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5 Tips for Outstanding Engagement Photos: Secrets from a Wedding Photographer

Our guest, Allison Kuhlman, shares the 5 tips that will help you make the most of your engagement photo session.

5 Tips for Outstanding Engagement Photos: Secrets from a Wedding Photographer

After the exciting proposal, ecstatic, “YES!”, and celebrations with family and friends, your wedding planning is about to begin! One of the many things you will need to consider, are your engagement photos that will capture this magical time. Once you find a photographer that you love (read more on how to do this here), you will need to start envisioning how you would like your photos to look. Here are my top 5 secrets on how to get outstanding engagement photos!

1. Wear something you love, not something you think you should love: Listen, I’ve been there. You’re scrolling through Pinterest and see all the beautiful, newly engaged couples frolicking in a field wearing super stylish attire. So, you go through your closet about 10x trying to find the perfect outfit, but you turn up panicked and indecisive. Or, you spend a whole day shopping trying to find something new, but nothing really strikes your fancy. By the end of it, you’re thinking why can’t I find anything? The truth is, the photo session is all about you and your style, not what everyone else is doing. Maybe that pastel crop top and tulle skirt look magical, but it doesn’t really match your own personality or style (and that’s OK!). I cannot stress enough how important it is to feel comfortable and confident in whatever you decide to wear! Real smiles in clothes that make you feel good are what you should be aiming for!


2. Consider an in-home session for your location: In the last few years, lifestyle photography has taken an amazing turn into a more informal and genuine style that I absolutely adore. One way to do this is to have your session in-home! Why do I love suggesting this option? The photos focus on your natural habitat and are the perfect backdrop to really showcase your personalities. One of my favorite sessions so far was a couple who opted for an in-home session and cooked pizza! It is their favorite thing to do together and they wanted their photos to reflect that. In-home sessions give the flexibility to do fun ideas like this without having to travel too far! ;)

3. Include the things you love: Do you love going hiking? Consider a campfire session. Love your dogs to pieces? Include them in your session with some bow ties or floral crowns. There’s so many fun and unique ways to make this about your life and shared love. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say, “Oh! I wish we would’ve had Scruffy in our photos,” or, “We should have totally had our session at the ballpark!” My motto? The sky’s the limit! Consider your love story and what would add to you as a couple.

4. Consider the time of day: What I love about engagement sessions, is that you can’t go wrong with the time of day! Each segment of time (morning/afternoon/evening) gives a unique vibe and setting depending on what you are looking for. A perfect example is the golden hour! Happening about two hours prior to sunset, the golden hour will give you a very beautiful, golden glow to your photos. In the photography world, the term is coveted and widely used to describe this time frame for photos. The following photo is a perfect example of what to expect during the golden hour.

However, mornings and afternoons are just as nice! Morning dew can accentuate a beautiful shot of your ring and the subtle sunrise can also give a really nice, picturesque light to your images. Afternoon is great, because the day is at its peak light-wise and you can utilize shade very well. I love this time of day, because it delivers a very crisp, clean look to your photos! Whatever time you choose, it’s going to be great!

5. Clean your ring and jewelry right before the session: Last but not least, this is one of those details you won’t want to miss! Take your ring (and any other jewelry you will wear) and rub a little bit of dish soap and warm water onto them. Make sure you plug your drain prior, or better yet, do over a small bowl instead of the drain! After you gently rub for a minute, rinse the jewelry and dry with a soft cloth. Your ring will look amazing and so sparkly for photo time! Interested in a more powerful cleaning tool? Try out this awesome jewelry cleaner that I use every day on my bands! It’s the same kind of ultrasonic cleaner that professional jewelry stores use to thoroughly clean their pieces. Using ultrasonic waves, any dirt particles are gently pulsed away leaving you with like-new sparkle.

Thanks so much for reading and I hope you have a wonderful engagement session! If you have any questions or are interested in photography for your big day, please send me a note here.

Allison is a Cleveland lifestyle and wedding photographer focusing on unscripted, artfully crafted, and real photos. She has photographed weddings in Ohio, Virginia, Washington DC, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. Her favorite things in life are petting dogs, eating tacos, and photographing awesome families and couples. Visit her website here and follow her adventures on Instagram here.

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