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 participate in such a session which you can read about: 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 sure that each and 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 decisions 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 location 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.
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.
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 in 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 in order to look great for the camera.
Think Colour Palettes
Choose flattering colours that make you look alive and avoid any colours which wash you out or make your skin look pasty.
Try to coordinate as a couple but don’t get too caught up on looking like you both just walked of 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, your both huge Raptors fans or there’s an inside joke about you shirt that you both agree should be documented, leave the logos in your closet.
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.
Its 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, scarfs, possibly hats but do not go overboard to the point of distracting away from you, your fiancé and from your engagement ring which of course I suggest your bring with you.
Make Sure it All Fits
It is important that you both try on your cloths and check your outfit from all sides looking for any clothing problem areas which may not flatter you. Be aware if your bra strap tends to show in that dress, if you need a slip, if you need a different size in pants, if a shirt hugs you a little too much, dips too low, etc. You can look amazing just the way you are, but the key is in the clothing and details. In the end you need to feel confident and comfortable in what you are both wearing to feel more relaxed during your shoot.
Makeup & Grooming.
Ladies, please set aside some extra time dedicated to getting yourself looking great. Use a professional makeup artist if you can and make an appointment with your hairdresser to wash and style your hair. Simplicity is key. Its very important that you 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 what is a unique situation.
Many of my clients end up enjoying their session more than they initially thought they would, even calling them Fun. It all starts with your attitude.
A Change of Clothes
Although this practice varies by photographer, I encourage my couples to bring a quick change of cloths, 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 all 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 but ask my couples to limit the items to just a few. After all, it’s about you and not a bunch of items.
A blanket or something to sit on if you are not comfortable sitting on the ground. I love 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.
Since you can’t tell temperature from a photograph, it’s often possible to shoot during the cooler months. If you want to wear that great sleeveless dress during the engagement shoot in early fall, please bring a jacket for those times when you are not in front of the camera.
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.
In summary, engagement photo sessions are a great way to get more comfortable in front of the camera while creating lasting memories before your wedding day. I truly hope that the above tips help make your engagement photo shoot more pleasurable and stress-free while providing amazing images for you and your fiancé. If you have any questions regarding engagement sessions, feel free to contact us. I’m always happy to help in any way I can.
Everglow Photography – Voted as Best Wedding Photographer in Toronto, Canada.
International Wedding Photographer for Adventurous Couples.