Let me start off by saying that the engagement session is one of my favorite parts of our time together! This is the first time we get to work with you, and the first time we get to share your love story! You are only engaged for a short period of time and we want to capture this time of your life! It is also an amazing chance to get comfortable in front of the camera before the big day! This way you can feel confident and comfortable during your wedding portraits, knowing that you are going to look just as fantastic as you feel!
We know that getting your picture taken can be a bit nerve wracking and that you’ve probably never had a professional session together before. We created this blog post to help give you some tips so that you can confident going in to it! Because we know you are going to look absolutely amazing!
All About Timing
- Firstly, we strongly encourage having your session on a weekday. We say this because a lot of locations can be more chaotic on the weekend. You do not want to break up the flow by having us constantly stop to wait for people to get out of the background. Plus it will feel way more intimate and less nerve wracking without all of those people around!
- Secondly, if you’re wondering what season to have your engagement session in our answer is THAT IS COMPLETELY UP TO YOU! Many people want to do it right away for save the dates, while others decide they want it in a different season than their wedding, and some want it to be in the same season! However, we do have a couple suggestions for the different seasons!
3. We schedule all engagement sessions two hours prior to sunset. This will give you that breath taking golden light during the end of the session. It not only is the most flattering, but it will add a bit of drama to your session! However, if you are doing an engagement session in a highly populated area it may be best to do your engagement session at sunrise! You will get that same dreamy light, but it will be reversed.
4. Start thinking about your engagement session right after booking, but don’t rush in to it! You want enough time to prepare for your session. Finding the perfect outfit and scheduling your hair and makeup is really important. You don’t want to do this last minute and not give yourself the time you need to get everything planned. After all this is a special day so give yourself the time to prepare for it!
5. Make sure you arrive to the session on time! We say this because if you’re running late it is going to make you anxious from the start! We schedule sessions two hours before sunset so that we can get that incredible light! However, this means if you are late for the session we cannot make up for that lost time at the end. Keep in mind if you have multiple locations we might suggest adding a little time to the session for travel.
Choosing The Perfect Location
Having a location with a good amount of foliage and architecture is key to having an engagement gallery with lots of texture. Another thing to think about is the overall feel you want your session to have? Do you want it in the city, in a state park, your venue, or the beach?
We encourage you to get creative when choosing your location! Is there a spot that has a special meaning to the both of you and your relationship? Or is there a spot you may have special access to? Maybe you want to do a destination engagement? If there is a place that you have been dreaming of doing your session let us know, and we’d love to make it work! Listed below are just a few of our favorite places for engagement sessions!
- Race Street Pier
- Philadelphia City Hall
- Longwood Gardens
- Philadelphia Museum of Art
- Fairmount Water Works
- Central Park
- Rittenhouse Square
- Valley Forge Historic Park
- Hunting Hill Mansion
- The Merchants Exchange Building
- Asbury Park
If you are choosing multiple locations we encourage you to keep them within close distance of each other. This is because you do not want to break up the flow of the session once we start. The beginning of the session can feel a bit stiff and that’s ok! But sometimes if you take a long break it can feel that way all over again!
Have Fun With It
Most importantly we are here to document you as a couple. So what is something unique to your relationship and how can we showcase that? Finding a creative way to bring some personality in to your session is always a good idea!
Kayleigh and Vince actually met in a bathroom line at National Mechanics! So we were absolutely thrilled when they asked if we could stop by to take some pictures where it all began! Stopping somewhere like a coffee shop or bar that has a special meaning can be a great break in the middle of the session, especially if you are doing two outfits because it gives you a place to change! However, it can also be a really fun place to start the session, especially if it is not within walking distance of the second location.
Anne and Eddie wanted to share their passion for being in the medical field, but they didn’t want it to take up half of their shoot. So we actually did not just two, but three outfit changes! We really loved how special this was to who they are as individuals, and as a couple. If you have a similar idea in mind we think you should totally do it! Let us know ahead of time, and we can plan a little extra time in to the session.
These are a few more ways couples brought their personalities, and stories in to their images! Do you have a favorite sport you share together or maybe you met at college? Get creative and think of ways to incorporate those passions and hobbies! Planning something fun like this will add an extra special touch and a whole lot of fun!
We Love Pets!
YES YES AND YES!!! We love when couples bring their pet to the engagement session! After all they are a part of the family too! We also encourage dressing them up as well! Have you thought about a cute flower crown, a bow tie, or maybe even a cute sign with your date on it?!
If you are worried about what to do with them when you are getting portraits taken by yourselves, we always have two photographers at the engagement session so there will be someone there to hold your pup in between!
Dress It Up
Let me start by saying there is no such thing as “too dressed up” on your engagement session! You’re only engaged once! This is the time to wear that dress you’ve always wanted to, but didn’t have the right occasion to wear it! A long flowy dress looks amazing and can be a really great way to add movement to your images! Bringing one outfit that is more “formal” and another outfit that is slightly less formal or more of a “dressy casual” is a great option! If you are bringing a more casual outfit we encourage you to still keep it slightly more dressy than you would on average. We say this because it translates completely differently on camera. You want to make sure that your outfit is complimenting you in the best way possible! If you are bringing two outfits you should start off the session in your more casual dress or clothing, and end with the show stopper! At the end of the session the lighting will be more dramatic, which will compliment your “WOW” look.
