Engagement Shoot Tips

Category: Blog

Date: June 2, 2014



The engagement sitting: the pre-wedding day photo shoot. Call it what you will, but most all wedding photographers offer some sort of a test shoot prior to the wedding. The results of this session can be everything from fun and valuable, to dull and disappointing.



Whatever the results of that photo shoot eight months before your wedding, it’s always educational.


When a couple retains me to photograph their wedding, the engagement shoot is my chance to build their confidence both in me as well as in themselves. Most people do not have a photo of them where they look at it and say, “Damn we’re hot”! So, as simple as it may seem to successfully photograph a newly engaged, madly in love couple, the photographer must it a home run, and blow the newlyweds away with a truly stunning photograph.


A few tips on what you need to know before, during and after the session.


First of all, here are some answers to the two most common questions…


1. Where should we do the shoot? Choose a location that reflects your natural behavior. Meaning; if the last time you were at the beach was during the Clinton administration, find a different spot! We’ve all seen those cheesy beach photos of the couple wearing white shirts and jeans. I ask you, when was the last time you saw a couple on the beach wearing white shirts and jeans? If so, I’m sure there was a photographer within 100 feet. Not to belabor the point, but the location should be indicative of your personality. If you’re style leans towards sophisticated urban life, go to the city and do what you normally would do.


2. What should we wear? Wear what is you. If you’re wild and obnoxious, then go for it! Be wild and obnoxious! If you closet looks like Dracula’s and all you have are various shades of black, than I think black is in order. Professionally speaking, I tend to steer my client’s away from complex geometric patters and super trendy attire as I don’t want them to look back on these and say. “Wow, that’s so 2012”





A few other tips:
• Props are stupid!!! Seriously, let’s leave the vintage suitcases, wagon wheels, tree stumps or the graffiti wall out of the shot. You want to viewer to notice you, not the gang tags on the brick wall behind your head.
• Hair & make up trial. Not a bad way to fine tune your hair & makeup prior to the wedding.
• Don’t over think this. Ultimately you want shots that reflect the love, romance, fun and excitement of this very special time in your lives. This needs to be a genuine portrayal of you and your fiancée, not a series of contrived and manipulated photographs.
• Speak your mind! Don’t assume that your photographer can read your mind. Clearly express what you like and don’t like before the shoot, and if after you see the results, don’t be afraid to voice your opinion, both good and bad. This is the only way to insure great and satisfying end result.












Based in San Diego, Paul Barnett has earned the reputation as the preeminent wedding photojournalist. Since 1991, his unique style & uncompromising craftsmanship have attracted a worldwide clientele. True, genuine and unrehearsed, Paul’s images bring to life the small idiosyncrasies that define us as individuals, close family and good friends. Visit Paul’s web site at http://barnettphoto.com or find him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Barnettphoto.