The Texas Couple’s Guide to a Stress-Free Engagement Photoshoot

Wedding Couple

The Texas Couple’s Guide to a Stress-Free Engagement Photoshoot

As soon as you get engaged and set your wedding date, it can feel like a giant clock starts counting down to the big day. One checklist after another pops up like mushrooms in your life (not like the cool mycelium kind, either). Your inbox starts filling up with enough wedding-related correspondence to keep it on your radar at all times.

Before you know it, wedding planning begins to consume your waking hours.

There’s no denying that wedding planning is exciting — from cake tastings and wardrobe fittings, there is plenty to enjoy about the buildup. But, for some, the drawn-out period of planning can also cause a bit of anxiety.

One such concern is that of achieving the perfect wedding photos. You know, the ones that will hang in your home, grace your Instagram feed, and—one day—provide future generations with a glimpse at your special day.

Of course, perfect wedding photos require the perfect wedding photographer. And if you want to work smarter (not harder!) on your wedding planning, consider booking your engagement photos first.

Here’s why: Your engagement shoot serves as an opportunity to work with a photographer before the wedding day, allowing you to build rapport, practice taking direction, and get comfortable in front of the camera.

Better yet, planning your engagement shoot at your wedding venue provides a chance to add a deeper site tour into the mix. Not only will you get beautiful engagement photos to share with loved ones, but you’ll also gain more clarity in your final wedding photographer and venue selections.


Here’s your guide for organizing (and enjoying) a stress-free, picture-perfect engagement session.  In this article, you’ll learn.


Who actually needs engagement photos (and who doesn’t)?

There’s some debate about whether you need engagement photos, but most couples would agree that they are well worth the time and money.

Your engagement photoshoot is an opportunity to shake off the nerves, get to know your photographer, and have fun in an otherwise busy season of wedding planning. Amidst checklists and timelines, who doesn’t want to get dressed up and feel the love for a day?

Plus, engagement photos are ideal additions to save-the-dates, invitations, wedding websites, and day-of décor.

With a general recommendation to send save-the-dates about eight months before the wedding (or 12 months for destination weddings), aim to book your engagement shoot several months prior to allow time for your photographer to edit your final gallery.

For many Texas couples, this means booking your engagement shoot within the first few months after the proposal. Give yourself several weeks to research and book a photographer, select ideal shoot locations, and coordinate outfits to ensure your photos meet expectations.

However, an engagement photoshoot might not fit into the plan if you’re working with a condensed timeline. In that case, be extra vigilant about interviewing photographers and reviewing their galleries.

Making sure your engagement photos tell your love story

While your photographer will direct poses and lighting, it’s up to you and your partner to decide how you want to tell your love story. Do you want to hit up your favorite cafés along the way? Or is it important to highlight your shared love of nature with photos taken off the beaten path?

When planning your engagement shoot, it helps to create a mood board to add visuals that express the feelings you want to evoke in your images. Sharing your mood board with the photographer will give them an inside look at your vision.

Your shoot location is also a factor in telling your love story. Consider sites from your relationship that carry significance: where you met, where you had your first date, where you got engaged — or, heck, where you will say “I do!”

Choosing a picture-perfect location

At Pine Lake Ranch, our venue is the perfect setting for your first photo session as a newly engaged couple. With a sweeping landscape, sparkling lake, and ancient live oak tree, there is no shortage of beautiful backdrops to get lost in love with your partner.

Our couples love having the chance for an intimate photoshoot on the grounds, especially as they soak in the scenery in a different season as their wedding. Strike a pose amidst the vibrant colors of blooming spring, then again as you wed against the striking colors of our fall foliage. It truly is the best of both worlds!

View our gallery to see samples, or contact us with any questions. If you love everything our venue has to offer, book us for your wedding! On top of the gorgeous scenery, we have everything you need to relax and entertain.

Choosing the right engagement photographer

There are many talented Houston wedding photographers, but skill isn’t the only factor to consider when booking.

You must also observe a photographer’s personality, as you will work closely with them. Do they make you feel comfortable? Can they make you laugh? Are they good at giving directions? You can learn these answers by interviewing candidates before deciding.

When choosing a photographer for your engagement shoot, book the person you are most inclined to secure for your wedding day. Use the engagement session as a test run, and scrutinize their work to determine whether you want to retain them for the big day.

Working with your photographer to plan your session

Once you have selected a photographer, book a time and date for your engagement session as soon as possible, as schedules fill up quickly.

From there, decide on a theme or concept with your partner and narrow down the details, including location, props, color palette, etc. Be sure to clear all ideas with the photographer so they can prepare accordingly.

Finally, prepare your outfits and book other professionals to help finish your engagement look, like a hairstylist, makeup artist, and nail tech.

Posing 101: How to look natural in your photos

A great photographer will know how to direct you to pose naturally and gracefully. Still, if you’re like many of our couples, you like to take the reins a bit! Natural posing is a matter of embracing the moment, forgetting the camera, and leaning into your love together.

If you or your partner feel nervous, do a trial run at home. Stand in front of a mirror (or set up a camera with a self-timer!) to work on your poses. Whisper jokes to each other, share a few kisses, squeeze each other’s hands — practice the sweet gestures you do naturally, but with the thought of being on-camera and all the pressure that may come with it.