Engagement Photo Do’s and Don’ts

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The Ultimate Don’t: Don’t Be nervous about taking bad photos

You’re finally engaged, and ready to start planning your dream wedding! Wait! Before we get too far into the planning process, make sure to plan out your engagement photoshoot! Engagement sessions are a great way to gather photos for your save-the-dates, invitations, wedding website, wedding decorations, plus all the social media announcements you’re posting. Plus, it’s a little bit of one-on-one time between you and your love, and I always recommend taking as much of that as you can get!

Engagement sessions make people feel all sorts of ways, but usually the overwhelming emotion is stress! Personally, I think engagement photography is one of my favorites, so I want to chat about some simple do’s and don’ts today! Hopefully, it’ll alleviate some of the questions you may be asking about engagement photoshoots, and help you prepare for yours. And take note– there may be something in here that surprises you! Let’s get started! But first, some inspiration photos for you!

outdoor engagement photos, engagement photos do's and dont's


Do: Think About Your Wedding Theme

If you’re planning a themed wedding, you’re probably going to want themed photos for the stationery, right? So, work with your photographer to create a plan for the best way to capture your theme during your engagement session. They may have some super creative ideas for how to showcase your theme in the perfect way! 

Do: Plan Your Outfits

As a photographer, please, please plan your outfits. There’s nothing worse than an engagement session where the couple realizes after the fact that they hated their outfits, and the photos are never used. So sad! Instead, I recommend planning your outfits to coordinate, and try to wear similarly styled outfits. AKA- if one of you wears a long dress and heels, make sure your partner is dressed to match (no jeans or cutoffs, please!). Your photographer can help guide you with this!

Do: Get Romantic in Front of the Camera

There’s nothing better than capturing some steamy kisses on camera, that’s what the engagement session is all about! Personally, I think the more romance, the better. Besides, your love is beautiful, and you friends and family are excited to see you both together. Lean into the romance, and it’ll take away a lot of the awkwardness you may feel. 

Do: Lean On Your Photographer

Obviously, I don’t mean literally (unless you really want to), but use your photographer as your guide! They should be extremely familiar with engagement photography, as well as the location you’re going to shoot at. They may have some super secret insider tips on the best spot to stand for sunset, or the most amazing way to capture a flattering golden hour photo. When in doubt, ask them! 


Don’t: Pick a Random Place

For an engagement session, it’s way more meaningful to choose a location that means something in your relationship. Whether it’s the location of your first date, or the spot where they proposed, or maybe a place you both love to visit together on Saturday date nights, make sure that your engagement session spot is important to you! Plus, the more comfortable you both are somewhere, the more comfortable the whole session will be– and that’s what we’re striving for!

Don’t: Forget About Timing

Another reason you should pick a spot you’ve been to before? So you (or your photographer) can suggest the best time for your session. The photos from a session outside at noon will be extremely different from the photos at the same location at 7 pm (aka golden hour during the spring/summer months). I highly recommend finding a photographer who’s familiar with your engagement session location, or request that the photographer visit the location with you to find the most ideal timing. Trust me, no one wants harsh sunlight for engagement photos. 

Don’t: Wear Tight or Matching Clothing

Remember what I said earlier about planning the outfits? Well, I said “coordinate”, not match. For some reason, adult couples that match just give off sibling vibes, and that’s definitely not what we’re going for in an engagement session. So, do us all a favor and coordinate your outfits with similar colors, similar color palettes, or similar textures, but please don’t match. The same thing goes for tight clothing. No matter how good you think you look in the mirror, or how amazing that celebrity looked wearing the same thing, nothing skintight will look good in the camera. Honestly, these are photos that will probably end up on your nana’s fridge. Make her proud by choosing an outfit that is very “you”, but still respectable. 

Don’t: Be Nervous About Taking Bad Photos

My last tip is probably the most important, because it’s something everyone struggles with. If you’re nervous about taking bad photos, just know you’re not alone! But here’s the thing– the more nervous you are about taking bad photos, the worse the photos will turn out. Being nervous makes people tense up, smiles look fake, and things just feel all-around awkward. That’s obviously a no-go for a fun, relaxed photo vibe. Steal one of my favorite tips and create a Spotify playlist of some of your favorite songs before the shoot. That way, if either of you feel nervous on the day, you can put on your playlist and instantly start to relax! 

I hope you’re feeling more prepared for your upcoming engagement photo session, and if you haven’t booked one yet, what are you waiting for!? Engagement photos are a celebration of one of the most important moments of your life, and they can be super fun or super romantic, or both! The point is, they’re all about you. If you’re interested in hiring an engagement photographer, click here to get in touch! Want to see more of my work? Check out my Instagram here

The good news is, I have so many engagement and wedding tips to share with you, like my post with more tips on feeling comfortable during your engagement shoot. 

Talk soon!

Xoxo Shelby

About Me

I am a wedding & portrait photographer based in Southern California and beyond!

I started at the young age of 16 in my hometown of Orange in Orange
County, California. As my photography business grew and I got married,
life took me to the Chino Hills area, making me more centered to all
major Southern California counties.

Here on the blog, you will
see a variety of posts regarding tips, sessions & weddings, and my
personal life of being a wife, mother, and business owner. To learn more
about me or to see more daily adventures, follow me on Instagram and/or

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