Engagement photos are some of my favorite to shoot! I love connecting with couples, and I always recommend making time for engagement photos before your wedding so you get a chance to practice being in front of the camera. Plus it’s the perfect time to see how your photographer works and for them to get to know what kind of photos you want before the wedding day. Consider the engagement shoot as a practice trial before your wedding day! I like to share tips with my clients about how to prepare for their photo shoots, so they know what to expect and how to plan accordingly. Here are my best 5 engagement session tips to make sure you have an amazing experience!
1) Time + Location
There are so many amazing spots for your engagement session! It’s a great idea to chat with your photographer about location options before deciding, because they may know of secret spots that you may not have thought of. There are so many beautiful places to photograph at so explore your options with your photographer! Here are some starter questions you can think about: Do you want to stay local to the area? Or do you want to hop on a plane and go on an epic travel adventure for the day? Do you want an urban or a nature-y backdrop?
Weekdays are generally better for photos as weekends tend to be busier and parks and beaches are crowded. Early morning or an hour before sunset brings out the best light for magical photos.
2) Outfits + What to Wear
I love to help clients choose and coordinate outfits! I’m very hands-on during the whole process because my job is to help you look your best for photos! You can look at my Pinterest board for some inspo or if you want a more personalized approach, I’ll be there every step of the way.
When in doubt, dress up, not down!
Complementary outfits will work better than matching outfits, and solid colors are less distracting for photos. Dresses with calmer patterns, like florals, can also work too!
I love Carly Jean Los Angeles for feminine, floral, and floaty dresses! (like this one that’s under $100!)
If you want to go for a more romantic vibe, softer neutrals or pastels will photograph best. I personally love softer colors in outdoor locations with lots of greenery.
Clothing with soft neutrals and pastels go perfectly with trees, wheat fields, sunlit mountains, and ocean backdrops.
Stronger colors like red or black can act as a dramatic pop of color. These work well for city, urban, or industrial backgrounds, or even spots like the desert or sand hills. What you wear matters for the vibe you get in your photos!
Engagement session tip for your outfits – iron your clothes ahead of time!
Wrinkles unfortunately show up in photos, so don’t forget to give your clothes a good iron beforehand!
3) Hair + Makeup
A lot of my clients choose to get their hair and makeup professionally done for their engagement session. I always recommend going for it! I’ve yet to hear anyone regret getting all fancied up for their photoshoot, from engagement shoots to anniversary to maternity.
When you feel comfortable and confident, you’re less inhibited and end up having way more fun.
You can do your own hair and makeup, or if you want to pamper yourself and get it done professionally, let me know and I’ll give you some amazing recommendations! Professional hair and makeup artists know what will photograph best and how to truly make your natural beauty shine!
4) Trust your photographer and have fun!
You hired your photographer for a reason – because you love their work and you trust that they’re going to give you amazing photos!
Don’t be afraid to ask your photographer for their opinion, whether it’s on locations, hair and makeup, or outfit choices.
They can help guide you toward what will photograph best and will give their professional opinion.
My clients are so happy when I make recommendations, because it ends up being tiny things that they wouldn’t have thought of on their own.
During your shoot, let go of your inhibitions and expectations and trust your photographer. Being in front of the camera can be nerve wracking, but if you just commit to having a good time and laughing and having fun, it’ll shine through in your photos.
I love to give my clients silly and fun prompts, as well as more serious ones depending on the mood. It can seem random at times, but it always results in beautiful and genuine emotions shining through in the photographs.
5) Plan for a Stress-Free Day!
A few pre-shoot engagement session tips:
- Get your outfits ready the night before
- Pack any props that you want to bring (which can be anything from hats, a picnic, or your dog!)
- Double check the location or directions if you need to
- Get a good night’s sleep
- Make sure that you eat a good meal beforehand so you’re not hungry and cranky during the shoot!
If you’re getting hair and makeup done and getting dolled up, it’s a great excuse to go out for a fancy dinner or to a show afterward!
Treat the entire day of your engagement session as a special date!
Take advantage of the fact that you’ll be spending the day together, and plan for a fun date night after your shoot!
I hope you found these tips helpful! Planning for any photo session can seem stressful, but if you plan ahead of time and ask for help, I promise you’ll have an amazing time!