Another thing to keep in mind when choosing an outfit is any insecurities you may have. For instance many girls are often insecure about their arms, so picking a dress with sleeves might be a great way to make sure you don’t feel self conscious on the day of your session. Of course we are going to give you tips, and pose you with any insecurities you have in mind, but it always helps to dress to your insecurities as well!
This doesn’t just go for the bride-to-be either! There is nothing more striking than a man in a well fitted suit! It is best to stay away from plaid suits, because patterns tend to be a bit distracting. Another way to bring a fresh look to an old time classic is mixing and matching. You can have him wear a blue suit top, and light tan bottoms with a tie that compliments your outfit.
Pick The Perfect Palette
Softer more muted tones tend to photograph better. It brings the attention to your face and is less distracting. While also complimenting every background! That being said we love color! If you have a signature color that you love try to find a slightly less vibrant, and softer version of that color! We promise you it will look better! Another reason to stay away from extremely bright and vibrant colors is they can often reflect an odd color on to your skin, around your face on a very bright day.
The best way to bring in bold colors in to any session is through your accessories! It will give the perfect amount of pop! Getting shoes that make a statement, earrings, or an awesome pocket square or bow tie is a great way to add that bit of vibrance.
We also recommend staying away from bold and busy patterns. Having patterns that are too big or too chaotic can bring the attention away from you! We want to highlight your features not distract from them. The focus during this session should ultimately be the expression of your love!
Below is an example of some color and patterns executed very well!
Compliment Each Other
When you’re working on coordinating outfits you want to make sure you stay within the same color palette or that there is a color that ties your looks together. However, coordinating doesn’t necessarily mean Matching in fact you should each choose a different dominant color, but bring your outfits together by complimenting each others dominant color within your accessories, and by staying within the same palette. For instance the reason Kayleigh and Vince’s outfits work so well here is his blue suit compliments the navy/dark purple undertone of her dress. His subtle floral tie also compliments the pattern in her dress.
Something that can bring another dimension to your images is having a “statement” piece. This could be a chunky necklace, show stopping earrings, a flower crown, a bouquet, or a cute sun hat! Remember things translate differently on camera. While this might feel like “too much” this is actually very complimentary in photos!
The Finishing Touch
Getting your hair and makeup done is a MUST! This isn’t just a HUGE stress reliever, but it also looks fabulous on camera! There is no need to worry yourself with a potential “bad hair day” or not blending your makeup in correctly. Leave it to the professionals to worry about. This is a great time to try a hair and makeup artist you’re interested in for your wedding day and or schedule your trial hair and makeup run prior to the session! You might feel like your makeup is too much at first, but I promise you it will show up amazing on camera! If you need any recommendations we would love to refer you to some amazing artists we work with often!
QUICK TIP: skip the spray tan! It can show up very orange on camera even if it doesn’t look it in person. Your natural skin tone is always the way to go!
His Different Looks
If your fiance doesn’t feel like wearing two completely different looks, that is totally ok! Using layers like a suit & tie can be a wonderful opportunity for two looks in one! If he starts off with just a button up, and his suit pants, and ends with the complete look, this will give his outfit a totally different feel. Plus he doesn’t have to be in a tie the entire session!
If your man isn’t the type that likes to dress up show him some engagement pictures, and let him see how much better it looks! Getting a nice suit is something he will absolutely not regret! Also, he can’t let you be dressed up all by yourself!
QUICK TIP: It is best to wear long pants during the session, and stay away from shorts. While this may be a great look for every day it doesn’t photograph as nicely as long pants do!
Our Tips In Review
- Treat yourself to an engagement session because it will give you more confidence on the wedding day! And besides it’s always great to have more pictures of the two of you!
- Make sure you not only give yourself enough time to schedule the engagement session, but also give yourself extra time on the day of the session!
- Pick the Season that is perfect for you.
- Pick a location that has variety. A good mixture of architecture and foliage is the way to go!
- Pets are always welcome!
- Plan something unique for your session and have fun with it!
- Pick one or two special outfits for the day! You won’t regret getting dressed up!
- Don’t be afraid to make a statement!
- Get your Hair & Makeup done and Skip the Spray Tan!
- Last but not least bring comfy shoes for walking in between!
PLAN A DATE AFTERWARDS!
You already look amazing so why not show each other off and go out for a date! After all, this is a special day! The most important thing is that you enjoy it! You are going to be married for a lifetime, but you are only engaged once! There is no pressure during your engagement session! It is a time to have fun, get comfortable in front of the camera, and showcase your love! One of my favorite things about the engagement session is it allows us to tell your story in a completely different way than the wedding day. We have the option of multiple looks, unique locations, and absolutely NO PRESSURE! You don’t have to worry about being perfect because I am here for you! I am going to make this experience fun and relaxed, while also making sure you look your absolute best!