As a wedding photographer, engagement shoots are almost certainly part of the packages you offer. Well, [according to Stephanie Williams], the engagement photography scene is moving into new territory these days. And you can bet that this year’s brides are thumbing through the wedding blogs for ideas. If you’re enmired in yesterdecade’s ideas about what an engagement session should involve, those trendy, newfangled brides are likely to look elsewhere for their engagement photographer…and, very possibly, their whole wedding package.

Here are four engagement photography trends that, according to Ms. Williams, are all the rage. You’ll want to take notes.

Utilizing Props

Props have long tended to feature in engagement photography, and in the past, the use of props has sometimes been a bit indiscriminate. This year’s prop-usage is more focused, deliberate, simplified, personalized. Who ARE these people, and why are they getting married? What’s their story? A few carefully-chosen visual enhancers will strengthen the narrative suggested by the engagement portraits.

All photos: Stephanie Williams

All photos: Stephanie Williams

Naturally Styled Shoots

Why not dispense with props altogether? A second current trend is the movement toward shoots that derive from the couple’s actual life circumstances and habitual haunts. Spotlighting who they are together—what kind of lifestyle they have built as a couple—rather than extraneous “stuff” can lend clarity and genuineness to an engagement session.

All photos: Stephanie Williams

All photos: Stephanie Williams

Vintage Inspiration

What with the popularity of period films, steampunk style and Downton Abbey, the attraction of vintage themes (though it’s been with us for a few years) is not going anywhere soon.

All photos: Stephanie Williams

All photos: Stephanie Williams

Global View

The expanding European interest in wedding photography is beginning to create waves of mutual influence between the United States and Europe. Add to that the continuing influence of the South, New York, and California in the evolution of wedding and engagement photography trends. The resulting heady, international brew is yielding all manner of interesting possibilities.

All photos: Stephanie Williams

All photos: Stephanie Williams

All photos: Stephanie Williams

All photos: Stephanie Williams

All photos: Stephanie Williams

All photos: Stephanie Williams