If you aren’t aware, the highest engagement season is right now. In fact, nearly 40% of couples say I DO between November and February. Holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and yes Valentine’s Day get the most attention. Following these months is when planning the perfect engagement shoot takes place.

If you have recently been engaged and pondering what to do next, the first step is planning your engagement shoot. Arguably an engagement shoot is the best way to document such a monumental moment and share it with family and friends. Like weddings, proper planning is required for every engagement shoot. Who is involved? What does an engagement shoot include?  Where do you start? When should I start planning? What does one even look like?

Here are a few key tips when planning your engagement shoot:

Topic #1 – Plan your shoot and not your wedding

  1. Regrettably there are many couples who immediately begin planning their wedding directly following their proposal. In my opinion couples should take things step-by-step and focus on the more immediate things in your journey to the alter. Couples should first consider what type of wedding they desire. For instance do you know your color choices, style, and or wedding theme? Next ask yourself if you like candid, casual or formal images? Answers to these questions play a key role in your engagement shoot.

  2. Once you have identified the key elements of your wedding, now is the time to plan your engagement shoot. Don’t focus on planning your wedding as this is your time to enjoy your engagement, not rush past it.

  3. The benefits in planning your shoot is to use the photos as your Save-The-Date, website graphics, and on social media. Weddings are all about branding so you want to ensure that your engagement photos reflect the same theme or style that your wedding will have. Consistency is key to setting the tone for your wedding.

Topic #2 – Partner with a Photographer and Wedding Planner

  1. Wedding Planners can be a tremendous help when planning your engagement shoot. Please do not feel stressed over hiring a planner that will also plan your wedding. No doubt having the same Wedding Planner for your shoot and wedding is ideal, but that may not always work out. Planners can aid in quickly securing a venue, hair and makeup, and also a Fashion Stylist for the different looks.

  2. Photographers are vital to the planning stage of your engagement shoot too. Before you hire one, ensure that they have experience shooting the theme or style that you like. Dotun Ayodeji Photography states, “You should never ask a Photographer to change their style simply because you want to work with them. They will be unfamiliar with this type of shooting which may hinder your finish product.” We certainly do not want that to happen during your shoot.

  3. Dotun also recommends that you discuss equipment, turnaround times, and expectations. Having your engagement shoot in March and not getting images until June is not something you want to skip over.

  4. Most Photographers include Engagement Shoots as part of their overall package. So use this to your advantage verses paying for two different fees.

Topic #3 – Select your Shoot Location

  1. The location you decide to shoot at will determine the type of attire that you will wear. Shooting at the Andrew R. Mellon Auditorium will require a more formal look. However, other locations like the Newseum offer a more chic and edgier look.

  2. Create a wonderful backdrop for your shoot by going outdoors. Look around your neighborhood and find locations with amazing murals or public art that matches your engagement shoot theme. Always verify that you don’t need a Still Photography Permit to shoot in public. Shooting outside in many cases decreases your engagement shoot overhead and eliminates the battle to find a venue.

  3. Find a location that has meaning for the both of you. Maybe it’s your favorite ice-cream shop or restaurant where you had your first date. Above all, consider everything you have an emotional tie to. This allows you both to feel as comfortable as possible during your shoot.

Topic #4 – Have a budget

Engagement shoots can get expensive when you factor more and more people into the shoot. Consequently having a team of vendors, buying or renting clothes, and props can quickly increase your budget. Do whatever you can to decreases unnecessary costs and save that money for your wedding.

At any rate, what does a proper engagement shoot look like? Here are a few types of shoots you can learn from thanks to Dotun Ayodeji Photography.

The Casual Shoot

The Candid Shoot

The Semi-formal Shoot

The Formal Shoot

In Conclusion

No matter the type of shoot you decide to have, ensure that you have fun with it. Your photos should showcase your personality and give wedding attendees a peak into what is to come at your wedding. Check out our wedding page and contact us if you need to find the perfect photographer and idea.