Once you’ve said “yes!” to a life with your partner, you’ll want to commemorate the occasion with some stunning engagement photos. But where in the world should you take the photos—and how, exactly, do you make sure your engagement photoshoot doesn’t fall flat? Today, we’re breaking down our top tips for capturing some seriously stunning shots. Read on for our favorite ideas.
Outdoor Engagement Photos
With incredible lighting and stunning natural surroundings, outdoor engagement photos can be endlessly dreamy. If you’re opting to head outside for your photoshoot, just be sure you’ve chosen a photographer whose portfolio includes plenty of outdoor work—and remember to be flexible (weather woes or other unexpected surprises may require a change of location or complete reschedule). Below are our top location ideas for outdoor engagement photoshoots:
- Walking Trails: Rather than heading to your nearest walking trail, we love the idea of opting for one in a less-traveled area. Think: local or national parks or hidden-gem hikes in isolated locales.
- On the Water: Beaches, tide pools, or ocean overlooks can all make for stunning engagement shots.
- Near a Lake: If you’re seeking a sense of serenity in your shots, look no further than your nearest lake. Just be sure you shoot on a still day, as a glassy water surface will make for far more striking shots than one that’s rippled or peppered with whitecaps.
- Southern California: If there was an official engagement photoshoot capital of the country, Southern California would be it. From Joshua Tree National Park to incredible sand dunes (Guadalupe-Nipomo and Kelso Dunes are among our favorites), Southern California offers plenty of stunning outdoor locales for some undeniably dreamy engagement photos.
City Engagement Photos
If you and your fiancé fancy yourselves more urban-dwellers than outdoor adventurers, then a city engagement shoot might just be for you. Some pro tips for ensuring your shoot goes smoothly? Talk through timing with your photographer beforehand: you want to capture the best lighting possible, while also working around crowds and any events that may be taking place. Below are our top location ideas for city engagement photoshoots:
- Your favorite restaurant or coffee shop: We love the idea of keeping your photos low-key and intimate by shooting in a simple, sweet coffee shop or restaurant that has meaning to you—especially if that establishment just happens to have a super stunning aesthetic.
- Walking around a favorite neighborhood: Whether it’s your own neighborhood or a popular neighborhood in your city, simply taking a stroll with your partner around a pretty part of town and letting your photographer snap away is a great way to capture low-key, au-natural candids
- Near any landmarks that have special meaning to you: Whether it’s a building at the university you attended or the location where you were engaged, if there’s a landmark that has special meaning to you, consider using it as a backdrop to your engagement photos.
- New York City: While Southern California tends to take the cake for outdoor engagement photos, we happen to think the Big Apple is the ultimate option for city shoots. A few of our favorite options? The New York Public Library, the Brooklyn Bridge, The Plaza, or Coney Island.
Intimate Engagement Photos
If you’re someone who isn’t super comfortable in front of a camera, an intimate, low-key engagement shoot might just be right up your alley. Below are some of our favorite options for those seeking intimate engagement photos:
- At home: Bare feet with your favorite blanket? Sign us up. We love the simple idea of cozying up on your couch together for some seriously swoon-worthy shots. Or, if there’s an activity you and your partner do all of the time (enjoying coffee in bed, reading books together, cooking in the kitchen, etc.) consider having candids taken of that for an “in our element” kind-of feel to your photos.
- Your favorite spot: Whether it’s your backyard hammock, a local plant nursery, or a hidden park down the street, if you and your partner have a favorite hidden-gem spot you frequent together, consider using it as the setting for your photos. Because you’re both comfortable there, you’ll likely end up with some super natural-feeling candids.
Even if you’re opting for a low-key, at-home engagement photoshoot, planning what you’re going to wear is a critical piece of the puzzle. We always recommend you:
- Bring two outfits: Consider bringing one more formal and one more casual outfit. Or, if you want your entire photoshoot to feel casual (or formal), bring two outfits in that vein. You never know how things are going to translate on camera, so having two distinct options is always a safe bet.
- Avoid bright colors and loud patterns: You want the photos to be about you and your partner, not about what you’re wearing. That being said, if a loud pattern or bright color just fits your personality, make sure you have a quick conversation with your photographer first so she or he can plan for that.
- Consider the location: If you’re shooting at your favorite coffee shop where they have, say, turquoise walls, you want to choose a color that stands out against turquoise. Rather than trying to “match” the location you’re shooting in, choose something that complements it. If you’re shooting somewhere with an aesthetic that’s super loud (crazy wallpaper or a lush floral wall), choose subdued solids so you’re not clashing with your surroundings.
- Consider the aesthetic: If you’re shooting at home on your couch, ripped jeans and a t-shirt work perfectly—whereas, if you’re shooting in a stunning cathedral, you’ll want something a little more formal. Whatever aesthetic you’re going for with your engagement photos, be sure to dress the part.
- Opt for professional help: If it’s in your budget, have your hair and makeup done by a professional. Even if you’re great at doing your own hair and makeup, a professional will know what tweaks to make to ensure your look translates in front of the camera.
PRO TIP: One major pro tip before we leave you to it? Check out some engagement photo pose ideas before the day of your shoot. There’s nothing worse than having a perfectly planned photoshoot…only to get in front of the camera and realize you have absolutely no idea how to move or how to pose.
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