Engagement Session Tips to Help Prepare for Your Shoot

August 19, 2022

engagement session tips

You’re engaged, yay! Now onto the fun stuff, your photoshoot. This may be one of the parts of your engagement that you are most excited about or one that you are super nervous about. No worries though, I have tons of engagement session tips to help make this an amazing experience for you and your partner. 

The most important thing to remember when it comes to your engagement session is to be yourself. Try not to get caught up in what everyone else is doing and make sure you are really able to express yourself and your relationship through these special pictures. 

Here are my top engagement session tips to help get you ready for your photoshoot! 

Picking your location

You’re at the point in your wedding planning process when you get to plan your Engagement Session, but you literally have ZERO ideas for your location. Don’t fret! Here are some foolproof tips that will help you in choosing the perfect location for your Engagement Session

NO. 1

Utilize Your Venue

More often than not, wedding venues give their couples the option to hold their Engagement Session at the wedding venue. This is a perfect option for couples who booked a large venue. At a larger venue, it may be difficult to capture all the magical locations with a tight wedding day schedule, so being able to wander and discover all the beautiful nooks and crannies of a venue during an Engagement Session will allow you to remember those gorgeous spots, no stress attached!

NO. 2

Match Your Wedding Day Vibe

two people holding hands in a field

This is for the couples who are all about having a cohesive aesthetic throughout their entire wedding planning from start to finish. If florals are a major focus on your wedding day, visit a location with a wildflower field for your Engagement Session! If your venue is located downtown, hit up some super adorable locations in the city, or even a parking garage! If you’re going for the big fairytale wedding, find yourself a lush and whimsical forest with a ton of nature for your Engagement Session. Hell, head to your local carnival for some super playful photos if your wedding theme is colorful and fun. Choosing your Engagement Session location based on your wedding vibe is especially smart if you’re looking to incorporate your engagement photos into your wedding day in some way.

NO. 3

Use Your Life as Inspo

Don’t be afraid of using locations from your everyday life in your engagement session, even your own home! If you like the cozy home feel but aren’t feeling your own space, check out my studios The York Flat or The Honey Club Studio for some in-home options. Engagement photos from a couple’s home are honestly some of my favorite because it really allows the couple to feel comfortable in their space. If getting professional photos done in your home stresses you out, you can always brainstorm with your partner and think of locations that mean something special to you both. Maybe it’s where you had your first date? Or maybe your proposal location? Or maybe it’s a place you like to vacation to… if it’s a location that means something special to you, your photographer can easily capture all those happy feelings in your photos.

NO. 4

Show Off Your Personality

couple holding hands and walking in shallow water

No matter what location you choose, make sure the location is a good representation of both of your personalities. These photos are a way for you to look back and experience all the amazing feelings you had about each other in the moments leading up to your wedding day. These photos are a celebration of the relationship and connection you have built between the two of you, so one of my best engagement session tips is don’t be afraid to celebrate the uniquely weird side of yourselves as well!

Choosing your wardrobe

NO. 5

Wear something you’re comfortable in 

This is probably the biggest thing I can stress when it comes to your engagement shoot. While you definitely want to look your best for your shoot, that does not mean that you need to wear something that is super stiff or uncomfortable for you. It doesn’t matter how great everything else is during your shoot, if you are uncomfortable in your clothes, it will show. 

I would suggest sticking to clothes that you have in your closet already or buying clothes that you know you will be comfortable in. If you are doing your shoot outside in the summer, for instance, definitely try and stay away from thick or long sleeve clothes. This also will help you decide what time of year you may want to schedule your session. If you love the layered look, aim for a fall/winter timeframe for your shoot. 

NO. 6

Try not to match or clash

couple hugging from behind in a large field

You also want to make sure that your clothes are not going to clash with your partner or with the location you are doing your shoot at. This doesn’t mean that you should wear matching outfits, but be sure to pick things that have complimentary colors or themes to them. Neutrals and denim are always a great place to start, but another great tip is to reach out to your photographer to see what they recommend. Each photographer edits certain colors a little bit different from the next, so they may recommend steering clear of certain colors based on their editing style for your photos.

It is also important to think about your location when picking out your outfit to make sure that you don’t blend into the background. Wearing all white in winter when you’re doing a shoot out in the snow may not be the best idea! 

While picking out clothes can be stressful sometimes, picking the right clothes for your shoot is one of the most important engagement session tips I can give to any couple. 

Bonus tips!

NO. 7

Check the weather

This is something that people can sometimes easily overlook but it plays a huge part in your engagement shoot, especially if it is outside.

