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Engagement photos are to adulthood as high school yearbook photos are to teenagedom. They’re extreme — as in, they’re either extremely cringey or extremely adorable. (We all follow that one person with the “I’m hugging this tree and also my partner”-photoshoot.) But we’re living in the age of Instagram, and getting engagement photos taken of you and your partner is a pretty normal thing to do these days.

Whether you only post photos of your dog or you love mugging for the camera, there are really simple steps you can take to make taking engagement photos less stressful — and possibly even enjoyable. (How miraculous!)

If you’re really dreading the pre-wedding photoshoot, try think of it as a rehearsal for the big day. (Because no matter how much you hate taking photos, you’ll definitely want pictures from your wedding day.)

Attempting to display your love for your partner on your face while getting photographed by a professional stranger is really awkward. Your normal, sparkling “cheese” look might turn into a sour “cabbage” look. Your “I’m being super candid,” might look a little more like, “I’m being that extra in the background of a movie who can’t stop posing for the camera.”

An engagement photoshoot, no matter how informal or super fancy, is a great way to get the jitters out and get a feel for what you like in wedding photos. Plus, they’ll look super cute on your wedding website. Here are tips to make sure you get the very best engagement photos with your love.

1. Wear Something Comfortable


There’s no need to wear that super form-fitting dress that makes you feel like a sausage even though you are a beautiful glowing goddess. Wear something you would actually wear on a date, or even just on a Sunday. There’s no need to dress up, just wear something you would actually wear IRL. (Yes, even if all of your friends have seen it before.) Keep it simple (patterned shirts can look weird on camera). Pro-tip: check with your partner to what they’re wearing. (Unless you both want to wear crimson shirts because you went to that fancy school in Boston, or something.)

2. Don’t Go Overboard On The Hair And Makeup


If you’re planning on hiring someone to do your hair and makeup for your engagement photos, make sure you let them know you want a natural look. Better yet, go with a makeup artist you’ve worked with before, or ask your friends for some help. But there’s no need to hire anyone, just put on the makeup you would normally wear to stay consistent with your very chill outfit choice. The only thing to look out for during the actual photos is any kind of forehead shine, so bring some powder and ask your photographer to look out for any glimmer.

3. Pick A Fitting Location


Do you and your partner love hiking a certain trail? Make use of it. Just want to keep it super simple? Head to your backyard. If you got engaged at a bar, see if you can do a casual shoot outside of the very spot. The theme of this tip: pick somewhere that means something to you and your partner. Another pro-tip: outdoor light is ideal for photos — weirdly, an overcast day is easier to shoot than a very bright one.

4. Choose A Photographer You Feel Comfortable With


Whether you’re actually hiring a photog or you’re just asking a friend, make sure you feel comfortable around the person taking photographs of you. As aforementioned, having pictures taken is supremely awkward, so mitigate any strange moments with someone you feel comfortable around. Additionally, make sure the person taking the photos has an aesthetic style that fits yours.

5. Relax!


It’s hard to relax your face into a natural smile, but try your hardest. Remember that these photos are pretty inconsequential — if they’re terrible, they can just be a memory for you and your partner. Additionally, don’t feel pressure to lean into the cheesier couple photos with tons of kissing and wrapping arms around each other while sitting on rocks. Maybe some cool candids will do the trick, you know? Try to enjoy every moment of your engagement, including the pictures.

Written by: Kimmy Foskett