5 Tips for Engagement Sessions

A couple years ago I was photographing a dear couple’s engagement session and as I leaned in a little closer to get the shot of her gorgeous ring (and sign of a forever love), she shied away and pulled her hand off his shoulder. “Oh,” she said, “I totally didn’t even think about doing my nails. I’m so sorry.” I mimicked her shyness and pulled my camera back and took a different shot.

When I was driving home after the engagement session wrapped up, I wondered why she would apologize to me about her nails not being done. And then I realized that I had never clued her in about taking close up shots of the ring on her finger. Well, that was a communication fail 100% all on me. I made her feel that she needed to apologize for something she didn’t even know to do!

Since then, over the years, I’ve noticed a couple other things that help make engagement sessions that much sweeter.

So, I’ve boiled it down simply to 5 details/tips that I think help make your session the tops:

1. Make a special evening out of it!
I love to do everything I can to make your engagement photos a special time for the two of you. It’s a time where from my end, I try to limit the wedding related talk so that the time becomes solely about the two of you and your relationship. Try to enjoy the process of getting ready for the session together (I know this time can be stressful as you put everything together!), and be sure to give yourself the time you need in order to do so. If it’s possible, I also highly recommend taking time to go out for dinner together after the session. It’s just another excuse to enjoy time together while you’re dressed up and leave the wedding planning talk alone for an evening.

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2. Consider getting your hair and makeup done.
If you’re getting your hair and makeup professionally done on your wedding day, I highly recommend doing your makeup or hair trial the day we’ve scheduled our photos (if possible) or just asking them to do it for the session in addition to the wedding day. This is a great opportunity for you to see what your makeup looks like in photographs, and have well-styled hair that will hold up during the session.

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3. A brief bit on what to wear!
Not too long ago, my husband and I got some anniversary photos taken. I was agonizing over what to wear and spent many hours scouring asos and Rent the Runway and now I have an even greater understanding of picking out your outfits for your engagement session. But here’s a great rule of thumb I used and have seen in others: if it makes me feel beautiful, then that beauty will come through and I will photograph beautiful (not grammatically correct, but you get the picture)! How you feel wearing something plays a HUGE part in how you photograph and the emotions that you have as you look at the photos for years to come.

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4. Pay attention to your nails!
Like I mentioned, above, if you like to get your nails done, then before your engagement session is a great time! A good file and a swash of clear polish alone can do wonders and make your beautiful ring pop even more.

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5. Make sure you’re on time.
Finally, in fact this might be the most important of them all, arriving on time for the session is key! Since I prefer to shoot engagement sessions in natural light, we are limited by the sun. So, if we lose 15 minutes at the beginning of the shoot, we lose 15 minutes of shooting with the sun and you can’t exactly make-up that time. I want to make sure you’re able to relax, enjoy your engagement session, and get all the time we’d planned for without rushing against the sun.

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Engagement sessions are dear to me, because they can uniquely showcase who you are as a couple without all the aspects of a wedding day timeline. So, hopefully these little tidbits help make it even more endearing.