Prepping for your Engagement Session!
Updated: Jun 4
Engagement Photo Session Notes from Stephanie!
Where do we take our engagement pictures?
Come on over! Your sunset engagement session is complimentary at our private 20-acre lakeside outdoor studio location, and is included in all packages! Come enjoy a fun evening outdoors near Cairo, Nebraska, with a variety of scenic, rustic and natural backgrounds.
Wondering what the studio looks like? Look for any engagement photos in the Gallery!
When should we take our engagement pictures?
When is really up to you - depending on how soon you need your engagement photos and what you plan to do with them. Do you need them right away to be part of a Save the Date or invitation? Or, is there no rush? Perhaps the two of you have a favorite season or time of year that you would prefer to have as a part of your photos. (Personally I prefer summer and fall here!)
Sessions are generally available on weekend/weeknight evenings. Regular Sessions last around 60-90 minutes; Mini is 30 minutes.
How soon can you have our pictures done?
I'll likely have your photos ready for you within a few weeks.
What if we don't need or want engagement pictures?
I would encourage you to reconsider! Not only is this your chance to have professional photos of the two of you in non-wedding day attire, it's a great opportunity to become comfortable with your wedding day photographer (that's me!) before the big day. It allows me to get to know you, too! It's really important to me that we establish a rapport (and some inside jokes) before your wedding day, if possible!
What should we wear?
• Classic clothing that flatters you, clothing you are comfortable and confident in, and that represents YOU & your everyday or dressed up style
• Short-sleeve, elbow sleeve, 3/4 sleeve, or full-sleeved shirts
• Jeans/pants comfortable enough to do a variety of poses; Skirts/Dresses that hit just above the knee or 3/4 down the calf
• Accessories that add a little "flair" to your outfit - bold jewelry, scarves, hats, or great boots really give character!
• Wear something YOU love...we want to capture who YOU are!
What should we avoid wearing?
• Clothing with lots of different colors, distracting patterns, or potentially see-through clothing
• Overly tight clothing (if it shows undergarment lines or bulges), overly bulky clothing, or too-tight button-up shirts
• Clothing that accentuates a body part you don't like
• Avoid wording, large logos/numbers, shiny fabric or fabric that doesn't drape well
Your outfits don’t need to ‘match’, but they should ‘go together’ - in the same tonal ranges of color, level of dressiness, fabrics, and style.
Classic designs in solid colors or simple patterns and layers ALWAYS look good - as do textured fabrics like jeans/denims, jackets, corduroys, or cable knits.
What you wear is ultimately up to you - these are not rules, just suggestions, to give you an idea of what works well and what doesn't!
Find some GREAT tips for what to wear, HERE!
Do we need to bring anything to the session?
Besides your smile, bring along any makeup, hairspray, comb/brush, etc. for touch-ups
During the summer, we do have mosquitoes around because of our lake, so I strongly advise not wearing perfume/cologne
We have mosquito repellent available or you may certainly bring your own!
Feel free to bring something to drink for those warm Nebraska evenings!
Bottled water will be available – but you are welcome to bring the beverage of your choice, as well!
What about makeup?
I strongly recommend that even if you do not usually wear makeup, please consider wearing at least a BB cream/powder to reduce shine and even out your skin tone; concealer to cover blemishes, eyeliner or mascara to pop your eyes, and just a touch of color or shine to your lips.
You’ll probably be doing some kissing, so bring your favorite lip stuff along!
If you normally wear makeup, enhancing your daily makeup routine is great - no need to overdo, but pop those eyes and lips in particular.
Please cover up any blemishes or markings that you do not want to appear in photos!
How long does our session last?
As long as the light holds out and until we have captured YOU!
Around 60-90 minutes for regular sessions, 30 for minis.
Maybe less or more, depending on weather, and how comfortable both of you are taking photos.
What if we have bad weather?
I’d prefer to reschedule if possible - rain, snow, wind, or excessive cold or heat can all affect the way you look in photos!
Call me the day of your session if you aren’t sure, we will come up with a plan that works for everyone!
Please note - If you choose to pursue your session in problematic weather against our advice, we will not be held responsible for the resulting photos. Re-shoots are at an additional cost.
How does the session go once we get there?
Once you arrive, I'll meet you outside, and you'll come inside to my home office -then, we'll talk about the order to do your outfits and get you and your clothes and other personal items settled in!
You can come dressed and ready, or, you can get dressed at my place. I have a restroom/changing room for you to use and make yourself at home!
Then, we'll start shooting! As we move around our property, you may be sitting on grass, a log, rock, bench, swing, leaning on a tree, etc., and will be walking around, sitting and standing.
We also have beautiful hills and pastures available nearby, or a cute small-town downtown with brick storefronts.
We can also shoot at a location of your choice!
Have a favorite activity or hobby? Let's include it! Your props are absolutely welcome!
Pets are welcome, but please, please advise me ahead of time as we have a dog as well :)
You don't need to be early for your session. I'll send you the final start time and address the week of your session. I plan the session time around the sunset time, so you can just arrive at the time I give you that week!
How many outfits should we plan for?
