprise, there was a full moon! We did what we could with the extra light and captured a few of our very favorite shots right at the very end.

Although we hiked our way out in the dark, we left the shoot feeling uplifted and energized. We’re so excited to see what the future for this incredible duo (plus Snowflake) holds! Best of luck in South America Melissa and Brennen!

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Adventure Sessions: The Fun Alternative to Traditional Engagement Photography Sessions

Engagement sessions are a once in a lifetime opportunity, a chance to capture that special moment in time celebrating love and the beautiful lifelong commitment two people are making. And while we love being behind the lens of these shoots, over the years we’ve discovered that so many couples end up feeling stiff and nervous. No matter how great the setting (and the photographer), this type of energy shows up in the photos. And it’s just not what you (or we) want at the end of the day.

Adventure sessions are, in our opinion, the antidote to looking stiff and staged. Because they get you out of your comfort zone and into the wild (or, at least, as wild as you want to get), they help couples relax, allowing them to let down their guard so that their personalities really shine through.

You know that thing your partner fell in love with about you?

That’s what good engagement photography is all about. And that’s exactly what an adventure session will help you do.

As professional photographers, here are some of the reasons why we recommend couples to consider an adventure session for their next shoot.

  1. It melts away nerves. Getting outside (maybe even working up a bit of a sweat) is a great way to relax in general. And, when you do it right before you get photographed, it helps you to forget that the camera is even there. We’ve seen so many couples go from nervous and anxious to completely at ease. The photographs that would have happened twenty minutes before the adventure aren’t nearly as good as those that come twenty minutes in.
     

  2. It’s fun. For some couples, the idea of getting their “portraits” taken for an engagement is enough to make them wish they had eloped and gotten the whole thing over with. But, when you book an adventure session, you actually have something fun to look forward to. Pick your location or let us help you find the perfect spot. We’ll do everything we can to make it feel like you are on a date. (We just happen to be that friendly couple tagging along taking all the pictures!)
     

  3. The adventure itself is memorable. Life really is about making memories. Why not use this as an opportunity to make a beautiful one? Couples that choose to do adventure sessions fall in love with their photos even more because there’s a real memory behind it. Everything about the adventure is captured in the photographs, and it really does not get more special than that.
     

  4. It shows way more personality. Because you’re relaxed and having fun, your personality really does shine through. From serious to silly, it all shows up in these photographs, capturing so much more than just what you and your partner look like.

Of course, an adventure session isn’t right for every couple. But, for those who get excited just thinking about the idea, we can assure you that you won’t regret the decision.

- Rob and M

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