How to Prep for your Engagement Session

April 11, 2020

Capturing your engagement images is an exciting milestone. This session is meant to be fun! It is also so beneficial to you. During the engagement session, you get used to being in front of the camera which will help ease your nerves on your wedding day. 
For most, this is your first time ever being professionally photographed. So you want to prepare for this the right way, right? 

Choosing a location:I love when my couples use a location of significance. Using a location that is unique to you as a couple makes the story of your session that much more compelling. I have had couples use college campuses, because they met in college. I have also had couples choose a mountain side, because one of their favorite activities is hiking together. If you don’t have a location that is significant to you, the second idea I always recommend is thinking outside the box. Think of some of your connections to your networks and ask people you know for access to locations that are usually off limits to the public. You can really stand out and create a unique vision just by reaching out to people you might know. It never hurts to ask. Most people will say yes! Lastly, if you really need help and can’t find a location, I send all of my brides a list of locations in the area to use that are absolutely free! Don’t hesitate to ask for help. I always like you to brainstorm unique locations, but if you are feeling stressed, just ask me for my list. 

Time: Timing is everything when it comes to perfecting your engagement session. Have you ever heard of golden hour? If not ,that is okay! Golden hour happens twice a day. Once when the sun rises and again when it sets. Golden hour is prime time for photographing. It is when the light becomes perfectly glowy and creates natural luminescence on your hair and bodies. This is when the light is most flattering on the skin. Your engagement session should be scheduled to start two hours before the sun goes down. This is when the light is at its prime. Now I did say that golden hour happens twice a day, so if you are willing to wake up with the birds, you can also start your engagement session one hour before the sun rises. I usually only recommend this to clients who want to photograph their session in a busy city or very popular location, such as New York City or the Brooklyn Bridge. Many people are not waking up before the sun and if they are, it is probably not because they want to go see the bridge. 

Your Outfit Choice: This is the one that my clients struggle with the most. I send all of my brides a Style Guide before their scheduled session. I recommend the types of fabric and colors that photograph the most flattering on camera. The question my clients ask me the most whether they should dress up or dress casually. My answer is both! How often do you get to wear that gorgeous dress that has been sitting in your closet for months, or maybe you want to add a new fancy piece to your collection. You are only doing this once, so dress it up. Go over the top. The more pieces you bring to your session the more romantic your images look. Then, half way through your session, you can change. Bring something more casual, maybe your favorite pair of jeans that fit just right. Bringing two outfits gives your gallery a larger variety. You can use the first set of images as a beautiful canvas to hang in your home, and save the second half for your social media or mini album. 

Hair and Make-Up:Do you really need to go professional with your hair and make-up? Well, no, you don’t have to, but don’t you want an excuse to get your favorite blow out and put on the fake lashes. In my experience, professional hair and makeup always pop during engagement sessions, more often when you are mixing the two with golden hour glow. It stands out. Now, if you are someone who likes a more simple look, then you can find an artist who styles more casual, or you can bypass all together. The choice is always yours, you are going to look fabulous no matter what. 

Extras: A few extra tips I always recommend. First, think about the time of year it is. If it is mid July and you are expecting a heat wave, bring a lot of water with you! I always give my couples the option to take a break if they need it, but it is always good to have water with you just in case. If you are shooting in mid February and it is going to be really cold, wear layers. The more hats and scarves you wear the more we get to intertwine them into your images. So snuggle up and dress warm. I always recommend that my ladies wear heels, because they are so flattering on camera, but there can be a lot of walking during engagement sessions. So don’t be afraid to break out the old navy flip flops or crocs for walking in between sets. Your feet will be so happy you did. If you want to bring something extra to your engagement session, like a bottle of bubbly to pop open or a fancy bouquet, then go for it! The more elements you have, the more fun we can create. 

Lastly, it’s not every day that you two get dressed up. If you chose to pay for your hair and makeup and you love your outfit, then go have fun after. Plan a date night after your engagement session. Let’s be honest, your groom is most likely not that excited to take pictures for two hours. He is doing it because he loves you. So let him pick his favorite location and spend the rest of your night together. Buy that man a beer and thank him for doing something that is important to you!

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