Planning / Preparing for your engagement session

Your engagement session should be exciting and fun and there are things you can do to ensure your session goes as smoothly as it possibly can!

First things first, it is very important to be on time to your session. Most of the time we are scheduling around the sun and sunset so we are already limited on shooting time. If you are late, that takes time away from your session because we will still end when the light is no longer ideal. And I don't want you to feel rushed at all! I want you to enjoy your session as much as possible!

Why do engagement photos?

Being engaged is such a short time in your relationship together. It’s a time of big changes, momentous occasions in your lives, lots of planning, decision making and, of course, paying for things together, sometimes for the first time in your relationship. And it will pass quickly. Documenting it is just as important as any other milestone. But having an engagement session does something even more important than just give you photos of before you were married. It allows you both to get comfortable with me as your photographer, learn my style and just get used to having photos taken together. Engagement shoots let me get to know you, individually as well as together a couple. I get to see how you love each other, how you interact, how comfortable you are with “pda” and your style and what you’re looking for in your wedding photography. Aaaaaand, you can display some of your engagement photos at your reception, use them for save the dates, invitations and guestbooks!

What should we wear?

My advice to clients is always this: start with an outfit you would wear to a special day at church. Ladies, dresses and skirts always look great (if you feel good in one) and they portray movement in your photos, which helps them look more natural. Guys, nice jeans are acceptable but “dress pants” will dress up the session to make it classier and more “high end”. And shoes will make or break your session. I know it sounds crazy, but one person in a dress and cute heels or flats and the other in jeans and tennis shoes will conflict, so I suggest wearing nice shoes as well. And make sure your shoes are broken in for the session. Chances are, we will be walking around quite a bit. You’re allowed an outfit change during your session as well, so if you want a more casual outfit, definitely do that but do at least one dressier outfit. And make sure what you wear conveys your personality. You should feel comfortable and confident in what you’re wearing!

Hair and makeup

Having your hair and makeup professionally done for your engagement session is a great idea! You will be more relaxed during your session if you look and feel your best but it isn’t necessary. Here’s a pro tip for you, though. If you’re having your hair and makeup done for your wedding, schedule a trial run with your stylists for your engagement photos. The only caveat is, if it rains and we have to reschedule your engagement session, you will have to reschedule your hair and makeup appointment too, and sometimes there’s a 24 hour notice policy for salons, stylists and artists, so check when you make the appointment.

Choosing the date and time for your session
The date is totally up to you! There are certain times of the year I’m not as busy and you will get your gallery much quicker during those times but we can shoot any time of the year! As for time, my favorite time of day to shoot is to begin about 2 hours before sunset. By the time we chat for a few minutes and get comfortable and get on the same page we will have about an hour and a half to shoot. This puts us ending right around sunset and within the time that photographers refer to as “the golden hour”. This hour also exists in the hour just after sunrise buuuuut… I’ve yet to find a woman who wants to get up at 5am to have hair and makeup done so we can start shooting by 7!

Location for your engagement session

Really put some thought into this. Your engagement photos should really be a great representation of your relationship. I love shooting in locations that are special to you! I don’t care if it’s a bar, restaurant, park, your house… if it’s a special place for you, I’m game! Think about places such as where you had your first date, where you got engaged, your favorite treat places like a favorite ice cream parlor, or an amusement park or carnival. If you don’t have a place you want to shoot, I definitely have ideas that I’ve used in the past around Lancaster and Columbus or I can find a place unique to you!

Props for your session

I love when couples bring props to their session! Again, think about things that represent your relationship! Items that make great props are: special blankets, your bikes, pet(s), special signs you want to use in your photos, a picnic basket with your favorite snacks and/or drinks, your engagement ring(s) (duh), a scrapbook you have kept together… anything that is special to you as a couple and your relationship.

If you have any more ideas or questions about your session, please ask! No question is stupid and no idea is silly or should be dismissed! I want my couples to be completely informed and comfortable with the engagement shoot process and your silly idea could blossom into something incredible!! I also love when couples share their Pinterest boards with me. It gives me an idea of what you’re looking for stylistically and it can spark real inspiration. However I don’t copy other photographers’ images!

I love my clients’ input on their sessions, so don't hesitate to call, text, email, message, DM... carrier pigeon me if you have any questions, concerns or ideas you want to throw out! :)