Planning your engagement session can be a bit daunting. This list is to help give you some starting points, in hopes to make your experience not feel so overwhelming. We all want to have pictures with our fiancé where we feel happy and confident. Feeling prepared will help you enter your session feeling more comfortable. (And that can translate into your photos!)
1) Get Inspired!
Take a moment with your fiancé to look through your photographer's work. Check out their portfolios. If they have blog posts about their engagement sessions, look through those as well. This will give you an idea of what to expect during your session. Pay attention to the types of poses you see in the photos. You certainly don't have to memorize them or even practice them before the session, your photographer will know how to guide you through all of the poses as you go, but it may ease some anxieties of the unknown.
Finding inspiration on the internet outside of your photographer's website can be beneficial, but don't get lost too far in the Pinterest rabbit hole. Although it can be a good tool for finding locations or creating a mood board for potential outfits for your session, there are a lot of factors that could prevent your photographer from trying to re-create a photo you found on the internet. Things like lighting, location, and the height difference between you and your partner can effect the ability to capture some poses or effects. Try and choose a photographer whom you will trust their judgement to get the best photos for you on the day.
2) Clean Your Ring!
Your photographer will be taking close up photos of your beautiful ring. So why not have your ring at its optimum sparkle power!? Some photographers may even take photos of your ring individually during a wardrobe change. Just something to consider if you have the time and means to clean that ring!
3) Choose What to Wear!
This is one of the most challenging parts of your preparation, and one of the topics I get questions about the most. There are soooo many ways to go about choosing what to wear for your engagement session. So here are some, hopefully, helpful tips for deciding your outfits. (Buckle up! Because this may be a long ride... haha)
Things to avoid: What NOT to wear is just about as important as what TO wear. You can eliminate some options right away by weeding out bright reds or neon colors. These colors tend to reflect their color back onto skin, or anything else nearby. It could potentially make it challenging to edit your skin tones accurately. I would lean more towards the soft or pastel version of colors, or deeper tones. (But I will get into those specifics a little later.)
The other thing to avoid is distracting patterns. I adore some bold and colorful patterns in my everyday life. And not all are technically bad for photos, but you don't want eyes focusing more on your clothing than your beautiful faces! Avoiding overly bold patterns will also help keep your photos looking timeless.
Coordinate, but don't match! Put outfits together that aren't exact matches with each other, but instead compliment each other. This takes me back to my art school days thinking about the color wheel and color theory. You can choose two complementary colors and work them into both of your outfits. Like yellows and purples. Or chose one color and incorporate different shades of that color into your outfits. Like a light dusty green dress and a dark forest green sweater. And don't be afraid to ask your photographer for their own suggestions! Different colors can look better in different editing styles.
Bold or Romantic? Dressy or Casual? Your clothing will play a big part in the look of your photos. Are you drawn to bold pops of color? Or maybe a softer romantic vibe? You may want to consider the theme of your wedding and try match that energy in your engagement session. Giving your guests a little taste of what to expect.
Want the soft and romantic look? Lean more towards lighter or even pastel shades. Avoid black attire, and instead wear khakis or brown tones.
Feeling bold? Choose darker colors or even jewel tones for you photos.
If your photographer allows for an outfit change during your engagement session, I strongly suggest choosing one casual outfit, and one dressy outfit for you both. Have the best of both worlds in your photos!
But the #1 Thing to consider most of all when choosing your engagement session wardrobe? Wear something you feel comfortable in! Feeling comfortable will bring confidence to your photos. You want to be able to move around in your posing, and not constantly worry about adjusting or tweaking your outfit every time you move. Your photographer wants you to enjoy just being in the moment over all.
4) Deciding on a Location!
The location is another important factor into how your overall photos will turn out. Still looking for that soft and romantic effect? Choose a beautiful park or somewhere with bright (potentially white) buildings. Maybe ask your photographer if they know of any flower fields or trees in bloom.
More interested in the Bold effect? Consider doing a fun session in the city. Or maybe you are even willing to travel to an epic scenic location? Always check with your photographer about locations you may think would be beautiful backgrounds. Sometimes there are factors that play into whether or not the view can be captured as well as you'd hope in your portrait session.
5) Don't Forget the Little Things!
Most photographers will try to think of these things for you, but it doesn't hurt for you to have them on your mind as well. Remember to remove everything from your pockets! Believe it or not, you will be able to see the outline of your phone in the photos. Check your wrists! Unless it's a bracelet or watch that was meant to be part of your ensemble, its best to take it off. (Here's me thinking about how 90% of the time I have a hair tie on my wrists. It's all too easy to forget!) And lastly, consider bringing your lipstick or powder for a touchup throughout the session. During the outfit change is a great time to double check that you're looking and feeling fresh for your next round of pictures!
I'm hoping you found at least one of these tips helpful as you plan for your engagement session. In the end, the day is about you. So whether you choose to follow all the steps or decide to throw caution to the wind and break all the "rules", these photos are about how the two of you want to share your love for each other with the ones you love.