Six engagement photo hacks to squash awkwardness for good

Apr 21, 2019

When I talk to couples for the first time, they’re often hesitant to book an engagement photo session. There are lots of reasons, but the main one is usually just a feeling: this is going to be weird.

And, sure: just standing in front of the camera and being told to twirl or smush your faces together is gonna be Weird with a capital W. Because impersonal photos – images that were designed for “just any couple,” not specifically for you and your love – are going to feel pretty awkward.

Luckily, that’s not how we roll at Rebecca Gatto Photography. My couples and I, we do things right or not at all. We plan. We get to know one another. Then we make art that looks as good on your wall as it does on your Instagram. And we have a darn good time doing it.

Below, some engagement shoots that went *just right* and the special ingredient that made each one sing. What’s your secret sauce? Email me (rebecca@rebeccagatto.com). I want to hear your story!

A Day in the Life

It’s the small moments that make relationships so strong… so Diana and Scott celebrated the shape of a life together by bringing a photographer (me!) along on their errands.

You know the old saying. The couple that races cards in the grocery store parking lot together, stays together. Ahh, the wind in your hair, the sticky wheels against the asphalt…

A collage of engagement photos taken by Rebecca Gatto

Destination: Vacation

Jake and Valentina snuggled up for some sunrise photos on the beach in southern New Jersey, the scene of many of Jake’s childhood vacations. Colorful shots at the boardwalk rounded out a full day of photography.

What I love about this one: It’s classic without being cliché. Because it’s not just *any* old beach. It’s the one where Jake used to build sand castles and ride waves as a kid. And that means something.

A collage of engagement photos by Rebecca Gatto

Deeper Meanings

Lauren and Phil wanted their engagement photos to connect to their wedding in Quebec and honeymoon in Morocco. We celebrated the culture, symbols and artists of these two beautiful places, allowing the French Canadian fleur de lis and Moroccan photographer Amina Benbouchta to guide our imagery.

What I can’t get enough of: Our interactive planning process and photoshoot. I asked a lot more of Lauren & Phil than just “stand here and smile.” And they were into it! They even drew some art together on a plexiglass sheet so I could use it to decorate their photo. (Check out the one with the hearts and swirls – those are hand-drawn by the couple!)

It takes trust to make images like these. I cant stress this enough: I can’t do it alone.

An engagement photo collage. Copyright Rebecca Gatto 2018

Home Sweet Harvest

Jaime and Bryan live in the DC area, but they came home to upstate New York to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year… autumn! A local pumpkin patch set the stage for their golden-toned engagement shots.

I love how much FUN Jaime and Bryan had during this shoot! Plus, Jaime styled herself so thoughtfully, so the colors are harmonious. Her golden sweater takes the images from being in front of some pumpkins to being one with the pumpkins, y’know?

When In Ilium…

Nick and Alice fell in love in the deeply quirky city of Troy, NY. Their engagement photos highlighted their favorite spots, from the bookstore to the brewery.

Maybe you’re starting to notice a theme, here… this one took lots of teamwork on the planning side as well. Plus, we got permission in advance from different merchants around the area. Luckily, it’s a friendly little downtown, and everyone was incredibly welcoming!

Deep Roots

Hilary and Katie borrowed a beautiful piece of family property as a backdrop for their sun-kissed engagement photos.

What rocks about these: the contrast. In an earthy location with lots of greens, Katie and Hilary chose to dress in red and rose tones with glossy hair and makeup. The effect was pure, romantic drama.

If you made it this far, I think we NEED to meet. Why not send me a direct message on Instagram @rebeccatakespics? Even if you’re on the other side of the world and you already hired another photographer, I’ll help you come up with a creative idea for your engagement photos. Seriously. Just ask.

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