30 Powerful Facts About Engagement Photos

This article contains everything you wanted to know about wedding engagement, engagement photos, and much more.

30 Powerful Facts About Engagement Photos 1
Image courtesy of Photography by Calin

1. Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve are the Most Popular Days to Get Engaged

Here are the most popular days to pop the question according to a survey done by Chillisauce:

  • Christmas Eve - 31%
  • New Year's Eve - 19%
  • New Year Day - 16%
  • Valentine's Day - 12%
  • Anniversary of the date couple met - 10%
  • Christmas Day - 7%

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A whopping 85% of the couples surveyed intended to get engaged between December 24 and February 14.

That is the main reason wedding shows take place in January, just after the engagement season.

2. On Average, The Length of the Engagement is Between 13 and 18 Months

According to several studies conducted by the Knot and Huffington Post, the average length of the engagement is between 13 and 18 months.

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3. November Is the Most Popular Month for Engagement Ring Searches

Did you notice how Tiffany ads magically pop just before the winter holidays?

Once the guys make up their mind and decide to propose, they rush to find a proper engagement ring in the last week of November. Well done Tiffany!

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4. October is the Most Popular Month for Engagement Photos Searches

This came as a surprise we were expecting the brides to be to start looking for engagement photos ideas AFTER they get engaged, but I was wrong.

In fact, in anticipation for the upcoming proposal, many brides to be start looking for engagement photos ideas.

Also, October marks the beginning of the wedding season in India and other South Asian countries when couples look for pre-wedding photos. That fact skews the numbers given the high percentage of South Asian couples living in English speaking countries.

Regardless of the influencing factors, the reality is that in October, on average, there are 33,100 engagement photos related searches worldwide.

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As you can see in the chart below, the US drives the worldwide pattern with 27,100 searches in October.


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Other countries such as Australia, Canada and UK do not follow the trend. However, the sheer volume of US searches determines the global pattern.

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5. Popularity of Engagement Photos increased in US and Canada Over Time

According to Google data collected since 2004, the popularity of engagement photo shoots increased dramatically in the US fuelled in part by a rise in social media platforms and usage.

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The same trend is followed by Canada, UK and Australia. As a side note, the sudden spikes you see in the charts were caused by announcements of celebrity engagements and we can ignore them.

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6. Of All Engaged Couples, 67.5% Plan to Have an Engagement Shoot

Based on our research, 67.5% of the couples who are getting married are interested in an engagement photo shoot.

7. In the US, Engagement Photo Shoots are Most Popular in Charlotte and San Francisco

Charlotte and San Francisco enjoy the highest popularity of when it comes to engagement pictures. 30 Powerful Facts About Engagement Photos 10

In the last 12 months, Atlanta has become the third city in the US in terms of e-shoots popularity.

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8. Utah and Nebraska are the States where Engagement Photos are Most Popular

As you can see in the chart below, the Utah is the state that leads the US in terms of interest in photo sessions while Oregon trails the other states of the union.

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9. The Ideal Time to Have Your Engagement Photo Shoot is at Least 6 Months Before Your Big Day

There is no hard rule but ideally, you have the e-shoot at least 6 months before your special day so that your wedding planning does not interfere with the shoot.

10. Fall and Winter are the Most Popular Seasons for Engagement Photo Shoots

Worldwide, most couples are interested in having a fall engagement session (43%), followed by winter, spring and summer.

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As the United States are the driver of the worldwide trends, it is normal that the US couples' preferences are similar to those registered worldwide.

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11. Why are Fall and Winter so Popular for E-Shoots?

First, wedding photographers are fully booked in the summer. Also, most couples get married in the summer and they want different looking images for their engagement. As such, it makes perfect sense to pick fall or winter to have your photo session.

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Image courtesy of Photography by Calin

Fall can offer a few advantages over winter: the weather is still nice and the foliage offers perfect backdrops for your photographs. Here is an example of a beautiful Fall E-Shoot.

12. What is an Engagement Session (or e-shoot)?

An engagement session is a 2-3 hour photo shoot, done by a professional wedding photographer session and results in beautiful portraits of the couple at several locations. Engagement photos are often used to announce the wedding day, design the Save the Date cards & wedding website and to adorn the wedding reception on the special day and the couple's home.

