Engagement Session Prep Guide

First of all, I want you both to approach your engagement session as a date night! Your session will be fun, intimate, and a fabulous excuse to go out together for a nice dinner and drinks afterwards. You’re both already all dressed up after all, and you have plenty to celebrate! Yes, you’ll get beautiful images to frame, put on save the dates, and share on insta and even the wedding, but more than anything, my goal is to make the session itself a wonderful memory and experience for the two of you when you look back on the time leading up to your wedding. That said, I know one of the biggest stressors in having your photo taken is choosing your wardrobe and getting ready for the session. I’ve gathered these tips for you to alleviate any of that stress and help you arrive at your engagement session feeling confident and ready to truly enjoy yourselves!

1. Consider hiring a hair and makeup artist

I put this first because if you take any of my advice, let it be this. Makeup shows up drastically different in camera and in post processing. Having a professional do your makeup for your portraits is also a fantastic way to reduce your stress on the day of your engagement session and feel confident from beginning to end. It might seem like an unnecessary expense, but it really does make an incredible difference. Brides will often use this as an opportunity to schedule their trial wedding day makeup with their MUA.

2. No such thing as overdressed

When it comes to engagement portraits, there really is no such thing as overdressed. This is when to go all out. Get glammed up. Wear THE shoes. Buy the dress you’ve been eyeing. You’ve already made this investment in your engagement session, so take the time to wear something you look, and most importantly, FEEL amazing in! If you wear your best, you will feel your best. How you feel always shows in the photos. So, wear something that makes you feel like a million bucks.

Some of my favorite places to shop for engagement sessions – Revolve, Unique Vintage, BHLDN

OR

Some of my favorite places to rent for engagement sessions – Rent the Runway, Nuuly

3. Choose two contrasting looks (if your session time allows for this)

Most of my engagement sessions are at least an hour. As I already mentioned in tip #1, I am all about dressing up. If you only have time to do one outfit, I’d recommend sticking with the dressier option. If your session allows for an outfit change, I’d recommend choosing an additional outfit that is a little more casual.

4. Accessorize (okay, aside from the obvious engagement ring!)

Your accessories and how you put together your outfits are often overlooked, but this part of the process is critical in making your engagement photos unique, stylized, and personal to you. Really take some time and care when building your look. Accessories can bring visual interest to photos and tie everyone’s outfits together. Layer up – wear your coolest hats, jackets, bold jewelry, scarves, sunglasses, or unique pair of shoes. Think: things that make you, you. For example, I’ve got quite the hat collection/obsession, so there’s a big chance that I’d be wearing one to my own session.

Note: champagne for popping totally counts as an accessory in my book! 🍾 Also dogs…dogs are always a welcome addition.

5. Mix patterns and solids

Variety is the spice of life, as well as photo wardrobe! Think subtly with the patterns, and try to steer clear of anything that will steal the focus of the image. Stick with subtle patterns rather than big and bold as these don’t photograph the best. Remember, the goal is for the focus to be on you and your beautiful souls – not a neon striped shirt!

6. Incorporate some texture

For example, a big knit sweater, ruffles, tulle, some fringe (my personal fav!), or denim. 

7. Clean that ring and get your nails done!

Yes guys, this includes you! Make sure you clean up those cuticles and get your manicure done. I will no doubt be getting some closes-ups of both of your hands and that beautiful ring! I take a variety of images throughout your session – some wide, some close up, and everything in between. I believe that our hands are wonderful storytellers, so I’m often drawn to them in a couple’s session.

8. What not to wear

  • Neon colors
  • Logos with brand names (ie: nike, adidas)
  • Apple watches / hair ties on the wrist (distracting and eye sore)
  • Anything that you wouldn’t normally wear! Don’t wear something you’ll be uncomfortable in.
  • Phones / wallets in pockets

9. Do a trial run

This should honestly be at the top of the list too. It is best practice to try on outfits BEFORE the day of the shoot. This will help you avoid going into panic mode right before heading to your photoshoot when you realize that your shirt is see-through, those pants don’t fit, these boots are scuffed, etc.! Make sure everything fits right. Take a trip to the tailor if not. I would recommend even going as far as getting in your full outfit and taking a quick phone picture to see if you like how it photographs. Take the time and effort to curate your look and envision it in the space you’ll be photographed in.

10. Ask your photographer!

I’d love to help you style your session. If you’re feeling stuck on what to wear, reach out and I’ll do my best to help you come up with something amazing!

Lastly, and most importantly, take all of my advice with a grain of salt. Wear what YOU feel amazing in, because that will show in the photos. 

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