Planning Your Engagement Photography Session

Updated: Feb 5


moissonite engagement ring in moss

I love engagement sessions! I might love them even more than wedding days, I'm not sure, but I definitely recommend that every couple have an engagement session done for a few reasons.

  • You can get to know your photographer, their way of working, and their artistic style better.

  • You'll build a rapport with your photographer and feel more comfortable being photographed by them on your wedding day.

  • Your photographer gets to study you and learn your best angles and the poses that flatter you the most, so they're extra prepared for your wedding portraits that are often done on a more limited timeline.

  • So few couples get professional photos done of themselves besides their wedding photos, so it's great to have some really nice photos that aren't in your wedding clothes.

  • The photos can be used for save-the-dates, wedding invitations, guest books, thank you cards, and more!

couple embracing for engagement photography session

Time and Place

Choosing the time and place for your session is so important. Some couples want a location that is symbolic to their relationship while others only care that the place matches a certain aesthetic. My advice to all my couples is that no matter what kind of location we aim for, that it has a lot of variety and space for us to explore so that not all the photos we take look the same. I like to deliver variety in the images I take of my client couples, so it's important that the locations we go to for engagement sessions aren't limiting in their scenic ability. The three photos below were all from the same location, but as you can see they look like three completely different locations.

Another thing that is important to me is the time of day, and the day of the week. I always prefer weekday evenings for engagement sessions. A lot of the locations we go to are popular public locations for families, so on the weekends they can be crowded with families, making it harder to frame a perfect shot without other people in the background, as well as making it difficult for the couple to not feel self-conscious about being photographed or getting a little more intimate with each other for some more romantic photos. The other thing about evenings is that the sun is at a great height in the sky for soft, beautiful golden light and that enables some of the gorgeous sun-play you see in my portfolio.

Styling

A question I get from a lot of my clients is "What should we wear?" I don't like to dictate to my clients the outfits they should wear because I want them to look and feel like themselves in their photos, but a good rule of thumb is to dress in clothes that are a little nicer than your everyday casual wear but that you still feel comfortable moving around in. I say this because my client couples and I tend to be a lot more active and athletic during sessions with me than with some other photographers who might be more "glam." I'm still waiting for the couple who can execute a Dirty Dancing lift on camera for me. UPDATE: This challenge has been accepted and completed by the fabulous Melissa & Sean, who did the lift at their engagement session and their wedding! #goals

Some Key Outfit Tips:

  • You should both wear solids or one solid and one pattern, but not both in patterns.

  • Don't try to match your outfits to each other - they should compliment each other without looking like they're the same outfit.

  • Choose color schemes that accent the season - pastels and brights for spring and summer, darks and muted for fall, and whites and neutrals for winter.

  • You can't go wrong with dark jeans or khakis, they always look good.

  • For winter, come with layers that look photo-ready. They can be your winter coats with cute hats and scarves, just so long as it's not your grungy parka you only use for shoveling.

  • We will see your feet in some photos, so be happy with your footwear. I have had couples that have walking/hiking shoes and picture shoes.

diamond engagement ring in lilacs
Pro Tip: Clean your engagement ring before the session! I always take at least one image of the ring by itself during the session, so you want to make sure it's looking super amazing for it's close-up!

Make the Session Personal

There are lots of different ways to make the session unique to you and to help make the images more personal. I have had several couples bring along props that they wanted to incorporate that show off their wedding date for a save-the-date. Or a wedding hashtag sign so they can put the photo in a frame a their wedding and guests will know what hashtag to use for the Instagram photos they'll post. Also, I will always welcome it when couples want to include their children or fur-babies in some of their engagement photos. And definitely don't be afraid to show your unique personality during your session! If you're a little weird and kooky, I want to see it. If you love music and you play instruments together, please play a little song for me. If you want to have a wine picnic, bottoms up!


For more great tips on wedding planning or getting inspired for your big day in photos, download my free Wedding Photography Planning Guide and get instant wedding planning zen.

Schedule Your New England Engagement Session Today!

If you're ready to have an amazing engagement photography experience that truly reflects who you are, contact me now so we can discuss your vision and get you on my calendar ASAP!

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