Here’s Our Best Advice About Engagement Sessions
As professional wedding photographers we have photographed many couples preparing for their upcoming wedding. Some couples feel anxious and unsure what to do in front of the camera, and some couples feel completely relaxed and love being photographed. We have gathered our best tips, and ideas all in one blog post to help ease those photography jitters you may have before your engagement session.
#1 Have an Engagement Session!
Our #1 tip is to schedule an engagement session! Some couples may think they don’t need/want an engagement session for one reason or another. Photos from your engagement session are excellent for save-the-dates, wedding websites, gifts for friends and family, and so much more! What better way to enjoy such an exciting time in your lives than to have photos capturing those memories decorating your home. Engagement photos are also handy for guest books and displays at your wedding. It’s also a great way for us to get to know each other prior to your wedding day. Come the day of your wedding we’ll be a familiar friendly face rather than strangers showing up the day of. Think of it as practice for your big day!
#2 Schedule Session ASAP
Schedule your engagement session as soon as possible. Save-the-dates are generally sent out 4-6 months prior to your wedding date (longer if it’s a destination wedding). Once you’ve signed your wedding photography contract with us, get your session scheduled and on the calendar. Weather may cause the session to be rescheduled, so scheduling it early on will allow a buffer to reschedule your session.
#3 Schedule Professional Hair & Makeup
Coordinate an appointment with your hair stylist and makeup artist the day of your scheduled engagement session. This is a great time to start thinking about hair styles for your wedding and to establish a relationship with your stylist and artist. Professional makeup artists are trained on how to apply your makeup to be best photographed. It will also be an opportunity to relax and be pampered before the session. Men should have a haircut within a few days of the session and have a clean shave (if appropriate) Let us know if you need any hair stylist or makeup artist recommendations.
#4 Schedule a Manicure
Your hands are going to be featuring your new bling and be on show. It’s important to have a clean and fresh manicure to not take away from your beautiful engagement ring. Treat yourself to a manicure a 1-2 days before your session. A classic French manicure is what we recommend as it goes with everything and looks clean and fresh. If you prefer color, be sure it will coordinate with your clothing choices and is not too bold/bright. We would be more than happy to help with color choices before your session. Men should also have clean, cut nails and clean hands. The morning of your engagement session is not the time to be changing the oil on your car, or start a new paint project
#5 What to Wear?
Dress for the season! If your engagement session is in the middle of winter, cute wool coats with coordinating hats/scarves and or sweaters are appropriate. In the middle of summer dresses, and lighter slacks or shorts with dress shirts are best. Jeans and sweaters work well in the fall/spring. Your engagement photos should reflect on you as a couple, so if you have a certain style or want to go for a certain look then dress for that keeping in mind a couple of things. Colors should coordinate with each other and we suggest to limit patterns and bold colors. Be comfortable! If you are not comfortable or don’t like your outfit, it will be obvious in the photos. Jewelry should be kept simple and coordinate with clothing. Stud earrings and a simple necklace always look nice and won’t be a distraction. You may want to bring a change of clothes if time/location permits for a different look. Feel free to send us photos of your clothing/jewelry ahead of time, we would be more than happy to help/make suggestions.
#6 Have Engagement Ring Cleaned
Since the whole reason for this session is most likely due to the fact that you’re sporting a new, shiny ring on your finger, it’s important it looks its best. Although your session is all about you as a couple, if you have an engagement ring, we’ll be taking a few photos of it and showing it off on your hands. The day of or a couple days before make sure to have your ring cleaned or clean it yourself. Most jewelers will do this for free wherever the ring came from. Or it is easy enough to do at home with some warm water, mild soap, and an old toothbrush.
#7 Lighting is key!
The timing of your engagement session is crucial. To really get that romantic, dramatic lighting its best to schedule your session early in the morning or later in the afternoon/evening. An hour before/after sunset/sunrise will most likely result in the best light for your photos. The session will take anywhere from 45-90 minutes, so depending on what season your session is going to take place will determine what time the session should take place. We’ll advise you on what the best time will be depending on the local sunrise/sunset times.
#8 Set the Scene
If there is a certain location that is special to you as a couple let us know. We are open to location suggestions and have a list of our own that we know work best. If there’s an activity that you enjoy doing as a couple, lets make it happen! How about a romantic picnic, a stroll on the beach, or ice skating? Let us know what you have for ideas and we’ll try our best to make it happen. If there are some small props you think will enhance your session, bring them along, and we’ll give it try! A small banner or sign with your wedding date makes for a great save-the-date photo.
#9 Make it a Date
Extend the day of your engagement session and make it a date. Start the morning off with breakfast and coffee or end the evening at your favorite restaurant. Planning a wedding is no easy task, so making the most of your free time together and celebrating each other is crucial to reduce stress. Setting the mindset for the day can result in some gorgeous images.
#10 Children and Dogs
Children and dogs can be an important part of your lives, and possibly part of your wedding day. If you want to involve your children or fur kids, we recommend including them in a few sets of photos in the beginning of the session. It is helpful to have a friend or family member at the session that can attend to them while they’re not being photographed. Let us know ahead of time if you plan on having anyone else in the photos other than yourselves.
#11 Have fun!
Having fun during your engagement session is our most important tip! (besides #1) If you are not having fun and enjoying yourselves, it will reflect in your photos. Go into the session with an open mind, relax, laugh, and be in the moment with your partner. We’ll be giving you cues, and making you laugh throughout the session. Some of the best engagement photos are when our couples act themselves and pretend like we’re not even there. We’ll be far enough away we won’t hear your whispers of sweet nothings. So, if all else fails, kiss, hold hands, and tell each other fart jokes!