Engagement Photography – What to Wear, Where to Go, and Why I Love Them

Elopement and intimate wedding photographer for Malibu Solstice CanyonWhy I love them

I really like doing engagement photos and recommend them as a way to get to know you as a couple and get you comfortable. This is especially helpful if one or both of you are camera shy, and once you see how great you look with the engagement photos you’ll have more confidence and less nervousness about being photographed on the actual wedding day. I also think it’s nice to have awesome photos of you as a couple in regular clothes, in addition to the wedding photos.Teresa_Travis_Engagement-03

What to Wear

If you are looking for some outfit inspiration, I’ve collected some of my favorite looks for engagement style ideas on pinterest or take a look at some past engagement sessions I’ve done.

Film photography for gorgeous outdoor adventures for elopements and engagements

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Los Angeles nature outdoor engagement photos

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Other tips to keep in mind when planning what to wear for your engagement photos:

  • Do wear clothes that you feel confident in!
  • Do choose shoes that are comfortable but still stylish, since we might end up walking a lot
  • Do add visual interest with colors and patterns in your accessories – shoes, ties, scarves, cardigans, statement jewelry, hats
  • Try to avoid all solid white or solid black because they are harder to show details in photographs
  • Try to avoid prominent logos or text on tops or hats. They will be more distracting than you think.
  • Don’t feel like you have to match colors or patterns, but the formality levels of your outfits should match. For example, you in a cocktail dress and your partner in shorts and a t-shirt would look like you’re on two different dates, whereas both of you more dressed up or both more casual would look more cohesive. Your outfits should also fit with the location – if we’re going hiking, you’d probably look more natural in nice jeans and tops than you would in a suit and tie or heels and mini skirt in that environment.

Professional hair and makeup is fine if you’d like it, but not necessary to be confident and comfortable.

  • Wear as much or as little makeup as you normally would to feel good about your skin and features.
  • If you have an engagement ring you’d like photographed, consider that your nails may be shown in close up and factor that into manicure or nail polish decisions.
  • Try to avoid excessive sun that could cause a sunburn, or too fresh of a faux tan, for the week leading up to your shoot.
sunrise beach engagement photographs on filmVintage inspired engagement ring


Where to go and what to do

There are so many great options for places and activities to take engagement photos in Los Angeles and Southern California! It’s no secret that I love nature so going on an adventure and exploring the outdoors together is always my first choice for sessions. We can go chasing waterfalls in Pasadena, ride a ski lift up Mount Baldy in the Angeles Forest, dip your feet in the ocean at Santa Monica or El Matador beach in Malibu, pack a picnic in Griffith Park or Tree People Park, or take a hike in Franklin Canyon, Topanga Canyon, Solstice Canyon (you get the idea, canyons are cool). If you’re interested in a destination session, I’m up for traveling to Big Sur, Yosemite, Joshua Tree, Ojai, Santa Barbara and El Capitan Canyon, and pretty much anywhere else with beautiful scenery and fun people! And if you’re still undecided, I’ve compiled some location inspiration posts to peruse for ideas.

Romantic woodsy elopement location at Solstice Canyon Malibu in Los Angeles

Elopement and engagement adventures in California beautiful outdoor canyons

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Santa Monica modern romantic engagements and elopement photographer

Los Angeles beach elopement photographer Jessica Schilling

Chad_Matt_Engagement-048Lauren Brezner and Brandon Azbill wed at the Saddle Peak Lodge in Calabases, Calif. on Sunday August 31, 2014. photos by susanica tam for jessica schilling photography // info@susanica.comRachel_Seth_Engagement-17

California and Los Angeles adventure engagements

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What about our pets? What about photos in our home?

I love engagement sessions with pets! They add a lot of natural joy and fun to sessions and most outdoor locations will be dog-friendly. Depending on if you want your furry friends in all the shots or just some, and depending on how content they are to be on their own, it may be best to have another friend come along as a dog-wrangler for some of the session. If you have pets that are more “indoor kids” (like my cat and turtle) a day-in-the-life session at your house can be a relaxing place to take photos in your most comfy environment and still have your animals around!

Griffith Park engagement session with dog

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Los Angeles fun happy dog park engagement photographer

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What do we actually do with our awesome engagement photos now that we have them?

Aside from the idea of getting comfortable with the camera and photographer, what do you actually do with your engagement photos? Of course you can share them on social media, and many couples add them to their wedding websites, use them to create Save the Dates or invitations, or for newspaper announcements. There’s the option to frame them or make a canvas out of them for displaying in your home or giving to relatives, or as decor for your wedding.  One of my favorite uses for engagement photos is to make a guest sign-in book for the wedding that shows off all your pictures.

Los Angeles indie, alternative, creative, unique wedding photogrpaher


So now that we’ve covered the who, what, where, wear, and why, contact me if you have any other questions or if you’d like to set up an engagement session of your own!


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