Tips on How to Plan Your Engagement Shoot

December 2, 2020

Congratulations on your engagement! To mark the start of your new journey together, you’re probably thinking about an engagement photo shoot. Most photographers offer this as part of their wedding package, but the session is so much more than just an added bonus. It’s an opportunity to get to know your wedding photographer, learn your best angles and spend quality time with your partner to create beautiful images to use for your save‑the‑date cards or display at your wedding/reception. It’s also an opportunity to get comfortable being in front of a camera. Not everyone has had practice being in front of a professional photographer, especially when it comes to taking romantic photos; therefore, the engagement photo shoot should feel, in part, like practice. You’ll learn how to relax, feel at ease and look less tense before your wedding day where the photos will likely feel more significant. You might have already booked your wedding photographer and you’re now wondering what you should do for your engagement photo shoot. When you’re coming up with a plan for your session, think about what would represent you most as individuals and as a couple. While the best ideas come from reflecting on your relationship together, there’s no harm in taking inspiration from the couples who have gone before you. We’ve listed 13 ideas to get you started on narrowing down a concept that resonates with you:

Plan an Activity

If you tend to feel awkward in front of a camera, we recommend choosing an activity. It’s easier to forget that there’s a camera around when you have something to do. Our couple M+A choose to go for a bike ride around their favourite lake for their session. This is an activity they both enjoy doing together on the weekends, so they felt comfortable and therefore, the session was full of natural movement and genuine emotions.

Incorporate Your Work/Passion

If you’re passionate about what you do for a living, consider honouring your profession in your engagement shoot.  In the session below, Bill and Olga from Impressions Live Art are photographed doing what they love with the one they love. This creative duo met in 2012 in the Vancouver finale of a live painting competition called Art Battle. We’re thrilled that they chose to tell their love story in such a personal and unique way.

Think of the Session As Planning a Date

The authenticity in engagement photos really boils down to having the couple’s personality captured in a space that is comfortable and reflective of them, which is why we encourage couples to choose experiences that allow for the session to feel like a date. Our couple M+A enjoy spending quality time together while going on hikes. Their best dates have been those enjoyed from the top of a mountain. Their love for one another and the outdoors is captured in their session. Remember to wear comfortable clothes and shoes if your shoot location includes a lot of walking.

Plan a Trip

Combine your next trip and your engagement photos into one by incorporating your travels into your session. Our couple G+P travelled to the sand dunes near Las Vegas for their session. We can all agree that their engagement photos are anything but ordinary. It was a surreal experience that they now have professionally photographed to cherish forever.

Celebrate Your Favourite Holiday

If you follow Nancy on Instagram then you know how much she loves Halloween. She created this incredibly spooky yet beautiful look for the session celebrating their favourite holiday. Whether you also love Halloween or prefer the magic that Christmas brings, holiday themed couples shoots are so much fun!

Use Your Favourite Spot

Use your personal spots as inspiration for your engagement shoot to save the memories of these places for years to come. This can be a restaurant, coffee shop, park, where you first met or had your first date, etc. A favourite spot for many couples in Vancouver is Grouse Mountain, especially during the holidays, when you can experience the tranquil beauty of skating on a mountaintop ice skating pond surrounded by snow‑topped trees and breathtaking light installations.

Make It Editorial

Editorial style engagement shoots were a huge trend this year! If this speaks to you, then you’ll get lots of inspiration from D+R’s engagement session at Hycroft Manor.

Use Your Vehicle

When J+R told us about their idea to incorporate R’s motorcycle into their engagement session, we were thrilled! We knew Pitt Lake would be the perfect spot for the photos because of the long stretches of road, tones, and gorgeous views of the mountains in the background. Whether you enjoy motorcycle rides together or going for long drives, use your vehicle to tell your story.

Book a Décor Set Up

Many companies are now offering custom set ups for engagement shoots to help couples create a meaningful experience through décor. Our couple, A+D, worked with Finesse Décor Company to create this romantic lakeside dinner set up.

Bring Your Fur Baby

If you’re wondering whether you should bring your fur baby to your engagement shoot, we say YES, as long as you discuss this with your photographer first. This is a wonderful way to personalize your shoot, and it can be a great opportunity to have professional photos taken of you with your pet. It also adds a sense of ease and comfort for many people who might otherwise feel camera‑shy. After all, it’s hard to feel self‑conscious when you’re playing with an adorable puppy!

Make It an Unforgettable Experience

To say that we were excited about photographing P+A’s engagement session on a sailboat would be an understatement. We truly believe that love is meant to be an adventure that two people share, which is why we encourage couples to implement this sense of journey and discovery into their sessions with us. Behind these photos are memories that these two will never forget and that’s what we love to create!

Plan Ahead

Some experiences are only possible during certain seasons of the year; therefore, plan ahead and book your session early if there’s a seasonal activity you want photographed. For example, winter sessions are a blast, because the snow brings out the pure joy of playfulness.

At-Home

K+C wanted us to capture their memories in their first home together, so we photographed an intimate at home session for these two. Seriously, what’s better than snuggling in bed with the one you love? At‑home engagement sessions truly give your pictures an authentic and ultra‑intimate feel.

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