Trying to figure out when to take engagement photos? My suggestion is to schedule your session as early as possible, at least 6-8 months before the wedding day.
Why? There are a few reasons…
Photographer Turnaround Time
Depending on your photographer’s turnaround time, receiving images may take a month. During the busy season, my turnaround time can be around 4-6 weeks. If you plan your engagement season only a month before the wedding, you might not receive the photos until the week of the wedding. That would obviously take away from the opportunity to enjoy and use the images to the fullest.
Save The Dates
One of the most popular uses for engagement photos is creating Save-The-Date announcements. The general rule is that you want to send these out around 8 months before the wedding so that your guests have enough time to plan ahead and it’s not too close to the arrival of your actual invitation. Once your photos have been edited, you’ll need time to decide on a design, order your cards, and mail them out, giving your guests enough time to plan ahead on their calendars. Cutting it too close may not allow your guests enough time to block off the date on their calendar, or it might be counterintuitive if your invitation arrives around the same time.
Here in Orange County, CA, we’re fortunate enough to photograph engagement sessions year-round without too much trouble. That said, occasional rainstorms and wildfires have caused some of our couples to reschedule their engagement photos. If you’re getting married in the summer and planning to have engagement photos taken in the winter, you could end up rescheduling your session due to inclement weather.
Additionally, sunset times change drastically between summer and winter! Most of my couples love scheduling their engagement session for golden hour, so we typically schedule the session to start about 2 hours before sunset. This means that during the summer, the session would start around 5 or 6 p.m. But during the winter, the session would start around 2:30 or 3 p.m.
Engagement Session Location Permits
Many popular engagement sessions in California require a photography permit. Depending on popularity or location rules, you or your photographer may have to apply for the permit 30 or more days in advance.
Rapport Building with Your Photographer
One reason I love doing engagement sessions with our couples is that it gives us all a chance to get to know each other and work together before the big day. I’ve found that my couples are way more relaxed when it comes to pictures on the wedding day when they’ve had a chance to work with me beforehand. Not only does this help with getting to know one another’s personality, but it also gives me an opportunity to learn more about what works best for photographing you personally. If you’re the type of person who gets nervous in front of the camera, we’re able to work through some of that initial awkwardness during the engagement session so that you get wedding photos that are more tailored to what works best for you.
For couples who are particularly camera shy, doing an engagement session early on can help you learn more about what does and doesn’t work for you and communicate that to your photographer if you need to.
I hope you found this article about when to schedule engagement photos helpful! I’d love to help you get great pictures of your engagement and wedding day! Contact us to see if your date is available.