Tips for a Successful Engagement Shoot

An engagement shoot is a great way for you and your love to have some casual photos taken as kind of a “warm up” before your big day. I could go into all the great reasons why I recommend doing an engagement shoot but I’ll save that for another post. This post is going to be all about tips for getting the most out of your engagement shoot and making it stress free!

Photo Joanna Monger Photography - Discovery Park

My biggest tip I can give my couples is to relax, have fun and trust your photographer. Presumably you have chosen your wedding photographer because you love their work and you click (no pun intended) with them personally. If this is the case you really need to let them create magic and trust in their process. For some of us type A personality people this is tricky, but it is sooo important.

Picking your location

Stephanie Walls ( ) suggests that you “Pick a location that speaks to you both as a couple and just have fun with it.”

You may have a special spot that is significant to the two of you. Maybe it’s where you like to walk your dogs on a Sunday morning, maybe it’s the spot you got engaged, maybe you love snow shoeing together in the mountains, the possibilities are endless really.

Photo Stephanie Walls at Dairyland

If you don't have anywhere that jumps out at you chat with your photographer. They will know lots of great spots and can guide you based on what you like to do as a couple. When couples don’t have anywhere in particular in mind I normally start by asking them whether they’d prefer an urban or nature based shoot. 95% of my couples like to be out in nature so we then continue to narrow it down from there. I find out which of the following settings speak to them - rivers, mountains, beaches, fields, wild flowers etc. Armed with this info I can then help them select the best locations. We all have our secret spots so definitely consult with your photographer and you may be surprised with their suggestions.

What to Wear

Ok so your location is set now you need to figure out what you are going to wear. I feel like this could be another entire blog post so I am going to be brief and suggest that you wear something that you feel comfortable in, fits well and you feel GREAT in. Different photographers have different thoughts on what works well for their style of photography so chat with yours about this. You do want to make sure that you both coordinate together but definitely aren’t matchy matchy!!! Busy patterns can also be pretty distracting in photos so I tend to recommend against them. Your location will also some what dictate your outfit choices too.

Oh and please iron or steam your clothes before the shoot, believe me your photographer will thank you! :)

Photo Joanna Monger Photography - Seattle Arboretum

The Day of Your Shoot

Breanna Downs from Breanna Marie Photography suggests that “you go into the session with an open mind. Make a date out of it! Grab coffee before, and be ready to snuggle up with your person. The more at ease you are, the better the images will turn out. If you try to plan the session rushed in between work or other appointments, you might feel a little more anxious during the session.” I totally agree with Breanna you don't want to be rushing and stressing. Plan on getting there early so you can be present in the moment and not niggling at each other in the car because you are running late and or are lost.

Photo Breanna Marie

If you are like most people and you are not a professional model getting in front of the camera can be a little intimidating. This is totally normal and it is not your job to know what to do, it’s our job as photographers to get the best out of you and completely guide you through the whole process. As Becca Jones says "Don’t worry about posing! A good photographer will do some light posing to ensure you look your best from the angle they are shooting at, but when in doubt, pop a knee & bend your arm a little. It adds insta-muscle tone!”

Photo Joanna Monger Photography - Carkeek Park, Seattle

Now it’s time to trust in the process and have fun together during your shoot “just relax and have fun. It will shine through in your pictures if you're truly having a good time, and you'll love the results!” Melissa Miksch says.

Photo Melissa Miksch

My final tip for you is to plan a date night directly after your photo shoot. You both are dressed up and have spent the last hour or so snuggling and being all cute together so you should celebrate together by going to for dinner, drinks or whatever floats your boat.

Good luck with your photos and happy planning!!

Photo Joanna Monger Photography - Golden Gardens Seattle


Joanna Monger is the owner and lead photographer at Joanna Monger Photography. When Joanna is not photographing you can find her out exploring and hiking the beautiful PNW or playing with her 3 small humans all whilst drinking ridiculous amounts of tea.