First, you need to decide what season of the year you want to have your session. Depending on your location, the area will look vastly different throughout the seasons. I know here in Pennsylvania where I am located, the same state park can look completely different in the spring vs the fall. Talk with your photographer about what season they may recommend for you based on the colors that you vibe with most. Or, pick a specific season based on the outfits you feel most comfortable in. Either way, nailing down the season in which you want to have your shoot should definitely be the first step.

So now you’ve nailed down your shoot date, I would suggest that you start checking the weather about a week before your shoot is supposed to take place. This will help you start to plan out what you are going to need to bring to your shoot or help you come up with backup plans for your outfits just in case you need to make a last minute change. 

If you do find that you are expected to get some inclement weather during your shoot, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your shoot is going to turn out poorly. Cloudy days often provide the best lighting for your photos. 

Rain during your shoot can make for some magical photos and can even help you relax and be more playful during the pictures. You can even break out the umbrellas to add a bit of color to your photos. Even snow can make your pictures dreamy (just make sure you are bundled up well enough that you don’t freeze during your shoot!). 

If you are expected to get more severe weather, knowing in advance can also give you the chance to come up with a backup location without feeling pressured to make a last minute decision the day before or the day of your shoot. Your photographer (me) will also help you work around whatever the weather may be! 

NO. 8

Don’t get too caught up on thinking about poses 

couple laying down on the grass looking at each other and holding hands

This is one of the most important engagement session tips I could give. The best shoots are the ones where everyone can just relax, have fun, and be themselves. Focusing too much on poses and looking “exactly right” for the picture, can lead to your pictures looking somewhat stiff. 

It is totally okay to do some research and find a couple of poses you may want to incorporate into your shoot. I often love when couples send me inspo boards so I know what they already are in love with leading into their session, but remember that your shoot is to highlight you and your partner’s relationship. You want to make sure that any poses you do during your shoot feel natural to both of you. 

NO. 9 

Don’t wait until the last minute to do things like picking out your outfit or getting a haircut

It is super easy to let your photoshoot day creep up on you without realizing it. This can cause you to have to do some last minute prep. While some things can be done last minute, there are a few things I would suggest doing a few weeks prior. 

If you are planning on getting a haircut before you shoot, I definitely recommend doing this at least a month before your shoot, especially if it’s a brand new look for you. This will ensure that you have a little bit of time for you to get used to your new do! When it comes to your outfit, you can wait to purchase it, but looking for your outfit sooner rather than later can help prevent some stress. We have all run into the issue of not being able to find the perfect outfit so be sure to give yourself plenty of time! 

NO. 10

Scope out your engagement shoot location before the day (if you can) 

person holding their partner on their back

This is a great tip for couples who have a location chosen that is uniquely personal to them so that you can let your photographer know ahead of time what spots you want to include in your session. While not everyone may be able to do this (if you don’t live close to the location you are doing your session in), this is a super helpful tip to help make you more comfortable for when the day comes around. Take a little bit of time before the day of your shoot to walk around the location, scout out any specific places you know you will want to take pictures in, and get a feel for the area as a whole. 

It can also be super helpful to head to your session location around the same time you are going to be there for your photoshoot. The same place can look wildly different in the middle of the day than it does first thing in the morning or at sunset. Scoping it out at the same time you will be there for your shoot will ensure you know exactly what your session will look like! 

If you aren’t able to head to your session location beforehand, it is a good idea to find a photographer who is familiar with the area. (Psst… if you’re looking for photos in the York PA/Lancaster PA/Philadelphia  area, I’m your gal.) They will be able to guide you around and help guide you to any specific locations that match the vibe you are going for in your shoot! 

Extra bonus tip…

Trust your photographer

Last, but certainly not least, trust your photographer. You hired a photographer for a reason. They are the professionals and know how to make your shoot perfect for you and your partner, especially if this is your first time in front of a camera.

Your photographer will be able to guide you through the shoot and make sure that you are comfortable throughout the entirety of it. They will also be able to see how you and your partner interact and help direct you in ways that make you feel more and more comfortable. 

While it can be hard to give up some control, especially with a new person, letting your photographer take the lead will ensure you end up with the perfect engagement photos for you and your fiancé! 

Whether you are looking to get photos just for you and your partner or are looking for pictures to use on your save the dates, these engagement session tips are sure to help you have the perfect photoshoot. 

Still looking for a photographer for your wedding day? Click here to get in touch and see how we can make your perfect vision come to life for you and your partner! Some of my wedding packages include an engagement session!

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