10 Tips for a Successful Engagement Shoot

Photographer Laurie Bailey shares her advice on these pre-wedding photos.

Know what to expect along the way!

Photo: Couple Cups

If you're recently engaged, congratulations! As you're beginning to plan the details of your big day, you're also likely preparing to get engagement photos taken! While it's not required, most affianced pairs like to have professional photographs taken during their engagement to capture the happy time. The photos can either be kept between the two of you and your nearest friends and family, or they can be shared on social media and also displayed on your wedding website, save-the-date cards, wedding décor, and more.

Another reason to have an engagement shoot is the opportunity to get to know your photographer before the wedding – and it will also give you a chance to practice feeling comfortable in front of the camera before the day of your celebration. With engagement season quickly approaching, we asked Laurie Bailey of Laurie Bailey Photography to share 10 of her must-have tips for an e-session to ensure you have a successful shoot – and know what to expect along the way! 

Read photographer Laurie Bailey's 10 tips for a successful engagement shoot, below:

1. Don't be afraid to think outside the box in terms of locations. The beach can be great, but how about your own kitchen floor with gourmet pizzas and a bottle of wine? Or for two writers, reading in bed with the doggie? I recently did a shoot just like this one and it was so much fun and really captured the couple!

2. Do ask your photographer, if and when you receive your digital images, if they are high resolution and/or watermarked. I always provide my clients with the high-resolution files the minute they are ready, but some photographers make you wait. It's a value add if you get them right away, as then you and your family and friends have access to them immediately.

3. When interviewing photographers, be sure to let them know if you prefer lots of formal and styled portraits or a more candid, documentary-style approach so their style matches your vision!

4. Do ask about the album process and if there are additional costs to upgrade your album if you choose to add more photos or pages than are included in your album package. My clients always end up loving so many photos that they often need to upgrade their albums, so I like to make sure they know all costs up front!

5. Schedule the hair and makeup trial for the wedding on the same day as your engagement session – that way you can take advantage of being camera ready!

6. Ask your photographer for help with wardrobe depending on the location, as some outfits will work better with certain locations.

7. Be sure to ask your photographer if they offer retouching services. For windy shoots at the beach, the windblown look can be fabulous, but sometimes a little too much wind may require some additional editing!

8. Some of my clients like to include their dog in the photos, which can be a fun addition to the shoot. If you do bring along your pet, have a friend or relative come along as a “dog wrangler” so you can also have photos of just the two of you. I’ve tried holding a leash and shooting at the same time... not so easy!

9. Ask your photographer if they shoot at multiple locations or just one for the engagement session. I try to always offer my clients two locations that are somewhat close to each other, yet provide two distinctly different vibes for the images. A wardrobe change and new location can give you a whole different style of photos to choose from.

10. Print your photos! Photographs are not meant to live on hard drives or in a cloud somewhere. A gorgeous photograph is even more stunning when it is turned into an archival print. Printing your photos through your photographer also guarantees that the images will be printed on archival paper and that they will last for years to come.

For more advice, learn the benefits to having an engagement shoot, find out what you need to know for your e-session, and learn how to plan a shoot that's personalized for you.