So your favorite person finally popped that life-changing question and now you’re engaged! You’re looking forward to an eternity of happiness and love with your best friend! And now it’s time to think about your engagement session. Buuuuut it’s a little overwhelming. If you’re rarely in front of the camera it can feel a little intimidating. Also what does one wear to an engagement session? What should you use these photos for? What do you do with your hands?!
With over five years of experience photographing engaged couples, I’ve gotten all of these questions. But fret not! I’ll provide answers to all of these and more to help you feel super prepared for your upcoming photo shoot!
What Is an Engagement Session?
An engagement session is a photo shoot that celebrates your relationship. Some couples do these shortly after getting engaged to announce their commitment to friends and family. Others will do them months or a year into their engagement, which is totally fine too! Being engaged is such a fun and short time in your life, and an engagement shoot is the perfect way to celebrate.
I firmly believe that an engagement session can be anything you want it to be! I leave it up to you and your partner to decide how you want the shoot to go. Do you want to shoot on top of a mountain? I’m down. Do you want to have a picnic in the park? Totally. Wanna head to a brewery and grab some beers or visit an aquarium or walk around a museum? YUP. Do you feel like staying home and cuddling up in your living room with your pets and/or plants? For sure!
My number one piece of advice is that your session should reflect you and your partner, for exactly who you are as a couple.
Why Should You Do an Engagement Session?
Many wedding photographers (myself included!) include engagement sessions as part of their wedding packages. So this is a big reason to have one done.
Another huge reason to do one is that you’ll have the ability to work with your wedding photographer BEFORE the wedding. This is a HUGE plus! You’ll get so comfortable with one another that you’ll have peace of mind for your portrait session on your wedding day. You’ll probably even be looking forward to it!
You’ll also be able to use these fresh snaps of you and your loved one on your wedding website and for save-the-dates, wedding invitations and reception decorations. I absolutely love seeing how couples incorporate these images into their day! Fun tip: you can also use them on social media as countdown posts to get your guests hyped for your wedding. That “100 days left” post is just a little sweeter when paired with a beautiful image of the two of you!
Finally – and I cannot stress this enough – engagement sessions are SO FUN! I always love chatting with my couples beforehand and catching up. When we start shooting, I’ll give lots of direction but I’ll mainly observe how you interact with each other and feed off of that. I always encourage couples to bring champagne, props and anything else that will make the shoot fun and unique! It always feels like we’re just hanging out and my camera just happened to come along for the ride.
So…are you ready for the top ten tips to get ready for a fun and memorable engagement session?
10 Tips to Prepare for Your Shoot
1. Pick a Style You Love
There are endless possibilities when it comes to your engagement session. Do you want it to be more formal and dressy, or casual and chill? Do you want to do your session during the same season you’re getting married? Think about what describes your relationship and how you’d like it to be portrayed.
2. Find the Perfect Location
Especially in New England, there are so many epic locations to choose from! If you’re going for an adventurous vibe, the mountains are calling. If you both love the ocean, we can head to the seacoast. If your favorite thing to do is Netflix and chill, grab some popcorn! If you’re not sure about a location, your photographer can always give you a list of places they’ve shot before.
3. Choose Your Outfits
Once you have a style and location, think about what you want to wear. I usually have my couples bring two outfits and suggest that they are very different from each other in style or color. Make sure that you and your partner’s outfits complement each other, but do not match exactly. I always suggest earth tones and neutrals versus bright colors that could distract from what’s going on in the image. Stay away from crazy patterns and logos. And most importantly – wear something you are COMFORTABLE in! You can check out this Pinterest board to see outfits my past couples have worn for their sessions!
4. Consider Hair and Makeup
You definitely want to look and feel your best for this session! Consider getting your hair and/or makeup professionally done beforehand. Make sure it’s nothing too crazy – you still want to look like you! It can be a fun way to treat yourself and boost your confidence, so I definitely recommend it!
5. Don’t Practice Posing!
This is a big one! Try not to practice posing or have a lot of expectations for the shoot. Your photographer will be able to give you all the directions when it comes to what to do with your hands, feet, face, etc. You should feel comfortable to rely on them for this and just have fun with it!
6. Give That Ring a Shine!
It doesn’t hurt to get your ring professionally cleaned or at least shine it a little yourself before your session. There will likely be lots of close-up photos of it and you’ll want it to look great on camera!
7. Arrive on Time (or Early)
Your photographer has most likely designated your session time for a very specific purpose. I usually like to shoot during golden hour when the light isn’t so harsh and we can get you in front of that beautiful glow. But light moves fast! So make sure to arrive on time to your session so that you get a full shoot’s worth of images.
8. Bring a Few Props (or Even Your Pups!)
This relates back to what I was saying about making the shoot uniquely your own. Don’t be afraid to bring along some items that are special to you and your partner, such as a favorite bottle of wine or craft beer, a game you like to play together, etc. You can even bring your pups (as a dog-lover I actually HIGHLY encourage this!)
9. Let Loose and Have Fun
This is all about YOU. Remember to relax and make having fun your first priority! We’ll get a little goofy but we’ll also do some romantic poses that remind you exactly why you’re marrying your partner in the first place. Give yourself space to open up and be in the moment together.
10. Don’t Let the Party Stop!
This is probably my favorite tip – make a whole day of it! Grab brunch or a few drinks before we meet up or plan a fancy dinner for after our session. You’ve just had a super fun day and you look great, so why let the fun stop? You can even just plan to have a fun date night at home! Pop in a favorite movie and get ready to snuggle up together. Side note: I’ll probably send a few sneak peeks from our session that night too, so you’ll get to see some of the great photos we captured right away.
Do you have any questions about engagement sessions? Feel free to get in touch! And to all my 2020 couples, I cannot wait to shoot with you!
“I had the pleasure of working with Nina for my engagement and wedding photos. She was so easy to work with from day one. She has an eye for capturing just the right candid moments on camera, and also has the creativity for posed photo ideas. I’m very pleased with how our photos came out and I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on how beautiful they are. She was so much fun to work with, makes you feel really comfortable (my husband is not known for being photogenic…and she somehow captured great photos of him!) and allows you to call the shots on how you want your photo shoot to go, while also giving her professional opinion…I highly recommend Nina to anyone looking for a fun, talented and professional photographer to capture their special moments!” -Sarah Patinskas, 2018 Bride
Nina Weinstein is a Massachusetts wedding photographer serving all of New England. She specializes in bold, romantic wedding photography as well as engagement and family sessions. She is currently booking for 2020 and 2021.