MAKE THE MOST OUT OF YOUR ENGAGEMENT SESSION WITH THESE INSIDER TIPS, TRICKS, IDEAS &INSPIRATION!
Every couple that is planning their wedding should 100% book an engagement photo shoot (which is also why we include one in every one of our packages). I know that wedding planning can sometimes be a little stressful, and an engagement session is a great way to have fun, relax, and get super excited for your wedding! It’s also a fun way to get to know your photographer (and I you) and just have fun!
Engagement shoots are all about what you make of them, and there are endless possibilities! Locations, outfits, props…. the options are limitless! I’m going to go over some tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years so you and your boo can have the most fun engagement session that is authentic to you.
WHY SHOULD WE BOTHER WITH AN ENGAGEMENT PHOTO SHOOT?
I have photographed so many engagement shoots over the years, I’ve lost track of how many, but they are ALWAYS a good time! I’ve definitely learned gained some wisdom in those years, and here are a few reasons why engagement sessions are such a great idea:
1). Engagement sessions are great for getting to meet your wedding photographer (hopefully me!) and see how you all work together. Getting your photograph taken can feel super awkward and feel uncomfortable- I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get a little nervous/excited myself! Most of us are not used to being in front of the camera, and having an engagement session will make it a little less intimidating and a whole lot more fun the day of your wedding. For me, it is so important for me to develop a rapport with my clients. The better we get to know each other, the more comfortable we will be working together and the better the photos will turn out. Engagement sessions do just this. You’ll tell me your better side, and I’ll get the heads up if one of you blinks a lot!
2). Engagement shoots can be treated as a "date night". Transforming your engagement session into a fun date night activity will make it all the more fun + exciting! Many times, I meet up with my clients at a brewery where we can grab a craft bevie and have a casual hang out (while I take some snaps, of course) before heading to a new location, maybe a park or the waterfront. When we’re done, you’ll probably have worked up an appetite, so you two can go out and grab some dinner and round out date night.
3). The photos from an engagement session are memories of their own (and an extension of your relationship together) . Getting engagement photos taken is almost like having more coverage of your wedding celebration, because it starts here. This is the beginning of your journey to marriage and it should be celebrated! Having these photos will remind you of this whole era leading up to your wedding day; it’s just going to be a blast!
I will get into further suggestions, but a big takeaway to getting amazing engagement photos is to make it personal and meaningful to the two of you
WHAT TO WEAR FOR YOUR ENGAGEMENT SESSION
1). Comfort Is Key. This is what it all comes back to. Or maybe that’s just me. I’m a HUGE fan of comfort. You won’t be able to relax and feel good for the camera if you’re not feeling comfortable in your clothes which leads you to be comfortable in your skin. My goal as your photographer is to capture those natural, organic, authentic moments where you just SHINE. To really capture those, it’s important for you to relax and be comfortable.
2). Coordinate Colors, Don’t Match. So, we want to work with a color palette and *NOT* matching colors, you feel me? Color matching will leave you with those incredibly cheesy photos of family reunions on the beach wearing the same pastel color (unless you’re into that thing, then maybe I’m not the photographer for you). So what does that mean? It means picking 2-3 colors that can play off each other and complement each to the essence of inevitability. It leaves some fun wiggle room for everyone in the shoot and can really help bring out personalities as well! (here’s a Color Wheel to see some examples).
3). Wearing a vivid color can help make you pop! Sometimes, when you just look really amazing in that color, you just have to wear it! Wearing a statement piece, perhaps something with a little more saturation, can look really incredible and make for some dramatic-esque images. So don’t be afraid to get a little fancy, a little bit Beyoncé.
4). Get creative with different materials and textures. I’m talking velvet, satin, suede. Maybe it’s just a satin scarf or suede shoes. But these little details can add so much and can really elevate your engagement photos.
5). Bring along a second outfit. We will have time for an outfit change during the shoot. It’s a great way to get a little variety in the images, and for you to play dress up a bit! (Pro Tip || Many couples will choose one dressier outfit while the other outfit is a bit more casual.)
6). What absolutely not to wear! Some articles of clothing just do not work, so here’s where I’m going to tell you what to avoid. DO NOT WEAR graphic tees or anything with a logo. These do not photograph well, and pull the viewer's eye directly to them (I guess that’s called marketing!). DO NOT WEAR large patterned tops for the same reason. Small patterned tops or bottoms are fine.
MAKE IT AUTHENTICALLY YOU!
Getting your photograph taken can already feel a bit vulnerable, so why not just blow this outta the water! The photos will be extra special because of this (not to mention wholly and completely you!) It can be as simple as choosing a location that means something to the both of you or an activity you enjoy together. I may ask you questions (with your consent first, of course) to prompt some interactions between the two of you
A few ways to add personality and realness to your engagement session:
• Where you had your first date
• Play an instrument? Bring ‘er a long!
• Have an in home session if you love to garden, cook, etc
• Let’s head to your favorite coffee shop or cafe!
• Go explore somewhere new (I’ve got plenty of recommendations!)
INCLUDE YOUR FUR BABIES (YES, PLEASE!)
For couples who are also pet parents, your engagement session is a great time to get photos with them (and highly encouraged)! I have a dog myself, and lord knows I want to bring him everywhere I go!
