The Ultimate Guide to Engagement Photos

One of the most exciting parts of your engagement is undoubtedly the official photos you and your new fiance have taken together. It offers you the opportunity to mark the occasion and have a professional photographer take wonderfully composed shots that you can hang on the wall or put together in an album.

There might be a hundred questions in your head about engagement photos. Should you do them? How much do they cost? What should you wear? Will they look too cheesy?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Having engagement photos taken is a big deal, so it’s only natural to have a ton of questions during the build-up. That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide to ensure you’re fully prepared to go into your big engagement photoshoot.

Are engagement photos necessary?

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Whether or not you choose to have engagement photos is totally down to your preferences, how comfortable you are and whether or not you have the budget. For many couples, engagement photos are an important part of the process and make for a great accompaniment to save-the-dates and invitations, as well as for use on your wedding website if you have one. Not only that, but they’re a brilliant way to mark the occasion and make for a lovely keepsake and memory.

If you plan on having a short engagement, you may struggle to find the time to fit an engagement photoshoot in. Similarly, if you’re on a tight budget, it can be difficult to justify yet another expense. But, many couples feel that they’re a must-have part of getting engaged and planning a wedding.

Is it okay to not do engagement photos?

Photo © Paul Swift Photography | See their Bridebook profile

If you’re in two minds about engagement photos or you’re not sure you have the budget to spare, then don’t feel pressured to do them. Of course, many couples consider them a fun must-do, but they shouldn’t come at the expense of something else. In the UK, the average cost of a wedding is £19,184, which is a huge amount of money for most couples, and engagement photos are yet another addition to an ever-increasing list of costs. If they’re important to you, add them to your wedding budget, but if they’re not high on your list of non-negotiables then feel free to dedicate that part of your budget to something else.

When should engagement photos be taken?

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You’ll want to choose a date for your engagement photos that’s much closer to your engagement than the big day itself. The sweet spot is while you’re still riding the high of your engagement and haven’t yet sent any save-the-dates or invitations.

You should consider it as a great way to get comfortable in front of the camera, as well as a way to get to know your chosen photographer and let them get to know you. By booking your wedding photographs and engagement photographs as a package deal, you might even secure yourself a cheeky discount.

For more information, read our guide on what to do after you get engaged so you don’t miss any important steps along the way.

How much should you spend on engagement photos?

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While you’re likely to hire your photographer to shoot pictures throughout the entire day of your wedding, your engagement photos won’t take nearly as long. For that reason, you’ll probably pay a much smaller rate. The average cost of a wedding photographer is £1,300 – £1,500, and you can usually book a package for around that amount which includes engagement photos as well.

If you’re purely looking for engagement photos, you’re likely to pay between £150 and £250 to hire the photographer for the session, some limited editing and a digital album. However, this can vary depending on the skill and experience of your photographer.

Who pays for engagement photos?

Photo © Andy Sidders Photography | See their Bridebook profile

Traditionally, the bride’s parents are the ones who pick up the bill for the engagement photos as they’re often included in the cost of a wedding photography package. However, it’s becoming increasingly more common for couples to pay for their own engagement snaps. It all depends on your budget and whether or not your family is in a position to lend a hand financially.

For more information, read our post on who traditionally pays for what at a wedding.

How long do engagement photos take?

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An engagement photoshoot doesn’t take as long as you might expect, and will usually take between 45 and 90 minutes. Of course, this can vary depending on your location, the conditions, the experience of your photographer and – ultimately – you. If you’re not comfortable in front of the camera it might take you a little time to get warmed up, but that’s one reason why engagement photos are so great – it gets you used to posing and smiling for longer than you might be used to.

How to take your own engagement photos

Photo © Ebourne Images | See their Bridebook profile

If you’re keen on professional-looking engagement photos but don’t have the budget to spare, can you do the DIY approach and end up with photos that are elevated beyond the humble selfie? The good news is, yes you can! The bad news is that you’ll likely have to pick up a few pieces of equipment to make sure they have more of a professional finish.

Luckily, your smartphone can likely already take professional-quality photos. The tricky part is making them look natural when you’re the ones snapping the shots. To do this, you can pick up a tripod for less than £20, and a wireless shutter remote costs as little as £3 so you can snap away without having to set a timer or touch your phone.

To go the extra mile, you might consider a lighting setup, but a decent kit might set you back at least £50. To get around this, choose a well-lit space, or better yet somewhere outside, such as some gardens or a historical site.

