January 15, 2019

How to Get Ready for an Engagement Session

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Congratulations! You made the great decision to include an engagement session as part of your photography wedding package. As per my previous post, there are many valuable reasons to have an Engagement session: 4 Reasons why an Engagement Session is such a smart option.

Of course, you will want to make the best of the session, which usually lasts about 1.5 hours, by making sure you are fully ready. Below you will find a collection of tips, do’s and don’ts which I have collected over the years and passed on to my couples to make sure that every photo shoot turns out great.


The location you and your photographer choose for the engagement session is the first and often the most important decision to make when getting ready for your engagement shoot.

Although I have plenty of suggestions for great locations, my first recommendation is to pick a place that means more to you and your fiance than any other.

It could be the place where you first kissed, a place where the proposal happened or the place that you both enjoy spending time at, such as a specific park or neighbourhood. My next suggestion is a place which may not be uniquely historic to you, but which fits your personality and interests as a couple. A few great examples of venues full of personality are; The St. Lawrence Market, Canada’s Wonderland, a baseball diamond or a cafe. Of course please be mindful that some locations may require a paid photography session permit. Once you have a location which is special to both of you or which reflects your unique personality it’s time to get ready.

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Theme or Ideas.

As this is your photo shoot work with the photographer to bring your ideas to life. Most photographers, including us, will gladly take a look at your Pinterest board to see if you have a specific theme, location or idea in mind. The key is to share your vision early and before the photo shoot working together with the photographer.

Clothing & Accessories.

Be Yourself!
Of course, you want to look your best. But if a ballgown isn’t your everyday style, why wear it in an engagement photo session? I have taken some amazing photos of people wearing casual clothing while walking in the park or a cafe. However, athletic clothing and pyjamas should be avoided unless there is a very good reason for them and it is a concise part of the photo shoot idea. Whatever clothing you choose it needs to feel comfortable on you to look great for the camera.

Couple Running Sunset

Think Colour Palettes
Choose flattering colours that make you look alive and avoid any colours that will wash you out.

Try to coordinate as a couple but don’t get too caught up on looking like you both just walked off a page of a department store catalogue.

If you’re worried about colour, pick a neutral and a few coordinating colour tones you both like (grey with blue and violet for instance, or brown with pink and blue) and stick to those hues.

Avoid All Writing
Unless it’s your favourite outfit, you’re both huge Raptors fans or there’s an inside joke about your shirt that you both agree should be documented, leave the logos in your closet.

Excessive Patterns
Whether you’re going more formal or casual, solid colours are preferred. A bit of patterns can be flattering but try to avoid excessive plaids, florals (including your favourite Hawaiian shirt), and head-to-toe black or white clothing.

It’s All in the Details
Accessorize and pay attention to the details. Shoes are a very important part of your shoot which need to coordinate well with your entire outfit. Unless there is a good reason for them, leave your runners for the gym. Think simple jewelry, belts, scarves, and possibly hats but do not go overboard to the point of distracting away from yourself, your fiancé and your engagement ring which of course I suggest you bring with you.

Canadian Rockies Couple with Dogs

Make Sure it All Fits
It is important that both of you try on your outfits and carefully assess them from all angles. Pay attention to details like visible bra straps that may be better with a slip, sizing issues with pants, or any discomfort caused by a snug shirt or a plunging neckline. Remember, you both look amazing as you are, but the right clothing and attention to these details are essential. Ultimately, feeling confident and comfortable in your attire will help you relax during your photoshoot.

Makeup & Grooming.

Ladies, please set aside some extra time dedicated to getting yourself looking great. Consider hiring a makeup artist and booking a hair appointment. Simplicity is key. You must look like you, just on your very best day. Guys, get a haircut, clean up your neck, make sure your beard is freshly groomed and watch those details such as nails and stray eyebrow hairs. Yes, I’m serious about that!

What to bring to the shoot?

A Great Attitude
Any good professional photographer understands that it’s not easy for many people to be in front of a camera. I often find it hard to be photographed ourselves! It is natural to feel nervous in this new situation. I get it! As long as you bring a positive attitude most photographers will create a laid-back, comfortable environment.

I always provide direction during the shoot, This way you feel more comfortable in our session.

Many of my clients end up enjoying their sessions more than they initially thought they would, even calling them Fun. It all starts with your attitude.

Canadian Rockies Couple

A Change of Clothes
Although this practice varies by photographer, I encourage my couples to bring a quick change of clothes, especially if shooting at more than one adjacent location.

Touch Up Kit
Feel free to bring a makeup touch-up kit just in case.

A limited number of unique props such as balloons, bubbles or soccer balls can add to your session as long as they are relevant to you, your personality and your location. Whatever props you choose, make sure your photographer is aware. I sometimes provide, in discussion with my clients, some props as part of the shoot. After all, it’s about you and not a bunch of items.

Couple Eating Pizza

A Blanket
A blanket or something to sit on if you are not comfortable sitting on the ground. I love it when couples just go with the flow and are not afraid to get dirty.
This is especially important right after the rain or in the cooler months.

A Jacket
Since you can’t tell temperature from a photograph, it’s often possible to shoot during the cooler months. You can wear that great sleeveless dress for early fall, but please bring a jacket for those in between moments.

Flats for Women
Walking in your favourite heels for an extended time can become an issue. Consider a pair of flat shoes for use in between the photos.

Snacks and Water
It’s always a good idea to eat before the shoot to make sure you are full of positive energy. I also suggest bringing water and even snacks as needed.

Finally, if there is any chance of rain, I suggest you bring your favourite umbrella just in case.

Engagement photo sessions help you get comfortable in front of the camera, create lasting memories before your wedding, and capture amazing images for you and your fiancé. I hope these tips make your shoot more enjoyable and stress-free. If you have any questions regarding engagement sessions, feel free to contact us. I’m always happy to help in any way I can.

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