“Should we bring props to our engagement session?” I hear this question all the time from couples as we’re planning out the details of their photo shoot. At first, the idea of bringing engagement photo props can sound a little cheesy, and visions photobooth props or aged and dated photos might pop into your head (#sorrynotsorry for this entertaining little distraction :) )
Using Engagement Photo Props
The main point of including props in your engagement shoot is to help further personalize the photos. This can be to highlight some of your interests or to add a fun visual element to the image. Below, I’ve shared 13 creative props to consider including for your session!
Food and Drinks
If you want to add props into your shoot and aren’t sure where to start, I recommend food or drinks!
Coffee obsession? Let’s start the session by going to your local coffee shop and ordering your usual. Not only will this give you a boost of energy for the session, but we’ll be documenting a place that holds importance to you.
Is there a winery or brewery you love? Let’s plan to shoot there, along with grabbing a drink to use during the session! Also, if you’re a bit nervous to be in front of the camera (which is totally normal!), having a drink can help calm those nerves and loosen you up!
You can never go wrong with a blanket! During the summer, use it to sprawl out on at the beach or on the grass. In the winter, wrap up together in it for a cozy and romantic session. What I like about blankets are that they can be very subtle props and unobtrusive. Plus, when you look at your photos 20 years from now, a blanket isn’t something that really goes out of style.
As a quick tip when deciding which blanket to bring to the engagement shoot, pick one that matches your overall outfit color scheme and can blend in. If you two are wearing neutrals and navy but your blanket is bright green, the blanket is going to stand out more than you (not to mention, it will be an eyesore).
Bicycles or Scooters
If you’re doing your engagement shoot in San Diego, taking a ride on bikes or scooters is a fun way to add a unique element into your shoot. From riding through the streets of downtown to gliding on the PB bike paths, there are several bike friendly locations to shoot at (not to mention, we can cover some serious ground while on them!).
There are a variety of balloons you can decide to use during your engagement shoot. Balloons are a fun photography prop idea because they’re a simple way to add a whimsical additional element to the session and can bring a pop of color.
- Latex balloons: Keep it simple with colorful latex balloons that either match your outfits or go along with the color scheme of your wedding.
- Mylar balloons with words: If you want the balloons to be a little more specific to your engagement, get mylar balloons that have specific words or phrases on them. Examples of this can be “Just Engaged,” “Soon to be Bride/ Groom,” or “Mr./Mrs.”
- Letter Balloons: As a third option (and the most involved), you can get individual lettered balloons that spell out certain words or phrases. Again, you can go for words like “Just Engaged,” “Bride + Groom,” or even get numbered balloons and write out the date of your wedding. Doing the date could be a great option if you plan to use that specific photo for your save the date cards!
Specific Hobbies and Interests
The most important thing about an engagement shoot is to make it reflective of you two! Consider adding in engagement picture props that incorporate hobbies or interests that you guys have.
Love books? Bring a couple of your favorites, along with a blanket to sit on so we can create a cozy setting.
Sports fan? Wear your favorite jersey or bring along a piece of equipment, and we’ll get some fun candids of you using it!
Board Game enthusiast? Let’s bust those out and show off your slightly competitive side! ;)
If you’re feeling crafty, create wooden signs that you and your fiance can include for some of the photos during the session. Creating the signs together and deciding what you want to write on them can be a fun afternoon DIY activity. As you make your signs, here are a couple things to keep in mind:
- Size of the words: You’re not writing on college-ruled paper here! Make the words big enough so that if I photograph you from 5-10 feet away, everything is easily visible.
- Less is more: Keep the signage text simple! Don’t try to write out your life story on the sign or how he proposed to you. Aim for under 5 words per sign, and even less if you also want to include the date on there.
Tip: PLEASE avoid super cheesy sayings, such as “I stole her heart, so she’s stealing my last name.” Just, no.
For a simple prop that can also be used as wedding decor, get two wooden or metal letters for the first letter in each of your names. Pick up an ampersand or plus sign to place in the middle of the letters for an added touch.
Another simple prop to bring along are flowers. If you already have your wedding florist lined up, having them create a simple engagement bouquet for you can be a great way to see which types of flowers you like. Again, this is another type of prop that doesn’t really go out of style and seem dated years down the line!
Have access to a classic car or awesome motorcycle? Let’s incorporate that into your session! From hopping in the car and snap some candids of the two of you with the top down and wind blowing through your hair, to setting up a dramatic night shot with your motorcycle, there are so many ways we can add this in!
If the weather calls for rain on your scheduled engagement session date, don’t be quick to reschedule. A little rain can actually result in some amazing photos!
If you know it’s likely going to rain, pick up a couple clear umbrellas that you and your man can stand underneath to stay dry. Clear umbrellas are a great accessory for engagement photos in the rain because they keep the drops off you, but they allow me to see you still!
Having a picnic during your session is perfect for a summer day at the beach or a fall afternoon in the park. What’s great about a picnic is there are so many engagement photo prop ideas that can be incorporated into it!
Pull out your cute wicker basket, checkered blanket, a couple appetizers, and a bottle of wine, and you’ll be set for a good time. Plus, by including multiple props, it constantly gives you something to do with your hands so you feel more natural!
First off, if you’re going to bring your pup to the shoot, know that I’m going to give it ALL the pets and cuddles. And, if it’s a husky of any sort, we might never actually get to the photo-taking part of the day, because I’m going to be obsessed with your dog. :)
Second, when it comes to props for dogs, I felt like this needed its own section, because there are a LOT of different props you can pimp out your furry friend with. I could probably write an entire post on just this, but for the sake of time, I’m limiting this to the two I’ve seen the most during my sessions.
Dog Engagement Signs
Get a cute little wooden sign for your dog to wear around its neck. This can be a fun DIY project if you’re feeling crafty, or you can easily order one. You can have the sign say a variety of phrases, such as “My humans are getting married,” or “Tying the knot on [DATE].”
As any dog parent likely knows, there are tons (and I mean TONS) of outfits you can get for your pup. I’ve had couples tell me that they spent more time trying to pick out their dog’s outfit than their own!
While you can dress your dog in pretty much anything, there are a couple options I recommend:
- Similar color tones to your outfit: Just like I recommend that you and your fiance wear cohesive colors during your engagement shoot, the same goes for your dog. Pick colors or textures that match what you’re wearing so all of the outfits go together.
- Bride or groom outfit: I’ll admit, I thought this was a little cheesy at first (and maybe it still is), but I think it’s pretty amazing now. Dress your dog in an adorable wedding dress or a dapper tux to really embrace the fact that these are engagement photos!
Who says sparklers just have to be for weddings? If we’re shooting in a location that allows for sparklers, this can be a perfect way to end the session. Additionally, this adds a fun and unique element to the photos!
Those are just some of the ideas you can incorporate into your engagement photos. As a final tip for you: don’t go overboard on the props. While they can make a fun addition to your shoot, they are not meant to be the central focus – you are!