Lessons Learned: Engagement Photography

I know that doing engagement photo shoots is not normal for everyone. Maybe you’ve never heard of such a thing and have somehow missed it on all the wedding blogs. Maybe you couldn’t afford it (totally valid!) or didn’t have the time. Whatever the reason, it’s definitely not a necessity.

With that being said, I want you to know that I love our engagement photos. I love that we have so many wonderful pictures of us that we can cherish.

(All following photos by Love Song Photo)


We have this one framed in our living room.

Plus, I’m kind of a ham and I like having my picture taken.

One of the major benefits of engagement photography is that you can get to know your photographer and they can get to know you, which helps to ensure pictures that are representative of your personalities and your relationship. Since our photographer is a friend of ours that wasn’t as big of an issue. For us, the major benefit was in knowing things that worked or didn’t work in pictures.

Do: Listen to your photographer when they suggest “whisper sweet nothings” or “tell a joke.” Your first picture may not be perfect”¦


I still like this photo, but it’s odd not to see Sparky’s face.

”¦but the resulting pictures may be great.


Looking at each other, smiling, and laughing

Do: Get some solo shots. I mean, why not? You’re already all dressed nicely, right?



OK, not the world’s greatest photo, but it is hilarious. A squirrel launched itself out of a tree just as this photo was taken.

Do: Take advantage of local “prop” locations.


Copyright Love Song Photo

Do: Be yourselves! You wouldn’t want pictures where you don’t look like you!



Do: Bring things that are representative of you into the photos (a combination of the above two).



Don’t: Spend the whole time talking.

I realize this is an odd one, but it was a biggie for me. I’m quite the talker and since I spent the whole time joking, talking, and laughing it means that several photos are not very flattering of my face. (I still love the pictures, but I probably won’t be printing them out.) I know now to be more mindful of this on our wedding day!


The colors in this picture are amazing. While it’s honest that Sparky makes me laugh, I wish we were just smiling softly and gazing at each other.


Dear self: Maybe keep your mouth shut a bit more? The composition of this picture is so neat but I’m making a weird face.


It definitely says something about the talent of our photographer that I love all of our pictures despite funny faces and open mouths.

Don’t: Forget to pay attention to timing. Our shoot took several hours, and because we took longer than anticipated at our first spot we couldn’t get as many shots at the second location because of the harsh lighting. (Lucky for us Krista is so patient!)

I’m sure there are more lessons I could glean from our shoot, but the MAJOR lesson is this: Do pick a photographer who produces work that you love. This ensures that you’ll be happy, funny faces and all.


This is definitely us.



Did you have an engagement shoot? Do you feel like you learned from that experience?


Mrs. Campfire

Seattle, WA
Wedding Date:
September 2013
The Dress Hunt Begins: David's Bridal
We Did It!
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  1. Member
    ladymegbeth 227 posts, Helper bee @ 10:20 am

    It is so smart to have even a small engagement shoot before the big day so that you can get to know your photog and figure out what looks good. Plus, most couples don’t take serious photos together on a regular basis so it’s god to have a “trial run” to see how you interact in front of the camera. Also, I love that squirrel picture! Priceless! But my absolute FAVORITE is still him leading you down that staircase in your blue dress. *swoon* So romantic and classic! 😀

  2. roadtrip Member
    roadtrip 803 posts, Busy bee @ 10:28 am

    I was just happy to have some photos of us together–so often one of us in behind the camera and I’m bad about thinking to ask someone to take our picture when we’re out and about.

    The getting used to our photographer was good, too, and we shot at our venue, which meant she got a chance to get the lay of the land.

  3. campfire Member
    campfire 1045 posts, Bumble bee @ 10:30 am

    @ladymegbeth: I love that one, too! And the squirrel one makes me laugh EVERY time.
    @Miss Road Trip: Oh, that would have been a great idea!

  4. Member
    ms_purple 2675 posts, Sugar bee @ 10:58 am

    I love your engagement photos!
    We are having photos taken in a couple of weeks. We chose the local arboretum as our setting and plan to keep it mostly casual because that’s just who we are as a couple.
    We haven’t actually settled on a photographer for the wedding yet either! I family friend who might be available for less so we’re waiting to hear back from her. If she’s not available then I think we will go with our photographer for the engagement photos who said she’ll take the price of our engagement session off the wedding photo fee if we do book with her (she’s a friend of a friend – but we’ve never met before). I made us a photo prop with our wedding date so hopefully we can use one of those shots for our save the dates.
    I am very excited and looking forward to it! FI is not looking forward to it at all and is only doing this for me. Awww. Little does he know I’ve already been doing some outfit planning for both of us too!

