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12 Must-Have Photos for Your Engagement Session

By Guest Blogger: Torez Marguerite, Torez Marguerite Photography

Engagement Photos are the perfect way to have your first real experience as a couple with a professional photographer. A majority of people have never stepped foot in front of a professional’s camera other than maybe their student photos. So, if you’re getting married and plan to hire a photographer this is the perfect way to see how it feels and get used to it.

A wedding day is not meant to feel like an all-day photoshoot. And having an engagement session before- especially with your wedding photographer-is a great way to warm up to the camera and learn how to feel more comfortable. So that on the day of your wedding, you’ll barely notice it’s there.

If you’re feeling nervous about your engagement session that’s totally normal! Even I, a wedding photographer, still get nervous when I have to jump in front of the camera. So, if you feel extra nervous and are concerned about what you’re going to do with your hands here are 12 must-have engagement photos so you can “practice” and know what to expect. These 12 photos are a great base that will add lots of variety to your gallery. (Because trust me, no one wants 80 photos of themselves smiling at the camera.) Read to find out why I suggest each photo and the directions needed!

1. Close Ups of the Ring

Of course, you just got engaged so obviously there needs to be some close-up photos of the ring. There are tons of different ways to do this. But, one of my favorite ways is to have the short person cuddled up and the taller person wrap their arm around their shoulder. And then the shorter person grab their hand. I’ll usually move the ring around so that it’s the focus of the shot and I get the couple in the background smiling or kissing. But, you can tell the intention of the shot is to focus on the ring. You can also cheer drinks for a detailed shot. Or one person can hold the ring wearer's hand in such a way that it shows the ring.

DIRECTIONS: “Stand side by side put your arm around their shoulder, grab their hand, cuddle in, and go in for a soft kiss.”

2. Smiling at the camera

This is the one photo for your grandma, parents, and maybe even for your save the dates. I usually will get a few different poses just smiling at the camera. Because as a wedding photographer, I never know which one will be a couple's favorite. As with most of these, it’s always best to come back to them throughout the session as you get more relaxed. How to pose for this photo is really any pose you want both smile and look directly into the camera lens.

DIRECTIONS: “Stand side by side holding each other, put your hands on their chest look at the camera, and smile.”

3. Kissing photo

Everyone loves a good kissing photo! Whether you love PDA or not I do think one photo of you two kissing and showing affection should be taken during your engagement session. In a questionnaire before your engagement session, I like to ask couples about their comfort with kissing and PDA (public displays of affection). If you say you’d rather not kiss then I won’t ask you to! So, be sure to properly communicate with your photographer.

DIRECTIONS: “Stand facing and holding each other and then go in for a kiss.”

4. Sitting

A majority of places outside might not be the best places to sit. I like to do a few sitting poses at the very end of the session. I like to do them at the end so that if the ground or whatever you’re sitting on is dirty we’re done with the majority of photos so there’s no need to worry about dirt on your bottom. For this pose, I like to have couples sitting together as close to each other as possible and just cuddle up and look at each other, the view, or kiss.

DIRECTIONS: “Sit side by side and cuddle up with each other” 

5. The “I just got engaged” pose

I love this post for any proposal. Everyone person is always so happy to show off their new bling. So, if you didn’t have proposal photos this is a must-have! For this pose, I’ll ask you to stand side by side and wrap each other up into a cuddle. Then, whoever has the engagement ring with hold their hand up so it’s covering up your faces. I personally have no preference which way your hand is (fingers up or down). I usually ask you to do both just to see what comes out better while I’m going through the photos. My biggest tip for this one is to hold your arm higher than you probably think it needs to be. The photographer should move around to get the perfect angle and move the rings so it’s centered, but I often find myself telling my couples to hold their hand higher. 

DIRECTIONS: ”Side by side look at either each other and hold your hand up to show off that bling!”

6. From a distance shot

While a majority of shots from your engagement session will focus on the two of you as in they’ll be up close with you filling the frame. It’s also important to also get a few photos showing what location you’re at. You’re choosing that location for a reason it could be because of the view, the location means something to you, etc. The wide-angle shots add variety to your gallery so you’ll also remember where you were during this chapter.

DIRECTIONS: “Walk along and enjoy the scenery.” 

7. Hug from behind

This is one of my go-to places for couples because it’s always a great way to break the ice and get couples warmed up. And it’s so interesting to see how each couple does it differently. It’s great whether you’re a super outgoing bubbly couple or maybe a little more reserved. What I do is have one person stand still and one person about five to ten steps behind and then when I say go the person from behind surprises them with a hug, kisses, or both!

DIRECTIONS:  “Stand 5 steps behind and when I say go sneak attack them with lots of love.”

8. Walking

I love starting out my sessions with just plain old walking. A lot of times you may be really nervous or stressed and so it’s always good to re-center with some walking. This always really helps with movement in your engagement photos. I usually have a couple walk away or towards me casually bumping hips or running into each other and doing a mix of looking at each other, the camera, or even past the camera.

DIRECTIONS: “Walking towards me holding hands and look at each other or at the camera.”

9. Forehead kiss

This is a perfect touch for any couple that really wants those warm sweet images. Usually, the couple is cuddled up facing each other and the taller person kisses their partner’s forehead or the top of their head.

DIRECTIONS: “Stand side by side put your arm around their shoulder and cuddle up kissing their head”

10. Looking at each other

Between looking at the camera and looking at each other I’m bound to get some giggles. This is a great photo if you want something intimate. Usually, whenever we were just doing a pose and looking at the camera I’ll take another one of them looking at each other. This is also really good for nerves as you can just talk to each other for a moment. Or just make silly faces at each other to ease the nerves.

DIRECTIONS: “Face each other and step in and out like you’re doing a little swing dance.”

11. Playing Around

Blurry photos are very trendy right now. And while I don’t usually recommend “trendy” photos, as just like they suggest-they go in and out of style. This is one trend I think will retire into a classic. And that’s because some emotion is shown better with a little blur. Especially when you have other photos that aren’t. I only suggest this pose if you’re in comfortable clothing, are barefoot, or want to run around. What’s most important here is your photographer’s camera settings!

DIRECTIONS: “Holding hands and walk or run away from the camera or play tag with one another.”

12. Doing something you love - wild card

One of the biggest tips I always give to my couples is to do an activity or something fun during your engagement session. This can be anything from grabbing a drink from a local bar to making coffee together out of your truck. This is one of the ways you get photos that mean something to you. You and your partner doing something together that you enjoy doing.

DIRECTIONS: “Just be you!”

I hope these photos help give you some ideas and a visual of what you can expect from photography for your engagement session. Again, it’s totally ok to feel nervous or anxious before your engagement session. But, try not to think too much about it. Focus on being with your partner and being silly and in the moment rather than that a camera is near your face. Don’t worry! YOU GOT THIS!


A Little Bit About Torez Marguerite Photography

I'm Torez, a die-hard romantic and San Francisco-based wedding and elopement photographer with years of experience capturing love stories. From intimate City Hall ceremonies to epic coastal elopements, I've seen and photographed it all. I know the ins and outs of navigating wedding planning like the back of my hand - from selecting the perfect location that aligns with your love story to creating the dreamiest wedding timeline that lets you enjoy your day to the fullest. If you want to learn more about me and my services you can find me here. 

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