This is one of the most asked questions I get from couples, and I don’t blame them! Your engagement session is most likely the first time you and your boo have ever been photographed, so it can be a little intimidating. I also know that couples really want to thoroughly plan their engagement session because most of them use the images for their Save The Dates.
*in this post I will be saying “most couples” a lot, but you don’t have to listen to any of this! These tips are what I find most couples do, but everyone is different. Keep in mind that your engagement session is completely your own, and you don’t have to “go all out” to make something feel personal to you two
When to plan your session
If you want to use your engagement session images for Save The Dates, lets plan on scheduling your session for at least 5 weeks before you want to mail them out. It will take me about 2 weeks to get your full gallery to you, then you can spend a week designing the Save The Dates, and have two weeks to have them delivered, addressed, and mailed out. This is a pretty tight timeline, especially since I know life gets busy, so if it’s possible to give yourself more than 5 weeks I recommend it!
*if it ends up raining on your scheduled engagement session day, we can either still go through with it (if it’s not raining too hard!) or pick a new date. I have a dozen clear umbrellas and I’m always ready to tackle rain, but I also know that being in the rain isn’t the most comfortable thing ever, so I’ll let you make that call
Location is usually the first question couples ask. I have you pick the location, because I want you to be comfortable wherever we shoot. I always encourage couples to pick a location that means something to them, whether that’s where they first met, where they got engaged, their favorite date night spot, etc. I’ve even had couples do cozy in-home engagement sessions! If you’re still stuck on picking a location, email me with some ideas and inspiration you have and I can help with suggestions!
This is the part I’m actually the worst at….outfit planning. I’m such a jeans & a t-shirt kinda girl, so picking outfits for my own pictures is even hard! That’s where I turn to Pinterest! If you hop on Pinterest and search “engagement session outfits” or “couples outfits”, you’ll find TONS of inspiration!
Most couples bring outfit changes, but if you just want to stick with one that is totally fine! I recommend no more than 2 outfits total, because outfit changes take away from shooting time and we only have a certain amount of time to shoot with the golden light! A lot of couples will bring a casual outfit and a dressier outfit, but the most important thing is that you’re comfortable! If you’re worried about your shoes hurting or your outfit moving around, go with something else that you’re more comfortable in. The more comfortable you are, the more confident you will feel, the more you will love your images!
If you do decide to bring multiple outfits, let me know so I can plan how we will break up the session for outfit changes. I also recommend wearing your favorite outfit LAST. Towards the end of your engagement session the light will start to get more golden and glowy, and you’ll be more confident infront of my camera. So I recommend saving your absolute favorite outfit for the end!
Hair & Makeup
A really good tip I have learned is to schedule your hair & makeup trial for the day of your engagement session! I personally don’t wear makeup, so I always feel a little off when I do have it on. If this sounds like you, I suggest using your engagement session as your test run with your hair & makeup. If you tell your hair & makeup artist that you have your engagement session the same day as your trial, they will usually tone everything down before you leave and make it a little more natural. BUT you will still be able to feel what it’s like to have makeup on all day. And then they get some pretty pictures of you, so it’s a win-win 😉
If you find any accessories or props you want to bring, we can definitely incorporate them! I’ve had couples bring custom mugs with their wedding date, a cozy blanket to wrap up in, champagne to pop (by pop I mean spray…..I will make you spray it everywhere, ha!), balloons, confetti (biodegradable please!!), and even their favorite beer to cheers with! Seriously, NOTHING is off limits! Just let me know what you are bringing beforehand so I can plan for it!
Obviously your fur babies are a very important part of your relationship, so I welcome them with open arms at your engagement session! No really. My arms will be wide open. Because I will snuggle them. If you want to bring your pet, we will plan on shooting with them towards the beginning of the session. I recommend bringing a friend, or reaching out to Fur Ever & Fur Always, to take them home after we are done shooting with them. It’s difficult to wrangle a pet when they see you two off in the distance without them, and I wouldn’t want something to happen like their leash untying from a tree, so bring a handler for them!
This may come as a shock to you, but none of my couples are models. 90% of them have never had their picture taken professionally before their engagement session, and they definitely have not been photographed together. I know you’re going to be nervous, but I promise, there’s NOTHING you can do to mess this up. I will guide you through everything, and it’s going to be so much fun! I’ll have you two joke around with each other, and you’ll have a blast! If you two have zero fun during your engagement session, I pinky promise I will Venmo you for a round of drinks 😉
Clean Your Ring!
This might seem like a minor detail, but I take macro (super close up) shots of rings during engagement sessions and cleaning it makes a huge difference! I send couples my absolute favorite ring cleaner pen when they book with me, and I’ve used a lot of ring cleaners, but this pen is by far the best!!!
If you have any other special rings, bring those too! I photograph a lot of Naval Academy couples, and they usually bring their Navy class ring(s). I also had a bride who is a Ravens cheerleader and she brought her Ravens ring. Nothing is off limits!
Lastly, if you have a special ring box or dish, bring it! I know Mrs. Boxes are super popular, but you don’t get to actually use them very often. Anything you bring, we will photograph! You also don’t HAVE to have a ring box, so if you don’t have one please don’t go out and buy one! But if you do have one, we will make good use of it!
Make It A Date!
I know you spent a lot of time and effort planning for your engagement session, so make plans afterwards for the two of you to just be together. Make a date out of it and go out for dinner afterwards, or plan to order takeout and watch your favorite show. I’m sure your lives are busy, so take this one day to put the stress of life/wedding planning aside and just enjoy each other’s company.
For more engagement session & wedding inspiration, head to my Pinterest!