Engagement sessions are usually done about six months before the wedding. Sessions are typically done on a weekday in the evening. Weekdays will ensure that most public places will have less people and be more accessible for shooting. If a weekend date is needed, please contact me at least two months before the desired date to check on available weekends.
Figuring out when to book is largely based on what/how you will be using the images. If you just want them for the experience, you can choose whatever season and feel you are going for. Many couples use the engagement photos for save the dates. These are usually sent four months before the wedding. In this case, you would want to book the session about six months before the wedding to make sure the editing and printing can be finished in time to send the save the dates. If you want to make a guest book to display at the wedding, you’d want to book at least three months before the wedding.
Make proper considerations for traffic, hair delays, and fashion emergencies. An average shoot lasts 1.5-2 hours… if you show up 30 minutes late, the session is not extended, bunt rather, ends at the regularly schedule time. Please don’t think ill of me… I just want to be honest in advance and let you know I want the BEST photography experience for you – and being on time achieves exactly this!
Not all locations are created equal. It’s part of the “professional” in my “title” – I can make any location “work”. Some locations, however, don’t need any assistance from anyone or anything to be beautiful. Those are the locations that will really make your session feel effortless. Some locations have great light, some locations have great backgrounds. Some locations have both – let’s find those locations!
Stay away from anything with too much pattern or colors too heavy in the red/orange range because they don’t register as well on camera. Embrace the season’s color scheme but also be yourself. I recommend one dressed-up-casual look like skinny jeans or capris with a nice top and one more formal look like your favorite Sunday dress. I would love to see him in a button down with dark jeans or grey slacks. But above all we want these pictures to feel like you guys, so think of it as your style just dressed up a little.
Guys should wear long pants or dress shorts. This means dark socks should be worn if your guys is wearing long pants. Ladies can wear skirts, capris, sun dresses, and/or pants. A reminder that you should consider the length on skirts and dresses because you will likely be sitting on the ground at some point. All the jeans should be the same tone. Dark jeans or light jeans. Khaki’s can usually be different tones. ALL clothes should be ironed. NO graphics or word art.
- Matching perfectly – coordinate, don’t replicate.
- T-shirts, ill-fitting, or outrageous clothing.
- Colors that wash you out or that are too similar to your skin tone.
- Anything damaged or worn out.
Don’t skimp on the accessories. Accessorizing your outfits with things like headbands, hats, jewelry, jackets, and boots can create a very stylized look. Color, texture, and layers are important. Layering it up adds tremendous depth to the photographs. Instead of wearing a shirt and jeans, try adding a scarf, jacket, and some fun accessories!
Ladies, it’s also a great idea to get your engagement ring cleaned right before the session so it’ll be extra shiny and sparkly! I’ll be getting up close and personal with in and you’ll want it looking its best!
Hair & Makeup
Some ladies will have their trial run for hair & makeup for the engagement session. This helps them feel a little more “done-up” for the session and boosts their confidence. I’m not saying this is a must at all.
However, what I can say is that in my experience shooting engagement sessions, ladies want to feel pretty and confidence. Sometimes spending a little extra time getting ready is all it takes for that boost of confidence! If you’d like recommendations, I’d be happy to pass those along.
It’s always fun to bring along props. I want every engagement session to look like it could be in a magazine, so feel free to bring things along that really reflect your fantastic personalities. If you like wine, bring a bottle to enjoy during the session. If you like books, grab a few favorites. The list is endless!
Some suggestions are: bids, camera, magazines, books, picnic basket, desserts, records, etc. Whatever feels like you! Some couples bring their dogs – which is a great idea! Just make sure that you also bring along someone who can take the dog when it’s not needed in a shot (there’s only so many posing we can do that will include it).
That being said, if you aren’t including your dog in the session, please don’t bring any observers. You will have a much more comfortable experience in front of the camera if you concentrate on your sweetie and the gentle guidance I will give you. Once there is an audience, clients tend to get self conscious and distracted.
For the Guy
Let’s face it – most men don’t LOVE being in front of the camera. For many couples, this will be the first time they’ve spent in front of the camera in such a substantial way. Most guys find it incredibly beneficial to be shown a few engagement sessions from my blog before hand so they can get an idea of what they’ll be asked to do. The evening before, pull up a couple of your favorite sessions to peruse – the more comfortable he feels, the more comfortable you’ll feel :)