5 Must-Dos When Planning an Engagement Photoshoot

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Truth be told, I didn’t think we’d have an engagement photo shoot until the last 2 months before our wedding. I was busy waiting for Vergs’ leave approval since it was going to tell me how our schedule would look like on the days leading up to the wedding. Once we finally got approval, I set to work.

Here are a few of my tips for those planning an engagement shoot (or any other photoshoot for that matter):


1. Have a Mood Board Ready

There’s a saying that goes if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Although I’m not too big a fan of vision boards because I find them too tasking to do, I do recommend them for more short-term projects — such as a photo shoot or a wedding visual guide.

A mood board helps set the tone for your photos. It narrows down your options and helps you decide on your shoot’s theme. For example, would you prefer a lifestyle-inclined shoot or something incredibly glammed up? Did you want a destination photo shoot or one that could be arranged at a more simple yet sentimental place?

Having a mood board also gives you a look at your list of nonnegotiables. Think of the elements that need to absolutely be present in your photoshoot. Whether it’s a certain color scheme, an emotion, or a specific set up, incorporating these items in your mood board will help ensure you don’t forget about them; the truth is, it’s easy to forget details once the wedding/engagement shoot draws near. 

Case in point, I had my stellar MOH, Mia, make a photo shoot mood board for me because I was swamped with work and other wedding requirements. I literally DMed her photoshoot pegs I’d chance upon online, told her the number of looks and themes I had in mind, and let her handle it. She was such a trooper!

2. Find a Photographer You Like

Now that you’ve got your mood board ready, look at the pegs you’ve gathered. Take a look at the style of the photos. Is there a film-ish vibe to it? Are the colors eye-catching and vivid or do they have a whitewashed and dreamy feel?

Once you’ve identified the vibe of the photos, search for photographers who practice the same style. The beauty of the internet is that now, there are a ton of photographers showcasing their portfolios online. It’s easier to look at their past works to get a glimpse of how they’d post process your shots. 

Personally, I find it best to get the same photographer for both the engagement shoot and the wedding. My reason being that it’s easier to work with someone you’ve already worked with before. Your photographers would already be familiar with your best angles and in turn, you’d feel less tense because odds are you’d have your photographer-turned-friend snapping away on your wedding day.

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3. Secure a Location

Recently, I’ve seen a number of destination engagement shoots on my newsfeed. Some were shot out of town, while others were taken in an entirely different continent. Again, it all really depends on the theme of your photo shoot mood board.

Once you’ve decided on the venue, don’t forget to do a quick Google search for the necessary permits and other additional requirements you have to secure to reserve the place. In the Philippines, December and January are considered peak seasons for weddings and engagement shoots. So bear in mind, the fees for these months may be higher than usual. You might want to reserve your slot as soon as possible too.

To get your money’s worth, I recommend looking for a location you can rent the entire day. That way, you, your partner, and your HMUA and photo teams won’t have to rush during the photoshoot. The best part is, a whole day shoot gives you more choices when it comes to lighting. You’d have light options of morning, afternoon, and dusk to choose from.

This brings me to my next topic: engagement shoots are so much better when shot in natural light. My brilliant photographer, Regina, gave me a nudge in this direction and even suggested a few locations to help me decide. After looking at the photos she took, I can’t thank her enough for recommending Meteora, Tagaytay. We had the entire place to ourselves from 8am-5pm and were able to shoot a total of 3 looks.

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4. Style the Outfits

Your photoshoot’s theme isn’t just about your location, styling setup, and preferred post-processing style. It includes the outfits you and your partner will be wearing as well.

Choose outfits that pair well with your theme. For example, knitwear would be perfect for a cozy lifestyle feel. If you’ve gone for a more glamorous setting, opt for a long dress or gown you feel confidently beautiful in —and yes, I’m using a Pia Wurtzbach reference because she is still #queen.

Don’t forget to consider both you and your partner’s outfits when styling. You don’t really have to wear the same colors and be all matchy-matchy, but it is recommended to stick to colors that pair well with each other.

Tip: Before you go all out and use your engagement shoot as an excuse to swipe your credit card, remember to choose pieces you feel comfortable in. Also, if you’re on a budget and looking for pieces you’d only wear once, raid your best friend’s closet — that’s what I did. ;) Sending a virtual kiss to my once-again stellar MOH, Mia, who gave me a ton of options to choose from.

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5. Schedule Your Grooming Beforehand

Have all your waxing needs done at least 3 days before your photo shoot. Getting a trim or a hair treatment? Schedule it at least 2 weeks before.

Facials can be a bit tricky, as it depends on the treatment you’re planning to get. Doctors recommend avoiding extreme procedures or peels within 30 days of the shoot. But of course, this is on a case to case basis. Personally, I had my Revlite facial done a week prior to my photoshoot.

Also, don’t forget about your hands, feet, and nails. Pamper yourself with a hand spa, a foot spa, and two coats of nail polish. If you’re like me, and you can’t keep still and end up ruining a nail or two, schedule an appointment for gel polish application. Those things stick to your nails like glue. Btw you can make your fingers look longer and more polished by opting for a more neutral color on the nails. A French tip is a good choice too.


If you’re still wondering about whether or not an engagement shoot is even worth having in the first place, I sincerely hope you and your partner choose to push through with it in the end. Not only will you two have an entire folder’s worth of beautiful photos to choose from, but you guys will also get to practice posing for all the photos taken on the wedding day itself. :)

Congratulations on your engagement! 

All photos are taken by Photography by Regina
Email: hello.photographybyregina@gmail.com