How to Prep Your Groom for Engagement Photos


May 3, 2020

If you’re a bride that is a little anxious about how your groom is going to enjoy your engagement photos,  this blog post is for you.

First, we need to let you know that you are not alone.  I speak with many brides who are worried their groom won’t be into it, or isn’t “good” at pictures.  Or they are worried they will be awkward as a couple as soon as we click the shutter.

But this is all a lie.  I promise, you are FAR more photogenic than you think!  Furthermore, every reluctant groom I’ve photographed has always reacted positively at the end of their engagement session. So there is hope!   Truly.  

The biggest secret to a positive experience is learning how to prep your groom for engagement photos. I’m going to share all my tips with you today, and you’re going to want to bookmark this post to come back to it in the future – trust me!

east village des moines engagement photos

Before I get to the list, a few quick things to mention to help set everyone’s expectations.  While we won’t turn you into supermodels, I know that we will definitely achieve beautiful portraits of the two of you.  We will teach you how to pose, and yet it won’t be stiff.  We will help you get comfortable in front of the camera, and I will see how you interact as a couple and which prompts guarantee the most authentic smiles. And by the end of everything, the most common response I hear from a JWP groom is, “That wasn’t as bad as I thought. It was actually fun!” Mission accomplished.

For many couples, engagement photos are the first time they’ve had a professional photo taken together.  There’s often excitement and nerves all wrapped up together, and honestly, that’s the way it should be!  Your engagement session should be a great part of the experience, not forced or awkward.  Yes, there might be a few moments that you laugh because you are staring each other in the eye just a bit longer than you might usually do so, but that means we get real smiles that are genuine!

Here are our TOP 5 TIPS for how to prepare your groom for engagement photos. And yes, these tips apply to brides too! We just have found that guys tend to typically be the more reluctant half when it comes to photos 😉

1.   Have a preview night

First, I HIGHLY recommend sitting down with your fiancé and showing them 2-3 of your favorite engagement sessions that we have photographed.  Spend some time together scrolling through a few blog posts, as this will allow him to gauge what his expectations should be.  Some guys think we just pose for one quick photo in the studio, and that’s it.  And while that is totally an acceptable engagement session, we do quite a bit more than that!  

2.  Listen to his crazy BIG ideas

We typically find that most of our grooms aren’t crazy excited about 60-90 minutes of attention focused on them and their fiancé by a person they’ve maybe met once at a location they’re just “meh” about.  And realistically, who IS excited about that?

But…what if instead of engagement photos at the same place all of your friends are having theirs done, we went someplace HE was excited about?

Guys love ideas that are epic, involve their own interests, or are just plain exciting and fun.  Think outside the box here!  Wouldn’t engagement photos in the mountains be amazing!?!  Or how about your favorite beach vacation spot in Florida?  Bonus points that he gets to go jet skiing or play a round of golf the next day.  Combining engagement photos with a trip or location that he is already excited about will be memorable and SO much more fun for both of you!   We are always willing to travel and help plan things out!  We’ve done engagement sessions in Las Vegas, London, Budapest, Amsterdam, Barcelona, the mountains of Massachusetts, and we have plans for one in Florida and California this year.  We’re longing to visit Colorado, Iceland, the mid-atlantic, and really any place epic you can dream of!

las vegas adventure engagement photos

3.  Know his style

We always recommend that our couples have two different options for outfits – one dressy, and one more casual.  That being said, know your style.  Dressy may mean a suit and tie, or it could be a polo shirt and khakis.  Or it may mean a nice sweater and clean jeans.  There’s a pretty big range, but we recommend staying true to yourselves.  We have a lot of Iowa grooms who are farmers, and most wouldn’t be the suit-and-tie type for engagement photos.  And that’s TOTALLY okay!  If he wants to do it though, go for it!  There’s really no requirements for what you wear in terms of style, but staying true to yourselves and being confident in what BOTH of you are wearing will help your groom feel comfortable if he’s already feeling nervous or hesitant to begin with.

4. Allow plenty of time

I also recommend that you allow more than enough time to get to your shoot.  There is nothing worse than when a couple shows up late and they have been arguing in the car.  Give yourself time to park, have a pep talk in the car, and freshen up before we get started.  Bring water and snacks.  And in the future, these are good tips for all future road trips you’ll take during your married life!

5.  Be patient

Last but not least, remember to have PATIENCE with him, and don’t assume that he’s not going to have a good time.  You’ll be surprised how much you BOTH will enjoy your session!  You’re doing something new together and that’s always a good thing! You’ll both learn a little during your engagement session, and you’ll come away with a memorable experience for each of you.

We can’t wait to photograph you and meet you for your engagement session!


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Hey there, and welcome to the JWP blog!  We are a photography team based in Iowa and we’re glad you’re here!  We hope you’ll enjoy viewing our most recent weddings, tips brides, and business and educational resources for photographers.  


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