My only suggestion would be to not include your pet(s) in the entire photoshoot; we want the two of you to be front and center! Having a friend come along to help watch is a good idea so you're able to be freed up and won’t have to worry about them. If we are doing an at-home session, we can put them inside after we get some shots of everyone together.
HOW TO NOT FEEL AWKWARD DURING ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS
It's 100% normal to feel some of those nervous butterflies we all know before having your photo taken. Even if you two have taken countless phone photos of each other, it’s always a little different to be in front of a professional photographers’ camera.
But not to worry, that "awkward" feeling should go away within a few minutes of working together. I will be able to help you feel more at ease, comfortable, and confident in front of the camera; I know all the tips and tricks to help you relax and until you almost forget I’m there. I can’t tell you how many times someone has said, “That was SO MUCH FUN! I wasn’t really expecting that!”- which says two things. One, that you’re not alone in feeling awkward about a photoshoot. And two, YOU WILL HAVE FUN!
WHERE TO HAVE AN ENGAGEMENT SESSION
This question definitely reflects back to the “MAKE IT YOU” section up above. I think the most important thing to consider when it comes to your engagement shoot location is what kind of vibe you want, and do you want to make it authentic to you?
• Do you want urban/city vibes?
• Or something more natural? A forested trail or waterfall?
• Maybe something more fun like a fair or carnival?
• How about an epic mountain top adventure?
There are so many options, but overall think about what speaks to the both of you. Maybe you LOVE being outdoors, but want to go for something different with an engagement shoot at your local fair. Or maybe you’re both huge movie buffs and you want to do your engagement shoot at the drive-in. The possibilities are infinite!!
Some great places to consider:
• Local, State or National Parks There are reasons these places are parks- beauty is everywhere! If there is a specific location within your favorite park, be sure to let your photographer (again, hopefully me!) know. They may know the spot and be able to tell you the best time of day to go for some epic shots! Make sure to check to see if any permits are needed beforehand.
• Restaurants Maybe you want to go back to the scene of the crime, where you had your first date. Maybe it's your favorite restaurant. Or maybe there's a place you want to go that just has a really cool vibe!
• Carnivals/Fairs How much fun would it be to take your engagement session to the county fair! Think sunset shots on the ferris wheel- you can’t beat that!
• Beach We have the most beautiful sunsets here on Lake Champlain, so let’s go down to the beach and get some memorable shots!
• Around the City Do you just love your city or town? Then let’s do a city tour! We can incorporate all your favorite spots into the session.
• At Home An at-home session may be the perfect option for you; there’s no other place where you’re going to feel more comfortable and literally “at home”!
The best part about living in Burlington, VT, the urban is so close to the natural beauty so we can combine multiple locations!
ENGAGEMENT PHOTO SESSIONS- FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Here are some common questions I get asked about engagement photo shoots.
Q: What should I do with my hands?
I get this question a lot and it’s something most people don’t realize until they are in front of the camera. But not to worry! I will gently guide you into (easy) poses so you don’t need to worry too much about this ahead of time. The biggest takeaway is connection; I will have you too connected in some way or another, whether that is holding hands as you still down the path, or in a loving embrace. Eventually you’ll end up taking the reins in posing without even knowing it (and those are the best shots since you’ll forget I’m even there!).
Q:Should we include props in our shoot?
In short, YES! If there are things you'd like to include - bring them along! Maybe it’s a bottle of champagne and some special glasses and a picnic lunch. Maybe you both love baseball and you want to have a catch. That being said, try to not get too carried away as these things can sometimes distract from your connection with one another, but having something that can distract you from the camera (seriously!) is a great way to feel more comfortable in front of the lens.
Q: Can we include our dog/cat/child/etc. in some photos? Heck yes! I love when couples include pets and kids into the shoot; they are part of your story, after all! It can be helpful to have a family member or friend who can take any pets or spend time with children for some of the shoot so we have some quality time alone together.
Q: Where should we have our engagement photos taken? I definitely have my favorite locations and go-tos in Vermont, but I also love it when my couples have a special place of their own they want to revisit! Sometimes it's just a matter of having a simple conversation and brainstorming ideas together. Another way to approach this is to think about some places that are meaningful to the two of you, or fun things you like doing together. Maybe you both love to cook dinner at home using veggies from your backyard garden. Maybe you both love to hike and want to revisit a favorite trail or explore a new one. The sky's the limit!
Q: What time of year is best for engagement pictures?
In Vermont, the Spring and Fall months tend to be particularly popular thanks to the blooming flowers and insane foliage. Winter is also a super popular option if you’re a winter sports enthusiast or just want to incorporate the magic of the winter into your shoot. If you hate the cold, maybe summer is the better option. But I think it is really a personal preference and also depends on what and where you might want to go for your engagement session.
Q: When using engagement pics for save-the-dates, how far in advance should I have my session? You should plan to send your save-the-date invitations out about six to eight months before the big day! Plan to have your session at least 7-9 months before your wedding day so your photographer has enough time to edit the chosen images and get them back to you.
I hope you enjoyed these insider tricks and tips for making your engagement session only awkward for second and way less than you thought it would be, and most importantly FUN! You are not fully ready to walk into the photoshoot like the BOSS that you are and crush it! YOU GOT THIS!!
Ready to book your engagement session with us? Click here and send us a message. I can't wait to work together!