On average, couples in the United States are engaged for 12-18 months, which means they have that much time to plan for their wedding. One of the questions we always get is, “When should we take engagement photos?”. While there is no right or wrong answer to this question, multiple factors must be considered when deciding when to schedule or take your engagement photos.
What’s an Engagement Session?
An engagement session is a portrait/lifestyle session to document this special chapter of your relationship. As wedding photographers, we always recommend our couples to do their engagement session with us for multiple reasons:
1) Get comfortable in front of the camera – Not everyone is comfortable in front of the camera. 90% of our couples get nervous or uneasy being photographed (and that’s ok!). Because you want to look great in your wedding photos, this is a great practice run.
2) Allow your photographer to get to know you -Engagement sessions are more photo extensive than your wedding day. We take this time to get to know you, learn what you’re comfortable with in front of the camera, get to know your best angles, and experiment with different poses and see what you’re comfortable with in front of the camera so that on the wedding day, we are pretty prepared and know how to photograph you. It takes away the guessing game on your wedding day, which makes for a more efficient timeline and flow.
3) It’s a pretty fun activity together! Treat it like a date night. Get dressed up, look phenomenal, and be in love. We always tell our couples to make reservations at a special restaurant and have a nice date night after the session! Trust us; it’s really fun!
When do you take Engagement Photos?
This will depend on the couple and how long your engagement is. With our couples, they schedule their engagement session on average about 6-8 months before their wedding day. But we’ve done them as far as 18 months before or even as close as a month before the wedding.
Many of our couples use their photos for their wedding website and save the dates. In which case, try to take your engagement photos around the 6-8 months mark. Also, consider how long the turnaround time is for the photos. This will vary depending on the photographer and is something to consider.
What to consider when planning when to take your engagement photos?
Season or Time of the Year
In Southern California, we can schedule engagement sessions throughout the year, but if you’re specific on the time of the year, especially if you’re in a different state, plan ahead.
For example, if you want beach photos and want to ensure it’s not too cold for a beach session, wait for the summer months to schedule. Or, if you want more greenery, lush fields, and florals, you may want to schedule in the Spring.
Outfits may also be affected depending on the season or time of the year you are taking your engagement photos. If you need inspiration on outfits, check out our outfit guides here.
We always recommend planning your engagement session when you’re not too busy or can take a day off from work. It’s best to have the day to relax and prepare for the session instead of scheduling it on a day when you have to work and rush to get to the location planned for the session. It’s also best to schedule your hair and makeup trials on the day so that you can see how that looks in photographs.
If you’re planning a trip, it’s also worth considering if you want your photographer to travel with you and take your photos in a special place/location. We had just returned from Maui last month, where we photographed one of our couples’ engagement sessions.
If you have a specific location or venue in mind for your engagement photos, it’s good to discuss availability and permit requirements for that location or venue with your photographer. Some locations require reservations 90+ days in advance, and some require permits which can take time to apply for.
There is no right or wrong time to take your engagement photos. It all depends on your schedule, your photographer’s availability, and what you’re using the photos for. Other factors to consider are the time of the year and the specific backdrop/location/venue you prefer.
We would love to photograph your engagement session; let’s chat.