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Kissing under the archway at the rail station
Unique architecture makes for eye-catching photos.
Rail Station at Liberty State Park, Jersey City, NJ

Even though it’s been a few years since we had our engagement photos taken, I thought it’d be fun to take a stroll down memory lane (way, way back to December 15, 2016 🙂 ) and re-visit the day. We were extremely happy with our photos, so here are our eight top tips to help you have an amazing engagement photo session and get pictures that you absolutely love!

1. Ask for location suggestions.

Unless you already have your heart set on a location you love (bonus points if it has a special meaning for you and your fiancé!), don’t be afraid to ask your photographer for recommendations. After all, who better to ask than the person who will actually be taking the photos? 🙂 If your photographer is experienced, he/she will most likely also be able to show you images from previous sessions that were shot at the location that they recommend! Our photographer suggested Liberty State Park which we ended up loving because it features an eclectic mix of rustic, modern, and whimsical vibes – perfect for the undecided couple!

2. Look for inspiration beforehand.

It’s helpful to have some sort of idea as to what type of photos you want – before your shoot. Get on Pinterest and search for some inspiration! Do you like candid shots, or would you prefer them to be mostly posed? How do you want your images to look – rustic, edgy, soft, or a mixture of all of these? What kind of poses do you like – playful, traditional, serious? If you have some ideas beforehand (and discuss them with your partner and photographer so that they’re both on the same page!) it will make the day-of run much more smoothly.

Swept off her feet at the Empty Sky Memorial
Don’t be afraid to do some lifting!
Empty Sky Memorial at Liberty State Park, Jersey City, NJ

3. Wear comfortable, weather-appropriate clothing.

As much as I love engagement photos featuring flirty dresses and strappy sandals, this obviously wasn’t feasible for our Winter session. When we woke up the day of our photoshoot, we were greeted by 18 -degree temperatures, strong winds, and snow squalls – brrr! Dressing warmly in sweaters, heavy winter coats, and scarves was the best decision we made to ensure that we remained as comfortable as possible and were able to truly enjoy our day!

Kissing at NYC skyline
Snowy view of the NYC skyline.

4. Practice your hairstyle/makeup in advance.

Don’t start your day off on a stressful note by waiting until right before the shoot to figure out how you want your hair and makeup to look. This applies particularly if you’re planning on trying a new hairstyle or more dramatic makeup for your session. Instead, do a run-through a few days before, so you can tweak as necessary and know exactly what you’re doing right before your photo shoot. I kept it pretty simple for my engagement photos since I’m not much of a makeup person, but I did practice applying my makeup a bit heavier than usual so that it’d show up nicely in our photos.

Danielle's headshot

5. Bring props.

Consider using a prop or two, since they add a little something extra to photos. We kept it simple with a banner featuring our wedding date and color, but I’ve seen fantastic engagement photos featuring balloons, seasonally-appropriate items (think pumpkins with the wedding date written on them for a Fall session), confetti…the possibilities are endless!

Holding save the date wedding banner
The photo we ended up using for our Save the Dates.

6. Relax and pretend the photographer isn’t there.

This is especially important for those of you who, like myself, don’t feel particularly comfortable in front of the camera. Try your best to focus on your fiancé and just enjoying the moment…the more you relax, the easier it will be! Be silly with each other and laugh as much as possible…and when in doubt, kiss! You only take engagement photos once, so enjoy the the special time in your lives that you’re in. Before you know it, you and your partner will be married with a newborn, binge-watching Netflix while eating take-out on the couch and trying to stay awake past 8PM. Oh wait a minute, that’s just me… 😉

Kissing by the abandoned train
When in doubt, kiss!

7. Don’t be afraid to speak up.

If you don’t like the way the session is going, tell your photographer. If you really don’t feel comfortable with a certain pose, tell your photographer. Do you have your heart set on a particular photo style? Tell your photographer. Do you see where I’m going with this?

We loved our photographer, but it was nearing the end of our shoot and I realized that he hadn’t taken any pictures featuring close-ups of my engagement ring, which was a non-negotiable for me. As soon as I told him, he was happy to oblige, and I now have detail shots that make me smile every time I look at them! Photographers are not mind readers, and I promise you that yours will be happy that you spoke up about what you wanted, instead of being disappointed afterwards.

Kissing against the wall + ring closeup

8. Make a day of it.

My husband and I both took off from work on the day of our session and made it a whole-day affair. Our shoot was scheduled for late morning, and once it was finished, we headed to Starbucks for hot chocolates (did I mention that it was FREEZING when we took our photos?) and then spent the rest of the day relaxing together. We topped off the night with a nice dinner out and of course, lots of wine. Think of your engagement photo session as a pre-wedding date day, and enjoy it to the fullest!

Did you have engagement photos taken? If so, what advice would you offer to other couples?

All photos taken by the amazing Montclair Studio. This post isn’t sponsored…I just love them and their work!

One Comment

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