I LOVE helping my couples figure out how to prepare for engagement photos. Before we get too carried away with the “right things to do,” I just want to first give you permission to take time to be excited about your engagement. When you first get engaged, there can be a lot of pressure to jump right into planning mode. There is a lot to do, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take time to be present and just enjoy each other’s company. When you are ready to book your New Jersey engagement photos or hire your wedding photographer, you can reach out here to get in touch. I’m happy to give you your own personalized advice for how to prepare for your engagement photos!
Best Engagement Photo Locations for New Jersey and New York
This is probably my most frequently asked question as a wedding photographer regarding engagement photos! Ultimately, there are MANY incredible photos to take engagement photos in New Jersey and New York. I usually guide my couples and help them choose the perfect locations – yes, more than one! Often, we will get a mix of indoor and outdoor shots. There are so many stunning locations around New Jersey and New York. We can head to Central Park, Washington Square Park, a museum (if they allow photos), by the New Jersey waterfront. I love any engagement photos that have a stunning city skyline in the background.
If you chose an outdoor location or two, I want to talk about the weather really quickly. If the forecast calls for rain, I want to encourage you to embrace it. Hear me out on this. I always bring clear or black umbrellas as back up and shooting in the rain creates stunning moody and romantic photos. When you plan your engagement photos, I encourage you to stick to your date “come rain or shine.” In fact, the photos below might have you hoping for rain…
Outfit Ideas for Engagement Photos
The MOST important thing to consider when choosing your engagement photo outfits, is that you feel comfortable. If you are uncomfortable, it will show in the photos! Looking uncomfortable or having clothes you are tugging at or constantly adjusting will be much worse than any “wrong” outfit choice. I also usually don’t recommend wearing anything too tight or loose because they don’t photograph as well. The same goes for super bright colors and patterns! Although bright colors can be fun to wear, they look distracting in your images. For engagement photos, you want the attention on you, your partner and that shiny new ring.
Aside from those general rules, you might also want to consider how casual or formal you want the photos to be. I book most engagement photo sessions for two hours so that gives us time for an outfit change or two, if you want! I recommend considering one casual outfit and one where you are more dressed up so you have some variety. If you’re going for more of a casual look, jeans and a solid colored top (black, white, gray, or a pastel color) is always a safe choice. If you’re going for a dressier look, flowy dresses are nice either in a solid color or a subtle pattern. You might also want to consider where you are using the photos. Casual photos are great for Instagram poses, but if you want to use your engagement photos in save the dates or frame them in your house, a fancier outfit might be more appropriate!
Engagement Photo Pose Ideas
I always think it’s more fun to document real and authentic moments than run through a pose list. I always want my couples to get a little up close and personal (and I will definitely guide you through the shots!). If there are specific poses you want on your wedding day, your engagement photos are the perfect place to try them out! And always make sure to get a closeup ring shot.
When planning your engagement photos, don’t be afraid to add in quirkier parts of your personality. We want to embrace what you love and what makes you YOU. For example, the below couple LOVES Disney, so we had a lot of fun taking photos with their Minnie and Mickey Mouse ears and Disney wine glasses. When it comes to engagement photos, the sky is the limit! There is really no pressure in this kind of photo session, so have fun with it!
What to do during your engagement photos
If the thought of standing and posing for two hours has you sweating, don’t worry! Engagement photos can (and should) be a fun experience. I always recommend taking a few “traditional” couple photos but the rest of them can be fun. We can also combine your engagement photos with an activity or hobby you two often do together. Why not something unique to your love story? I’ve had couples set up a picnic in Liberty State Park and make margaritas, which was a lot of fun! I’ve also had more casual setups where I photograph couples finishing a puzzle together. Dating and being engaged is often such an exciting time. Why not document it as authentically as possible? I’m here for the real.
Bringing your dog to your engagement photos
Who’s more excited to see you tie the knot than your fur baby? If we are taking your engagement photos at your house, we can capture a few classic photos of you cuddling on the couch with your fur baby. If we are taking photos outside, you can bring your dogs for the walk! For the photos, you might want to consider a neutral or solid color for the leashes/collars. Cute props or a dog bow tie is always a good idea too!
Best Season to take Engagement Photos
When it comes to the best time to take engagement photos, it really comes down to three different factors. First, you need to choose the season. Do you want summer engagement photos to match your summer wedding? Or do you want fall engagement photos for the beautiful colors? The choice is yours and there really is no wrong one! Once you have the season picked, next you need to consider what time of day to take your engagement photos.
Best Time of Day to take Engagement Photos
The best time of day to start your engagement session is either 30 minutes after sunrise or 2 hours before sunset. You’ve probably heard of “golden hour” before – it’s when the lighting is soft and the photos turn out absolutely stunning. Even if you’re not a morning person, you might want to consider the sunrise option instead of the more popular evening time. If we are taking photos in some of the more popular locations, there will be a lot less foot traffic around us in the morning. I can alway try and edit out a bystander in the background, but you might not feel as comfortable with PDA if you feel like you have an audience. I want to capture those PDA – madly in love – kind of photos though!
Booking your Engagement Photographer
Although there might be more to preparing for your engagement photos than you initially though, do NOT let this process overwhelm you. Your photographer will be more than happy to guide you through the process and help you choose the perfect time of day, locations, and activities for your photos if you need a little bit of help deciding.
The one last thing I want to mention here, is that when you are booking your engagement photographer, look for who you want to photograph your wedding. Engagement photos help us get to know each other so you’ll feel even more comfortable on your wedding day. If at all possible, book your engagement photos with your ideal wedding photographer. If you are in New Jersey or New York, you can learn more about our wedding photography and videography packages here or contact us here to get started!
That’s all for now – Congratulations!