5 Tips to Best Prepare for your Engagement Session

Happy February friends! I’m hopping on here to chat about something that brings a lot of joy to my heart. And that is engagement sessions.

Back in July of 2019, I got engaged to the love of my life! He proposed late one night on the beach in Ocean City, just the two of us. To make a long story short, we did not have a lot of time to plan our wedding (we got married November 16, 2019). But even though we had a very short engagement, we made time to get some gorgeous engagement photos, thanks to my talented friend Gretchen Trumble Photography.

As a wedding photographer, I believe one of the best ways I can serve my clients is by taking engagement photos for them. That is why, I include a complimentary engagement session in each one of my wedding packages (for more information about my wedding packages, click here). Doing engagement photos for my clients allows me to get to know them prior to the wedding day. It also gives them an opportunity to get in front of my camera before the wedding day and used to my posing. Additionally, engagement photos make for wonderful pictures for your guestbook.

But if you are like most engaged couples, you maybe don’t even know where to begin when planning your engagement session. In this blog post, I will provide my top five tips to get the most out of your engagement session. For clients who book with me, I provide a 50-page style guide that tells you everything you need to know before your engagement session.

  1. Location

When it comes to the location for your engagement photos, you want to pick a place that you not only love, but also that means something to you as a couple. While the beach provided a perfect back-drop for our engagement photos, it also meant a lot to us individually and as a couple. We both grew up going to the beach and we got engaged at the beach.

If you met at a coffee shop or a bar in Albany, Saratoga or Troy, then photos in the city may be for you! Did he pop the question to you while hiking in the Adirondacks? Then mountain photos may be more your thing! Upstate NY provides a wide variety of places to schedule your session. Want to travel to the beach or out of state? I love to travel, especially for Engagement Sessions, and only charge a small fee to cover gas and tolls.

Additionally, you want to pick a location that matches your “vibe”. For example, if you want your photos to be bright and airy, location and lighting matters. Need some ideas? I would love to help you pick the perfect place for your engagement session.

2. Timing

In addition to choosing a place that you both love, you may also want to pick a season with save the dates in mind. For example, if you are getting married in September, you will want to send out your save the dates by March. So if you want fall photos for your engagement session, you may want to do them as early as a year prior to your wedding date.

When you’re planning “getting ready” time before your session (scheduling your hair, makeup, etc.) please give yourself a lot more time than you think you’ll need. Make sure to account for things like traffic, getting lost and parking, so you can prevent unnecessary stress, arrive a few minutes early to your session and be ready to start on time. I schedule sessions 2 hours prior to sunset, unless it’s a sunrise session. I am only able to shoot when light is still in the sky, so we’ll want to take advantage of every minute we have together before the sun goes down!

3. Outfits

One of the most common questions I get before a session is, “what should I wear?” This is a great question and one I always struggle with before I get my picture taken. For my couples, my engagement session style guide goes into great detail about outfits. But I always encourage couples to stick with neutral colors. You do not necessarily need to match your fiance, but you also don’t want to clash. Also, think about the location of your session. Is what you are going to wear tie into the background and location?

Since this is most likely the one day prior to your wedding where you are getting professional photos taken, I always encourage couples to dress to impress. This is the time to buy a nice dress, a fancy suit, and pull out the high heels. For couples who may want a more casual look, you can always dress more comfortably to start, and then end with your wow outfit, when that golden hour light is magical. Don’t be afraid to get your nails done or pay for professional makeup, as even the little details can a layer of professionalism to the photos.

4. Props

Another common question I receive before engagement sessions is “can I bring props?” YES! In fact, I highly encourage couples to bring props. What are some items you can bring along that will help tell your love story? Perhaps you met at a bar or had your first date at a coffee shop. Then a bottle of wine or coffee mugs would be fun props to bring. Additionally, items like flowers, a blanket, or a cool sign can add variety to your engagement photos.

I also have many people ask if they can bring their dog along to their engagement session. YES! As long as it’s a location where pets are allowed, then bring along your dog. If it isn’t a season where you dog can be in the car during part of the session, then bring someone along who can watch your dog (as you more than likely will not want your pet in every single photo of your engagement session). If someone will be bringing your pet to the session, have them bring him or her at the end, that way if things get a little chaotic, we already have those “must have” shots done.

5. Miscellaneous tips

If you’ve made it this far, thank you! My desire is for you to get the most out of your engagement session and to answer any questions you may have. Here are a few additional tips for you to get the most out of your session:

Go pro on the hair and makeup. It looks amazing on camera and removes the stress of getting ready on your own. You’ll have these photos forever, so this is the time to pamper yourself! Whether it’s lash extensions or blown-out hair, professional hair and makeup will give you an extra boost of confidence in front of the camera, and it always photographs like a dream. If you’re working with a makeup artist, have her apply your makeup in natural light (if possible) so that it looks fresh and not too heavy.

Get your nails done and clean your ring (brides). Your ring hand will be featured in a lot of the photos, so if you have time before your session, I recommend getting your ring cleaned and treating yourself to a manicure.

Skip the spray tan. Although it might seem counter-intuitive, I recommend that you do not get a spray tan before your session (even a few days prior) because it tends to photograph orange even when it’s applied subtly and by a professional. Your actual skin tone will photograph most beautifully.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you are able to enjoy this season of engagement!

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