When to Take Engagement Photos Before Your Wedding

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Woohoo, you’re engaged! Now comes another question of when to take engagement photos. As a photographer based in the Boston area, I’ve gained valuable experience capturing couples’ pre-wedding moments for engagement photos, so I’m here to share my expertise.

This blog post will act as a guide to share practical advice on scheduling your engagement photo session to make sure it fits into your wedding prep timeline seamlessly. I know that there’s a lot that goes into wedding planning, and you definitely don’t want your engagement photos to fall to the wayside. 

Keep reading to learn alla bout when to take engagement photos.

When should you take engagement photos?

Let’s get right to it – here are some of the top considerations you have to make when deciding when is the right time to take engagement photos.

At least 6-9 months prior to your wedding

n this vibrant autumn scene, a couple is mid-dance on the leaf-strewn grass of Boston Common, sharing a kiss. The woman, dressed in a maroon floral dress, is swept off her feet by a man in a grey sweater, against a backdrop of colorful fall foliage and a serene pond reflecting the warm glow of the setting sun.

Usually, most couples will get their engagement photos taken at least 6-9 months prior to their wedding. This timeframe is ideal because it allows you to use the photos for save-the-dates (more on that later) and wedding websites.

Plus, it gives you flexibility in scheduling because there won’t be any impending deadlines. This period provides a decent window to get more familiar and comfortable with your photographer, so that you can feel more natural in front of the camera on your wedding day.

After choosing/booking your wedding venue

You should also wait to get your engagement photos taken until after choosing/booking your wedding venue. This is because some venues allow you to take your engagement photos there! 

Doing this has a few advantages too, such as letting you get more familiar with the venue and allowing your photographer to scout the venue a bit more/find the best lighting prior to your wedding day.

After booking your photographer

A couple shares an intimate embrace on Castle Island overlooking Boston Harbor, with a passenger ferry and the distant city skyline in the background. The cloudy sky suggests a mood of calm anticipation, adding depth to the romantic scene.

Taking your engagement photos until after you book your photographer is another strategic move. Many photographers include an engagement session in their wedding day package, which will allow you an opportunity to get comfortable in front of the camera prior to your big day.

It also helps as a photographer to shoot both an engagement and a wedding because we’re able to understand more how you both interact as a couple, which can make your photos even more personalized and authentic.

At least 2-3 weeks before you need them for your wedding materials

A couple stands close together on a rocky shoreline at Lynch Park in Beverly, MA, sharing an intimate moment with the serene ocean and a hazy sky in the background. The woman's dress with a bold black and red floral pattern flows in contrast to the rugged terrain.

While 6-9 months is ideal, you should plan on getting your engagement photos taken at least 2-3 weeks before you need them for your wedding materials like save-the-dates. This allows enough time for you to select your favorites and for your photographer to edit them without rushing.

This timing can also minimize the gap between the excitement of the engagement photoshoot and the anticipation of sharing your wedding date, which can keep enthusiasm and momentum high.

Tips for Engagement Photos

Now that you know when to take engagement photos, let’s dive into some of my tips so that you can make sure to get the best photos possible.

Dress comfortably

A couple embraces amid a field of purple flowers, with evergreen trees and a serene park-like setting in the background. The man, wearing a light blue shirt, gently wraps his arms around the woman, who is dressed in a white sleeveless top, smiling comfortably as she leans back into him. The warm, natural setting gives a sense of tranquility and romantic connection.

First and foremost: be sure to dress comfortably! This will make you feel a lot more like yourselves in the photos so they’ll feel more authentic. This doesn’t mean that you can’t dress up, but it does mean not to wear something that doesn’t feel like you.

This may sound odd, but if you wear clothing that’s not comfortable to you, it does come across in your photos! Comfortable attire lets you move more freely and can get rid of stiffness or awkwardness, plus will make you a bit more confident so that the focus can really be on you and your partner.

Go in with an open mind

Beneath a sweeping willow tree by the Charles River, a couple is caught in a playful, dipping embrace. She's in a cream-colored flowing dress and he's in a blue shirt and khakis, both beaming with joy against the backdrop of calm waters and a soft, early evening sky in Boston, MA. The photo captures a romantic moment full of movement and life, framed by the graceful droop of the willow's branches.

This one may seem simple, but please go into your engagement session with an open mind! Your photographer will most likely have suggestions and expertise to share throughout the session, potentially leading you to explore everything from poses to locations that you maybe hadn’t considered before.

An open-minded attitude can help to reduce stress and make the session experience even more enjoyable for both you and your partner. Plus, it can help you embrace those moments that you may not have been able to foresee, such as a sudden weather change (which can also make for some fun, spontaneous photos).

