Looking Great In Engagement Photos

April 18, 2023

Copley Plaza Engagement Photo Session


Your Wedding Photography Experience Starts With Engagement

Many couples I work with have an engagement session. These portraits capture the two of you at a moment in time, without all of the wedding day bustle. The photos are nice to have for save-the-dates, to create a few framed portraits for your home, and also are a fun pre-wedding experience. Below are some tips for looking great in your engagement photos.
Looking great in engagement photos
A couple in formal wear for their engagement session at Copley Plaza in Boston



My first tip for looking great in engagement photos relates to hands. In portraiture, hands are as important as faces. So there. I just gave away one of my biggest photography secrets for great portraits – whether they’re engagement or wedding. Flip through any magazine known for great photography (Vogue, Vanity Fair) and look at what people are doing with their hands. Even in the ads. Notice? Their hands are usually engaged – doing something, touching something or someone. Try it with your next selfies and notice the improvement in your photos! This carries over to my next tip….

Don’t Carry Anything

This is a hands-free/hands-available engagement photo session. Don’t carry items such as purses or shopping bags with extra clothes. If you must bring an extra sweater, hat, or jacket (if you want to switch it up a little in the photos), or even a dog (pets welcome!), then feel free to bring a friend who carry your bag with a jacket or handle your fur baby on a leash for some pics of just the two of you. If we’re doing your session in a very localized area where your car will be nearby, leave items such as a jacket in the trunk. Small items such as your cell phone or car keys can fit in my camera bag while we shoot. 

black and white photograph from a Cape Cod engagement session
Engagement session on Cape Cod before their Chatham Bars Inn Wedding

Have good posture

Remember what your mother always told you about posture? “Stand up straight.” She was right. You don’t have to be stick straight (please don’t!) but instead just carry yourself with confidence. If you’re not feeling totally confident at the time we’re photographing, don’t worry because that’s normal. You can always “fake it til you make it” by adopting good posture. You’ll find that the true confidence will follow.

Make a physical connection

These photos are all about the two of you being together, so try to maintain some physical connection with each other as we’re photographing. It could be a touch, a hand on an arm — whatever feels natural to you. Making natural physical contact always helps you look great in your engagement photos.

Home engagement photo
Engagement photos in a couple’s home


Step it up!

Looking good in engagement photographs often means stepping it up from our typical daily wear. It means up-leveling the clothes we normally wear on a daily basis. Feeling slightly overdressed for our shoot? That’s a good sign! Bought that hat from Anthropology on a splurge and haven’t worn it because it feels a little…. over-the-top? It may look great in photos. 

Looking great in engagement photos
Having their wedding at the Crane Estate, this couple decided to have their engagement session in the early morning on Crane Beach

People usually photograph better when their clothes are more tailored. Baggy jeans, untucked shirts, and puffy winter coats might look great in person, but you’ll almost always photograph better if these details are all “buttoned down.”

Style & styling

You’re more than welcome to bring a friend or someone who can manage your clothes and/or any other styling elements. While I can often notice if a button has come undone, you are ultimately in charge of your appearance. When we look at the portraits of high-profile people and wonder why they look so great, remember that there was almost certainly a stylist(s) present who was attending to their appearance.

Back Bay session with a stylish couple who are looking great in their engagement photos
Beacon Hill engagement session

Speaking of styling, remember that an important element of these images is that you want your clothes to match the environment. Thinking of a beach walk for your photos? Wear clothes that match a beach-walk vibe. A hike in the woods? Think tailored casual comfort. Interested in an upscale city shoot? Feel free to go a little more formal or city-chic. Matching the vibe of your clothing and style goes a long way towards looking great in engagement photos.

A couple looking great during their backyard engagement photo session
This couple included their dog in their backyard engagement session


Your portrait session could also be a good time to do your wedding hair and makeup trial. This way you’re almost guaranteed that you’ll be picture-ready. Those flyaway hairs should be nailed down and any cosmetics should be on point.

Comfortable shoes

Finally, be sure to wear comfortable shoes during your engagement photo session. We’ll be walking for an hour, so make sure that your footwear won’t give you any hassles. 

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© LISA RIGBY photography 2023