How does it work? Usually, you and your wedding photographer have a consultation and discuss the objective of the photo shoot and agree on a date for the session. Some photographers charge a non refundable retainer around 30% of the value of the session.

If you decide to cancel the session, you will lose the retainer. If the weather is bad, your photographer will suggest a few dates when you can do the shoot.

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Image courtesy of Photography by Calin

The engagement photography style ranges from romantic, traditional, funny and anything that the couple desires. Some photographers shoot only film, others digital and finally, some shoot both. Often couples prepare props and have themes for the photoshoot.

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Image courtesy of Photography by Calin

13. Why Have an E-shoot?

There are several advantages of having an e-shoot:

  • Learn about photography so that on the wedding day you know what to expect
  • Rehearse for the big day
  • Become comfortable in front of the camera before your special day
  • Learn about your wedding photographer's style
  • Make sure you and your photographer are a good fit
  • Create a series of beautiful portraits of yourself and the love of your life
  • Have fun

14. How Many Outfits Do You Need?

Generally, I advise my couples to bring two or three outfits so that we create a variety of looks. Depending on the objective of your photo shoot you can wear casual clothing or more formal. I even photographed couples wearing costumes if you desire a theme photo shoot (such a Halloween one).

While there is no rule when it comes to outfits, it is a good idea to wear clothes that reflect your personalities and make you feel comfortable.

15. Best Colors to Wear

One of the most frequent questions I am asked is about "best colors" to wear. The answer is simple: red makes the subject stand out and I highly recommend it. Ideally, your fiancee should wear a darker color without patterns.

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Image courtesy of Photography by Calin

16. Who Decides the Locations?

The couple selects the locations and discuss them with the photographer. I always advise my clients to pick places that are relevant to them. For example, the spot where they had the first kiss, their favourite coffee shop or restaurant, park, where he proposed, etc.

Simply put, if you choose a place that brings back memories, your photographs will look better.


17. Do you Need a Photography Permit?

It depends! If you live in a major city and want to take pictures at a popular location, chances are you might need a photography permit. If your desired location is in high demand, please buy the permit well in advance.

18. Who Pays for the Photography Permit?

The couple having their pictures taken pays for the permit. Wedding and engagement photography are considered forms of commercial photography and most popular places are expensive. Sometimes, the cost of the photography permit exceeds that of the engagement shoot.

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Ask your photographer for spots that do not require permits. Here is a list of photography locations in the Greater Toronto area.

19. We Don't Have a Permit. Can We Still Shoot There?

Often permits are very expensive or the establishments simply prohibit engagement and wedding photography. In such cases, please do not try to convince your photographer to shoot there as she will do her best to oblige. If you are caught, you could be fined or even charged for trespassing. It is simply not worth the risk and such event can ruin the mood and the results of the photo shoot.

20. What Days are Best to Take Engagement Photos?

Weekdays are your best choice for an engagement photo shoot for a multitude of reasons. First, your wedding photographer is generally busy on the weekends. Second, on weekdays, most photography locations are less busy than on weekends. If your location requires a photography permit, you have more chances to find availability on a weekday.

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Image courtesy of Photography by Calin

21. What Time of the Day is Best for the Photo Shoot?

The best time to shoot is before sunset so if you plan a 3 hour photo shoot, you should start 2-3 hours before the sunset. If you love night shots, start 2 hours before the sunset so you have one hour for night images. To calculate the best time for your shoot, please visit The Golden Hour Calculator.

22. List of Shots

Many blogs offer long lists of "must have shots" on your engagement session and Pinterest abounds in such boards.

As such, a very common question of couples is if they can have a list of shots we can replicate. While having a shot list helps the professional photographer learn what you love, often trying to replicate the exact images is impossible.

Why so?

First, the lighting, motion, emotions and location are impossible to replicate.

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Second, following a list of shots will put a lot of pressure on the couple and that will show on your photos. Also, following a shot list is the surest way kill your professional photographer's creativity. Last and most important, why not have original images other couples will pin?

