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Preparing for your Engagement Session...a complete "how-to" on getting the most out of you

It is a topic I cover almost daily with my brides...the question comes in a couple different forms:

  • "What do you recommend we wear for our engagement session?"

  • "Do you have any ideas for where we should take our photos?"

But both of these questions trace back to one singular question that every bride really wants to know, "What can we do on our end in order for us to get the best engagement photos possible?"

I am SO glad you asked!! A well thought out engagement session is one of my very favorite parts of my job. If I am going to be 100% frank with all of you, it is pretty challenging walking into a photo session where the client has not put a lot of thought into their wardrobe, location, appearance, etc. This is because I can take beautiful photos of you with romantic lighting and will pull out ALL the stops to do so, but there are some things that I simply cannot adjust. Moral of the story is the more time you invest into preparing for your session, the more you will LOVE your photos - I guarantee it!!

How to Prepare for Your Engagement Session


So, let's start out with attire. Everyone wants to know this first. Think solid colors. Try to avoid those obnoxiously bright colors in your closet and instead opt for the neutrals {creams, tans, light browns}. Color is fabulous IF it is muted {hunter green, navy blue, maroon, dark aqua}. And pastels are beautiful {baby blue, rose pink, mint green}.

How to Prepare for Your Engagement Session

For the bride-to-be, I would first recommend that you select something you are comfortable wearing. You like dresses? Awesome. Rompers? Go for it. Do you look cute as a button in high-waisted jeans?! Bring it. Do you like big floppy hats or scarves? These photos are supposed to speak to your personality and quite honestly might be some of the only professional photos you two have hanging in your future home in which you are not wearing wedding-day gear. (A lot of clients get their engagement photos and wedding day photos and then the next time they are photographed together is when Baby #1 comes along.) Spend some time curating an outfit that compliments everything you love about yourself, and then curate another one that does the same where you can have some variation in your session.

How to Prepare for Your Engagement Session

After you have figured out your attire, do NOT forget about the groom-to-be! Do not forget that he is going to be in the photos right beside you!! This is the time to make sure he doesn't bring that gosh awful shirt he wears 4x per week...the time to make sure that HIS clothes are clean and pressed. The time to make sure that he is wearing an outfit that flatters him, as well. Look for a pair of jeans or khakis that fit him well. Find a button-down that complements your outfit and his complexion and be sure to iron it! Make sure he has two outfits that complement your two outfits. Avoid shirts with writing on them like the plague. Try to avoid heavily checkered shirts; lightly checkered shirts are just fine! Try to avoid striped shirts (especially horizontal stripes...c'mon, no one looks good in horizontal stripes!). Do NOT be so "matchy-matchy" that you both show up wearing black tees and jeans, please....I will tell y'all to get back in the car (kidding...maybe). But seriously, it is super easy to spend so much time coming up with your own outfit that you forget about his. Don't let this happen!


Because of its importance, I plan on doing a full blog post about this topic sometime in March or April, but I'll touch very lightly on it here. Try your hardest to select a location that is special to you or your fiancé in some way. Try to think of a location that you or your fiancé might have access to that is unique. Think about locations where the lighting would be gorgeous around sunset. Somewhere serene and uncrowded. Spend time researching the perfect location online...ask me questions if you need to. Consider how many scenes are available at the location...are there fields? A forest? A pond? An ivy covered wall? Beautiful architecture? Or does it all look the same? You certainly want variation available. Most importantly, do not overlook this step of your preparation - it is by far one of the most important parts!!!

How to Prepare for Your Engagement Session


In addition to your attire and your session location, you need to consider your appearance and hygiene on the day of your engagement session.

  • Consider getting your hair and/or makeup done by a professional. It will amaze you how much more you will love your photos if you get a little dolled up beforehand! I am happy to give you a recommendation on someone near you, if you are needing one!

  • Make sure your engagement ring is clean. We will probably take a few photos of it, and you'll want to make sure it is nice and sparkly.

  • Your fingernails will be in the photos of your ring, so you'll want to make sure you don't have any chipped polish! A manicure and pedicure will do the trick.

  • Don't let your fiancé get a haircut on the day of the session! (I speak from experience)

How to Prepare for Your Engagement Session


Last but certainly not least, you'll need to mentally prepare yourselves for your engagement session. Simply stated, this means, "let's not choose the day of your engagement session to fight with each other" (this actually happens a lot when the bride runs late). I only mention it where others might not suffer the same fate!! I will try everything I know to loosen both of you up to be yourselves, but it helps so, so much when the couple is excited to be there!

So here is my best advice on how to mentally prepare your fiancé: Let him know ahead of time how long he can expect the session to last. Make it extremely clear to him how important these photos are to you. Guys typically hate being in photos, but if they truly understand the importance of them to you, they'll surprise you at the session with their willingness!! (The same goes for the day of your wedding!!) Plan to arrive at your appointment about 10-15 minutes early to freshen up and to get acclimated to where we will be having your session. And make sure your fiancé has either already had dinner or had a huge snack before the session. Hungry men don't smile for photos :) Simply love on each other and be "in love" and it will most definitely show!!!! Most of all, relax and be the time your session starts, all of the hard work will be over, and it will be my job at that point to create the photos that you cherish.

How to Prepare for Your Engagement Session

I hope this has helped you with ways to best prepare for your engagement session!! As always, I am only a click away in answering any other questions I might not have covered here!

XOXO, Clara


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