2-3 outfits is ideal for the time allowed
Leave wallets, keys, and phones out of pockets
Leave smart watches and ponytail holders off your wrists
Here's a great list of ideas from BRIDES.com!
1. Wear Clothes That Make You Feel Like You
If you're strictly a T-shirt and jeans kind of couple, now's not the time to pull out a beaded ball gown and tux. "The couple should feel comfortable in the outfits they choose," says Jessica D'Onofrio of Jessica D'Onofrio Photography in Los Angeles. "They should still look like themselves, but at their best. Wardrobe choices that are extremely outside their level of comfort will make them look and feel awkward in photos."
2. Complement Each Other, But Don't Match
Complementing your partner's look is one thing, but "matching outfits and patterned prints aren't ideal for portrait sessions," says Michelle Cross of Michelle Cross Photography in Oregon. "When deciding how you and your partner will dress, look for complementary colors and solid prints. Try to stay away from anything too busy, as it can be an unnecessary distraction in photos."
3. Choose Pastels, Cool Colors, and Neutral Tones
You'll want to avoid anything neon, lest you'll end up looking like a hot, blinking sign, warns Jillian Requeima of Jillian Tree Photography in Miami. "I also find orange is the least photogenic color, while red is the color your eye is drawn to immediately—and you don't necessarily want your shirt or skirt to be the focus of your photograph. You want your faces and the love between you to stand out."
Requeima suggests wearing pastels, cool hues, or neutrals, then adding a bright accent with your accessories.
4. Tie Everything Together With a Color Scheme
Once you have an idea of what colors you'll be wearing in your engagement shoot, consider how that color will translate throughout the entire album. You want to create synergy, rather than have the final result look like a jumbled collection of images. "For example, if you love light blue, you can wear this as a dress or a jumpsuit," says Kimmie Smith, a celebrity fashion stylist in New York City. Then have your partner incorporate the same hue in a later look during the shoot to tie everything together without being overly matchy-matchy.
5. Incorporate at Least One Accessory
Accessories, such as a stylish scarf or chunky necklace, can lend oomph to any engagement look. Plus, they're easy to slip on and off, which means you'll be able to style a variety of looks. "Adding in at least one accessory per outfit for the ladies, and wearing layers of clothing for the guys, are two things that photograph well because it adds more visual interest to their looks and, as a result, to the images," explains Kelsy McCartney of the McCartneys in Wisconsin.
6. Opt for Classic Rather Than Trendy Looks
You may love that black-and-white maxi dress now, but next year you may only be reminded of a referee when you see yourself in head-to-toe stripes. "I always recommend looks that will remain timeless, rather than outfits that could make your images feel dated a few years down the road," D'Onofrio says.
7. Stick With Two Outfits
Don't fall victim to treating your engagement session as a full-fledged fashion photo shoot. "You're going to have a million wedding photos where you're all dolled up and looking gorgeous," Cross says. "These are the pictures where you get to remember who you are at the end of the day when it's only the two of you. Two outfits are more than enough to reflect this in couples, and it ensures you won't spend your entire engagement session in a rush to change into the next set of clothes."
8. Garner Inspiration From Throwback Photos
Browse through old photos of you and your partner together, as well as individually. Now pick out the absolute best aspects of those pictures (perhaps, it's a pose you love or a gorgeous backdrop) and create a mood board on Pinterest to start planning the direction of your engagement shoot. "Seeing what makes sense and what you're into will help give you some guidance," Smith says.
9. Create Visual Interest With Unexpected Pairings
Smith loves incorporating attention-grabbing fabrics (think: lace, fur, leather, etc.) into a couple's engagement shoot outfits. "These elements add a ton of visual texture, which in turn brings more warmth to your images," Smith says. "Plus, they'll work well with whatever scenery you decide on."
10. Use a Rental Subscription
On a budget, but want to snag a designer wardrobe? We get it. These photos are meant to last the test of time, and your engagement is deemed special enough of an occasion to warrant the purchase of a gorgeous designer piece. If you're really just buying the piece for the photoshoot, however, you might consider renting from a site/subscription service like Rent the Runway or Le Tote. Both options make it easy (and more affordable) to access high-end looks that you may only wear once.
11. Think About the Season
Bikinis won't work for a winter engagement, and a cowl neck scarf doesn't work in the summer. Take advantage of the season you're in by styling a look that's in tune with the climate and location.
Winter and Fall
Don't be afraid to bundle up. Living in Maine, photographer Emily Delamater knows this firsthand. "My favorite tip is to wear fleece-lined tights under jeans or pants," she says. "Winter accessories can be really cute. Plus, it makes more sense visually to be dressed for winter if you're being photographed in the snow." Not in the Rockies or Adirondacks? Winter sessions downtown can be just as stunning.
Summer and Spring
Wondering what to wear for engagement shoots that take place during warmer seasons? Channel summertime vibes by going barefoot on the beach or sharing a cone on the pier in sandals and shorts. With flowers in bloom and love in the air, you can't go wrong with subtle floral prints and spring-approved pastel hues that speak to the season. Pair a maxi dress with a statement necklace or a sundress with a denim jacket for a sweet look.
More fun ideas: https://www.brides.com/gallery/engagement-photo-ideas-from-real-couples