We custom build every package so you get exactly what you need for your Wedding day!
We custom build every package so you get exactly what you need for your Wedding day!
Engagement photos are more than fun snapshots; they’re one of the first mile markers in your wedding planning journey. This fun, low-stress photo session is like a wedding-day dry run. You’ll learn to perfect all sorts of flattering poses while capturing save-the-date and wedding-website content in the process.
Plus, engagement sessions kick off one of your most important wedding-vendor relationships. “First and foremost, it’s a fun time of your life to capture photos—you just got engaged, after all,” says photographer Christopher Stets. “It also helps you establish a relationship with your photographer so you’re comfortable with them, and vice versa. They can learn more about you before the big day.”
Choosing a wedding or engagement photographer comes down to two things: editing style and personality. Whether you’re scouring Instagram for a local professional, binge-reading about Brides’ top photographers, or gathering friends’ recommendations, Chris says it’s important to take a step back and brainstorm the photo style you’re naturally drawn to. “While all photographers do a mix of portraits, candids, and formal poses, their unique editing style remains consistent—it’s their brand,” he explains.
The next important step for choosing your wedding or engagement photographer is studying their personality. Sure, you’re not hiring the photographer to be your friend, but you’re spending the majority of your big day with this person. You want to enjoy their company! “It’s important that your personalities mesh,” advises Chris. “I recommend checking out the photographer’s about page and Instagram, first. But you should also meet them. I like scheduling quick and informal meetups, or at least FaceTime calls, to get to know the couple outside of email.”
Once you’ve hired your photographer, it’s time to schedule your engagement shoot. If you’re planning to use these photos for save-the-dates (which go out six to eight months before your wedding), you need to book a session around 10 months or more in advance. That way your photographer has time to edit the images, and you still have time to get those invitations designed. If you have a longer engagement, or you’re not planning to use photos for save-the-dates, you have more flexibility. In terms of season, Chris recommends avoiding the dead of summer given those all-too-common humidity hiccups: “I think spring and fall are the best times because you avoid extreme temperatures and still have pretty, colorful foliage—while avoiding dormant and bare trees in the winter.” For the time of day, most photographers will recommend evening or early morning for soft, warm sunrise and sunset hues. Chris starts his sessions about an hour or two before sunset or early morning to capitalize on this flattering natural light.
When choosing the perfect engagement photo spot, you can either pick a meaningful location or rely on your photographer’s expertise. If you have a special spot in mind—a first-date location, your favorite café, or a local park on your go-to walking route—run it by your photographer first. Then, they can scope it out, get some ideas, and figure out any necessary permissions for photographing.
While it’s fun to have engagement shots from a nostalgic location, photographers equally love when couples lean on them for inspiration. “I’m always driving around and scouting out new or lesser-known photography spots, so I’m excited when a couple asks for my opinion,” says Chris. “I often have new spots in mind, and I’m just waiting for an adventurous couple to try them with.”
Typically, engagement photos are built into a the wedding photographers package. The photographers want that time to get to know you and your significant other; it helps them create more meaningful and personal images. But, if you were to hire a photographer solely for engagement photos—or really any similar type of couple shoot Chris estimates it would cost between $300 to $600 for a 90-minute session.
At Style House a 3-4 hour multi-location session costs $350.00
Spring engagement photos are popular for good reason. While love may keep us warm during fall and winter, upcoming spring engagement sessions hold the promise of something to look forward to. Ahead, photographer Christopher Stets shares his expertise on taking spring engagement photos, including what to wear, the pros and cons of the season, and photo inspiration.
What to Wear for Spring Engagement Photos
Overall, couples should wear something they feel like themselves is in. Confidence is key! “My whole thing is I want to capture them in what they’re comfortable in but also represents them," offers Chris. "Usually a go-to, like a dress or jumpsuit, in spring is always nice. It has to fit and fit well. Just a size too big or too small will show in photos.” Light chiffons or lace are nice for women and she discourages jersey fabrics because they’re not forgiving, which can translate to unflattering photos. He adds, “Dressing in layers could be beneficial because of fluctuating temperatures in spring." He also shares it’s important to keep your geographical area in mind: what you wear for spring engagement photos may be location-dependent, to an extent. For instance, spring’s temperatures in the north, like in Boston, fluctuate more than in a city like San Diego.
Consider color for spring. Wear hues that complement the joy you’re feeling and reflect the season, yet be conscientious of your surroundings. And, he says, avoid green! “When it comes to outfits and surroundings, if people want an outdoorsy vibe, green garments surrounded by green grass and trees don't look great. It doesn’t make the image dynamic.” Go with a contrasting color like pink or red in a grassy area instead.
Pros and Cons of Spring Engagement Photos
All seasons present different pros and cons when it comes to engagement photos, but spring's biggest advantage is the abundance of flowers. “A spring shoot is great for a couple who is sensitive to the heat, who loves flowers, and for couples who want a different look for their engagement shoot than their wedding in an opposite season,” says Chris. But Mother Nature can also be fickle. The potential is there for engagement photo sessions to be snowed out in the north during spring. Prepare for weather to be unpredictable and flowers uncertain. “Couples, in general, depending on what blooms they’re going for, need to be realistic about a spring engagement session. For example, cherry blossoms sometimes bloom at the end of March—but sometimes it’s mid-April. In this case, they need to be flexible for their photoshoot date. I recommend potentially booking two dates if your photographer agrees to it—a first choice and backup—to maximize your options,” advises Chris. Be aware that rain is abundant in many areas during spring. This may mean booking an indoor location for your photos as a backup, just in case it rains and you can’t alter your photo session date.
Spring Engagement Photo Tips
Chris says to think about the location you wish to have an engagement session when considering spring. “There’s minimal green space in New York City, but it’s well taken care of. Washington Square Park, for example, always promises to have something in bloom during spring thanks to the workers who care for the plants in the park.” If you live in an area that has flowering trees, you may wish to schedule a session within a park that has an abundance of them. Botanical gardens are great for this but inquire ahead of time about whether or not a photography permit is required to take photos there. If leaves aren’t on trees yet and no flowers are around, try to take your engagement photos where there is interesting architecture in the background. Or, if you’re on a coast, consider a beach where there’s consistently sand and water, no matter the time of year. Evergreen trees and desert plant life (including cacti and succulents!) are green year-round, depending on your location. And neutral-toned long grasses in expansive fields are romantic, too.
If customers can’t find it, it doesn’t exist. Clearly list and describe the services you offer. Also, be sure to showcase a premium service.
If the temperature drops during your spring engagement session, help each other warm up. A simple gesture of love and kindness from this groom to his fiancée made for a candid, fun photo.
Images are given a glow when taken during golden hour, the hour just before sunset. It also instantly warms up the colors reflected on the lake.
Skyscrapers have beautiful reflective surfaces and add fun metallic colors to images no matter the season. And any outfit matches metallics! Pops of blues and greens in the background add interest but don’t overwhelm the couple.
Sometimes the best engagement shots are doing what you love to do, like going out on the four wheeler's, and sneaking a quick kiss when no one is looking
Don’t shy away from something grandiose for your engagement photos, whether it is your attire or the architecture. This bride wore a stunning white gown for her engagement session
Download the Style House Engagement Session Mini Mag, this wonderful 10 page Mini mag has two helpful articles featuring 5 Reasons Why Engagement sessions are Important, and follow by Just Engaged and Completely Overwhelmed.