Photo: Melvin Gilbert Photography
Let's talk engagement photos. These pre-wedding photo sessions have come a long way from the perfectly posed in-studio snaps of yesteryear, as both couples and photographers have gotten more creative with locations and styles. And with so many photographers offering engagement sessions as part of their wedding packages, more and more couples are getting in front of the lens well in advance of their wedding day, and having a great time, to boot.
Whether you're using your engagement photos to send out a sweet photo Save the Date to your guests, introduce distant relatives to your fiancé via your wedding website, or taking advantage of a chance to get to know your photographer (and get more comfortable in front of a camera), it's also a great opportunity to celebrate such a special time in your relationship. We've rounded up 7 ideas we love for engagement photos–don't forget to smile!
Looking for a unique location to serve as the backdrop for your photos? Consider a public art display. From the LOVE statue in Philadelphia to Cloud Gate in Chicago, you'll be able to capture a location that's indicative of your city and also put a creative spin on your engagement photos. Athena and Brandon, decked out in cocktail attire above, headed over to the Urban Light installation at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Row upon row of restored street lamps created an architectural backdrop for the photos, while rooting their engagement firmly in L.A.
Photo: Rebecca Yale Portraits
Where It All Started
If your proposal wasn't documented by a photographer hiding in the bushes as your fiancé got down on one knee, an engagement session is a great chance to head back to the spot where he asked and you said "yes!" Kimberly and Rick got engaged amid the hustle and bustle of Grand Central Terminal, so it was only fitting that they head back to the Main Concourse–and the iconic information booth–for their engagement photos. Insider tip: If you're having your engagement pictures taken in a similarly busy location, plan to head there during off-hours to avoid crowds (as well as the prying eyes of onlookers).
Photo: Brinton Studios
Love Your Hometown
Whether you're from a small town or a big city, the shore or the mountains, your engagement photos are a great way to feature the place you call home and share it with your family and friends. Miranda and Bryce took it a step further, showing off their hometown of Minturn, Colorado, on a gorgeously sunny–but still very snowy–day. No need to wait for warmer months to share the love! Don't forget to keep a coat (and some cocoa) handy for between shots. Or use the weather as an excuse to stock up on new seasonal accessories!
Photo: Brinton Studios
If you're the kind of couple that is happiest at home on the couch, there's no need to go on an adventure just for your engagement photos. Instead, invite your photographer into your home to document your favorite way to spend the day together. All it takes is a few scheduled activities, like making pancakes or battling it out in Monopoly, to keep you busy and help you relax. And since it's just the two of you at home, there's nothing to keep you from getting a little silly. Kelly and Kevin spent the day playing board games and listening to their favorite records, allowing their photographer to capture the duo in their natural habitat.
Photo: Filda Konec Photography
Take a Walk
Do you usually spend your Saturday afternoon wandering around town, checking out the shops and enjoying one another's company? Invite your photographer along for the ride. Instead of stiff, formal photos, you'll end up with natural, relaxed images that capture your personalities, as well as some of your favorite local haunts. Lauren and Karl wandered Key West's Bahama Village, browsing the stands as they went. An activity is a great way to distract you from the person following you around with a camera.
Photo: Paige Winn Photo
Being engaged may make you feel like an adult, but that's no reason to ignore your inner child. After you've taken the more grown-up photos you're looking for, throw caution to the wind and just go for it. Hop on a swing set, indulge in some ice cream or, as Marina and Ben did, jump in the fountain! There's nothing quite like a fit of the giggles to make sure you're grinning from ear to ear in your engagement photos. But if you're planning something messy, make sure to save it until the end of your engagement session. This way, you won't be heading home to shower and change halfway through.
Photo: Mon Petit Studio
There's no better way to get to know your photographer quickly than to have them capture you and your fiancé doing something a little ridiculous, but completely you. Amy and Jared brought some sweet treats along with them for their engagement session. Once they'd taken the photos they needed for their thank-you cards, the cupcakes and sprinkles became ammo for their epic engagement food fight! And you can bet that, after that, they were completely comfortable in front of the camera come wedding day. No bride will mind a little frosting on her nose during the cake cutting after having her then-fiancé spoon a dollop of whipped cream into her hair!
So think outside the box! From your favorite coffee shop to a high-energy sporting event to the aisles of your local supermarket, an engagement session location or activity that speaks to who you are as a couple may be just around the corner!