An engagement photo session is so much more than just something extra in your wedding photography package – engagement photos are an incredible opportunity not only to connect with your future wedding photographer, but to connect as a couple! The engagement process is always a crazy blur of post-proposal calls, and a million questions about your future wedding. There isn’t always time scheduled in to simply celebrate being engaged, and this huge step that the two of you are about to take together. Although preparing for an engagement photo session can sometimes feel like just another thing in a long list that you need to check off, here are a few tips on how to prepare for your engagement session so that you can have the most fun during the session!
Your outfits are key
The thing that can make or break your shoot more than anything else is what you’re wearing – it may seem like a small detail in the grand scheme of your wedding planning, but it makes so much bigger of an impact than you would ever expect. If you’re starting to brainstorm the overall vision / feel of your wedding day, you’ll want to make sure that your engagement photos follow a similar look. If you have an elegant and modern wedding planned, you’ll want classic and timeless outfits. If you know that an important element of your wedding will be the fashion, you’ll want to ensure that your engagement session outfits follow in that pattern.
If you haven’t gotten quite that far in the process yet, it’s always a safe bet to err towards a more elegant and timeless look – a white dress is never a bad idea, nor is a tailored suit.
One final note on engagement session outfits – while an outfit change is a great way to showcase a different look, especially if you’re doing two locations for your shoot, limit your wardrobe changes to two looks only. There is a limit to the timeframe in which engagement photos feel fun and natural, and that’s usually around two hours at the max. If you come to your session with four different looks planned, that will push you well over the time that you’re going to feel authentic in your posing, and will also allow for less time to settle into posing at each location or with each outfit.
Treat it like a date night
One of my absolute favorite suggestions to give my couples when it comes to planning their engagement session is to treat it like an extremely special date night. Schedule time for hair and makeup, get a manicure the day before, and get excited for the time together. Since you’ll be looking your best, go ahead and schedule dinner at a nice restaurant you’ve been wanting to try after your session. If you’re planning a destination engagement session, make a special weekend out of it with a nice hotel and dinner reservations. It may seem like a strange suggestion, but the more excited you are for the day and the more romantic everything feels, the better and more authentically happy your images will turn out.
Pick a meaningful location
Your engagement session is a wonderful time to celebrate who the two of you are as a couple – so pick a location that means something special to the two of you! Whether it’s the city where you met, your favorite place to visit, or just the waterfront area in your hometown, choosing your engagement session location is your chance to share a little bit more about the story of what brought you two together. It’s always fun to spend an engagement session walking to different significant locations from a couple’s dating history together, and hear the stories of how they got to know each other. The bonus is that seeing these meaningful places will bring in even more romance and nostalgia, which will translate beautifully in your photos.
Think about creative elements you can add to your session
A great way to personalize your engagement session is to add something creative about your story as a couple into your session, in some way. A great way to do this is to think about the things that the two of you naturally love doing together, and brainstorm how you can incorporate that into your photos. If you have a favorite coffee shop or cocktail bar, that could make a great second location for your session. If you both love walking your dog in the mornings before work, consider having someone bring your pup to a portion of the engagement session. Whatever it is that you two love most, incorporating it in some way into your photos will ensure that they turn out beautiful and full of meaning.
Write a letter
A great suggestion for quickly easing into your engagement session is to start with letters to each other – it doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, but just a little note to let each other know how much you love each other, and how excited you are for this chapter in your lives together. By starting off your session reading these letters to each other, you ensure that your session feels natural and grounded in authentic emotion.
Have a drink
Truly – a great way to prepare for your session is to have a drink before it starts. Obviously, limit your drink to one, because drunk is not a cute look for engagement photos, but a little liquid to help you settle into your session isn’t a bad idea at all!