Couple has a lantern lit nighttime elopement at the Devil's Garden Campground Amphitheater in Arches National Park.

Why You Need an Engagement Photography Session

“Are engagement sessions really that important? Why do I need one?”

Are you engaged & making wedding or elopement plans? Ready to book your photographer? No matter who you book for your wedding photographer, read more about why I recommend that you get engagement pictures done before your wedding day!

Reasons Why You Should Have Engagement Photos Taken

There’s a few reasons why I believe engagement photos are important for every couple. Engagement photos allow you to truly become more comfortable with your photographer which can help your wedding day just go that much better.

What about if you’re having something like an elopement in Colorado but you live out of state? I understand it isn’t possible for everyone to have an engagement session before their elopement, but if you can swing it, I highly recommend it! You could travel out to where I am & include some different scenery than where your elopement will be. If you’re having a more traditional wedding, but kinda wanted an elopement, engagement photos are your opportunity to do something like an adventure session! You could spend a couple hours taking unique photos in adventurous settings.

You Get to Know Your Photographer, Your Photographer Gets to Know You

An engagement session allows us to really get to know each other better before your wedding or elopement day. When we can get to know each other a bit more, talk, & just connect, it can really help both you & I to feel more comfortable on your wedding day. As your photographer, we’ll be spending A LOT of time planning together, emailing & texting back & forth, timeline planning, not to mention, we’ll be spending your whole wedding day together. That’s a lot of time & the more we get to know each other, the less it’ll feel like just another vendor & more like friends collaborating to make your day the best! It’ll just help your elopement day feel more special.

Engagement Photo Sessions Allow You to “Practice” in Front of the Camera

It has probably been a while since you’ve been in front of a professional with a camera. An engagement session allows you to kind of have a practice session in front of the camera with your photographer. This also may be your first time ever taking professional photos together! An individual portrait session is much different than couples’ photos.

What if the photographer taking your engagement photos & wedding or elopement photos is different? An engagement session is about the two of you. You’ll be able to get a feel for how it is being in front of a camera. A photographer’s job is to capture how comfortable you are with each other & your connection with each other. Each photographer may work a bit differently, but even if your engagement & wedding photographers are different, you’ll be able to get much more comfortable in front of a camera.

You Will Have Photos to Use for Wedding Details, Save the Dates, Invitations, or Elopement Announcements

Your engagement photos have a variety of uses other than photos of an important time in your life. You can use your engagement photos in things like save the dates, invitations, or announcements. You can also use your engagement photos for wedding day details. Put the photos in an album or canvas with a lot of white space to use as a guest book for your wedding day or your reception after you elope.

Gay couple's engagement photos in New Zealand.

One of our own engagement photos from New Zealand that we used in our save the dates

Get Casual Photos of Yourselves

Engagement & wedding photos may be one of the last times in a long time that you have professional photos of yourselves. The wedding photos are great but the engagement photos will document you in your favorite pair of jeans in a special spot such as where you met, where your first date was, or where they proposed.

These photos are your chance to show your personality- you can change up your outfits, do an in-home or van life session, include your pets, do your favorite activity together. There are a lot of ways to show your personality throughout your engagement photos. You also don’t have to limit your engagement photos to just a few poses in a short amount of time. A longer session allows for more changes of clothes or locations & allows for things like really fun adventure sessions!

So When Did Engagement Photos Become a Thing?

Enagement photos are not just a recent phenomena, despite what it may seem with the widespread use of social media. Taking engagement photos started back in the mid 1800s when people would announce their engagement & intent to marry in the local paper alongside their photo. Not everyone did this at first but it did become more popular with time. I still remember seeing engagement announcements in my small town newspaper when I was growing up! This trend never really died, it just evolved over time. Now people utilize social media & wedding websites to announce their engagement. Engagement photos can have a purpose or they can just be for fun!

Ideas for Engagement Photos & Adventure Sessions

Your engagement session doesn’t have to be boring & look just like all your friends’ engagement photos! Including unique activities that you both love to do & going to some adventurous locations are great ways to not only make your engagement photos unique, but also to make your session together more fun & turn it into an adventure session.

Go on a Hike Together

Hiking is just one of my go to activities for an adventure session. You don’t have to do a long hike or hard hike, but if you want to do something more challenging, that’s great too! Hiking can get you access to unique locations that others may not be willing to put in the effort to get to.

Include Something Romantic

When planning for your engagement photos, include some romantic things in your session! Maybe it could be relaxing in some hot springs together, snuggling in a bed or on a couch, having a picnic, or something else.

Whatever you do, I always recommend you both taking some time during the engagement session to stop looking at the camera & just really focus on each other.

Bride and groom have some romantic elopement photography in an outdoor shower.

Astrophotography Engagement Photos

Stargazing can be a fun way to get some really unique engagement photos. Depending on what time of year & where you are, you can see meteor showers, hike under a brightly lit moon, or take unique photos like this with lanterns or other lights!

Plan Something Adventurous

Are you the type of couple that likes to climb, mountain bike, paddle board, or do something else adventurous? You can think of your engagement photos more as an adventure date!

I want your engagement photos to authentically represent who you are, so if posed photos & fancy outfits aren’t your thing, that’s ok! Here’s your chance to have photos that you love that truly represent who you are as a couple.

Include Your Pets

Depending on how & where you plan your wedding or elopement day, you may not be able to include your pets on that day. But you can include your pets in your engagement photos! Just be sure to choose a location that is pet friendly because some places like certain national parks aren’t very pet friendly.

Take Engagement Photos in Your Home

Whether you live in a house, van, travel trailer, or something else, why not take some photos in your first home together? These photos aren’t just another pretty thing to have, they can truly capture the memories that you have together at this point in your lives.

You get all snuggly in your bed together & take some meaningful images in your home together.

How to Prepare for Your Engagement Session

To prepare for your engagement session, follow the tips below

• Think about location. You can choose a place with special meaning or a totally new location. Be sure to talk to your photographer about timing for the location for best lighting & weather.

• Choose nice outfits that are most “you”. You don’t want our engagement photos to feel fake, but you also want to look nice! You can also bring an extra outfit or two if you want to change.

• Don’t go overboard with hair & makeup. These are going to be nice photos but a bit more casual than something like wedding photos. I’d say for for something just a little nicer than your everyday hair & makeup.

• Please skip the spray tan & don’t burn yourself trying to get tanned. Cameras & editing pick things up slightly differently than our eyes. Sometimes the higher-end spray tans by professionals can look ok, but my advice is to just skip it altogether.

• Plan fun activities. You don’t have to just stand around staring at the camera the whole time. Bring your guitar, go on a hike, pop a bottle of champagne, or include other fun activities during your engagement photos!

When to Take Engagement Photos

The answer to this question depends on what you want to use your engagement photos for. Are they going to be used & have a purpose as you go throughout wedding planning? Or do you just want to take engagement photos for the fun memories? If you want to use the engagement photos throughout your wedding planning process (such as on save the dates, invitations, or print outs at your wedding), take them plenty of time beforehand! If you know when you want to send out save the dates, take your engagement photos at least 1 month before sending out save the dates. Or plan for about 6-9 months before your wedding day.

Depending on where you live & what you want your engagement photos to look like, you may have some seasons to deal with so you may want to take engagement photos sooner or later. For example if you live in the midwest you have some nasty winters to deal with that aren’t always a “winter wonderland” so you may want to take engagement photos in the fall way ahead of your summer date or in the spring when it may be closer to your wedding day.

Want to talk more about an engagement session with me? I specialize in bold & colorful photography with a sense of adventure!


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