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How to Prepare for Your Engagement Session


Now that you have picked a date, a photographer and probably a venue as well, you can celebrate! Those are some of the toughest decisions to make while wedding planning and you can cross them off your list! Yay! Now on to the fun stuff…. like your engagement session! While I don’t require my couples to do an engagement session, I highly recommend it! During your engagement session, you’ll have the chance to get to know me, experience how I shoot and how I handle posing and lighting. This session will make a HUGE impact on how the wedding day flows. I’ll arrive on your wedding day already knowing how you two interact, what your best poses and angles are, and how to photograph you in a genuine way! What I will learn about you during your engagement session is invaluable! You will feel like such a pro on your big day because of the great practice you had during your engagement session, and that’s how it should be!

It’s always a little intimidating to have your picture taken …. even if it’s just a photo on an iPhone that is taken by a friend. We still want to look nice, make sure nothing is in our teeth and that our hair is behaving! I realize that preparing for your engagement session can be a little overwhelming. In this post, I’ll be providing a checklist to help you prepare beforehand to make your shoot the best it can possibly be!


1. Set the Date, Time, and Location

Your engagement session can be scheduled anytime before your wedding day. I normally suggest booking it at least 3-6 months in advance to avoid stress. As you start to plan for your engagement shoot, you will need to start brainstorming about location ideas. I LOVE it when couples pick a location that is special or sentimental to them in some way! If you can’t think of anywhere specific that you would like to shoot, I can help you decide on a location. As long as the light is great, I can make ANY location look awesome! I always shoot my engagement sessions around sunrise or sunset to ensure we get that beautiful, glowy light! Engagement sessions typically start between 5-7pm depending on the light and the time of the year. In the winter months, 3-5pm is a normal time frame for an engagement shoot!


2. Review Guide for Style Tips

I share a guide with each of my couples that is FULL of style tips as you plan for your engagement session! I encourage all of my couples to review this guide before you go shopping for your e-session outfits because it will help guide you in selecting clothing that is flattering on camera! Most of my couples find these tips super helpful and say that it brought up several points that they wouldn’t have thought of themselves.


3. Schedule Hair and Makeup Appointments

Your engagement session is the perfect time to test out your wedding day look! You’ll need to do a hair and makeup trial with your hair and makeup artists before your wedding day anyways, so why not get all glammed up for your engagement photos? This will also give you the chance to see how your hair and makeup photograph before your big day!


4. Skip the Spray Tan

Although it might seem counter-intuitive, I recommend that you do not get a spray tan before your session, even a few days prior, because it tends to photograph orange even when it’s applied subtly and by a professional. Your actual skin tone will photograph the most beautifully!


5. Get Your Nails Done

Having a fresh mani pedi makes such a difference for your engagement photos! It will help you to feel more confident and put together, and allows me to take some beautiful close-ups of that ring! This is another great opportunity to test out the nail color you will wear on your wedding day.


6. Clean Your Ring

Make sure you get that rock cleaned so it’s nice and sparkly for its close-up! This is something that most brides don’t think of doing this before the engagement session, but it really does make a big difference. You can simply give it a quick scrub at home (my favorite way to do this is to soak it in some hot water and Dawn dish soap), or take it to your jeweler for a professional cleaning.


7. Pack A Bag

Here are some things to include in your engagement session bag:

  • Additional outfits (if you plan on wearing more than one)
  • Flats or flip-flops for walking between photo spots
  • Makeup for touch-ups
  • A bottle of water (for warmer sessions)
  • Coat or cover-up (for colder sessions)
  • Money for parking fees (if applicable)
  • Something personal: Whether it’s flowers, a bottle of champagne, or a blanket, even incorporating just one extra styled item, could be a fun way to make your session more unique and personal!


8. Pick a fun post-session date night Spot!

You’re already all dressed up and completing your engagement session is a reason to celebrate! Make a reservation at your favorite date night spot, or try somewhere new!

In June, I had the opportunity to spend a few days at Greencrest Manor in Battle Creek, Michigan and it certainly met and exceeded any expectations that I had for it. It truly is a little slice of France, right in the Midwest! It offers the perfect blend of elegance, comfort and charm, making it […]

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