28 Engagement Photo Ideas for Summer, From Casual to Cowboy

Nailing your engagement pics is this easy.
chapelle johnson the knot associate editor
by
Chapelle Johnson
chapelle johnson the knot associate editor
Chapelle Johnson
Associate Editor
  • Chapelle writes articles for The Knot Worldwide. She covers all things wedding-related and has a personal interest in covering celebrity engagements and fashion.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Chapelle was an editorial intern for Subvrt Magazine.
  • Chapelle has a degree in English writing from Loyola University New Orleans.
Updated Apr 10, 2024

If you and your partner love warm weather and want to take advantage of the increased daylight hours, a summer engagement photo session is perfect for you. And a summer photo shoot doesn't automatically mean beach engagement photos, you can capture amazing images at the park, in a garden, at a family home or in the city.

Don't know how to prepare for this type of session? (And trust us, there is prep involved.) We're here to help, and we brought expert tips from real wedding and engagement photographers about how to stay cool on the day, the best time to take your photos and more. But first, we've rounded up portraits of real couples to inspire your snapshots. (Psst, once you know what vibe you're going for, check out our guide to summer engagement photo outfits.)

In this article:

Summer Engagement Photo Ideas

Summer engagement pictures are about so much more than posing in the sun. We're sharing our favorite engagement photo ideas for the summer, from trending aesthetics (hello, Cowboy Carter) to classic and unique outdoor settings. Take inspiration from these snapshots to create your own beautiful memories with your photographer.

1. Colorful Summer Engagement Photo

Summer is the season of bold color. Embrace it in your engagement pictures by dressing in bright block colors like yellow, blue and pink. Bonus points if you can find an equally vibrant guest star like this couple's llama friend.

2. Pool Party Summer Engagement Picture

For pictures that showcase your playful personalities, there's just one thing you need to do: Have fun! This couple's unique portrait takes "summer pool party" to the next level. Who hasn't dreamed of jumping into a pool in full formalwear? Count us in.

3. Scenic Lighthouse Summer Engagement Photo

    Even though it's posed, we don't think it takes away how romantic this engagement photo is. Plus, the lighthouse in the distance is the perfect touch for couples who want to play up a nautical wedding theme.

    4. Desert Summer Engagement Picture

      Hats are a great way to look stylish while avoiding too many sun rays. If you're planning a Western wedding, a desert is the best spot to capture your engagement photos so you can hint at your theme. This picture is proof that finding the right location is half the battle won. How could you miss with such a stunning background?

      5. Indoor Summer Couple Photo Shoot

        Sometimes it's a little too hot outside to take summer engagement photos, but that doesn't mean you have to miss out on the extended sunlight. Move indoors to one of your and your partner's favorite places with lots of natural lighting.

        6. Casual Pizza Summer Engagement Picture

          Stop at your beloved pizza joint (or another restaurant or food vendor of your choosing) for a casual and candid engagement photo moment. And since it's summer, why not go al fresco? We have to say, we love how this happy couple is wearing matching outfits.

          7. Country-Style Summer Engagement Photo

            If you've been channeling your inner cowboy or cowgirl ever since Beyoncé dropped Cowboy Carter, this one's for you. Effortlessly embrace a country theme with cowboy boots and hats. Even better if you have a vintage Chevy truck to use as a backdrop. This couple has aced the countrified summer engagement photo theme effortlessly.

            8. Dressed-Up Summer Engagement Picture

            Summer welcomes a casual, dressed-down vibe, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't get dressed up for your engagement photos. The bride's glittering blue mermaid-style gown brings beachy vibes to the city in the most glamorous way possible. Her groom's sunglasses subtly play up the summer theme too.

            9. Sunset Engagement Photo Idea for the Summer

              Sunset summer engagement photos are a great idea for two reasons. Number one, you avoid being in the hot midday temperatures, and number two, you get beautiful silhouette images like this. Dreamy, romantic snapshots pending.

              10. Family Home Summer Engagement Photo Shoot

                If you have a picturesque home or know someone who does, think about taking photos there. It will give your images a more intimate and personal feel. If you have one, you could also set up your backyard for casual summer engagement photos.

