READ TIME: 7 Minutes
For many people, getting their picture taken is a nerve-wracking thing. And for many couples, an engagement session is the first time they’ll do it together.
Hey, we get it! Even as photographers, we get nervous in front of the camera. After all, we primarily stand behind the lens.
So, we want to help you feel less stressed and more confident walking in your engagement session!
If you’ve booked an engagement session with us or are considering having one done, here are some tips on preparing for it. And ways you can use your photos afterward.
Why An Engagement Session
As a quick recap from our recent blog post, Worried About How You’ll Look in Your Wedding Photos? Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Be!, the reason an engagement session is so important is that it gives you practice in front of the camera before your wedding day.
Engagement sessions allow you to understand our direction style and for us to understand what works best for you in terms of posing and capturing your natural chemistry. This translates to a much smoother and faster portrait session when strapped for time on the wedding day. Plus, you’re more likely to feel relaxed much faster in front of the camera.
If you ask us, that’s a win-win.
Confidence is Key
Where can you find the biggest source of confidence when you feel shy about having your photo taken? The answer: In what you wear.
An engagement session gives you a chance to express your personality. And of the many forms of expression they reflect, attire is one of the biggest. So, we recommend you pick your favorite pieces. Specifically, the ones that make you feel like YOU.
Not sure what your favorite pieces are? Ask your partner what they love seeing you in, as that can give you a boost of confidence, too!
Think about your personal styles and how you want them reflected in your photos. Do you guys usually dress more casually or formally? Do you want to look more natural like you do day to day? Or do you want to get a professional shave or your hair and makeup done?
(As a tip for all you brides out there, consider scheduling your wedding hair and makeup trial on the same day as your engagements. This way, you can see how it photographs. And, you don’t have to book and pay for another hair and makeup appointment. 2 birds, 1 stone.)
Confidence also comes from working with an engagement photographer you trust. And we’ll build that trust with you before ever taking your picture. We invest time in getting to know the two of you, your story, and what you envision for your session. After a bit of time, we’ll all know each other a little better, and you’ll step into your session confident you’re in the best hands.
Preparing for Your Engagement Session
As you’re choosing engagement session outfits, keep comfort in mind. What will be most comfortable to move around in? Will, you be constantly adjusting or fidgeting with that strap/sleeve/tie/shoe/etc.? And as a rule of thumb, DON’T wear something you’ve never worn before. If you’re ordering something new, at least wear it out once to get a feel for how you like it.
Check the weather forecast to help you make the best decision. For ladies, if high winds are in the forecast, you might want to rethink wearing a dress or skirt.
Also, consider how much you’ll be moving and walking around. Wear comfortable shoes or bring a pair of comfortable shoes you can change into between locations. As for your outfit, if you want to get some sitting or running photos, think about how easily you’ll be able to do those activities in the attire you’re considering.
We’ll also help you feel comfortable by providing guidance and direction. We’ll be there to lead you into natural poses and ease you into being yourselves (together!) on camera.
Picking outfits that complement each other and the season is essential when getting the best engagement photos.
When thinking about an outfit that complements your partner’s, it doesn’t mean that it has to match – only that it needs to look similar in color and/or pattern. In other words, choose attire within the same color palettes and steer away from clashing colors and patterns. You can see many examples of how our couples chose complementary outfits in our engagement portfolio.
You can also see how picking the right colors for the season is important. Darker shades usually look great in spring and summer, while brighter colors work well year-round. Again, avoid very bright clashing colors and distracting patterns. And above all else, avoid clothing with big logos.
If we do engagement photos indoors, we recommend NOT choosing seasonal clothes like jackets in the winter or tank tops in the summer. Why? Because it limits the future use of images if you want to use them in holiday cards, etc.
BRING TWO OUTFITS
Couples usually ask if they can bring multiple outfits, and our answer is always to bring two: One that is casual. And one that is a bit dressier (but not too formal – unless that’s the vibe you’re going for!) All of the same “rules” listed above imply (i.e., stick with complementary colors and styles and items you feel comfortable and confident in.)
And if you’re having trouble narrowing down your options, share your ideas with us! We’ll help you pick out the best outfits while keeping all the previously mentioned factors in mind.
What an Engagement Session With Us Looks Like
We’ll start the session by breaking the ice and connecting with you (as humans do) before we start photographing. We’ll relax, chat, and provide you with some basic posing techniques.
As we start out and get into the flow of things, we’ll keep watch for what makes you look and feel the most comfortable. If we think you’re getting tired or not feeling it, we’ll stop and grab a quick bite to eat or drink until you’re ready to get back at it. Overall, it’s like a fun, relaxed, laid-back double date!
Engagement sessions typically last about an hour and a half. Although, if you’re naturally comfortable in front of the camera, it might only take an hour. The session gets longer if you need more time to feel comfortable and/or we are going to multiple locations.
It’s best to take engagement portraits 1 hour before sunset – commonly referred to as golden hour. This varies slightly depending upon the time of year and specific locations. But we always guide our couples to help make the best decisions for them depending upon their needs, and happily work around limitations (if any.)
Ways to Use Your Engagement Photos
You can use your engagement photos before, during, and after your wedding. Some ideas:
- On your wedding website
- Save the dates
- Wall art for your home
- In your wedding guestbook
- Framed portraits displayed at your various showers and/or reception
- Holiday cards
- Thank you cards
If you want to use your images for save the dates, we recommend scheduling your engagement session at least a month before you plan on sending them out, as we need time to edit your photos. And you need time to design the card. Sometimes earlier than a month is necessary if you want your pictures taken during a particular season.
We can also create your save the dates for you. And if so, the process takes two weeks from start to finish.
After reading these tips, we hope you’re feeling more confident and prepared for your engagement session. And if you haven’t booked your session yet but now want to, get in touch!