Now that you have picked a date, a photographer and probably a venue as well, you can celebrate! Those are some of the toughest decisions in wedding planning and you can cross them off your list! Amazing!! Now onto the fun stuff… like your engagement session! Preparing for your engagement session doesn’t have to be stressful. In fact, your engagement session should be really, really fun!
We include engagement sessions as a complementary part of our Wedding Collections because we truly believe that they are a VITAL part of the entire process. During your engagement session, you’ll have the chance to get to know us, experience how we shoot and how we handle posing and lighting.
This session will make a HUGE impact on how the wedding day flows. We’ll arrive on your wedding day already knowing how you two interact, what your best poses are and how to photograph you in a genuine way! What we will learn about you during your engagement session is invaluable! You will feel so natural on your big day because of the great practice you had during your engagement session, and that’s how it should be! When you think about it, preparing for your engagement session is like preparing for your wedding day!
Your engagement session can be scheduled anytime before your wedding day. We normally suggest booking it at least 3-6 months in advance to avoid stress. Because our weekends are filled with weddings, we shoot engagements on weekday evenings, normally from 5-7 PM depending on the light and the time of the year. In the winter months, 3-5 PM is a normal time frame for an e-shoot!
We want your engagement session to be as fun and memorable as you are and we want you to look and feel your best. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your session!
Preparing for your engagement session
Pick a Location
As you start preparing for your engagement session, you will need to start brainstorming about location ideas. We LOVE it when couples pick a location that is special or sentimental to them in some way! While we are always ready to suggest some of our favorite places, choosing a place that has meaning to you will not only have you feeling in-the-zone, but it will add that extra “YES!” to your session. Timing is important – The best time to shoot any portraits is normally 2 hours after sunrise or 2 hours before sunset. This rule of thumb can be applied to any time of the year. As long as the light is great, we can make any location look awesome! We shoot at farms, mountaintops, campuses, even downtown alleys! We’re serious! Don’t shy away from crazy ideas! The more creative, the better!
Your engagement session doesn’t have to be posed and perfect. Think about what you like to do as a couple. Do you like to go hiking? Swimming? Going to the arcade? Having a picnic? You can always choose to do a fun activity, and simply invite us to tag along! We always recommend making your engagement session part of a day-long date. Not only does this give you plenty of time for photos without feeling rushed, but starting your day in this mindset helps you feel connected and romantic as you head into the photo shoot. Start your day with a boozy brunch or coffee at your favorite spot, then after your session, head out for a night on the town!
Another way you can make your experience personal and memorable, is to bring along any props that are special to you. We want your session to scream YOU, so if that means bringing your four-legged friend along or props that tell your story, please do! We can incorporate them into your photos in a fun way. Maybe it’s something from your proposal or a hobby you both love and share, maybe it’s a food you love or a bottle of wine that is special. Whatever you want in your photos, we’ll do our best to make it happen!
We plan on making your session FUN! Be prepared to laugh and move, and of course dress for the session! We tend to photograph engagement sessions all over – it may be a field, a roof top, an arcade, the top of a mountain, or in a lake – so it’s always best to dress for your session. Now, if you want to wear a fancy dress and full suit on the top of a mountain we’re there for it – though we would advise dressing more comfortably for the trek up there and bringing your fancy clothes to change into once we get there! Which brings us to…
What to Wear
One of the questions we are asked most frequently by our clients is “What should we wear?” This is probably the most difficult part of preparing for your engagement session. Your photos are an investment that you have most likely spent some time and money on, and besides adorning the walls of your home and probably your Save-the-Dates, they will be passed down for generations to come. You definitely want to look your best!
Do you have a certain color that you really love to wear? Wear it! Do you love dresses? Wear one! Find something that makes you feel beautiful! If you are comfortable in what you are wearing, it will transfer to your photos. Being comfortable and confident in what we’re wearing can make a huge difference in how we feel and how relaxed we are in front of the camera.
You don’t have to match. Pick outfits and accessories that are coordinated but not exactly the same. Choose colors that look nice together, and add some variety to your photos by incorporating plenty of color and/or patterns. On the flip side, if your personality is suited to a more subtle look, neutrals photograph beautifully as well. You can easily keep your color scheme neutral and add in smaller amounts of color for variety.
There are a few tones that are less flattering for photos that we usually recommend our clients avoid, specifically neon colors, and wearing white. White tends to wash out most people’s skin tones and isn’t most flattering. This isn’t to say you can’t have any white on, but it might be best to not make it your principle color of choice. Neon colors will cast bright colors onto your skin in photos, and can make it difficult to capture your natural skin tones. While neon colors are a lot of fun, it’s best to save them for occasions outside of photo time.
It’s OK to bring another outfit for your session. Most couples like to start more “dressy” and bring a more casual/fun outfit for later, but depending on where your session is planned to take place, you may want to switch it up and start more comfortable and save your fancy clothes for last.
There is a TON of outfit inspiration on Pinterest. Don’t be afraid to accessorize – layers make outfits more interesting. And when in doubt, ask us! Clients text me all the time to get input on their outfit choices. We love to help!
All About the Details
The little details make the biggest difference when preparing for your engagement session. Some brides opt to have their makeup trial done right before their engagement session so that they can see what their makeup will look like in pictures before the wedding day! I highly recommend this! It’s always fun when a bride gets her hair and makeup done for her shoot! If you want to do your own makeup, make sure you apply your eye makeup a little heavier than normal for your pictures. We will also be taking a ring shot, so if your diamond could use a little cleaning, that would make it really SHINE! This also applies to nails.This a great excuse for that manicure you have been wanting! (Don’t forget the guys either – make sure their nails are clean and shaped and they have that hair cut and beard trip they have been putting off for a while!)
Be on Time
This is super important! When we are preparing for your engagement session, we always aim to maximize the time you have to score the absolutely best light, so getting started on time will be very important. We always want to try to include golden hour in your session, so if we get started late, we may either miss it, or end up trying to finish up in the dark!
The most important thing for you to remember is to just enjoy this time together. Let this be a time that you have fun with each other, tell silly stories, and laugh a lot. You don’t have to be an expert or supermodel for great photos! Trust us to help you capture this special time. Enjoy your time with us and make a date out of it! This is your time to celebrate each other!
Remember that we don’t expect you to be a pro at this. We work with normal, everyday couples ALL the time. We hardly ever work with models! We can’t speak for all photographers but we tell our couples that it takes a good 20 minutes to warm up at the beginning of their shoot. So relax and don’t be nervous! You’re going to be great at this! Trust your photographer, allow us to be creative and you’ll have an amazing shoot!
More From Rachel and Zack
Long Acres Barn – Kernersville, North Carolina Engagement Session
We absolutely loved spending this chilly, October morning with Rachel and Zack! They will be back here at Long Acres Barn with them next October for their wedding day. They were a little nervous about their session, but with some guidance and a few prompts to get them started, they quickly warmed up to the camera! Our goal during engagement sessions is to have a great time and get to know one another. I think we succeeded in accomplishing both of those goals here!
I hope this post was helpful for you! If you want more information about planning wedding your wedding check out our Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist. If you want to see more of our amazing couples and their engagement sessions, check out our favorites gallery!