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Six Tips for Planning for Your Engagement Photo Session

    1. Wear something you feel amazing in
    2. Consider professional hair and makeup for your shoot
    3. Set the scene
    4. Timing
    5. Trust me
    6. Be yourself and HAVE FUN

Why should I have an engagement session?

A well-planned engagement session can be the difference between nice photos and magical keepsakes. If you are planning your engagement session here are a few engagement photo tips to guide you in the right direction of stunning engagement photos. Firstly though,  let’s talk about why an engagement session is important to begin with.

Once you have found your wedding photographer, booking your engagement session is a great way to see how they interact with and direct you during your shoot. Engagement photo sessions are a lot less busy and less stressful than the wedding day, so it will give us time to get to know each other. No pressure and no timeline to stick to. 

If you’re like me, you haven’t had professional photos taken since you were a senior in high school. Also if you’re like me, you feel horribly uncomfortable with a giant camera pointed at you. That’s okay – most people do.

engagement photo on carousel

Engagement sessions are an amazing way to overcome a little of that anxiety. They are also a great way for me to learn about both of your personalities and how best to capture them. As a result you’ll get a feel for what it’s like to be told what to do with your hands and asked to spin in a circle, and I’ll learn about your little quirks and all your best angles. 

Engagement Photo Tips

Whether you’re serious and artsy, or laid back and playful, learning about your unique personality will help me tell your story on your wedding day, the way it needs to be told. I’ll already know which side is your good side, and you’ll have one less thing to stress about. Plus, you’ll get some photos for the save-the-dates! 


When I arrive on the wedding day my first priority is making sure that you are both comfortable and as stress-free as possible.  I want to ensure you can trust me to look out for you as well as capture your story as it unfolds. Wedding days can be stressful. Being in front of a camera all day can be stressful.  Can you imagine a stranger showing up to the wedding with a camera? That sounds stressful! One of the reasons I encourage the engagement session is because you need to relax when I’ve got the camera. It is a time for my couples to get to know me and for me to get to know them.  We don’t have to walk away being best friends, but I do want to walk away with you being comfortable and confident in my presence.

Now that we have the reasons, I want to share some engagement photo tips!

1. Wear something you feel amazing in

couple salsa dancing for their engagement photos

This is possibly the most important part – choosing what to wear. I will give you one tip here – dress like yourself. Wear what makes you feel good, and what you feel comfortable and confident in. And of course, if you need outfit tips just ask me! 

I’ll be able to tell you which specific colors will look good in the location you choose, and if you send me photos of your outfit options I’ll give you my honest opinions. 

Choose a few complementary colors so that outfits coordinate, but not match. Most importantly, choose colors that work well in the location you choose. For example if you are planning your photo session in the forest, avoid black and fluorescent colours which are harsh and clash with colors found in nature. 

engagement photo tips

This one might seem obvious, but I’m going to say it anyway: Make sure you feel confident and comfortable in the outfits you choose. If you feel uncomfortable, you will look uncomfortable. It’s as simple as that.

I’d say bring 2-3 outfit choices.  One that is dressier and classy. Something you might not wear on a normal occasion.  This gives you an excuse to dress up and feel fabulous. The other outfits can be more casual, something fun and best represents you as a couple. Interested in Christi’s dress in the above photo? It’s gorgeous, and from the lovely Lulus.com.

2. Consider professional hair and make up for your shoot

star wars engagement photo

I get asked a lot by brides if they should book hair & make up for the engagement session.  I will say yes every time. The reason being is that it is a great time to do a hair and make up trial in advance of the big day. Whether you hire a professional or are doing it yourself, this is a great time to do that trial.

I am lucky to have gorgeous brides and grooms who really don’t need any help at all!  However I have noticed that when a bride opts for hair and makeup for their portraits then there is a different dynamic and the confidence overflows. 

I have worked with some amazing artists and have a list I can refer you to, whether you’re a bride or a groom.

3. Set the scene

I’m sure by now if you know one thing about me, you know that nature is my jam. I love beautiful scenery – mountains, oceans, trees, it’s all photogenic and wonderful. So of course, my recommendation is always to choose a beautiful outdoor location. BUT I don’t want you to think you can’t get good photos if your backdrop isn’t so scenic. 

The most important thing is that you feel comfortable. So if the outdoors isn’t for you or if you don’t want to drive too far, or it’s cold outside, choose somewhere that’s special to the two of you – maybe it’s your home, or the diner where you had your first date. Whatever location you choose, just make sure it reflects your personalities.

I’m more than willing to go to wherever your heart’s desire is for your one-of-a-kind engagement session. So, dream big and we will absolutely make it happen.

engagement photo tips

What if you are not sure on location?

That is okay. That is why you have hired me!  I have done the research, sought out the best spots and have made a list compiling my favorites.  We live in a great area that doesn’t lack in locations, and all I’d need is a brief chat with you both to help you find the site that is the perfect spot for your engagement session.

4. Timing

The time of day that we take your photos is so important – because while I could take photos in harsh sunlight and they would look good, you would have a lot of shadows on your faces and the photos wouldn’t be as amazing. The best times of day are sunrise and sunset – I recommend starting either half an hour before sunrise, or an hour before sunset for the best lighting. That way, there won’t be any shadows, and we’ll get that gorgeous glow that makes everything look soft and pretty. 

I like sunrise because there tend to be less crowds, especially if you choose a popular location. But I can’t blame you if you’re not into waking up before the sun does!


5. Trust me

engagement photo tips

If I had a penny for every time someone told me they’re not photogenic I’d probably be rich. You might start out your shoot feeling a little awkward and that’s normal. But! If you have the right photographer, you’ll be a natural in no time. I love watching couples gain confidence as the shoot progresses with just a little direction from me and a lot of laughs.

engagement photo tips

We all look like supermodels when we are with the one we love. Trust me. It’s a fact.

6. Just be yourself and have fun!

disneyland engagement photo

I know I said outfits were the most important part, but I take it back. This one is just as important. I know wedding planning gets hectic, and you might be worried about how you look or how your engagement photos will turn out. But leave that to me – I’ll do the heavy lifting to make sure you look your best and I’ll make sure you have a good time. 

So just relax, enjoy the moment and have fun! Photos are best when you’re genuinely enjoying yourself – and a lot of my job is  to help you do that and make you feel comfortable in front of the camera. So come to me with a positive attitude and come exactly as you are, and leave the rest to me. At the end of the day, you want your photos to be the perfect representation of you! It’s okay to go the extra mile since it’s a special occasion, just remember to let your unique and beautiful light shine. 

Want to invite your kids/dogs/cats? Go for it.

engagement photo tips
engagement photo with dog

I hope this guide with handy engagement photo tips has helped you in the planning for your engagement photography session process.  This is an exciting time and hopefully I can ease some of the stress that goes into all this planning!

If you are newly engaged and would love to learn more about me and the way I work, head on over to my contact page and tell me all about your wedding day plans!

To see some gorgeous engagement sessions, take a look at the blog for Cristina & James‘ and Christi & Irving‘s sessions.