Choose a meaningful location (if you’re not using your venue)

A silhouette of a couple sharing an intimate moment is captured against the striking backdrop of a luminous blue sky. The sun, sitting just behind them, creates a radiant outline highlighting their profiles. They stand amidst tall grasses, with the distinctive outline of a traditional house faintly visible in the background, evoking a serene and romantic atmosphere.

One tip that I always share: choose a meaningful location if you aren’t using your venue. This can add some emotional depth and personal significance to your engagement photos. You can choose a place like where you went on your first date or maybe even your favorite place to go on the weekend together.

A place that holds special memories in particular for you as a couple not only makes the photoshoot a bit more sentimental but can also relax you, resulting in more natural and authentic photos!

Plan activities if you’re nervous

Standing on the lush green shore of a tranquil lake in New Hampshire's White Mountains, a couple holds hands and smiles towards the camera. She's dressed in a floral midi dress, and he's in a casual black polo and jeans. The soft glow of twilight illuminates their faces, and a gentle moonrise adds a touch of romance to the serene landscape, with forested hills rolling softly into the distance.

If you’re feeling nervous, consider planning some activities for your engagement session. Even though I’m behind the camera, I know how awkward it can feel to suddenly have a camera on you! By doing an activity, you’ll be focusing on something else together besides the fact that a camera is pointed at you both.

Activities that you both enjoy, such as walking your dog, having a picnic, or even playing a board game, can help us photographers to showcase the genuine smiles and interactions between you both. Our goal is to photograph those heartfelt moments and glances that truly represent your bond.

Timing is key

A silhouette of a couple standing close together, their profiles outlined by the golden hues of a sunset at Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester, MA. Wild grasses in the foreground add depth to the scene, with the calm coastal landscape stretching into the distance.

Time of day is also important if you’re wondering when to take engagement photos. There’s a reason that photographers love golden hour so much—shortly after sunrise or before sunset. This time of day can give a soft and warm glow, adding a romantic touch to the photos.

You’ll also have to remember that time of day can also connect to the season. For instance, 5 p.m. in winter is usually pitch black outside, while 5 p.m. in summer is still day time! The temperature also considerably changes throughout the day. When in doubt, your photographer can help you pick the perfect time of day for your engagement session.

Don’t overly coordinate your outfits

A couple is lying down on a grassy lawn, viewed from above. The woman, in a black top and blue jeans, is on her left side facing the man, who wears a plaid shirt and jeans. They hold a relaxed pose, suggesting a moment of comfortable intimacy in a peaceful outdoor setting, likely in a park or garden.

We don’t want your engagement photos to look like those awkward, posed family photos from the 2000s taken at your local department store, right? Not overly coordinating your outfits can definitely help with this.

While I know that it’s super tempting to want to match, opting for complementary styles and colors instead lets you each show a little bit more personality. Plus, matching outfits can sometimes look forced or even dated, which does work in some instances, but engagement photos are usually not one of those times.

Be sure to also consider your location when picking your outfits. The color blue may not pop a whole lot if you want your engagement photos taken by the Massachusetts coast. You want to make sure that you don’t blend into the background of your photos. 

Think about the season

In a lush park with the Boston skyline as a backdrop, a couple shares a dip kiss, captured from a low angle that accentuates the vibrant green grass and the city's architecture. The woman, wearing a pink flowing skirt, is lovingly cradled in the man's arms as they share a romantic moment, with the historic Custom House Tower peeking through the trees.

You can also play into the season of your engagement photos. Every season of the year has unique colors, landscapes, and lighting associated with it that can add some fun depth to your photos. For instance, fall has rich and cozy vibes and colors, while spring has bright colors and a feeling of renewal and new beginnings.

By aligning your engagement session with the season that the photos are getting taken, you can take advantage of the natural elements that complement your love story.

Communicate with your photographer

A couple sits closely on a green park bench, sharing a kiss on the cheek while overlooking a calm body of water with a cityscape in the distance. The man, dressed in a white long-sleeve shirt, has his back to the camera, while the woman, wearing a patterned dress and white sandals, faces the camera. The setting is tranquil, with the backdrop featuring an overcast sky and urban buildings, hinting at a romantic moment in an urban park setting.

Last but certainly not least, be sure to communicate with your photographer. This way, your photographer can get to know your personality and your preferences. If there’s a shot that you know you really want to get with you and your partner, let your photographer know! I love knowing these things and can often add a unique, artistic twist to make them more one-of-a-kind to you, and I know other photographers can, too.

Well, there you have it; I hope this post has helped you to now know when to take engagement photos. Overall, it will depend on your unique timeline, and there are some considerations that you’ll want to think about when choosing your actual engagement session date. If you’re still looking for a perfect-fit photographer for your wedding, click here to check out my services and here to get in touch.

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