Engagement Photoshoot Tips From A Local Hawai’i Photographer


If you’re reading this, you’re probably recently engaged – congratulations! Maybe you’re in a state of post-engagement bliss or maybe the panic of planning a wedding is setting in.  Either way, the likely next step is preparing an engagement photoshoot. I’m here to help with tons of tips, tricks, and what to expect from a local Hawai’i photographer who has photographed over 400 couples. 

How To Pick A Photographer

There’s three essential questions to ask yourself when picking a photographer

  1. Do I like their style/ Can I picture myself in their photos?
  2. Do I think we can get along? 
  3. Are they inline with my budget? 

It sounds simple, because it really is! Luckily there are many photographers out there and one is bound to align with your aesthetic and budget. Thanks to social media you can really do your research on the style of their photos. Sometimes you can even get a glimpse into their personality through socials which can be a helpful tool to know if you’ll feel comfortable with them. I’ll say it once, I’ll say it again, the more comfortable you are, the better you’ll look! 

On the note of picking the photographer for your engagement photoshoot, I highly recommend working with the same photographer for your engagement shoot as your wedding photos. Most photographers (myself included) offer a discounted engagement shoot if you book one of their wedding packages. Check out my packages here. Besides a deal (and we all love a deal, right!?), there are two more important reasons for booking the same photographer. The first reason is that the more in-person time you have with a photographer, the more comfortable you and your partner will be with them. If you book the same photographer for your engagement shoot, they’ll be another familiar face by the time you get to your wedding day and being comfortable shines through in photos! Working with the same photographer also means there’s a consistent look and vibe to your photos from Save-The- Dates to “I-do’s”. 

When To Schedule Your Engagement Photoshoot

I recommend scheduling it as close to your actual engagement as possible, especially if you intend to use the photos for your Save-the-Dates and/or invitations. Typically Save-the-Dates are sent 8-12 months prior to your wedding date and formal invitations 4-5 months before your wedding date. So, the sooner you have the photos done, the sooner you can get to work designing , printing, and sending your Save-the-Dates/invitations. If you book me as your photographer, you’ll have your full engagement gallery within 3-4 weeks of your shoot. 

What To Wear

Clothes can help build your confidence in everyday life and especially in front of the camera. They help us express who we are and can help make us feel comfortable in our skin. Here’s all my tips on what to wear for your engagement shoot. 

  • Be YOU! I know there’s endless wedding inspiration to take in – from bridal magazines to Pinterest boards, but this is YOUR once in a lifetime moment, no one else’s. So make sure to bring your own, authentic, style to the shoot. 
  • I recommend 1-2 outfits in a standard 1 hour shoot. If you are planning to change outfits mid-shoot, just let me know! 
  • Make sure to do a pre-shoot try on of your clothes with the undergarments you plan to wear to make sure nothing is peaking through that you don’t want to. I always recommend nude underwear, strapless bra or pasties as the photoshoot basics, but again, it depends on the type of clothing you’ll be wearing.
  • Stick to neutral or earthy colors when possible. They really compliment our skin tones. Depending on your photoshoot location, some colors may look better than others but that’s something I can further advise on during our pre-shoot call. 
  • Flowy dresses complement every one and allow you to be more creative with poses since you won’t be restrained by tight or difficult clothes
  • I would avoid the following items which don’t tend to show up well on camera: bright or neon colors (especially on Aloha Shirts), and big logos or images
  • For men, Khaki pants + white button down shirts always look good, if you’re struggling to find a great outfit
  • Sunglasses, not only do they keep the sun out of your eyes between shots, they can spice up an outfit in some photos. 

Client Closet

If you’re really struggling to find the right look for your engagement shoot, feel free to ask about my client closet which gives you access to a wide variety of gowns in all different styles, sizes, and colors. To check out everything in my client closet, send me an email.

Pro tip: Try to schedule your engagement photoshoot, the same day as your hair and make-up trial! 

How To Pose

Besides styling, the questions I get most from clients are about posing. Whether you, your partner, or both of you feel a little nervous in front of the camera, don’t worry. I got you! I will be guiding you during the  entire shoot. I’ll give you prompts & poses that will achieve whatever look you’re going for. Whether it’s fun & candid, editorial, or a mix. My goal is to make this as fun of an experience as possible. Turn off your thinking brain and trust that I want to capture you at your best. I also love to show you the back of my camera during our shoot so you can see how AMAZING you look and we can make any adjustments you want to see. 

We’ll discuss your overall vision for your shoot, including any specific poses, on our pre-shoot call. You can also email me your inspo pictures ahead of our shoot, and I’ll be happy to accommodate them. 

What To Bring

Besides you, your partner, and your outfit/s, there are several items I recommend bringing to your engagement shoot. 

Starting with the basics

Things I encourage every couple to bring to their engagement photoshoot

  • Sunscreen – Show up wearing some and maybe even bring extra,  especially if your shoot is outside
  • Water and Snacks – Hunger can turn into hanger in a split second and that’s not exactly the emotion we’re looking to capture.
  • Extra clothes and towels –  Again, I allow and even encourage 1-2 outfits for shoots, because after all it is a once in a lifetime opp! So, puhleese get multiple fits off! Also, if you want to get in the water at all for your shoot, the towels and a change of clothes will be a necessity. 
  • Props – They are by  no means a necessity but there are pros to props. It can give you something to do with your hands and make posing even easier when there’s something to lead the way. Props can also be a way to further express yourselves and/or special moments in your relationship. Here’s some classic props examples I encourage.
    • Champagne Pop –  The question has been popped so why not pop a bottle? Could be Champagne or Sparkling Cider. 
    • Signs –  If you have any signs or memorabilia with your engagement announcement written out, we can work it into photos 
    • Picnic/food –  Pizza, Starbucks, Chinese food…add a silly, personal aspect to your gallery by bringing food to your shoot that represents your relationship the best. 

Remember, it’s all about having fun and celebrating your love at the end of the day. 

I hope these tips helped you feel more prepared and at ease for your engagement photoshoot! If you liked what you read and are ready to work together, book your consultation call here

Not ready to click book? Looking for more engagement photo inspiration, check out my gallery of past shoots here