                11. Summer Engagement Photo With a Pet

                  Do you consider your dog a part of the family? Then include your pooch in your engagement photos. This idea doubles as exercise for your dog—win-win! We don't know who has the most charming smile in this precious pic.

                  12. Parasol Summer Engagement Photo

                  If you're extra nervous about standing in front of the camera, props are a great addition. Not only does this cute parasol give a nod to the summer season, it can also help to take your mind off the camera and avoid that awkward "what should I do with my hands" feeling.

                  13. Barefoot Beach Summer Engagement Photo

                    Staying hydrated is extremely important if you're taking summer engagement pictures, but that doesn't mean you're limited to just water. Pop a bottle of bubbly on the beach to bring a celebratory vibe to the photo shoot (and maybe even loosen you up in front of the camera).

                    14. Casual Woodland Summer Engagement Photo

                      Take your engagement photographer along with you doing an outdoor hobby you love for a more unique and personalized photo session. Try going hiking on your favorite trail like this couple. You'll have an enjoyable day out together and you get awesome photos that reflect your personalities and interests out of it.

                      15. Blurry Summer Engagement Photo

                        Blurry wedding photos are a popular photography trend that's having a major moment right now, and your summer engagement photos are the perfect opportunity to experiment. Go to a late-night hangout (maybe during the weekday to avoid crowds) or walk around downtown to capture a dynamic image like this one.

                        16. Boardwalk Summer Engagement Picture

                          If you don't mind getting down (and possibly dirty), layout and get romantic during your photo session. We love this intimate couple's photo on the boardwalk with the sun reflecting off the water.

                          17. Brooklyn Bridge Summer Couple Photo Idea

                            You don't have to travel far to take advantage of the beautiful scenery in your neighborhood. Think about taking photos in front of a famous landmark, as this couple did. One thing to keep in mind for the summer: If you're hoping for a quiet photo shoot without passers-by, you might want to go early (like, early early) to beat the crowds. Famous landmarks are tourist hot spots, especially at this time of year.

                            18. Paint-Splattered Summer Engagement Photo

                              If you and your partner know a formal engagement photo shoot isn't for you, go with something different instead. We suggest taking some "normal" non-paint-splattered pictures before getting into the fun stuff so you don't have to worry about cleaning up.

                              19. Dancing Summer Engagement Photo Shoot

                                Do you and your partner not have an introverted bone in your body? Then dance in the streets during your engagement photo session––just ensure the coast is clear for cars and bikes, of course. We guarantee your pics will turn out fun and romantic. It's an especially great option if you're not a fan of posed pictures as the movement involved will avoid any feelings of stiffness.

                                20. Cosplay Summer Engagement Picture

                                  Use your summer engagement photo location to inspire your outfit. We love how this happy couple wore ancient Greek/Roman garb to go with their lush ivy surroundings. It's playful and showcases their unique personalities.

                                  21. Couple Kissing Summer Engagement Photo

                                  Don't be afraid of getting (tastefully) intimate in front of the camera. Start with a simple peck on the cheek, ask your photographer for guidance and see where it leads you. The crashing waves in the background make this setup undeniably summery.

                                  22. Floral-Focused Summer Couple Photo Shoot

                                    It's summer and the natural world is in full bloom, so now's the time to take full advantage. Get comfortable and sit among the blooms during your photo shoot. If you or your photographer know an area where bunches of your favorite flowers grow, let that place be the first one on your location list.

                                    23. Fur Baby Summer Engagement Picture

                                      Taking engagement photos with your pet is absolutely adorable and a must-do if you have a pet, depending on their temperament, of course. We've seen couples include their cats, birds, hamsters and much more. This sweet little pup looks just as happy as we feel seeing this love-filled photograph.

                                      24. Park Summer Engagement Photo

                                        The easiest way to find fresh and beautiful foliage is at your local park. Take pictures by the park fountain, pose on the benches or lay down a picnic blanket. There are so many options for nice, summer-themed images.

