Engagement photos aren’t just an opportunity to get one step closer to sending off your “save the dates” — they’re the perfect way to bond with each other (and your photographer). Since you’re already making a lot of decisions for your wedding day, the last thing I want is for your engagement photos to add any stress to your plate. Here's a little guidance from yours truly to make the process a little easier, and a lot more fun. 

Where should I take my engagement photos?

Grab a sip or nibble

Maybe I’m projecting, but food and drinks are my love language, so I’d be remiss not to suggest we hang out someplace we can kick back and fill our bellies. This is a great idea for folks who have a favorite spot in town, shared a special date, or celebrate big life moments out. (Click the links below for galleries I've shot at that particular location—otherwise be the first!)

Some of my favorite places in Des Moines:

Do something you love

Not only is this great if you and your partner not only have a hobby or activity you love to do together, but it's perfect for folks who are a little anxious about being in front of the camera. (Solves the eternal problem, "What do I do with my hands?!")

A few things I love that you might too:


You don’t have to be “outdoorsy” to enjoy time outside. I always find time with loved ones in nature to be one of the best ways to connect, and I’d love to share that experience with you and your partner in whatever way feels most NATURAL to you. (…hehe, get it? Nature dad jokes for days.)

A couple favorites around Des Moines:

Epic scenery around Iowa:

  • Lake Red Rock (outside Pella)
  • Backbone State Park (Dundee)
  • Loess Hills (near Denison)
  • Maquoketa Caves (Maquoketa)
  • Wildcat Den (Muscatine)
  • Ledges (outside Ames)

What should I wear?

Be comfortable 

Don’t get me wrong, engagement photos are an excellent excuse to buy or try something new. Just be sure you feel comfortable in whatever you pick—and I mean fit and feel. Not only should you be able to dance and run around in whatever you pick—because trust me, we’ll be doing all sorts of fun, weird things—but you should feel like the best version of yourself. We'll have time for at least two outfits, so something a little more casual and then a dressy number are what I usually recommend.

A few things I do suggest you avoid, though, just to be safe:

  • For the bra wearers out there: be sure we can’t see any straps or cups. Strapless bras and boob tape are great options for looser fabrics/materials! 
  • Avoid tiny prints or tight checkers/lines—they can create something call chromatic aberration. (Here's a link to the science behind it if you're a nerd like me.) You may have seen it in some of your own photos—sometimes it looks like purple-pink blobs, sometimes weird, neon outlines around people or objects. It's not impossible to edit out, but it's easier to do what we can to avoid it.
  • Items with large brand names/logos on them. Words and graphics—unless meaningful to you—can be distracting.
  • Neon colors—especially in natural environments—can be overwhelming for the eye and cause some skin tone issues.

Think about the environment

Comfort goes along with this, but there are a few other things to consider. Let the vibes and color of where we’re headed can help influence your decision making. For example, if you’re taking photos in the woods during the spring or summer, green may not be the best color option unless you want to blend in with your surroundings. Or if you want to hit up a fancier cocktail spot, joggers and a t-shirt might look a little out of place.


If you're like me, picking out an outfit is a group effort. If you're unsure, feel free to text me different options, or better yet just throw your favorite pieces in your car for us to play with day of!

Do whatever you want

Everything said and done, you were whatever the hell you want. Seriously. Feel free to use Instagram, Pinterest, or my feedback as guidance, but take it all with a grain of salt. Want to wear an epic, flowy gown? Get it. Jeans and your favorite t-shirt? Bring it on. Matching onesies? Hell yeah. You do you, friends.