YAY, you are engaged! This is so freakin’ exciting! You found your person and now you are getting MARRIED. You might be feeling a little unsure about what to expect during an engagement session. Many couples have never had professional photos taken prior to their engagement session, so you are not alone if you are feeling that way!
I wanted to create a guide to walk you through what to consider before your session. Your photographer will be available to help you throughout the process, but I’m always a fan of sharing as much helpful information as I can! You can check out an engagement session that I photographed last fall here.
When Should We Plan Our Engagement Session?
Typically, engagement sessions are held about 6-8 months before your wedding date. The main reason for this is so you have time to design and mail your Save The Dates. If you are not planning on using your engagement photos for your Save The Dates, then you have a little bit more flexibility. Another item to consider is what season you would like to take your photos in so be sure to take that into account as well! Spring and fall are the most popular times of year, but for good reason. If you’d like to have your engagement session in the spring or fall, be sure to let your photographer know right away.
This is one of the first questions you might have as you’re planning your engagement session: What location do we choose? I always encourage my couples to choose a location that means something to you. Your photos will feel much more like you and your partner if you choose a location that you vibe with. We can visit a place that might be meaningful to your relationship, incorporate an activity that you both enjoy, or explore somewhere new that you’ve been dying to visit!
Do you like to go on hikes together? Maybe you love exploring different breweries in your area. Maybe you play the guitar and want to go on a picnic together. Where did your proposal happen? First date? Where did you meet or know that your partner was ‘the one’? The options and possibilities are truly endless. Here are some other ideas:
- Your favorite coffee shop
- Carnival/amusement park
- Ice cream parlor (Hanna’s Ice Cream Shoppe and Kristy’s Whistle Stop instantly come to mind!)
- Farmer’s market
- Inside your own home
One of my couples chose to explore Longwood Gardens for their engagement session. Longwood Gardens is always one of my favorite locations. You do have to purchase tickets in order to visit, but it is totally worth it. You can easily spend an entire day there. There is so much to explore and so many different areas so you can have a very diverse gallery!
My style is all about genuine laughter and organic moments. You want to feel like yourself in your photos. Wear something that makes you feel comfortable. If you feel your best in a brand new outfit, do that! Or if you’re more comfortable in your favorite dress or favorite jeans, wear that! I use lots of movement when I prompt you, so you may be running, jumping, sitting, and dancing around. It is important that you are comfortable!
You will also want to coordinate with your partner. This doesn’t mean you need to be super matchy-matchy. You’ll want to be sure that one partner doesn’t look super casual (t-shirt and jeans) and the other partner is super dressed up (dress and heels) because that will be noticeable in your photos. If you want to have a more casual look and a dressier look, most photographers are perfectly okay with an outfit change during your session. (But be sure to check with your photographer!)
This one is huge. Believe it or not, the colors you wear make a huge difference in how the photos turn out. Neutral colors are always the safest. Avoid any clothing with logos or super distracting patterns. Don’t worry though, I love to help if you’re unsure or trying to narrow down your options! Let me know when you are shopping around or going through your closet and I’m happy to assist. I am also happy to send you a Pinterest board I created with lots of inspiration!
Make a Mood Board
This one may seem silly but I love a good mood board. If you’re struggling to describe the look you’re going for, or if you just aren’t sure yet, look around on Pinterest and Instagram. Save what you like. From here we can create the vibe and aesthetic you are going for.
- Leave the Apple/smart watches at home!
- If you wear your watch often and have a tan line, a little bit of bronzer can help blend everything together
- If you choose to paint your nails, make sure you do it the morning of or the day before so the polish doesn’t chip since I will be sure to get some up close photos of your engagement ring
- Wear comfortable shoes
- Remember, we will be doing a lot of walking and moving around!
- Bring some water (especially if it is the summertime)
- Bring a small bag with you to carry around any items you might need such as your water, phones, a light jacket, or a comb.
Lastly, I encourage my couples to make their engagement session feel like a date. You should have lots of fun during your session! Plan to get some dinner afterwards (or take out – then you can relax on your own couch and watch some Netflix… my favorite type of date night!)
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