23. Pets and Engagement shoots

Here is what Calin, a Toronto wedding photographer confessed. "At the beginning of my wedding photography career, I had a lot of couples who wanted to bring their dog along. Often, the shoots were going in the wrong direction. While I love pets and have my own dog, I have yet to see a pet that loves having their photos taken. More often than not, they do not enjoy the session, need someone to take care of them and their presence derails the photo shoot plans."

Our advice? Allocate the first 10-15 minutes of the shoot to you and your dog and then leave your friend at home.

24. We Love Props. Can We Bring Them?

Props are fun. However, you want to make sure you the shoot focuses on you, not on the props.

More important, if you want to go to several locations that require hiking or long walks, carrying the props could become a logistical challenge.

The most beautiful moments happen when you walk, jump, dance, etc. and they result in emotional images. You will lose all that if your hands are full of props.

If you already bought your props, please bring a few friends along to help. Also, a good idea is to take all the images involving props at the beginning of the shoot.

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Image courtesy of Photography by Calin

25. How Many Locations Can We Cover?

Our recommendation is to pick one or two locations you love and have your photo session there. Driving from one place to the other in a busy city is a waste of your time and money as you will spend more time stuck in traffic than being photographed.

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26. What do We Do if the Weather Does Not Cooperate?

Weather is one of the biggest concerns of a photographer as rain and extreme temperatures can ruin a photo session. That being said, professionals shoot during hurricanes, snowstorms and in temperatures from -30C / -22 F to + 40C/ +104 F.

Professional equipment is waterproof but as a couple, you want to be comfortable and enjoy the session. As a rule, if for any reason you are uncomfortable, it will show in your photos. Also, no one can photoshop your images to make it look sunny despite shooting in pouring rain.

My suggestion is to book two dates. The main date and a back-up one just in case. If it happens to rain on the main date, you have a backup plan.

27. We Aren't Comfortable in Front of the Camera. What Can We Do?

Don't worry! Unless you are an actor, you rarely feel comfortable. Your photographer will coach you and make you relax. Also, a drink goes a long way. Don't think you are on a photo shoot! Think you are on a date and your photographer just happens to take photos of you.

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Image courtesy of Photography by Calin

28. We Don't Know How to Pose. What Can We Do?

The good news is that you don't need to pose. At the beginning of the shoot ask your photographer to give you some pointers on how to look good in photographs.

Sure, if you want more detailed directions, your photographer can definitely do so, but usually the engagement is about motion and emotion so don't worry at all.

One technique we like is called "posing in motion" where photographers give the couple loose directions and the rest is them.

29. Who "Owns" the Pictures?

The question is not that simple. In US and Canada, the author of the image owns the copyright (other countries might have different rules).

Most engagement photographers will allow you to use the files for personal purposes. Not clear? For example, you can not SELL the images to an advertising agency to be used in a national campaign. You can not submit the images to be published on a blog or a print magazine, unless the photographer agrees.

The general rule of thumb is that you can not use the images in commercial purposes (to make money).

30. Can You Post Your Images on Social Media?

In this day and age, it is expected for you to be able to post digital photographs online. As you do not own the images, your photographer should technically agree before you publish any images.

If you post photos on social media, it is nice to list the photo credit (something like Photo Credit: www.bycalin.com). That helps the photographer grow their business.

31. Can You Print the Images?

Long gone are the days when couples ordered prints through their photographer. Nowadays you receive the high-resolution digital images on a USB stick or cloud drive. No lab will stop you from printing the images though technically, in the terms and conditions, there is a stipulation whereby you confirm you have the right to print the photos.

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Image courtesy of Photography by Calin

32. How Many Photos Will You Receive?

It generally depends on the photographer, but you can expect about 40-50 images.

33. Can You Have All Photographs?

No. Your photographer will delete duplicates or images that put you in a bad light.

33. Will You Receive the Raw Photos?

No. Why would you need them, anyway? You are hiring the photographer for a full service and the RAW images are only the beginning of a good image. If you don't like your photographer's processing style, it is better to find another photographer than try to edit the images yourself.


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