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Engagement Photos: The Dos and Don’ts

A pic­ture is worth a thou­sand words. You’ve prob­a­bly heard this count­less times already, but it’s impor­tant to dri­ve this home: Your engage­ment pho­tos are a big deal. Out of all the pos­si­ble rea­sons why, this is prob­a­bly the best rea­son yet: Your engage­ment pho­tos speak vol­umes about you as an indi­vid­ual and as a cou­ple. They’re, in a sense, your announce­ment to your friends, fam­i­ly and world about your upcom­ing mar­riage. They also mark the begin­ning of your new life togeth­er. You and your fiancé will look at these pho­tos for many years to come.

To help you get the best engage­ment pho­tos pos­si­ble, we’ve put togeth­er a list of dos and dont’s. Here are our top sug­ges­tions:

DO: Be authentic.

Noth­ing is more orig­i­nal than being your­self. As cliché as this prob­a­bly sounds, no one else in the world is like you or your part­ner. Your love for each oth­er is also unique—it’s a spe­cial con­nec­tion only you both share. Sim­ply put, both of you have inter­ests as indi­vid­u­als and shared inter­ests as a cou­ple. Engage­ment pho­tos are a great place to show­case the intri­ca­cies of your per­son­al­i­ty and your rela­tion­ship. What­ev­er your pas­sion as a cou­ple might be whether that’s surf­ing, read­ing or rid­ing bikes, find a way to incor­po­rate that into your pho­tos, or at least some of them.

bride in fur coat and groom watching fireworks

DON’T: Select a random place for the photo shoot.

Set­tings are every­thing. Yes, places with an appeal­ing back­drop make for beau­ti­ful pho­tos, but try to think beyond that. Engage­ment pho­tos fea­tur­ing sig­nif­i­cant set­tings tend to car­ry more mean­ing, espe­cial­ly for you and your fiancé. Maybe it’s the place where you met or had your first date. Or per­haps it’s a place the two of you reg­u­lar­ly fre­quent like a cof­fee shop or a Sat­ur­day farmer’s mar­ket. Either way, a loca­tion with mean­ing allows you to re-live your mem­o­ries, cre­at­ing pas­sion-filled pho­tos.

Keep in mind, your loca­tion doesn’t have to be any­thing out of the ordi­nary either. It can be as nat­ur­al as cook­ing a meal togeth­er or cud­dling in bed. The options are end­less. Of course, be sure to dis­cuss all loca­tion ideas in advance with your pho­tog­ra­ph­er for input and prepa­ra­tion.

DO: Ask for a mixture of posed and candid shots.

Unless you have a clear vision of how you want your pho­tos to look, request­ing both posed and can­did shots will give you more choic­es to select from. Some­times the best pho­tos tak­en are dur­ing unplanned moments. On the oth­er hand, for­mal shots may be able to cap­ture the look you’re seek­ing.

DON’T: Rush the process.

There’s noth­ing worse than over-sched­ul­ing your­self and not being able to enjoy the present. The same holds true for an engage­ment pho­tog­ra­phy ses­sion. You don’t want to be stressed. Instead of pil­ing every­thing into this one par­tic­u­lar day, place your focus on the shoot and the expe­ri­ence as a whole. This will be your first and last time tak­ing engage­ment pho­tos. Have fun and take your time. Con­sid­er mak­ing a date day out of it and arrange some­thing spe­cial to do with your fiancé after­ward.

closeup of bride and groom in blue suit

DO: Prepare the look.

You can do this in sev­er­al ways:

  • Choose your out­fit selec­tions as a cou­ple. Ide­al­ly, your attire should com­ple­ment your partner’s look and the loca­tion, but not match exact­ly.
  • Use a steam­er or an iron to remove any wrin­kles from your clothes.
  • Book an appoint­ment with a pro­fes­sion­al. Meet­ing with a bar­ber, hair styl­ist or a make­up artist on the day of your engage­ment shoot will enhance the appear­ance of your pho­tos and help you look your best. It’s most ben­e­fi­cial to come pre­pared with an idea of what you’re seek­ing or bet­ter yet, sched­ule a test run some­time pri­or to the ses­sion.
  • Stay hydrat­ed. It improves the appear­ance of your skin.
  • Avoid drink­ing or eat­ing items that are more like­ly to stain your teeth, espe­cial­ly if you’ve whitened them for the shoot. This means no cof­fee, tea, straw­ber­ries and so forth. Keep in mind that you gen­er­al­ly want a two-day buffer at min­i­mum after you whiten your teeth with an at-home kit. If you have your teeth pro­fes­sion­al­ly whitened; how­ev­er, the wait time will be much longer, like two weeks.
  • Get a good night’s rest and don’t eat a heavy meal before your pho­to­shoot. The bet­ter you feel, the bet­ter you’ll look.

DON’T: Forget to include pets or anything else of importance to you and your partner.

If your dog is your fur baby, make sure to include her in a few of your pho­tos. Or maybe you’re a par­ent and want your child to be a part of the shoot—that’s okay, too. What­ev­er your ideas are, make sure to dis­cuss them with your part­ner first to con­firm you’re both on the same page.

kate mckinnon and zach galifianakis in the movie masterminds
From the movie Mas­ter­minds.

At the end of the day, these are your and your fiancé’s engage­ment pho­tos. You all get to decide what works and what doesn’t. They can be seri­ous, or they can be as sil­ly as the engage­ment pho­tos we’ve seen of Zach Gal­i­fi­anakis and Kate McK­in­non in the movie Mas­ter­minds. Okay, okay, maybe not that eccen­tric, but you get the idea!

There are so many small details that go into cre­at­ing your dream wed­ding, but that does­n’t mean you should have to stress. Gen­er­a­tion Tux lets you sam­ple your cloth­ing before the big day, in the com­fort of your liv­ing room. See what we have to offer to make your union extra­or­di­nary.

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