How to Capture Timeless Engagement Photos + Avoid Cheesy Images

Engagement photos are a beautiful way to celebrate such an exciting moment in your life! These images not only memorialize this significant milestone in your relationship, but are also often used to announce your proposal, send out your save-the-dates, or display on the walls of your home and your feeds on social media! Needless to say, the last thing anyone wants is cheesy photos. For many couples their engagement portraits are the first professional photos they’ve taken together and many people fear they will be awkward in front of the camera, resulting in cheesy photos that don’t reflect their true personalities and connection. However, with a little planning you can capture timeless engagement photos and have enjoyable experience in the process. Here are a few tips to help you achieve just that. 

I am so happy and grateful to announce that I was interviewed on this topic and recently featured in an article on The Knot! You can view the article by clicking here!


01. Choose a Meaningful Location

The first step to capturing timeless engagement photos is choosing a meaningful location, whether it’s where you met, where you live, where you had your first date, or simply a place that you both love. Choosing a meaningful location tends to make couples feel more comfortable in that environment and allows their emotions to shine through in the photos.

Depending on the length of time of your shoot, sometimes you can visit more than one location. I love when my couples can look back at their photos years later and reminisce about the location and how it played a part in their relationship. It adds an extra layer of meaning to the images and tells more of their love story. 

02. Be Yourselves

Being authentic during portraits is crucial. I think this is one of the most important aspects to remember during engagement portraits. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Instead, lean into your chemistry together as a couple. Share laughs and inside jokes and truly enjoy the moment together. Not only will you feel more comfortable, but you’ll also end up with more genuine photos. While there might be times, you need to improvise and play up the romance for the camera if you aren’t naturally a PDA couple, you can still do this in a way that stays true to your personalities.

03. Pamper Yourself

I always recommend my couples take some time to treat themselves prior to their photoshoot. This helps them look and feel amazing at their session. For Brides, I recommend getting hair and makeup professionally done. Not only does this relieve so much stress surrounding your engagement session, but it will give you an extra boost of confidence. This is such an exciting time and I want my couples to show up relaxed and pampered, not stressed out.  

04.  Feel Confident in Your Outfits

Selecting your wardrobe for engagement portraits is usually another point of concern for many couples. Not only do you want to look and feel good, but you want your images to look good too! To achieve this, I suggest going with a more neutral color palette, as neutrals stand the test of time creating those timeless, classic images. Many brides choose to wear white, which always photographs well. You and your partner’s outfits should complement each other, not match each other! 

Always plan your outfits in advance and if you need advice, reach out to your photographer! I am always willing to help my clients select outfits that will best represent them and the look they want.  Additionally, I suggest asking a friend to take photos or videos of you from all angles in the chosen outfits to ensure you love the way it looks. The most important thing is that you choose clothes that make you feel confident and comfortable.  If you show up the day of your session in an outfit that you aren’t comfortable in, it will show in your photos through your facial expressions and body language. When you feel good about yourself it also translates in your images.  When you feel confident in what you’re wearing, you can focus on just being present with the person you love.

05.  Trust your Photographer

For many people, their engagement photographer will also be their wedding photographer. You already know you love your photographer’s style and work so trust that they will capture those candid authentic moments guiding you in the best way possible. They may guide you toward certain lighting, because finding good lighting is critical in photography. Accordingly, trust that your photographer will place you in the spot where she can capture you in the most beautiful light, even if it isn’t the background you envisioned. Remember that what you see isn’t always what your photographer sees! They have a special eye for lighting and positioning – trust them and their skill.  

Before your engagement session, if you do have a specific vision in mind for your photos, you can send your photographer a mood board or inspiration photos in advance to help them plan for your shoot.

06. Be Punctual

The timing of your engagement session was picked purposefully to take place during the most flattering light of the day. The best photos are often taken during the golden hours of early morning or late afternoon. The soft, warm light enhances your photos and creates a light and airy, romantic atmosphere. Therefore, if you aren’t on time to your session, it could throw everything off and leave you with less time to capture images.

07. Capturing Candid Images

Some of the most beautiful photos are candid shots that capture the love and laughter between you. However, it is absolutely normal for you or your partner to feel out of your comfort zone at the start of your shoot. Don’t be discouraged about this. This will start to fade as the session progresses. This is why choosing a meaningful location and outfits that you feel comfortable and confident in are also important. You will feel more relaxed and be able to enjoy the moment more with your partner.  

The best way to capture candid, natural-looking images is to incorporate movement. I might start a session with giving prompts like ‘walk together holding hands’ as this allows couples to loosen up and appear less stiff while still being connected. It usually doesn’t take long for them to get the hang of it and before long they are doing their own thing, while I capture them and the essence of their unique relationship.

08. Relax and Have Fun 

While it is easier said than done, go into your engagement session as stress-free as possible (another reason to get your hair and makeup done!) This is such a fun part of the wedding process – enjoy it! While at your session, don’t worry if there are few bystanders trying to get a glimpse of you two, especially if you are at a populated public space. People are naturally curious, but just concentrate on each other, and tune out everyone else. The more relaxed you are, the better the photos will turn out.

Engagement photos are a celebration of your unique love story. By choosing meaningful locations, being yourselves, and working with a professional photographer who understands your vision, you can avoid cheesy images and capture timeless engagement photos that you’ll cherish for a lifetime. The key to capturing genuine, beautiful moments is to relax, have fun, and focus on each other – allowing your love to shine through!

Amber Dawn Photography specializes in light and airy, natural, and romantic wedding photography.  With a penchant for estate weddings, Amber strives to create timeless images that reflect the romanticism in soft hues, capturing for posterity the many facets of the love that is the reason for the celebration.  To view more of Amber’s work, click here to view her wedding portfolio. If you are interested in learning more about working with Amber, please inquire with her today!

Here Are More Resources And Tips To Prepare For Your Engagement Session And Wedding Day!

Choosing A Location For Engagement Portraits | Engagement Scheduling Tips

How To Prepare For Your Engagement Session

9 Styling Tips for Engagement Photos | What to Wear to your Engagement Session 

Reasons to Capture your Engagement Session at your Wedding Venue

5 Reasons To Do An Engagement Session With Your Wedding Photographer

The Amber Dawn Wedding Photography Experience | What To Expect

​​The Importance of Wedding Albums





p: 267.679.2920


Philadelphia & Bucks County, Pennsylvania, photographer specializing in Wedding + Engagement Photography