An engagement session guide for all my lovely couples!
An engagement session is a couple’s portrait photography session celebrating this very special time in your life! Typically, engagement sessions are casual and give us a chance to get to know one another without all the pressure of the wedding day. They usually take about 1-2 hours and can be a lot of fun!
Where we shoot is entirely up to you. Sometimes couples choose locations where they proposed, others a favorite bar or outdoor spot (there are literally SO MANY great spots!!). This session is about the two of you. GET CREATIVE. Is eating pizza together all you do? Let’s head to a local pizza shop! Think out of the box! Once you select a location, I can work alongside you to make sure if special permitting is required to shoot in a particular location. I also freaking LOVE TO TRAVEL, so if you want to travel for your session LET’S GOOOOOOOO babe! When you decide on a city, state or country let me know and we can work out the details!
Since the engagement session will be your first time in front of my camera, I want to help you feel relaxed and as prepared as possible. As a result, I’ve created this little guide to help you get ready for our time together. It includes answers to my clients’ top 10 most frequently asked questions about their engagement sessions and will hopefully give you an overview of what to expect! I’m always here to help with recommendations or ideas if you need them, too.
1.) COMFORT IS KEY
While shopping for a brand new outfit is something fun and exciting my clients love to do for their engagement sessions, I always emphasize how important it is for their outfits to be comfortable. If you do decide to get everything brand new (and really, who can blame you!?), make sure you wear it at least once before your shoot to make sure it fits and feels great. This is especially important for things like shoes, which can cause all kinds of problems if they aren’t broken in properly!
2.) TWO IS BETTER THAN ONE
Want to try out a couple looks? Great! I encourage my clients to bring two outfits to their engagement session. Before we begin, I’ll ask you to show me both outfits so I can help plan which one would go best with which backdrops. We’ll pause halfway through the session to give you time to change.
3.) PREPARE THE NIGHT BEFORE
Take some time the day before your shoot to get everything together, cleaned, ironed, and steamed! Make sure your accessories are in one place, any wrinkles in your clothing are history, and any stains / spots are busted well before the shoot. I’ll remind you that your session is coming up a few days beforehand, so you’ll have plenty of time and no excuses to be well prepared. Being relaxed before your session is key to beautiful, natural images.
4.) DON’T SKIMP ON THE HAIR + MAKEUP!
Ladies, this is a big one! I always tell my clients to think very seriously about having hair and makeup professionally styled for their engagement photos. This is a once-in-a-lifetime moment for you. Hiring a professional will ensure you look your absolute best on camera.
5.) WEAR COMPLIMENTARY OUTFITS
I recommend that my couples wear outfits which complement each other rather than match. What does that mean? Well, try not to wear the exact same colors (you aren’t twins!), but do pick colors that go well together. Match each other’s outfit in terms of formality rather than literal colors and patterns. If one person is wearing a bright, bold pattern, it might be a good idea for the other to wear something a little more toned down and neutral! Again, don’t try to match, but pick outfits and accessories that coordinate instead!
6.) PATTERNS ARE EVERYTHING!
Big, bold patterns (like florals, checkers, or polka-dots) are a no-fail way to ensure your clothing looks amazing on camera. For patterns, the bigger the better, so keep that in mind when choosing your outfit! I recommend on focusing only one of you wearing a pattern at a time (i.e. if you wear a floral dress, your fiancé should wear a solid shirt. If your partner wears a checkered shirt, wear a solid dress!).
Accessorizing is fun, looks amazing on camera, and highly encouraged. Ladies – go for it! Hats, belts, scarves, necklaces, hair scarves, earrings, rings – bring it on! If you’re able, wear heels! It makes us stand up taller and elongates the body :). For the guys, try to avoid technology accessories (I can’t tell you how many times a smart watch has ruined a beautiful image) but don’t be afraid to try some fun socks or fun shoes.
8.) LONG + FLOWY = ROMANCE
Ladies – if you’re looking for a dreamy, romantic look in your images, I highly suggest choosing an outfit that’s long and flowy. Look for long, romantic dresses or flowy skirts in gauzy fabric that catch the breeze and the light. High heels and delicate, sparkly jewelry add a finishing touch!
Feel free to bring something with your wedding date on it – not required but if you have something you want incorporated then by all means, let’s do it!!
10.) BRING YOUR DOGGO!
Doggos are part of the family and if you have a furry friend, you can absolutely bring them along to our shoot! Just like humans, your dog needs prep for photoshoots too ;)! If you do decide to bring your dog to your engagement session, here are some tips to helping get them photo ready –
• Bring plenty of treats to reward and incentivize them throughout the session
• Make sure to bring water for when they need to take a quick sip
• Poop bags, because when nature calls 💩…
• Think about coordinating with a cute leash, bandana, or bow tie for your dog that compliments you + your fiancé’s outfits
• Bring along their favorite squeaky toy! You can hand it to me, and I can use it to get their attention to smile towards the camera 🙂
• Baby wipes and a Tide pen! This might be a weird one, BUT if your pet gets a little excited and jumps up on either of you, then a baby wipe or tide pen will help get out any smudges, scuffs, or marks on your clothing
• A backpack to easily carry all you + doggo’s essentials
• A friend or relative to watch your pup when they’re not in the photo 😜
SOME BONUS TIPS…
11.) PRACTICE SOME SELF CARE
Remember to get plenty of rest the night before your session so you can wake up refreshed and ready!
AND be sure to stay hydrated as that will help make your skin glow and look fabulous ;)!
12.) JUST BE YOU 🙂
Everyone has their own unique style, and it’s OK to choose an outfit that expresses who you are! You don’t have to try to look a certain way or match what your friends did for their engagement sessions or what you’ve seen on Pinterest. Just be yourself!
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Yet so many of my clients get worried about whether they need to know how to pose, find the right backdrop, turn into the light a certain way. Well I’ve said it many times and I’ll say it again, RELAX! Those things are all my job! All you have to do is show up looking fabulous, and I’ll take care of the rest. Promise!
Lastly, if you’re feeling a little anxious about this whole picture thing, you’re not alone and know that is TOTALLY OK TO FEEL THAT WAY! I have great news for you…YOU ARE WAY MORE PHOTOGENIC THAN YOU THINK BB!! I will help guide you every step of the way with fun promptings to get you moving and laughing, or meditative breathes to melt into a relaxing moment together. I am constantly surprising clients by discovering their hidden modeling skills and our most common response from our Hey Honey clients are, “That was so easy and fun!!” When people say that taking pictures was FUN, I have done my job well! Your portrait session is supposed to be fun and relaxed and not forced or awkward.
If you haven’t yet booked your engagement session, let’s bee friends bb and plan out what you’re looking for in your wedding photographer!! Learn more here 🙂