Why Do People Take Engagement Photos?

Have you noticed all the engagement photos your friends and family post online? If you’re on the younger side, you may think that people have always taken engagement announcement photographs to share with the world. But engagement photoshoots are actually a bit of a newer trend, which raises the question: why do people take engagement photos? 

There are both sentimental and practical reasons to get engagement photos taken, all of which I’ll cover in this post. Keep reading to learn why people take engagement photos, get tips on how to have a successful engagement photoshoot, and to find out whether or not engagement photos would be right for you. 

What Are Engagement Photos For: Practical Reasons. To Have Beautiful Photographs for An Engagement Announcement, Wedding Website, and/or Wedding 

First, let’s talk about the most common reason people get engagement photos taken: to have beautiful photographs to announce or celebrate their engagement. In today’s world, we spend so much time online. And much of that time online is spent sharing pictures of what we do, where we go, and of the major moments in our lives. So it’s only natural that engagement photos would become a thing. 

So, how do people use their engagement photos? First, most people use them to accompany an engagement announcement, whether they announce their engagement on social media or through a card in the mail (or both). 

People also use their engagement photographs on their wedding websites. Today, it’s very common to have a wedding website that includes all the important details about your wedding, like your event information, RSVP information, and your gift registry details. Wedding websites also often include a sweet backstory on the couple that’ll be tying the knot. While a wedding website can be a text-only experience, often people love to include their engagement photographs throughout their site to give it a more sentimental, personal touch. 

Another way people use their engagement photos is at their actual wedding. They may put up framed prints of their engagement photographs to decorate their reception. For example, at their venue’s entryway or by their guestbook. Engagement photos are a way to add a fun, personal touch to wedding decorations. 

There are other ways to use engagement photographs too, like on their save the dates (whether they’re physical or through email), to announce their wedding in a local newspaper, or even to create a personal photo album. 

Engagement photos are useful for adding a personal touch to so many different kinds of announcements or wedding celebrations. And they’re particularly useful if you don’t have many good photographs of you and your partner and need some to share during your engagement celebrations. Of course, even if someone has good photographs with their partner from their pre-engagement courtship, many people just simply want engagement specific photographs to use for their engagement picture needs. 

To Get Comfortable With Their Wedding Photographer 

While you certainly can choose different photographers for your engagement shoot and your wedding day, most people use the same photographer. And that leads us to the next practical reason people take engagement photographs: to get comfortable with their photographer. 

An engagement photoshoot is an excellent way to get to know and get comfortable with your wedding photographer. When looking for a wedding photographer, people spent a lot of time scoping out portfolios to find the photographer that’s right for them. But an engagement shoot lets you see what shooting with your photographer is actually like, well before the wedding. 

An engagement shoot gives you dedicated time to get to comfortable with your wedding photographer in a relaxed, low pressure environment. While you surely want your engagement photos to turn out well, they’re not as critically important as your actual wedding photos. At your engagement shoot, you can get to know your photographer and see how they shoot in a personal, one-on-one environment. 

Engagement photoshoots also give you an opportunity to see how shots with your wedding photographer will come out. This can help you see if you might want to do more of a certain pose on your wedding day (and maybe less of some others), see if you might want to wear your hair and makeup differently, and see if there are certain types of shots you like more than others. 

What Are Engagement Photos For: Sentimental Reasons. To Capture a Once-In-A-Lifetime Moment 

Now, onto the sentimental reasons people get engagement photos. First up: to capture a once-in-a-lifetime moment. 

Your engagement is an incredibly special time in your life. You and your partner are about to enter into life together as a married couple. You’ve been journeying through life as individuals and are now ready to commit to journeying through life together. Deciding to get share your lives together is romantic, lovely, and something to be remembered. 

Engagement photographs are specifically designed to capture this incredible period of your life. Even if people don’t necessarily want engagement photographs to share with the world, they often want them for themselves. (Though, of course, you can get them for both reasons.) Engagement photos are just a great way to capture a memory and have a way to look back on and cherish your engagement. 

To Have Fun As a Couple 

I’ve noticed that when people talk about engagement photoshoots, they often overlook a big reason many people get engagement pictures taken: it’s just a lot of fun. Photoshoots are fun and spending time with your partner is fun— engagement shoots combine that. 

If you’re engaged, there’s a lot to celebrate. And many people find that an engagement photoshoot is a celebration in and of itself. An engagement photoshoot is a unique, exciting way to spend time with your partner and bond as a couple. It’s also a great excuse to get some incredible pictures of the two of you, in a much lower pressure environment than at your actual wedding. 

Engagement photoshoots are also a fantastic way to express your personality as a couple (like by shooting in a unique location or by wearing fun outfits). You can do this at a wedding as well, but at a wedding you’re juggling a lot of different things. You don’t have to think about other people or scheduled events at an engagement photoshoot— you can relax and have just enjoy yourself.

