How to Rock Your Engagement Session (..or anniversary session, couples session, you name it!)
I always always recommend that my couples book an engagement session if possible! Engagement sessions aren’t only a way to get all the pretty photos in a place that you might love, but it’s a chance for you to connect with your photographer prior to the wedding date. A huge part of my brand and approach, is to have a friend over client/vendor relationship— so that way my couples are comfortable enough to be themselves in front of me, as if I’m not even there. And one way to ensure that is to meet up prior to the actual wedding day (when all the nerves are already present!) and get to know each other, hang out, and just have a freaking good time.
Along with all of those points, it’s a fun way for you guys to have a date night doing something you love, in a place you love! And bonus— get pictures of it all. So throughout this blog post I’m chatting about all the different ways to help prep and plan for your engagement session to make it YOU (whether I’m your photographer or not, these tips help and are applicable!), so that you can forever look back on the moments and have memories to coincide with them.
Leading up to the session:
⁃ Location + Planning (date, time of day, etc.)
Location: It’s so important to pick a location that speaks to you! Think about your favorite places to be, where you spend the most time, and where you feel the most alive with your person. THAT should be the place you take your engagements. If you love spending summer evening in the mountains by a fire— that should be incorporated! Or if you love watching the sunrise in the desert— a sunrise session in the desert it is! These kinds of factors will help ensure that your engagements session feels like you.
Date + Time: If you hate winter, don’t feel like you HAVE to do a winter engagement session just to get Save the Date’s or invites out. If you hate being cold you’re going to be so uncomfortable the entire time! Choose a season that you love, OR, choose a location that currently is in the season that you love. I’ve had couples choose to road trip down to the desert in the beginning of Winter because it was warmer there and that’s what spoke to them the most. The options are endless! Along with that, sunrise or sunset are typically the preferred time to photograph— since that’s when the most beautiful light is! (An hour and a half before sunset or an hour and a half after sunrise!)
When you’re planning with your photographer, make sure to take these things to into consideration when choosing your location— don’t feel like you have to settle!
The most important advice that I can give to any couple— is to wear something that they feel amazing in, and something that again— FEELS like you. Trends are great and cute, but they’re just that. Just because they’re trendy and cute doesn’t mean that you HAVE to wear it and HAVE to feel amazing in it. Wear your favorite old band tee, or your flannel you wear camping every summer. Or, use engagements as an excuse to go buy that outfit you’ve been eyeing for months 😉 Let’s be honest that’s one of the best parts about engagements. So think about what it is you feel comfortable in, and what it is you feel like you rock— and rock that. I always like to explain what colors will compliment the location well also! My couples and I usually pick a location, and from there they will choose outfits/colors that will compliment well with that location.
Hair and makeup?
To get hair and makeup done, or not to? Why not! If you love getting pampered a little, do it! 🙂 On the other hand, if you know you won’t feel like yourself with a bunch of makeup on, probably just stick to your usual! If you do, make sure you allow some cushion time between the makeup/hair appt and your engagement shoot 🙂
Why I do questionnaires
All of these tips are a big reason why I send out questionnaires to my couples! To get to know them, the locations they love, their style, etc. Sometimes when getting caught up in planning everything, you tend to forget that the location or the outfit you could wear on your engagement session, is right in front of you. So that’s where I like to help! I’ll prompt my couples in directions that they already love, they just needed some affirmation and guidance!
Day of the Session
Having a fun day together
I always love to tell my couples that if possible, they should have a fun day together before the session 🙂 It sets the mood for the session and makes you that much more excited to go on an adventure with your person later in the evening!
Read over your questionnaire!
If you aren’t able to have a fun day together due to work or other circumstances, a fun thing to do before you meet up with your photographer is— if they’ve sent you a questionnaire to get to know you and you’ve previously filled it out, take some time on your drive to the engagement shoot to read it over 🙂 Remind yourselves your favorite things about each other, or the things you love doing together!
During the Session
⁃ HAVE FUN!— this is the biggest key to having an engagement session that you can look back on and have as a memory, rather than just that one photo shoot you did that one time 🙂
A few last tips!!
⁃ Weather will be weather, embrace it. Sometimes that’s all you can do if you aren’t able to work around it.
⁃ You’re more natural than you think you are— (playing music helps! So if you have a favorite playlist, see if your photographer can play it!) Don’t be afraid to take the lead and just love on your person the way you normally do!
This is all stuff that I include in a “Styling Guide” that I send to my couples a couple weeks prior to their engagement session! All the prep helps 🙂 But just remember, the most important thing is just to have fun and make it about your love!
Happy Engagement Session Planning! 🙂