Engagement Pictures Are Awkward

Yesterday I came across this article about awkward engagement photos and couldn’t stop laughing.

It’s about the awkwardness of engagement pictures, and features gems like this:

and this:

Of course, this made me think of my engagement photos.

When Kevin and I first got engaged, engagement photos were not on our list of priorities. As much as we appreciate great photography, it just wasn’t that important to us.

Then, as I grew more entrenched in the world of wedding blogs, my opinion changed. I saw adorable engagements shoots like this and this, and suddenly, I had to have engagement photos! When else would we get to frolic in the sun and look so young and beautiful and in love?

I imagined glorious pictures of us in everyday life, looking amazing, just like this couple:


Since engagement pictures were still not on the top of our list, we didn’t want to spend a lot of money on them. When I saw a groupon type deal for half-off an engagement photography session, I snatched it up and promptly made an appointment with a photographer I had never heard of.

The day before our scheduled photo shoot, our photographer called me to discuss details. Our conversation went like this:

photog: are you bringing any props?
me: huh?
photog: props…for the photo shoot?
me: what do you mean?
photog: You know… like balloons, picture frames, signs… things that show your style as a couple, or represent what you like to do.
me: um……… [long pause]…….. we like to drink wine. can we bring wine?
photog: ………..[even longer pause!]………………….. it’s fine, don’t worry about the props.

When I got off the phone I called my friend Kelsey who had just taken some engagement photos, and I asked if I could borrow her “props.” She said that she and her husband had drank some beers and had a nice picnic in one of their favorite parks, so I decided that we would have a picnic too!

I’m original like that!

Now I am going to show you all something that Kevin and I have not shown anyone, ever.

Why, you ask?

I will let the photos do the talking, but needless to say, when we received them, all of my hopes of having pictures where we looked young and beautiful and in love quickly vanished.

Instead, we had a lot of a photos that looked like this….

Oh yes… this looks so natural, because clearly Kevin and I often lean against large columns and stare deeply into each others eyes, with his leg perched against the wall. So normal.

I think in this picture we were told to “look serious.”

What are we staring at? I DON’T KNOW!

Despite telling our photographer numerous times that we DID NOT LIKE KISSING PICTURES, he kept asking us to kiss. We already felt super awkward so we obliged.

This resulted in us having multiple photos that looked like this:

(he told kevin to grab my hair like that, by the way)

and this:

and, the ultimate of the kiss pics, this:

a wind kiss! wow! so dramatic!

To my many engaged friends: BE YE NOT SO STUPID. Hold your ground!

Now… our props! This is where we decided to “have a picnic.” I even borrowed Kelsey’s picnic basket for this so that I could have a real prop!

Here we are opening our wine and trying not to die of laughter. I couldn’t even look at Kevin because I was trying so hard not to laugh.

Then the photographer asked to take some solo pics.

I thought it was impossible to feel any more uncomfortable than I already felt, but I was wrong!

Posing alone made me feel even more awkward!

Don’t I look so happy and natural?

I assure you I did not pose myself.

And finally, the walking pictures. We ended up with a lot of pictures of us just… walking. Aimlessly. In front of other people’s houses.

Why do I look so bitchy?

Oh, I know! It’s because we just spent two hours and paid someone to take awkward photos of us! Awesome use of time and money!

And there you have it… the engagement pictures we vowed never to share.

I hope our embarrassment helped brighten your Friday morning a little bit!

The end.

P.S. Is it bad that I didn’t tell Kevin I was posting these? Ooops.

P.S.S. If you have any awkward engagement pictures, I’d love to see them!

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KevinApril 13, 2012 - 7:35 am

I can’t believe you actually posted these.

EmilyApril 13, 2012 - 7:46 am

Hilarious…. and exactly the reason why we did not opt to do engagement photos… plus, Matt pretty much refused 🙂

LaurenApril 13, 2012 - 8:50 am

This post is hilarious… great start to my Friday!

TheGrownUpPrincessApril 13, 2012 - 9:12 am

LOVED your post. I was initially against them, but I wanted one picture of us that wasn’t a random snapshot, so we had my mom, who’s a photographer take ours. We have one nice one that’s really just a headshot of the two of us. Then we have one of my husband pushing me into a giant snow bank… That one they planned without my knowledge, and of course that’s the one he decided to put up on Facebook for all to see…

EllyApril 13, 2012 - 9:45 am

So funny! That’s how I felt about engagement photos too…we ended up having my best friend take some photos but even then it still felt awkward. Thanks for sharing!

GradyApril 13, 2012 - 10:03 am

Haha, Kelsey has plenty and I was really hungover. We even have a canvas print of us. Not sure how I agreed to any of this!

Thanks for the pics, my new desktop wallpaper

AngieApril 13, 2012 - 10:43 am

This definitely brightened my day – thanks for sharing. This post is dead on and hilarious.