  5. Member
    MsMagtoMrsK 52 posts, Worker bee @ 11:17 am

    I had two engagement shoots!! Our photo company mixed up the Steve’s and arranged our first shoot with the wrong one. They were both great but it really made me love the photographer I chose. I think your pictures look great!!! Especially the open mouth “weird” face ones. Those are the REAL you. I think it is hard to look at yourself and not wish you looked some other way, I certainly feel that way. However, the pictures everyone else loves are the ones where you look the most like yourselves.

  6. Member
    blonde17jess 1290 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:22 am

    Agree with your tips… even if it’s not an engagement shoot, getting some practice time with your photographer before the day-of is super great… it helps you feel at ease and get used to having your picture taken (and all eyes on you)! Very helpful… I feel much more comfortable now looking forward to our wedding than I did looking toward the engagement photos (I was pretty nervous about how weird it would be to have so many photos taken of just the two of us)!

  7. campfire Member
    campfire 1045 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:26 pm

    @Ms_Purple: Good luck at your shoot and with selecting a photographer! I hope you have fun (and that your fiance does, too!).
    @MsMagtoMrsK: Two! How fun! And it’s definitely true – I’m a talker so they are very me. :)
    @Blonde17Jess: Practice makes perfect, right? 😉

  8. jetsetter Member
    jetsetter 535 posts, Busy bee @ 1:37 pm

    We opted to skip the engagement session, but I love your photos!! That blue dress is amazing – great color on you too! :)

  9. campfire Member
    campfire 1045 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:57 pm

    @Miss Jet Setter: Thanks! And that dress is one of my favorites, too!

  10. msmongoose Member
    msmongoose 264 posts, Helper bee @ 2:29 pm

    Beautiful photos–I just love the settings! Good tips on E-shoot do’s and dont’s as well. At first we didn’t want an e-shoot but only had one because it came with our photography package. And I’m so glad we did–I highly recommend that engaged couples have the shoot before the wedding. It just makes you so much more comfortable around your photogs and being photographed with your hubbie on your wedding day!

  11. Member
    priyathescientist 1514 posts, Bumble bee @ 2:40 pm

    Your photos are beautiful! I know engagement photos have certain expectations … but, I personally love the photos where something ridiculous is happening. I’m not good at “faking it” either. So, I really appreciate the genuine hilarity photos. In other words, my favorite photo is the one where you had just seen the launching squirrel.

    P.S. You guys are an ADORABLE couple!

  12. campfire Member
    campfire 1045 posts, Bumble bee @ 3:05 pm

    @Mrs. Mongoose: Thanks! I’m also really glad we did the shoot – I know now what to remember (don’t talk the whole time!) on our wedding day! :)
    @priyathescientist: Thanks!

  13. mspony Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 6:55 pm

    Great tips, and I love seeing more of your beautiful photos!

  14. campfire Member
    campfire 1045 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:32 pm

    @Mrs. Pony: Thanks!

  15. mstoadstool Member
    mstoadstool 2485 posts, Buzzing bee @ 9:27 pm

    Great tips!
    I am a talker too, but mostly we are goofs and we couldn’t keep ourselves together when asked to “look into each others’ eyes”. I keep thinking our photog did magic with us because he got great romantic shots from our goofiness.

  16. campfire Member
    campfire 1045 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:34 am

    @Mrs. Toadstool: Your pictures were amazing!

  17. Member
    scarlet_letter 369 posts, Helper bee @ 10:12 pm

    I’m a bit nervous about our shoot with our photog team. Not because they’ve given me reason to be nervous — just because I am not very good at being in front of a camera. We will only have one hour (that is what was included with our whole wedding package) and I hope we can get comfortable quickly..
    Luckily, Mr. SL is a total ham and makes me laugh a bunch.

    I love your e-photos and have been waiting to see you blog about them!

  18. Member
    honeybee22 57 posts, Worker bee @ 11:20 pm

    I agree with you, engagement photos are something that can be cherished and it gives you a chance to work with your photographer before oh-so-important wedding photos, which cannot be redone.

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