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Posted on Jun 24, 2013 | 12 comments

Travel Tips: Taking Destination Engagement Photos

Travel Tips: Taking Destination Engagement Photos

While figuring out what we wanted to do for our destination engagement photos in San Fransisco, California, we learned a few tips along the way. Taking destination engagement photos is not the same as taking ones where you live and require a bit more preparation. However, if you plan on taking your engagement pictures in your own backyard or another destination, like we did, these 5 tips will work regardless.

Find a Photographer You are Both Comfortable With

Finding a photographer you are both comfortable with and fits your style is really important for taking destination engagement photos. If you don’t, you aren’t going to be able to relax and be yourself in front of them. You could also end up with photographs that just aren’t the two of you and don’t reflect you as a couple.

Remember, these photos are a part of your wedding. Don’t you want a photographer who will listen to your thoughts and ideas and be able to produce the results you want in your photos? If they don’t, they aren’t the right photographer for you.

Most of the time the photographer who does your destination engagement photos is also the same one who does your wedding photos. You are letting these people into a very intimate part of your life, who will be documenting some of the most special times together. If you aren’t comfortable and happy now, you won’t be at your wedding either.

Lucky for us, we were friends with our photographer. Sara Sanger has been a friend of mine since 6th grade. I’ve seen her work since the very beginning and have enjoyed watching it progress through the year. We highly recommend having Sara Sanger take your photos if you are in the Northern California area; or even if you want to fly her to where you are.

Know Your Locations

Talk to your photographer about where they like to shoot. Ask to see pictures of other destination engagement photos they’ve done in those places and ask why they picked those locations. Were they picked individually for the couple as a reflection of the couple or are they the same spots the photographer always uses?

Don’t be afraid to say where you want to shoot. Part of the fun of having destination engagement photos is for the location. The other reason we got our engagement photos taken in San Fransisco was for specific locations.

Also, make sure to find out how many locations that your photographer is open to going to. Talk to them about your ideas for locations.If they aren’t open to where you want to go and what you want to do, they may not be the right photographer for you.

Make Your Photos Unique to the Two of You

This part can be a bit tricky. Trying to figure out how to make your photos unique and a reflection of you will result in a really fun and memorable experience. To have this come together the two of you will need to work together to figure out how you want the overall look of your photos to be and the feeling that you want to come across when others see your destination engagement photos. You don’t have to have one theme, but you should know what your theme or themes are going to be and how you are going to work those into your photos.

Since both of us share a love of Hawaii, tiki, and San Francisco, our engagement photos theme easily came together. Our locations worked perfectly with our themes and completely rounded out our themes. When we got our photos, we were happy to see they were exactly what we were going for.

Plan Your Wardrobe

Planning your wardrobes for your pictures, ahead of time will save you a big headache later. You don’t want to be stressed out or arguing over what you will be wearing the day of. When taking destination engagement pictures it’s even more important to figure out what you are going to wear ahead of time, because you have to pack all of those items to take with you.

Drew and I also are huge clothes whores. We even turned one of the bedrooms in our house into a dressing room. So what we decided to wear in our photos was a pretty big deal for us. We choose 6 outfits that we coordinated together down to shoes and other accessories. Each outfit was selected to go along with our 6 different locations and the feel we were going for in each of those locations.

It’s always better to have too much instead of not enough to give you plenty to work with. Having options is never a bad thing. On a side note, do be prepared to make some of those clothing changes in the car or public bathrooms. We did both.

Don’t Forget the Little Details

Make sure to grab a few props that reflect who the two of you are as a couple and you will enjoy having in your photos. This will help you come up with poses, as well as give you different things to do in your photos. They can help to create the mood you are going for in your photos and be of great meaning.

Don’t be afraid to take along a couple props that are goofy and will make you laugh. Unless, of course, you are a very serious couple who never laughs!

Follow these 5 tips on taking destination engagement photos and you should have no problem having unique photos you are happy with that genuinely reflect the two of you.

Destination Engagement Photos

We hope you enjoyed a few of our favorite destination engagement photos!
Ya’ll come back now, you hear?!

Did you take destination engagement photos? Have any tips to add?

All photos are provided by our amazing photographer, Sara Sanger © 2013.

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About Kimmy Hayes

Kimmy Hayes is the founder and editor-in-chief of AfterGlobe; a site on becoming debt free and traveling the world as a married couple. In 2012, she planned and coordinated her own do-it-yourself destination wedding on the beautiful island of Maui while serving as a moderator for the on-line community, The Knot. She is passionate about traveling to experience new cultures, snorkeling the waters of the world and reading with her toes in the sand.


  1. Aw love these photos! So cute, great tips too!

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