Then, just have some fun, experiment and take as many photographs as you can manage. Use different settings on your phone to create different effects, and use the light to your advantage so your faces aren’t hidden in any shadows and you’re not squinting because of the sun. With some perseverance, you’ll definitely come out with some beautiful shots.

If you’re not so sure, browse our range of wonderful wedding photographers to find yourself the perfect photography package.

What should you wear in engagement photos?

Photo © Stuart Wood | See their Bridebook profile

When the day of your engagement photoshoot arrives, what sort of clothes should you wear? Should you stick to what you’re comfortable with, or is it time to crack out the formal wear?

Thankfully, your engagement photos can be whatever you want them to be – and that includes the clothes you wear.

In the hopefully-not-too-distant future, you and your spouse-to-be will take part in another photoshoot on your wedding day itself, so why not take the opportunity to dress a little more comfortably? You may not want to rely on a t-shirt and jeans, but something light and summery should do the trick (unless it’s the depths of winter, of course – then you might want to throw on a jumper).

You might not want to match, but make sure the two of you discuss what you want to wear so you complement each other. It may look a little strange if one of you is wearing a flowery dress and the other is in a hoodie. It’s also important to make sure your colours go – if one of you wears red and the other wears green, it might look less like an engagement photo shoot and more like a Christmas card photo shoot.

You might also want to avoid anything particularly ‘trendy’ and go for a more classic look. You don’t want to look back on your engagement photos in 10 years and have a ‘What were we thinking?’ moment. So long as you’re seasonally appropriate, true to yourselves and complement each other, wear whatever makes you look and feel good.

Where to take engagement photos

Photo © Blue Lily Weddings | See their Bridebook profile

When it comes to the perfect location for engagement photos, you’re basically spoilt for choice. While the focus of your photos is 100% about you, the location you choose should be personal to you, full of character and allow for plenty of natural light.

Great locations for your engagement photos include:

  • Natural outdoor settings, such as the beach, some gardens or woodland
  • Urban locations, such as a city street or against a fabulous skyline
  • Historical sites, such as a stately home or castle
  • Cultural sites, like a theatre or museum
  • Personal locations, such as the spot where you met, had your first date or got engaged
  • Adventurous locations, like on a mountain or in a hot air balloon
  • At home where you feel most relaxed and comfortable

How long does it take to get engagement photos back?

Photo © Acronym Photography | See their Bridebook profile

The amount of time it takes to get your engagement photos back from your photographer depends on their workload, the amount of photographs they took and how much post-production is needed. Generally, it’ll take between two and four weeks, but photographers can be accommodating if you’re on a tight deadline. Just make sure you let them know what you need and discuss your requirements with them before hiring them.

Should you share your engagement photos on social media?

Photo © Mike Plunkett Photography | See their Bridebook profile

As long as you’re comfortable with it, of course! One of the best parts of engagement photos is that you can use them on your invitations, splash them on your wedding website and share them on social media. Definitely share your favourites, just make sure you don’t overdo it and keep a certain air of mystery about you before the big day!

10 tips for taking fabulous engagement photos

Photo © Photography Ninja | See their Bridebook profile

Excited to take part in your very own engagement photoshoot but nervous about what to expect or what you should do? Here are 10 tips to help overcome your worries and have wonderful photographs you’ll be proud to show off.

  1. Be as open and honest as possible with your photographer. If you’d love to get a particular shot, tell them. Similarly, if you’re not comfortable with something, definitely tell them.
  2. Make sure your photos are super personal and relevant to you and your interests. You don’t want boring, generic photos. You want photos that scream YOU!
  3. Before the shoot, put together a mood board of the sort of shots you like and share them with your photographer. You don’t want to recreate other couples’ photos, but it can help communicate what you want.
  4. Choose a theme that tells a consistent story across all your photos.
  5. Don’t forget your ring! That means you need to time your engagement photos around getting the engagement ring resized (if it needs to be resized, that is).
  6. Don’t do something because you think that’s what engagement photos are supposed to be – be true to yourself throughout the entire process.
  7. Make sure the two of you communicate throughout and you choose colours and styles that complement each other.
  8. If your budget allows, consider hiring a professional hair and makeup artist. Read our post on how to save money on hair and makeup for a few cost-cutting ideas.
  9. Trust your photographer. You might have a vision for what you want your photos to look like, but they’re a pro so let them be your guide.
  10. Try to ignore anything going on around you, especially if you’re having your photos taken in a public space. It’s only natural that people will be curious, but if you just focus on each other (and your photographer of course) you’ll have photos that radiate happiness.

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