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Engagement Photoshoot: 17 ideas for inspiring engagement photographs

It’s one of the most important photos you’ll plan and cherish – so getting your engagement photoshoot right is important!

Yes, a great engagement photo is now a thing, and many couples are even using beautiful images from an engagement photo shoot to form part of their wedding invitation or wedding décor. Check out the packages offered by wedding photographers and you’ll find some photography deals include engagement photos as part of the overall cost, so nothing’s stopping you!

Shooting good engagement photographs without the framework of a wedding to guide you might seem a little daunting, but an experienced photographer can guide you.

An engagement is uniquely personal so here are our ideas and themes to get your creative juices flowing and will help you come up with a great idea that really capture you and your special partnership. Here’s our shortlist of the best ideas.

1. The engagement ring

The ring is a big focus of any engagement so close ups of that special stone are a popular favourite with brides to be. An out of focus or blurry romantic embrace with a close up of the ring, perhaps with the left hand over the groom’s shoulder or resting on his cheek make for a beautiful image – just remember that all important manicure before the shoot

2. The proposal

However he proposed, mocking up a proposal with the groom down on one knee or another type of romantic gesture, will certainly tug at everyone’s heart strings. If either bride or groom are well-known for something particular in their life, for instance, if the groom is a fireman, then a ‘sweeping the bride off her feet’ pose complete with fireman’s helmet will tell a story for many years to come. Or you can set up a staged photo with something that is central and important in both your lives, this could be your dogs, your children or the magic of a special location

3. Break open the bubbly

How about a fun or romantic shot with some champagne, try the motor racing stunt, a bottle each, shake hard and then blast off, great for fun and impromptu photos in a cascade of bubbles. For something more serious, two full glasses with hands entwined with sharp focus on the fizz and a blurred background gives a magazine type feel and is another great showcase for that ring too

4. I Spy

How about a sneak peek shot, the happy couple sitting together watching the sunset over the sea, a personal moment with both bride and groom looking away from the camera, an intimate snapshot in time shared just with the photographer. If you like outdoor locations and have some stunning scenery available, then this can give a film-like quality and create some beautiful pictures

5. All wrapped up

If you are keen on outdoor shots in a beautiful location and it is autumn or winter, then a side on view of the bride and groom embracing to stay warm and sharing a pretty blanket or throw creates a natural and unstaged type of picture. This works equally well standing up or sitting down and makes the most of atmospheric skies or a stunning urban location particularly if you can factor in some dramatic weather

6. We are family

Your family may be your children or your pets or both so why not include them in the pictures? Chances are you have all been family for a while and so recognition that you are about to seal the deal with the most important characters in your world creates uniquely personal and touching photos. They say never work with children or animals but there are some great opportunities here for some fun and impromptu shots for a photographer with a good eye. If you have a very special family member like a grandma or grandpa, then why not involve them too? Multi-generational pictures are meaningful and stand the test of time and whilst you can take these on your wedding day, somehow, engagement photos are less formal and have a different vibe

7. Formal

Why not dress up in tux and ballgown and set the scene at a ball or a dance and create a story around the proposal with Cinderella quality? This is a great way to stage shots indoors particularly if you have a grand location and who doesn’t want an excuse to dress up!

8. Surprise!

It can be hard to stage that real element of surprise but some couples manage it. This can be centered around a task at home like baking, what photographers call a ‘messy’ shot, or even in the workplace. Contextualising these pictures can work really well and make them seem authentic as opposed to the bride just opening the ring box

9. Bump it up

If you are expecting a happy event – perhaps this has even been a prompt for the proposal – then make a feature out of that baby bump. A bump is great for the theatrical kiss pose where you can’t quite reach or, if its early days, then include a piece of babywear like bootees or a toy. If you are announcing two happy events, then this is a great way to capture the moment and let your family and friends know

10. Camera shy

Some brides (and grooms!) are awkward in front of the camera and engagement photos can prove a particular challenge as there is no ‘big day’ structure to work to. Write your own plan or discuss this with your photographer. Most wedding photographers are experienced with camera shy brides. Check out their portfolio and take a look at some shots they have done previously with people who don’t like the camera. Generally, activity-based shots looking away from camera work best in these situations and you can create some great images

11. Pillow fight

If you want to recreate a snowy scene then you can’t beat a good old-fashioned pillow fight. This is an idea which has migrated from children’s photo shoots and is really clever if you want action shots which are fun and not staged but also want to stay indoors

12. Sweet smiles

No engagement photo shoot would be complete without some of those cutesy sweet smile pictures but if you want something a little less posed and saccharin then why not try a shot of bride and groom walking towards the camera arm in arm whilst looking into each other’s eyes and smiling? Natural images are really on trend and it’s easier to capture something that has been posed if you are on the move

13. Into the sunset

The hand in hand walk into the sunset never fails to create a stunning picture and works just as well in a natural setting as it does with a cityscape. Another way to use a sunset or more evocatively, a sunrise, is a distant image of bride and groom holding hands, a silhouette taken from some way away which makes the most of stunning scenery or a stylish backdrop

14. Over the threshold

If you like less formal pictures then this one says it all and is a great image to use for engagement announcement cards or that socials message to tell the world – there are no words but with this iconic shot, you really don’t need any

15. The kiss

There are so many ways to capture this special moment, but a nice idea is the hidden kiss behind a book especially if you choose something appropriate like a book of love poems which has special meaning to you both. Another nice shot for the kiss is an embrace with the groom standing behind the bride and both facing away from the camera. If the bride puts her hand over her shoulder, then you can also include the engagement ring

16. Black and white

Nothing creates film star drama and mood than some black and white images, they have a classic and timeless feel and are a good option if you are shooting outdoors and the weather is rather dull and uninspiring

17. Props

If you don’t have a prop that makes a statement about your relationship then use balloons or champagne. Props work well with an image of just the happy couple’s hands and are yet another great way to showcase that ring. If you are keen cooks then use a mixing bowl, a metaphor for a long and happy marriage with plenty of ingredients 

In the past, engagements have been rather overlooked from an image-gathering perspective, but they do represent a unique moment in time. Engagement photos also give your photographer the chance to see how you are in front of the camera and it can inform the type of wedding pictures which are going to work best for you later on.

Top Tips for your engagement photoshoot

  • Choose a photographer that is experienced with engagement shoots – not all are and some just throw it into the mix as an incentive
  • Ask to see a portfolio of previous shoots so you can see demonstrable evidence that this photographer really has done the work
  • Find out the style they prefer to work in – this applies just as much to the wedding day as it does to the engagement pictures