                                        25. Small Boat Summer Engagement Photo Shoot

                                          Do you have a boat or know a loved one that does? Then head to the water and ask your photographer to take photos of you cruising by from the shore or while on the boat with you. Choose sunrise or sunset for an extra-romantic

                                          26. Botanical Garden Summer Engagement Photo

                                            What makes botanical gardens great is how naturally gorgeous they are. Simply take a walk around and you'll easily find numerous areas to take editorial-style photos. The best part? Botanical gardens are extra beautiful in the summertime.

                                            27. Sunrise Summer Engagement Photo Idea

                                              For couples who love getting up early, try a sunrise summer engagement photo shoot. We love this aerial view of the to-be-weds at a stunning coastal location.

                                              28. Historic Backdrop Engagement Photo

                                              Historic architecture makes for a beautiful backdrop no matter the season, but summer can be an ideal time for a few different reasons. Firstly, it's (hopefully) bright and dry, aka the ideal conditions for an outdoor photo shoot. Secondly, depending on your location, you get additional scenery in the form of surrounding foliage and ivy decorating the building.

                                              Summer Engagement Photo Tips From Photographers

                                              If you haven't found your ideal summer engagement photographer yet, use The Knot Vendor Marketplace to find the perfect person for your photo shoot. (Psst, learn exactly what to look for in an engagement photographer here.) Until then, read these expert tips you can discuss with your chosen pro below.

                                              Choose a location that means something to you both.

                                              Megan Breukelman, wedding photographer expert and co-founder of Megan & Kenneth, suggests choosing a summer engagement photo location that's meaningful to you and your partner. "Your engagement photos should reflect who you are as a couple and what you love, so consider choosing a location that has special meaning to you. Whether it's a place where you had your first date, a spot you both love to visit or simply a beautiful outdoor area that fits your style, selecting a location that resonates with you will make your photos more memorable."

                                              Know where *not* to go.

                                              Breukelman also warns couples to stay away from popular tourist areas that are usually more crowded during the summer months, "which can make it harder to get the shots you want with distractions in the background." And if you're trying to beat the heat, consider taking some photos indoors with beautiful scenic views behind you or posing in the shade.

                                              Consider doing sunrise and sunset photo sessions.

                                              Tracy Autem, owner of Tracy Autem & Lightly Photography with over 17 years of photography experience, says checking the temperature is the best way to figure out when to take your summer engagement pictures. "When planning your summer engagement portraits, consider light and temperature. Hop online or use a weather app to determine sunrise and sunset but look at average temperatures in your area. It can be hot or humid in summer, which can create havoc for your hair, makeup and attire."

                                              Autem adds, "The best solution is a sunrise session starting at first light—you'll be cool and still be able to take advantage of that golden hour-like light. Not an early bird? Be adventurous by planning your session at sunset and dusk and embrace nighttime photos with direct flash, motion blur and strong city vibes."

                                              Pack a few things to keep you cool.

                                              A summer engagement photo shoot can mean high humidity and temperatures, which is why you should pack a cooling-off kit to bring to your location. Each wedding photography expert we spoke to said a damp towel was key to keeping your body temperature down—place it on your neck between shots so you don't get overheated. Other necessities are water bottles because hydration is crucial, sunglasses, oil-absorbing sheets, sunscreen and portable fans.

                                              It's also a good idea to steer clear of anything that'll show up sweat stains in your wardrobe. "Be aware of sweat! Don't wear a light gray cotton shirt on a really warm day because, chances are, you'll sweat right through it, and you don't want sweat marks in all your photos," says Sarah Olson, one half of the CityLux Studios photography team and recipient of The Knot Best of Weddings 2020 award.

                                              Don't forget to take breaks.

                                              Ensure you include time in your engagement photo session to relax outside the sun's rays. "Consider taking breaks in air-conditioned vehicles or places nearby where you can cool down in between your looks and locations. Summer temperatures don't have to ruin your ideas; you just might have to plan around being warm and staying cool while you have fun," Jen Sulak, lead wedding photographer of Weirdo Weddings and featured in over a dozen wedding publications, says.

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