The Atlantic

The Rise of the Engagement Photo Shoot

Spurred by the changing norms of social media, soon-to-be newlyweds are clamoring for professional photos even before their wedding day.
Source: John B. Mueller Photography / Getty

There’s a certain type of photo that has slowly taken over many a social-media feed. I’ve learned to recognize them on sight: a couple wearing coordinating colors, holding each other in a field, dappled with golden light. Or a couple in formal wear kissing in front of a backdrop of blurred-out trees. Or maybe a couple wearing white and holding hands at the beach. (Sometimes, there’s even a dog by their side.) What’s clogging my feed is engagement photographs.

Engaged couples getting their photos taken isn’t new—the practice has been around for decades, starting with the stilted portraits accompanying newspaper wedding announcements. But that’s a far cry from what’s become the new normal: booking a photographer to do a full-on photo shoot. Typically, these pictures fall into two categories: furtively snapped pictures

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