An engagement session is a great way to get comfortable in front of the camera, making your wedding day feel much more relaxed. Not only do you get to practice for the wedding, you also capture great photographs in the process!
Many couples have never been photographed professionally before. Because of this, I put together a quick guide to help you get the most out of our session together.
Instead of just taking a bunch of random, pretty pictures of you and your fiancé (don’t worry, we will still get many of those in the process), our goal will be to tell a short story of a date through photographs.
When the pictures are viewed in order after the session, they will read like a picture book, which works great for an album like the guestbook during your reception.
In regards to locations, I recommend choosing a spot that has meaning to you and incorporating activities that define you and your relationship into the session. Props always work great too (more on that in a minute).
Great pictures require great light, which is why we often start an hour or two before the sun sets or rises. This is one instance where being late can have a dramatic effect on the quality of the photographs as well as the time we have to take them.
If for whatever reason we need to reschedule the session after I already have arrived at the location there will be a rescheduling fee, so please allocate enough travel time to arrive a few minutes early. New York City traffic can be especially bad (especially if we plan on doing our session in the city), so it’s best to plan extra travel time just in case.
Here are some tips:
1. Wear clothes that feel like you. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable. You want to look like yourself, but you want to also make sure to look your best.
2. Try to complement each other, but not match. It’s best to choose colors that work well together, rather than matching patterns or prints.
3. Choose solid, neutral lighter colors that complement your surroundings. In general, light greys, whites, blues, pinks, and tans work with any surrounding. If you’re not sure what colors will work with where we will be photographing, I can help.
4. Formal clothing is better. You don’t have to wear a full tux, but classic, formal clothing helps create a date night elegance to the scene. For men, dressing in fitted layers (a blazer and a dress shirt, for example) with dress shoes is best. Try to avoid wearing just a t-shirt or shorts if possible.
For women, I recommend finding a dress that makes you feel amazing. Adding a few accessories such as earrings, necklaces, floral crowns or flowers is also a great way to add dimension. If you’re not sure where to start, a temporary subscription to Rent the Runway is a great way to feel like a million bucks without having to spend it!
5. Bring some props. Props can be anything—a nice hat, a picnic blanket, a bottle of wine, a guitar— like choosing an outfit, bring items that feel authentic to who you are and what defines your relationship. These props will also help to tell your story as we go about the session.
6. Need more help styling? If you’d like some more help with outfits and accessories, my girlfriend Heather frequently helps me with styling during photo sessions. I would be happy to put her in touch with you to help you find that perfect outfit for our session.
7. Visual Inspiration It helps to see examples of what to wear, so I have put together a Pinterest board for some visual inspiration. You can view that board here.
Generally speaking, the session will usually last between an hour and an hour and a half. We will often start around two hours before sunset, (or at sunrise) as this is when the light is the best.
If you’d like to incorporate more than one outfit or location, make sure to let me know as this could change the details of the session.
Understandably, many couples are nervous when we start our session. This is completely normal—but don’t worry! Taking pictures together is not some stiff, formal event. It’s an authentic representation of you and your fiancé, which will result in more than just pretty save the date photographs.
After the first few minutes, you will completely forget about the nerves and will just be enjoying spending time together. I will give you tips on how to look great in front of the camera, and will make sure that none of your photographs look stiff and overly posed.
I hope this article helps! If you’re feeling overwhelmed or just need some guidance, let me know and we can set up a call to go over the session in more detail.
I’m looking forward to capturing your love story!