Engagement Photos: Tips & Tricks

One of the first steps after getting engaged is getting those engagement photos! Whether you like it or not, you’ll most likely need them. Even if you don’t do photos on your Save The Dates, you will probably want them for your wedding website. It’s a good idea to get some done, whatever that looks like for you. Here’s what I learned from our session…

hannah hagler engagement photos

Tip 1: Choose a place that feels authentic to you two as a couple.

We knew we definitely didn’t want photos out in a field or at the beach — it just didn’t feel like us! So many couples do their engagement photos that way and they always turn out GORGEOUS, but truth be told, we aren’t really outdoors people! You’ll most likely find us inside working (we are both able to work from home), playing with the pups, or on the couch watching Netflix. If we aren’t inside being couch potatoes, and we aren’t traveling, we are most likely going to get dinner or going to a movie. We wanted our photos to represent who we are as a couple.

Movies for us are super special — it’s one of the first things we bonded over. I grew up acting in my local theater and Jesse (who was in film school when I met him) grew up making videos with his friends. Whenever we watch a movie, we will talk for hours afterward about what we liked, what we didn’t like, and everything in between. It truly is our favorite thing to do.

Thus, after bouncing around some ideas, it only felt right to do our engagement photos at a movie theater. The iconic Vista Theatre in Los Angeles would provide the perfect backdrop. We shot with Jesse’s friend who is also a super talented photographer, Jose Prado. He really helped our vision come to life. We even took a few photos on a film camera for fun.

I’ve seen engagement photos in many unexpected places — in grocery stores, in museums, in homes… so my advice is to think about what you two like to do together and go from there.

movie theater engagement photos

vista theater engagement photos

Tip 2: Don’t feel like you need to spend an arm and a leg if you don’t want to.

I’ve known plenty of people to grab their friends who have a decent camera and take some photos in their neighborhood. I don’t think you need to spend thousands of dollars on engagement photos UNLESS you think you’ll use these photos forever. If you’re someone who loves to frame photos and put them in your home, that might be a reason to spend more.

Another reason you might want to spend more is if you want to take photos with the photographer you will use for your wedding day. I have a few friends who did this and it’s a great way to build a relationship with your photographer so you’re more comfortable the day of.

unique engagement photos, paparazzi engagement

Tip 3: Look at inspiration photos — both of you!

If you’re not going to use a professional photographer or someone who will direct you the day of, make sure you look at inspiration photos, pin some on Pinterest, and have a good idea of what you want the end photos to look like before you start taking them.

Coming from someone who is used to having her photo taken, I’ll be the first to say posing is HARD. Especially if you’re not used to posing for photos! It’s going to feel awkward and look awkward, especially if you didn’t plan what poses you want to do ahead of time. You’ll both want to be on the same page for this.

movie theater engagement photos

movie theater engagement photos

Tip 4: Do something to loosen up beforehand.

I’m not trying to promote alcohol consumption, but if you are someone who drinks alcohol, it might not be a bad idea to have a shot of tequila before you shoot photos. We did NOT do this — only to talk to all of my married friends afterward who were like, “Oh you didn’t drink before?” Apparently, it’s a THING. It’s a good way to get you loosened up and comfortable in front of the camera. If that’s not your thing, tell each other some silly jokes or watch a funny video to get some laughs out of the way.

unique engagement photos

Tip 5: Wear something you’d normally wear – do your own hair and makeup.

Unless you have someone you’ve used before for hair and makeup — I say do your own. I’ve had friends who had their hair and makeup done before photos just to hate how they looked in photos just because they didn’t recognize themselves. If you do prefer to have it done, do a trial session in advance and snap some photos on your cellphone to make sure you like the way you look in photos.

As far as wardrobe goes, I think you will both naturally feel more comfortable if you’re wearing something you’d normally wear. Jesse went with a denim shirt and jeans, which he wears all the time, and I DID get a special dress but in a silhouette that I already know I love and feel comfortable in.

film photography engagement photos

Most importantly — have fun and enjoy the process! There will be hundreds of photos taken and you only need a few to turn out great, so relax and make the best of it!

Would love to hear any tips you guys have when it comes to engagement photos — let me know in the comments below!


1 Comment

  1. Wednesday, November 4, 2020 / 1:15 pm

    Ugh these are soooo cute! I love the idea of the movie theater.

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