Tips For Great Engagement Photos

There are plenty of internet articles about planning your wedding day, but what about engagement photos. This usually starts with the question of purpose (What are we going to do with these pictures?) and then moves on to location, time, etc.

Here are the top reasons clients choose an engagement session:

  • A chance to get professional images in a relaxed, non-rushed atmosphere.
  • This usually means wearing casual clothes, not having to meet any deadlines and a great way to capture a “day in the life” of who you are as a couple.
  • Save The Date Cards: Usually, you want to have your session at least 6 to 12 months in advance so you have time to get your cards designed and sent out.
  • Engagement photos make great decor for the wedding day.  Some clients will have large prints on display when guests enter the reception.  Others will also have my unique Wish Book on display where friends and family answer fun questions about the couple.  Guest Books with images on one side and sign-in on the opposite page are also very popular.
  • Getting comfortable in front of the camera and getting to know your photographer.  I don’t think this should be the only reason for an engagement session as weddings are quite different than casually walking around taking engagement photos.  However, if you are anxious about being in front of a camera, an engagement session will help and you will have some images that you will cherish forever.

Location, location, location…

I often get asked where the “best spots” are.  Let’s start with what you want to convey in your images.  Who are you as a couple?   Here are some locations from past sessions:

  • Lemon Lake Park is one of my favorite locations and I now have a membership at Taltree Arboretum.  These are great spots to showcase nature.  I’ve also had clients take me onto private property such as family farmland, etc.
  • The beach (especially at sunset) is very popular.  The national lakeshore now requires permits and scheduling, but I do know a beautiful beach area that does not require this.
  • Hometown sessions are great and I have done them in Crown Point Square as well as Valparaiso.  Imagine going skating at the new rink in downtown Valpo or window shopping the antique stores.
  • Date night.  Let’s talk to one of your favorite area restaurants and ask them if I can photograph you from afar as you drink wine and eat your meal.  Let’s do some night time images in a downtown area and capture the street lights and a romantic night time feel.
  • Chicago is one of my favorite places.  If having the skyscrapers and the energy of the windy city suits you as a couple, then my Chicago Session is for you.  More on that below.

I try to make all of my sessions a casual, fun time and as natural as possible, but Chicago photos are going to need to be planned out a little. Here are my top tips for a Chicago Engagement Session:

  • Travel light. Feel free to bring a change of clothes if you’d like or a prop, but keep in mind that we will be walking a lot and a busy city can easily see your bag walk away while we are not looking.  Jackets look great against a city backdrop, so this session is good for all times of the year.
  • Let’s take a break to refresh during your session.  This would be a good time for a Starbucks visit and an opportunity to change outfits if you’d like.
  • I’m all for going to different locations.  We have gone to Wrigley Field, Lincoln Park area, and night shots off the lake.  Keep in mind that we will have to watch the clock to catch our train back and that taking an Uber is better than driving ourselves or taking the L train.

No matter which session you choose or which location, just remember to be yourself and have fun.

Steve Vansak (owner and photographer) of Region Weddings

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