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These days, engagement photo shoots are something of a must. Whether it's because you'd like to have professional photos to post on social media, share with your family, or you're just looking for a good reason to dress up and pose for the camera with your S.O., we're all for commemorating this special moment. The only setback? Just like anything wedding- or engagement-related event, it can be quite costly to hire a good photographer for a few hours of shooting.

So if you don't have the budget for that but you do have some basic photo skills, why not do it yourself? We chatted to Viorel Dudau, photographer at Dreamstime, who gave us his best practical tips for acing your engagement photo shoot.

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1. Trust your camera

"Digital cameras have evolved incredibly in the past years, and the auto mode on most cameras today is ready to deliver outstanding photos," he says. "Leave the experiments with Manual, Shutter or Aperture priority to a later date, when you can afford to delete the unsuccessful shots and not feel sorry about it."

2. Location, location, location

This may be real estate agents' mantra, but it also applies to engagement photo shoots. Dudau suggests selecting a spot where you can alternate the backgrounds fast and easy, such as a park, for example, where you can use the benches, or pose behind a tree.

Since this is your moment, having too many people in the photos could be distracting, so try to avoid the weekends. "Early mornings work best, and the lighting is usually better than at any other time of the day," he adds.

3. Avoid direct sunlight

Dudau says direct sunlight creates unflattering shadows. But that doesn't mean you have to stay in the shade, quite the opposite. "If you’re standing under a tree with a well-lit alley behind you, your face will be dark, because of the tree’s shadow. If you have the tree trunk or a dark bush behind you, your face will be properly exposed," he adds.

4. Fashion matters

It always does, if you ask us, but it matters especially when you are posing for the camera.

"Try to avoid the extremes, like whites or blacks, or flashy colors. Also, try to avoid stripes, dots, futuristic designs, or large brand logos splashed over your clothes," Dudau says.

After all, this is an engagement photo shoot and the focus should be on you and your partner, not the cute pink polka dot skirt you got last Friday.

5. Have fun

The point of an impromptu photo sesh is for you to have fun, above all. Don't try to look like Kate Moss, don't attempt dangerous or odd poses. "Just be natural," Dudau says. "Smile, laugh, and relax a little."