WendyApril 13, 2012 - 10:49 am

Too too funny! Love your comments Serena! Made me lol! Love ya

SerenaApril 13, 2012 - 11:20 am

Ha, that’s awesome! Please share… I’d love to see the snow bank picture!

SerenaApril 13, 2012 - 11:20 am

You have a canvas one?!? That is awesome!

SerenaApril 13, 2012 - 11:22 am

I just scoured your facebook page and found no evidence of awkward photos! Please send me a link!

MarcieApril 13, 2012 - 11:43 am

Thank you for this….I almost peed my pants laughing! Soooooo NOT you guys.

shannonApril 13, 2012 - 12:36 pm

I’ve always thought this!!!! I’m so glad I’m not the only one who it critical of weird engagement photos!! hahahahahaha – thanks for posting – good to see that it happens even to those with great aesthetic taste!

SerenaApril 13, 2012 - 4:10 pm

Yeah… Kevin wasn’t that into the idea, but I forced him into it.

I probably should have gone with his instinct instead 🙂

CamilleApril 13, 2012 - 4:56 pm

Amazing post.

LindseyApril 13, 2012 - 6:18 pm

Amazing! I have been dying to see these and they are even better than I imagined. Thanks for the smile and laugh. Such a great post!


Helen ElizabethApril 16, 2012 - 7:28 am

It was raining during ours, so that bring our awkward engagement photo tally to… all of them.

SerenaApril 16, 2012 - 10:54 am

Oh wow… I can imagine that rain would increase the awkwardness factor! What you can’t tell from these pictures is that it was actually FREEZING outside, which I’m sure didn’t help.

EphraimApril 18, 2012 - 12:22 pm

Haha!!! That’s my excuse for no engagements under my belt…..those ridiculous photos!!! If there was ever a chance. Thank you for the help!
Also, I like photo #5…Serena’s hair is a virtual wind sock…..meanwhile, Kevin offers zero indication that you guys are standing in front of fans on the set of a shampoo commercial.

KimApril 28, 2012 - 1:18 am

LOL! You’re brave to be posting those photos. Personally, I think engagement photoshoots are cheesy. Too much merry frolicking in fields!

SerenaApril 28, 2012 - 10:20 am

I COMPLETELY agree… as evident by my terrible photos! I mean… Kevin and I do not normally frolic in the sun holding signs and gazing deeply into each others eyes, so why would we expect that to look anything other than cheesy? Lesson learned!

[…] think? Yay or nay to using props in engagement photography? Can props be cheesy or over the top? This San Francisco blogger talks about her experience being photographed. She was glad that they brought props and had a […]

Andrew MorettiSeptember 7, 2012 - 9:03 pm

Great article. Very personal and fun to read. I’m a photographer and I came across your article while writing mine:



LesleyOctober 30, 2012 - 3:33 am

Hahaha this is so great.

Hello hello » SpillerenaOctober 30, 2012 - 7:57 am

[…] Sometimes I can be really funny (well, I think so, at least) and I write about horribly awkward moments, like this. […]

american in norwayNovember 9, 2012 - 1:15 pm

LOL… they were’nt that bad.. you are a beautiful couple – but ya.. a couple of the photos were a little awkward.

ZoëJanuary 14, 2013 - 8:39 pm

Thank you for posting this. I am always holding back on commenting on people’s engagment pictures because I find them so so so so awkward. I do the obligatory “ooh” “ahhh” and “I’m so happy for you!” but honestly, they’re freaking awkward. Haha. I’m glad to see someone else shares my opinion!

StephanieFebruary 7, 2013 - 12:51 pm

Aw, this makes me a little sad! Engagement photos can definitely be awkward but I think that your photog has a lot to do with it. I love shooting engagement sessions mainly because I like hanging out with the couples and getting to know them. I think that’s the key to keeping them out of the Awkward Family Photo pile. I’m kinda curious about who the photog was…

Bound: Look Over HereFebruary 24, 2013 - 3:17 am

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[…] If you’re interested in learning more, you can do so here, and you can find some horribly awkward photos of me here. […]

RebeccaSeptember 20, 2013 - 3:30 am

Hilarious! You’ve actually made me feel better about my engagement pictures – not because these are horrible but just the whole awkward experience. I always felt like I had failed too because we didn’t get the great photos some have. Thanks for sharing and allowing me to re-frame our experience with humor and the knowledge that we are not alone.:)

JoeyNovember 4, 2013 - 9:27 am

You had a crappy family portrait photographer who didn’t listen to what you wanted and did things that put you on edge. Also, he/she seems to have a nice camera but didn’t work the lighting very well at all. What you needed was a photojournalist-style photographer who can capture candid shots and good lighting without crazy amount of instructions or contrivance.

In conclusion: get a photojournalist not a portrait photographer.

[…] @ Spillerena writes Engagement Pictures Are Awkward – An essay about the awkwardness of taking engagement photos, with humorous photos […]

KatieMarch 20, 2015 - 4:24 pm

These pictures are awesome and your blog was perfect. I needed a laugh today. Thank you.

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