Engagement Shoot tips

Hire a professional photographer.

This should go without saying, but you are going to get the best photos by hiring a Professional to take your engagement photos. Your engagement is such a short and special chapter in your life and your relationship, and you deserve to commemorate that time with beautiful photos together! If possible, I highly recommend booking your engagement photos with your wedding photographer. This gives you an opportunity to get comfortable and connect with your photographer prior to your big day, making for even better photos from your wedding. For this very reason, I give ALL my couples an engagement session included with any package.

Create a Mood Board


If you have any photos you like that you want to use for ideas, that would be great.  This can be through email or by creating a Pinterest mood board and sharing it with your Photographer. This way they can have an idea for the style you are looking for and be sure to provide you with what you have in mind, while adding their own artistic spin. 

Wear something you’re comfortable in.

If you select clothing that is too tight or clingy, you’ll spend your whole session picking at them or covering up. If you choose something you’ve never worn before, you’ll be worried about how you look in it or may discover it’s actually terribly uncomfortable, which can come across in your photos.

Choose outfits that make you feel like a million bucks. If you do purchase something new, take it out for a test run with plenty of time to launder it before your session in case of a spill or other mishap. As much as you consider how your engagement outfits make you feel, think also about how they’ll photograph during your session. For the ladies, I recommend choosing pieces that flow nicely as you move, especially if you’re doing your photos outdoors. 

Some couples also like to bring along a change of wardrobe.  It can help change up the mood and offer more variety to the images as well but be sure to have enough time planned for this and let your Photographer know as well.

Steam or iron your outfits ahead of time!

Speaking of what you wear, be sure to de-wrinkle your clothes before your session. A photographer’s least favorite question is “can you just Photoshop that out later?” and oftentimes having things like wrinkles retouched in your photos comes at an additional cost per image. Save yourself the stress and get wrinkle free ahead of time!


Consider professional hair and makeup for your shoot.

If you feel confident in your hair and makeup skills, you can skip on down to the next tip! However, if you’ve never done makeup for photos or you aren’t really sure what to do with your hair, you may want to hit up the salon before your engagement shoot. Photos require slightly more saturated makeup than your every day look so that you don’t become washed out. Haven’t done your hair and makeup consultation with your wedding day stylist yet? It can be a smart move to schedule that consult the morning before your session to knock out two birds with one makeup brush! If you’re in the Hamilton NJ area, I highly suggest using Propaganda Salon! Tell them Marc Daniele Photography sent you!

Make a day out of it.

One of the best pieces of advice we’ve heard from photographers is to make your engagement session part of a day-long date. Not only does this give you plenty of time for photos without feeling rushed, but starting your day in this mindset helps you feel connected and romantic as you head into the photo shoot. Start your day with a boozy brunch or coffee at your favorite spot and invite your photographer to meet you there to grab a few shots before changing locations.

Set the scene.

Location is everything, so before heading to your neighborhood park for engagement photos, think about what you really love as a couple and what places reflect that. If you relish over making coffee together and snuggling on the couch with some good ole Netflix, maybe a session at home is right for you. Are you an adventurous couple who spends your weekends hiking? Take your photos in the forest or mountains, hiking gear in tow. How about the Ice Cream parlor where you first met? Don’t be afraid to incorporate your favorite activities like riding bikes or taking a canoe down to the lake.

Schedule your session around the sun.

You may have heard that there are certain times of the day that are better for photos and that’s all because of the light! Golden hour, which is that beautiful time of day just before the sun sets is when you want to shoot if you’re looking for that glorious, golden light in your photos. It’s important to be aware of when the sun is going to set so that you have plenty of time to shoot before the light is gone. The early afternoon may sound like a good time for photos schedule-wise, but keep in mind that the light is much harsher at this time because the sun is directly overhead. Early, early morning light can also be magical, so you may want to consider a sunrise session where you arrive at your first location just as the sun starts to rise.

Bring Props!

Feel free to bring things along that really reflect your fantastic personalities. For instance, I've had a couple where the groom was a Police Officer and he brought his badge, uniform and patrol car! I’ve also had a couple go to an Ice Cream Parlor and ate ice cream together because that's where they first met. Don’t hesitate to bring anything that truly reflects you individually or as a couple.


When in doubt, kiss!

If you haven’t spent a lot of time in front of a camera (and let’s face it – who has?), you may be pretty nervous or become stiff during your shoot. A quick way to loosen up while still getting great photos is to go in for a kiss! This can help you connect with your partner and forget the camera is even around, which makes for more natural photos anyway.


Be on time!

And finally, please be on time! Many Photographer’s love to incorporate natural-light when possible along with the lighting gear they bring, so the sun dictates how long you can be photographed and get the look you might be looking for. Please make proper considerations for traffic, hair delays, and fashion emergencies! ;) An average shoot lasts 1-1.5 hours...if you show up 30 minutes late, the session may not extended, but may have to end at the regularly scheduled time depending on the Photographer’s availability. Your Photographer will want you to have the BEST photography experience and being on time achieves exactly this! :)

Hope these help, but lastly, please remember to relax and have FUN!

Marc Daniele