Many people find that sharing their engagement photos with people is also a lot of fun. Your wedding and wedding planning is something that should be enjoyed. And if you and your partner love a good photo session, an engagement photo shoot can add even more fun to the process. 

Tips for Engagement Photoshoot Success 

Think About What You Like in Advance 

To get engagement shots you love, it’s a good idea to look at other people’s engagement photos and see what you’re drawn to. Do you like more artsy shots? Do you prefer candid shots? Or maybe you like posed shots? here is a Pinterest board you can look at to get some ideas! (CLICK HERE) 

If you have no idea what kind of shots you want (or even what might be possible), a great idea is to hit Pinterest and create an inspiration board. Search “engagement photos” and start pinning any pictures you like. Then, take a look at your board and see if there are any common themes in the pictures. Maybe they’re all very candid or maybe they’re all out in nature. Then, think about how you can incorporate the things you like into your own engagement photoshoot. 

Pick a Great Location 

Your engagement shoot has two stars: you and your partner. But it also has a very important supporting player: your location. Picking a great location is essential for making your engagement photos shine. 

For me, a great location can mean one of two things: somewhere that’s particularly beautiful or somewhere that’s meaningful to you. (Of course, sometimes it can even be both.) You might want to shoot at a gorgeous, dramatic location, like at a canyon or in front of a waterfall. Or you might want to shoot outside your first date spot, inside your home together, or at the location where you first said “I love you.” Consider what you want most: are you more interested in visual or emotional impact? Or is there perhaps a way you can combine the two?

If you aren’t sure where to shoot, ask your wedding photographer for ideas. They’ll know your area well and can help you pick a spot that would be right for you. 

Plan Your Outfits

Picking the right engagement shoot outfits is important, so you’ll want to think about what you’re going to wear well in advance. Most importantly, you’ll want to wear something that you feel comfortable in, something that’s flattering and also reflects your personal style. But, as a photographer, I’d say it’s also a good idea to wear solid colors, which look fantastic on camera when shooting in color. Or, if you’re one of the unique couples that wants black and white shots, you can consider wearing patterned clothing, which looks spectacular in grayscale. 

On top of picking your outfit for yourself, you also may want to coordinate with your partner. Do you want to wear complementary outfits? Or perhaps wear matching colors? 

Another thing to consider is how your outfits will look against your location. You’ll may want to wear colors that complement your backdrop, like wearing a deep green in a forest location. Or, you may want to make sure you pop against your backdrop, like you might if you wore white in front of a forest location. Just think about the vibe you want for your shoot and plan your outfits accordingly. 

Hair and Makeup Tips

Something I often recommend is getting your wedding hair and makeup trial done on the same day as your engagement shoot. This is an excellent way to see how your wedding makeup looks on camera when you’re shot by your wedding photographer. Of course, this isn’t a must and you may not know who you want to do your hair and makeup if you’re getting your engagement shots taken way before your wedding. But if you have a makeup artist or hair stylist in mind, it’s a great opportunity to try them out. 

Have Fun! 

This last tip is, in my opinion, the most important: have fun! An engagement shoot should be an absolute blast. Don’t stress when you’re taking your engagement photos— your photographer will help you look your best. Just focus on having fun with your partner and really enjoying the process. 

Should I Get Engagement Photos Taken? 

We’ve covered some of the many reasons couples get engagement photographs taken and some tips on how to make your engagement photoshoot great. But you might still be wondering: should you get engagement photos taken? In short, I’d say you should get them if you want them but skip them if you don’t. 

It might seem strange for a photographer who takes engagement photos to say you don’t absolutely have to get them taken. But, as someone who works in wedding photography, I know that the most important thing about planning a wedding is doing what works for you and your partner. Your wedding and your journey toward your wedding is about the two of you. If you’re excited by the idea of taking engagement photographs, you should definitely get them. Engagement photos are an amazing way to capture an incredibly special time in your life. But if you don’t want to get engagement photos taken, feel free to skip them. 

People often say that you “have to” do things a certain way when it comes to your wedding. But, in reality, you don’t have to follow any cookie cutter “rules” for your wedding or in the months leading up to your wedding. There are reasons that people get engagement photos and reasons that they don’t. For example, a couple might have a tighter budget and might want to spend that budget on, say, hiring a wedding videographer or inviting more guests to their wedding, rather than getting engagement pictures taken.

While I love engagement photos and think they’re a great way to capture the moment of your engagement (and your personality as a couple!), you should do what’s right for you. At the end of the day, it’s your engagement and your wedding, so just trust your gut when thinking about whether or not engagement photos are something you want to have or something you’d rather skip.