Engagement Portrait Ideas

 In Bright Ideas for your wedding, wedding photography, wedding planning

Upon the occasion of your engagement – whether it happened yesterday or months ago – you’re likely planning to schedule an engagement portrait session with a professional photographer as the first of your many, exciting, upcoming wedding photography tasks.

In the past, engagement portraits looked very similar – with the bride standing behind the seated groom, her arms wrapped around his shoulders and chest, with her new and sparkling engagement ring prominently showing on her left hand. Now, this traditional pose is just one of a collection of new engagement portrait poses that lead the way in first-couple-photo trends. Think of the beautiful engagement photo recently released by royal wedding couple Kate Middleton and Prince William. Kate and William posed in a near embrace, showing their closeness and natural affection as a couple, and yes the engagement ring was prominently-featured.

As a leading New Jersey wedding venue and top garden wedding location in New Jersey, we can attest to the natural beauty of our surrounding region here in the northern part of the Garden State where we have so many scenic overlooks – including the Highlawn Pavilion’s view of New York City – and natural vistas such as springtime blooms and the fiery colors of the autumn leaves. With engagement portraits experiencing a wedding photo trend evolution into using more nature scenes as backgrounds for these couple photos, our local wedding couples are quite lucky to have access to beautiful botanical gardens, estate homes, and especially beaches on our many shore and lake destinations here in New Jersey.

Here are some of the top engagement portrait setting styles that New Jersey wedding couples and our many New York City wedding couples choose for their signature couple photo:

At the Beach

  • Sitting or lying directly on the sand
  • Sitting or lying on a colorful beach blanket
  • Splashing ankle-deep in the ocean’s edge water
  • Groom carrying bride into the water, or along the ocean’s edge into the sunset
  • Bride and groom sitting in a lifeguard stand
  • A favorite of our New Jersey wedding couples – photos located at the family shore house where they’ve spent many summers, and perhaps where they became engaged
  • At the precise spot on the beach where the couple became engaged.
  • A natural, just-walking-along shot of the couple by the water’s edge

On the Boardwalk

For playful couples, a beach-setting engagement portrait session may include a quick stop at the boardwalk, where they may pose:

  • On a carousel
  • In the seat of their favorite ride
  • Holding colorful cotton candy while overlooking the ocean
  • Holding enormous stuffed animals the groom and bride have won for each other.

In the Park

The park may be easier for you to reach, and many New Jersey couples choose their nearby park setting, or a favorite spot in a state park overlooking a waterfall or a brook, as their engagement portrait setting. When couples look for places to take NJ wedding photos, it’s often the park that provides the setting closest to a gorgeous garden wedding’s feel. Here are some of the top trends in park photos:

  • At a gazebo
  • On a park bench
  • By a fountain
  • On a wooden bridge crossing over a stream
  • On a playground’s swingset
  • Lying on the grass in the middle of a softball field where you’ve played or watched games together
  • Kissing in the end zone of a park football field, where you may have had childhood sports memories

The goal is to design an engagement portrait that will join your spectacular professionally-taken wedding photos in your home displays for all time. Your wedding photography expert will guide you in suggesting poses that make you both look your best, but it’s up to you to choose your stunning location, bring several different styles of outfits or dresses to your photo session, and speak up when a setting or pose is what you want.

Many of our New Jersey wedding couples say they fall in love with several of their engagement photos, framing those for home display and using those for their personal wedding website and wedding program designs.


Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Château

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