Shannon and Ben Part 6: Engagement Photos and How to Take Them

Engagement photos are many couples first introduction to the world of formal photography. You might have experienced senior photos or maybe family photos, but it’s a whole other thing to take sweet, relaxed looking photos while canoodling with your fiance in front of a photographer. Sounds fun, right?

Today our couple of the year, Shannon and Ben, are sharing their engagement session experience and most importantly, their tips for helping make your e-sesh as fun and easy as possible!


Engagement sessions, more commonly known as engagement pictures, are now all the rage for engaged couples. For those of you (like my Mom) who don’t know what engagement sessions are – it’s basically a formal portrait session of you and your partner ahead of your wedding day. Nowadays, photographers typically offer packages where you get a full day of wedding services plus an engagement session. Not everyone elects to participate in engagement sessions, sometimes due to budget reasons or they don’t know what they would do with the photos or just don’t care about them in general.

For us, doing an engagement session was a no brainer for multiple reasons. First and foremost, I’m obsessed with pictures.  I absolutely love looking back at pictures to reminisce; remembering how much fun we had that day, or laughing at the styles that were in, or appreciating how much we’ve grown or changed over time.

The other main reason we wanted to take engagement pictures was to get to know our photographer ahead of our wedding. Your wedding photographer is responsible for capturing one of the most important days in your life. Going through an engagement session with your photographer can help build a layer of trust and familiarity with someone who was otherwise a “stranger” beforehand. Being able to trust your photographer, their vision, direction, and skills, to match your own personal style will help alleviate some stress on your actual wedding day.

Another major factor behind participating in engagement pictures for us was learning how to “pose”. We’re generally photogenic together, but don’t have much experience in taking “candid, lovey-dovey” photos together. We wanted to use the session as a practice run so that way when it comes to our wedding day, we won’t make the same mistakes. Engagement pictures can also be useful for some of the wedding details; you could use the pictures on your wedding website, for your Save the Dates, or even for your bridal shower thank you cards.

There’s tons of information out there on how to have a successful engagement session. Rather than list out advice that can be found elsewhere, I figured I would provide some new tips that people might not think of or consider:

  • Don’t go out the night before or, if you do, call it an early night. Nothing is worse than looking (or feeling) exhausted or bloated in professional pictures… because trust me a professional camera will definitely pick up on that stuff.
  • Go through Pinterest, Instagram, and your photographer’s other engagement session albums to get ideas for what you would like to do/accomplish during your session. Don’t be afraid to share the pictures or ideas with your Photographer! They can help direct the day to deliver the vision you were looking for.
  • Feeling awkward or nervous about pictures? Champagne can help loosen you up a bit for the pictures. Not to mention it fits really well into the theme of “engagement pictures”. Who doesn’t like to celebrate with a little bubbly?
  • Bringing props can help your photographer construct different scenes. We took our engagement pictures during the chilly month of February, so we figured a blanket would go well with what Mother Nature was giving us that day.
  • Knowing your location can definitely help settle nerves and generate ideas for picture locations. My Aunt and Uncle own a beautiful, historic farmhouse up in Windham, NH. I’ve been going there so long it feels like a second home. Their house is on some gorgeous property and, with it being winter, we figured it would be the perfect location for our photos. Not to mention we were able to sneak inside to warm up in between shots which was key in maintaining high spirits during a cold winter’s day photo-shoot.

Have fun flipping through some of our favorite pictures from our engagement session this past February! Also, I just want to give a HUGEEEEE shout out to our absolutely amazing and extremely talented wedding photographer, Christina Bernales. She was patient with us, willing to provide suggestions on how to pose/stand, and really helped guide us through the day. Not to mention Christina and her husband Josh are just really kind, lovely people. I am so beyond thankful for the photos she took. I felt that her pictures captured both our love for each other, as well as our “fun” sides. We couldn’t be happier with our decision to have Christina as our wedding photographer and we’re so excited to work with her again in less than 3 months for our wedding!

– The Future Holts

P.S. – Need to also give kudos to one of my best friends who did my make up for my engagement pictures, Michelle Laracy of Bombchelle Beauty. Once you work with Michelle, you will be hard pressed to find another MUA out there better than her. To say Michelle is talented is an understatement. She helps bring out the confidence and beauty in absolutely everyone she works with. Not to mention, she is extremely outgoing. She’ll have you feeling like you’re best friends by the time you’re done.





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