Engagement Photographs – How to prepare and what to wear for a Pre Wedding Shoot

As the wedding season gets underway, a lot of couples will now be having their pre-wedding or ‘engagement’ photo shoots. These are a great way to get some images of just the two of you

Although there are certainly exceptions, the vast majority of us are not comfortable in front of the camera. However, an engagement session is a fun couple of hours with the love of your life gathering some memories that you will treasure forever. In 50 years time, you can both look at the images in wonder at how young and gorgeous the two of you really are!

If you are wondering how to prepare and what to wear in engagement photographs, I have put together some tips…..

What to wear in engagement photographs

I love to capture the connection between the two of you.

What to wear in engagement photographs

  • My usual advice is to dress like you are going on a nice date with each other. However, do have a think about where we are going on the shoot. The Christian Louboutin’s may have to stay at home if we are walking through the woods!
  • Choose complimentary colours for the two of you. Natural tones work well. Lay both sets of clothes out together to check they go well.
  • On colder days, go for a layered look rather than just a big coat.
  • Shirts or polo shirts work great on the guys. The collars give definition to the chin area especially if they are looking down at their fiancé.
  • Think accessories as well. Nothing finishes off a great outfit more than accessorising with some key pieces of jewellery, scarves, etc.
  • If you would like to bring a change of clothing, feel free. It may be tricky getting changed in the woods but it will certainly add to the variety in the images.
  • Avoid clashing patterns as well as big motifs and logos. Try and avoid anything that will date the images too much and think more classical than Uber “On Trend”
Pre Wedding Shoots in the city can add a variety of backgrounds to an image

If you are having a wedding in a country setting, why not have the engagement photos in the city for a real contrast

Hair & Make Up

  • Hair: Spend a little time getting your hair the way you want it. Do consider the weather on the day.
  • For him, spend a few minutes styling your hair and shave or trim your beard.
  • Make Up: Many brides go for a natural look. However, go for a style that suits you. You may even be able to fit in one of your make up trials on the same day!
Golden Hour engagement or pre wedding photos with amazing light

As well as close up photos., I always aim for ‘figure in the landscape’ images

What to bring with you

  • Bring your make up kit and a hairbrush for any adjustments or changes along the way
  • Take some changes of jewellery or accessories such a scarfs, etc. to change your style throughout the session.
  • If you would rather not sit directly on the ground, take along a picnic blanket or similar. I will usually have one with me but having your own adds a personal touch.
  • By all means bring some snacks with you. You want to keep your energy levels up for the session. Certainly bring some water to hydrate you.
How to prepare for an engagement photo session

There are always different angles and ways to photograph the two of you while still showing your connection.

Hobbies & Pets

I love it when couples include their hobbies or bring their dog with them. If you share a hobby like cycling, golf, chess or whatever, we can certainly include that. Just let me know beforehand. I am still waiting for the extreme sports couples where we can include Skydiving, Motocross or something else a little crazy.

Pre wedding photo shoot with a dog

I love this image where the Spaniel seems to be protecting them!

Personal Elements and Ideas

I love it when you bring some of your ideas and personality to the shoot. If you would like to bring a full picnic or just some props, it’s a great way to get your personality across in the images.

Engagement photosession in an underground car park!

It doesn’t always have to be a pretty location to get an interesting photo.


I would normally encourage you to NOT have your engagement session at the same venue as your wedding. In fact, I would often encourage you to go for the complete opposite. Otherwise, you may end up with similar images to your wedding but with different clothes! Whether its urban or rural, we can get a great range of images of the two of you. If you have a special place such as where you became engaged, your first date or something similar let me know. I am sure we can find a great location that will mean something to you the two of you.

London Engagement Photographer

I layer a lot of my images to give the impression of a stolen moment between the two of you.

Time of Day

I have photographed couples from first thing in the morning through to midnight and would like to think I have got great images throughout the day. The light is softer in the morning and about an hour before sunset (The Golden Hour as photographers call it). However, midday sun in June can be super dramatic. Choose a time that suits both your diaries and we can work on getting you into the best light.

I always look for the best light and environment to place the two of you in.

I always look for the best light and environment to place the two of you in.

Get lots of sleep

If you can, get lots of sleep the night before the shoot. You will not only look that much better in the photographs for having rested but your energy levels will be so much higher for the shoot itself.

An intimate moment during a pre-wedding photo shoot

Avoid alcohol the night before

This can be a tricky one but do try and abstain from alcohol the night before the shoot. Not only can it lead to a broken nights sleep but as alcohol dehydrates, you may find that those bags under the eyes are more pronounced. Alcohol can also add to redness in the skin tones. As you will be dressed up for a date, you can always go out after the shoot and make up for the night before!

A golden hour engagement shoot of the bride and groom.

Sunsets provide an amazing backdrop for your shoot.

Have Fun

Above all, I hope that you have fun on the shoot. It’s just a walk with the person you love (and a photographer). Try not to overthink it. I will put you in great light and help you where needed. The aim is to get some great natural images of the two of you and the amazing connection that you have!

I hope this has been a useful resource to help you prepare for an engagement or pre-wedding photo shoot.

If you would like to see some examples of engagement shoots I have photographed please click one of the links below

Wedding Photographers Bristol


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"One of the best wedding photographers in the business" - BBC One Show

I am a Bristol wedding photographer offering photography across the UK and Internationally


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