How to Take Cute, Non-Cheesy Engagement Photos You'll Love

Because cheugy engagement pics are just not the vibe.
Taylor Carson - The Knot Contributor.
Taylor Carson
Taylor Carson - The Knot Contributor.
Taylor Carson
The Knot Contributor
  • Taylor writes wedding venue roundups for The Knot.
  • Taylor was formerly the Assistant Managing Editor at Philadelphia magazine, and she continues to freelance for Philadelphia’s lifestyle and wedding verticals.
  • She received her degree in journalism, with a minor in English, from Temple University.
Updated Jul 31, 2023

As you continue to ride the high of your proposal, one of the first wedding to-dos you might want to cross off your list is taking your engagement photos. For many spouses-to-be, photoshoots are not a regular occurrence, which can lead to one looming concern ahead of your session: How can you ensure you take non-cheesy engagement photos?

Whether you're taking engagement photos to announce your proposal, send out your save-the-dates or share magazine-worthy images on your Instagram, an engagement photoshoot is an amazing way to capture this special moment in your life. What's more, in many instances, your engagement photographer will also be your wedding photographer—meaning the photo session provides a wonderful way for you to get to know them and trial them out before your big day.

So, how can you ensure the photoshoot is a success? Below, Amber Dawn Permsap of Amber Dawn Photography in Philadelphia shares tips for what to do (and not to do) to have a great time at your engagement shoot and wind up with photos you'll be obsessed with for years to come. And don't forget to check out The Knot Vendor Marketplace to find a wedding photographer near you.

In this article:

How To Take Non-Cheesy Engagement Photos

As you plan for your upcoming engagement shoot, you may be wondering about where to take your photos, what to wear, how to act natural and more. Alleviate your worries and prepare yourself and your partner by keeping the below tips in mind.

Choose a meaningful location.

First and foremost, choose a location that is special to you and your relationship, "whether it's where you met, where you live, and so on," Permsap says. "It's helpful to choose a meaningful location because couples tend to feel more comfortable in that environment."

Depending on the length of time of your shoot, you can potentially visit more than one meaningful location, resulting in photos that will be just as sentimental as they are stunning. Permsap adds,"I think it's nice when couples look back at their photos years from now and reminisce about the location and how it played a part in their relationship."

Be authentically yourselves.

Permsap's next piece of advice is especially important. "Lean into your chemistry as a couple," she shares." Joke around with one another, and enjoy the moment together." Not only will this help you feel more comfortable, you'll also end up with more genuine photos.

"While you may need to play up the romance for the camera a bit if you're not necessarily a PDA couple," Permsap continues, "you can still stay true to your personalities."

Pamper yourself beforehand.

Treat yourself to some self-care prior to your photoshoot to look—and feel—amazing at the session. "I recommend brides get their hair and makeup professionally done," Permsap says. "It'll give you that extra boost of confidence knowing that you're looking your best."

Choose outfits that are flattering and complementary.

As what you wear will be visible in nearly all of your photos, your outfits will have a big impact on how satisfied you are with the final result. Plan in advance to ensure you have an outfit (or multiple!) ready prior to the day of your shoot. Permsap adds, "When choosing your outfit, have a friend take photos or videos of you from all angles to ensure you love the way it looks."

"Lately, I'm finding brides choosing to wear white most often," she says. "Sometimes couples change outfits if they're looking for more variety or simply can't choose. In general, neutrals work well and stand the test of time."

You also want to be sure your partner has an outfit they feel great in—and that complements your own. Well-put-together outfits set against the meaningful location that is your backdrop will take your photos to the next level.

Trust your photographer.

Lastly, but most importantly, have faith in your photographer. "You chose them because you fell in love with their work," Permsaps says, "so trust that they are guiding you in the best way possible."

One way they may guide you is toward good lighting. "Photography is all about good lighting," Permsap says. "Trust your photographer to place you in the spot with the most beautiful light, even if it's not the background you have in mind."

If you do have a specific vision in mind for your engagement photos? "It might be helpful to send your photographer a mood board in advance," Permsap says.

What Should You Not Do In Engagement Photos?

Now that we've covered what you should do before and during an engagement shoot to take swoon-worthy photos, let's cover what not to do. Continue reading for five things to avoid the day of.

Don't wear uncomfy outfits.

The importance of your engagement photo outfit(s) cannot be overstated. Give yourself enough time to shop and try things on so it's one less worry the day of. When you feel confident in what you're wearing, you can focus on a much more important task during your session: being present with the person you love.

Don't show up late.

"Engagement sessions are specifically timed to take place during the most flattering light of the day," Permsap notes. Accordingly, make sure you show up on time for your photographer. Doing so is not only respectful to them but also helpful in ensuring they can put their skills to practice and help you get those picture-perfect photos.

Don't be discouraged if your partner seems uncomfortable at first.

It is absolutely normal for you or your partner to feel out of your comfort zone at the start of your shoot, especially if you haven't taken many professional photos in the past. However, Permsap says you should not be discouraged about this, as the discomfort will fade throughout the session. She shares, "With enough time and encouragement, they will come around."

Don't feel like you have to stay completely still.

If you're worried about feeling stiff while your photos are being taken, remind yourself and your future spouse that it's ok to move around. Similarly, when your photographer asks you to move in a certain way, trust them and the process. "The most natural-looking photos incorporate movement," Permsap says.

"I like to give my couples prompts, such as 'walk together holding hands and glance at each other,'" she continues. "It helps the couple loosen up and appear less stiff while still being connected with one another. Once they've gotten the hang of it, I give less prompts and let them do their thing to capture the essence of their unique relationship."

Don't be nervous.

While it is easier said than done, go into your engagement shoot as nerve-free as possible. As Permsap notes, "Engagement sessions are a fun part of the wedding process!"

And put bystanders out of your mind. "There's naturally going to be curious onlookers, especially if your photos are taking place in a highly populated area," she says. "Concentrate on each other, and tune out everyone else."

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