12 Ways to Get The Most Out of Your Engagement Photos

It’s not uncommon for a wedding photographer to include an engagement photo session in their packages. Here's how to make the most of those photos.

By Deanna deBara

In the last decade, taking professional engagement photos has become a rite of passage for newly engaged couples, earning a place in the standard Wedding Planning Checklist alongside choosing a caterer or tasting cakes. We love that more and more couples are taking advantage of this new tradition, using their favorite places as engagement photo locations (whether that’s the streets of New York City, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the stunning backdrop of a National Park, or a more laid-back spot, like a favorite coffee shop) and taking the opportunity to showing off their engagement ring and celebrate their upcoming nuptials.

In fact, engagement photography has become so popular that it’s not uncommon for a wedding photographer to include an engagement photo shoot in their wedding photography packages (essentially turning them into an engagement photographer for the day!)

But while your engagement portraits will most likely end up on Mom and Dad’s mantle (next to your eventual wedding photos!), it seems silly to spend serious dollars on capturing the best engagement photo—and not then take full advantage of the gorgeous engagement pictures that result from your shoot.


So how can you get more bang for your buck? Using inspiration from our constantly growing collection of real weddings and our own wedding design expertise, we’ve brainstormed a list of creative ways you can include your engagement photos throughout your wedding day and weekend. Grab a pen—you’re gonna want to take notes.

1. Save the Dates

Your save the dates are your first formal opportunity to announce your upcoming nuptials—which makes them a great place to feature your engagement pictures. (Not sure which photos would work best on your save the dates? Be sure to check out our post on how to select the best engagement pics for your wedding paper suite.)

2. Wedding Guest Book

Create a Guest Book of the images you love the most from your engagement session. Make sure to leave lots of white space around the photos for guests to leave their best wishes. Pro tip: head on over to Zola’s store to shop for Artifact Uprising custom photo books, which are some of the loveliest and most eco-friendly photo books on the planet.

Photo Credit || Fayth Photography

Or, if you want to think outside the box (er, book?) for your guest book, turn your photos into giant jigsaw puzzle pieces for guests to sign. When you piece it all back together, you’ll have a gorgeous photo of you two covered with sweet wishes—if that isn’t frameable, then really, what is?


Wedding Websites

Your free wedding website on Zola is practically begging for some engagement photos! With over 100 stunning template designs to choose from, you have literally hundreds of options when selecting your Zola wedding website, and practically every one would look 10x better personalized with some professional-quality engagement shots. Guests will also appreciate seeing more recent images of you and your beloved, all aglow with that engagement joy.

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4. Social Media

Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook were designed as a way to share photos. So it makes perfect sense that you would share your engagement photos there!

Once your engagement pictures are ready, choose your favorites and share them with friends and family on social media. You can even use your engagement photos as a way to introduce your wedding hashtag!

5. Table Décor or Signage

Wedding venues are another great place to showcase the snaps from your engagement shoot; in fact, engagement photos make for great table signs at your reception. Incorporate them alongside the table name or number, either in a frame or through some other creative use (like poking out of the top of a wine bottle, below). Another creative idea: use your engagement session to take photos at your favorite spots, then name tables after those locations and use the corresponding photos in the table signs.

Photo Credit || Lennon Photo

6. Photo Booth Props

Blow up individual images of you and your partner, mount them on foam board, and voila! Instant photo booth props. Guests will love posing with the guests of honor.

Photo Credit || A Muse Photography

7. Ceremony Programs

Just like with your save the dates and wedding invitations, your ceremony programs (or really, any printed items) are like a blank canvas just waiting for a few of your favorite engagement photos. If you’re designing and printing your ceremony programs yourself, find a template online and let your beautiful faces provide all the decorative embellishment you need.

8. Reception Décor

Your engagement photos can be used for all kinds of reception décor, in just about any place or any way that you could think of to use a photograph. Here are a few of our ideas:

  • Create a photo slideshow to project onto a screen or blank wall in your cocktail hour space. (Be sure to ask your venue if they have all the necessary equipment, and bring your own if necessary).
  • Frame a handful of your favorites and place them on a table with your seating chart to ensure every guest takes a peek before the reception.
  • Hang individual photo prints from balloons and group them in masses over the dance floor, the bar, buffet table, as a backdrop for a photo booth… really anywhere.
  • Cover the inside lid of a small vintage suitcase for guests to place cards inside.
  • Make a DIY photo table runner by printing 8×10 photos in black and white (for a uniformed look), then gluing or double-side taping them together in an overlapping pattern.
  • Similarly, cover a gift table or a cake/dessert table in a collage of your engagement photos, covered with a glass top.
  • Decorate an otherwise empty space in your reception venue with a personalized gallery wall: print several of your favorite engagement photos on large canvases, add some pin-spot lights for dramatic effect, and soak in the art gallery vibes.

9. Wedding Favors and Welcome Bags

If you’re leaving wedding welcome bags to greet your guests at their hotels, make the message extra personal by attaching a photo from your engagement shoot to the bags along with a short note.

Photo Credit || Tasha Owen Photography

You can also include your engagement photos into any customizable wedding favors: think keychains, matchboxes, magnets, etc. Just imagine: morph your mugs into actual mugs! Or simply create stickers from your favorite engagement snap, and stick them to water bottles, treat bags, wine bottles, gift boxes… you get the picture. (Literally?)

Photo Credit || Lana Rowe Photography

10. Wedding Postage

Remember those custom photo stickers we just talked about? Use them to seal your wedding invitation envelopes or your thank-you cards. You can also turn any photograph into a custom stamp—meaning your wedding invitation envelopes have no excuse to not look hella fancy.

11. Holiday Cards

If you snapped fall engagement photos, you may have time before the holidays to include your engagement photos on your holiday cards. Sending out holiday cards with your partner—and featuring your engagement pics—is a great way to kick off your life as a soon-to-be-married couple. (If the next holiday season isn’t until after your big day? Send a holiday card featuring a wedding photo instead.)

12. Wedding Cake Topper

Why settle for miniature imitations of yourselves when you could decorate your cake with the real deal? Print a few engagement photos Polaroid-style and use them to create a funky DIY cake topper. We’ve seen couples arrange and slightly overlap the photos so that they look like they’re kissing on top of their cake…aww.

Photo Credit || The Girl Tyler

Extra Recommendations From Zola

One final suggestion when it comes to making the most of your engagement photos: we suggest that you schedule your hair and makeup trial a few hours before your engagement session. You’ll knock out two birds with one stone, and you and your partner will undoubtedly look stunning for your Kodak moment.

Looking for more insights into how to take more authentic engagement photos? Or maybe you’re looking for a few winter engagement photo ideas or inspiration for what to wear for your engagement photos? Whatever you need, Zola has you covered! explore more resources from Zola!

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