Engagement sessions are a great way to know what it feels like being in front of the camera and to feel comfortable with ‘posing’. It’s also a good way for us to get to know one another, while making beautiful images! I know planning for your engagement session may feel like a daunting process, so I’ve put together a guide to help you plan out the best engagement session for you.
Now I want to make it clear that this is just a guideline and not something that has to be followed step by step. The end goal is to have your engagement session focus on your love, not about the location and what you’re wearing.
I love shooting in natural light, and the best time to shoot is during sunset. It gives the most flattering light and provides a romantic setting. Depending on which month you decide to do your session, be sure to check what time the sun sets. Normally I start the sessions 2 hours before sunset, but of course we’ll chat about exact time and place to meet!
For the outdoor location, you might want to bring bug spray and appropriate shoes. If you’re worried about getting your shoes dirty, I would bring an extra pair just in case… or go barefoot! Dress according to the weather, or at least be prepared for it. Bring jackets, umbrellas, rain boots, etc. Preparing for these elements will help you feel more comfortable and allow you to focus on each other! The more comfortable you are in your environment the more relaxed and authentic your photos with be!!
I know that finding the right outfit for your engagement session can be a daunting process, and before you begin scrolling endlessly through Pinterest, I want you to consider a few things first when it comes to choosing your outfits. Ultimately, I want you guys to look like yourselves.
When choosing an outfit for your engagement session, the first thing I want you to consider is “AM I COMFORTABLE”? My goal during the engagement session is to make you feel comfortable and at ease. If you are wearing something you hate or feeling awkward in, it may translate into the photos. The only thing I want you two to focus on is each other, and it will be hard to do that if you’re uncomfortable with what you are wearing. I recommend wearing something you’ve worn already, for my shooting style relies heavily on getting you two to move around and being relaxed together. So choose something comfortable enough to sit down and run around in.
DRESS FOR THE LOCATION
Choose outfits that make sense for your location and weather conditions. If we are going to be hiking through the mountains, bring shoes that are comfortable and sturdy. If we are shooting in the snow, make sure you bring a warm jacket and shoes that are appropriate. I wouldn’t want you to freeze to death for the sake of a shot. If you decide to wear a dress in the snow, make sure you are well prepared and have lots of layers. If you are thinking of doing a formal dress in nature, make sure it’s something you can easily move around in. I would also stay away from doing heels, unless we’re in the city!
When it comes choosing colours for your outfits, I would recommend sticking to neutrals and earth tones. Neutrals don’t just mean, whites, greys and browns, every colour has a neutral tone which is a muted version of a color with the same hue. The colour swatches below are examples of neutral and earth tones that work really well when selecting your outfits.
When picking a colour, keep your location in mind. Choose hues that match your surroundings, like wearing grey-blue near the ocean, rose pink during sunset or burnt orange during the fall.
This is a great way to balance the focus between you and the environment. That being said, if we are in the forest, I would try and stay away from dark green or brown. Instead, choose colours like baby blue, white, heather grey, beige or mustard yellow. Complementing your surroundings is great, but we want to make sure you stand out from the scenery.
I also recommend staying away from fluorescent and distracting colours. We don’t want your outfits stealing the show as we ultimately want the focus to remain on the two of you! Of course, if you are going to do a bright colour make sure that your partner is wearing muted tones and a hue that complements your outfit choice. Additionally, if you’ve decided on a white top, and your partner decides on a light grey, make sure that the colours are different enough from each other.
When thinking of props it doesn’t have to be “I love you signs” or “save the date banners”. Props can be as simple as being part of your outfit like a hat or sunglasses. Whatever props you want to bring, make sure it makes sense with your location and outfit choices! Some more ideas for props are food, drinks, motorcycle, camper-vans, campfires, kayaks, paddle boards, blankets, bouquet of flowers, smoke bombs and even your household pets!! (Honestly, bring your pets!!!). * If you are thinking of getting a bouquet for your session, let your florist know the colours of your outfits to complement one another!
A lot of people ask if its necessary to have their hair and make up done for the shoot! I definitely do not think its necessary especially if its not your thing, but of course if having your makeup professionally done before a session makes you feel your best, then definitely do it!! Most of my clients book their hair and makeup trials before their sessions to get the most out of it. I suggest scheduling your makeup to be done at least 1 hour before the session begins so you aren’t late. If you’re thinking of doing an up-do for your wedding day, I would request your makeup artist to leave you with a more relaxed looked for your trial. Engagement sessions are more relaxed and up-do’s can look overly formal (unless that’s exactly what you’re looking for). * If you need suggestions for hair and makeup artist, just let me know and I can refer some talented artists your way!
BREAKING THE RULES
Now that everything is said and done! There is definitely no harm in breaking a few of the rules! Like I mentioned earlier, these are just “GUIDELINES” to help you narrow down your options. I am definitely not a style guru, nor am I claiming to know anything about fashion. These are just some things that I have observed to work well during engagements sessions! At the end of the day, I want these photos to represent who you are as a couple, and if it means wearing bold colours or all black, then I would want you to choose something that will make you feel your best! These photographs are for you and I would want it to represent who you are!
To make our session easier and stress free and at the end for you to be able to understand me with wearing a mask I included few poses I usually do at the engagement sessions.
Holding hands and walking
Hugging and looking at each other