Magdalena Studios offers a mix of creative, candid and timeless photography, paired with a boutique and personalized process from start to finish. With years of experience and an affinity for love stories, we specialize in capturing joyful & effortless real life moments around the globe.
Engagement sessions are some of our favorite parts of our time together because it gives you both a chance to be in front of our cameras before you get married, which is going to make your wedding day experience feel so smooth, seamless and comfortable. Not only that, but we get to create something so special together. You’re going to be married for over fifty years, but you only get to be engaged for this short period of time.
Your engagement session is your time to warm up and get comfortable with having your photo taken (let’s be real, no one is used to having their photo taken)… That way your wedding day isn’t the first time you're in front of our cameras. Engagement sessions also help us understand who you are as a couple so we can tell your story in the best way possible. These sessions give you a look into how we work and how we’ll work together on your wedding day to create beautiful images.
To prepare for your session, we'll work together tp plan locations and outfits that best represent you as a couple. We typically recommend one to two locations, and two outfits for different looks. We usually shoot for around an hour, sometimes a little more or less. (We like to be efficient and not wear you out too much!). I’m all about keeping things simple and natural while making you gorgeous, candid photos – which you can use for save the dates, wedding decor, gifts and more. We’re so excited to capture the only time in your life when you get to be each other’s fiancés.
We put together some tips and information for you below, and packed it with all our best secrets for getting the best out of your engagement experience. Our goal is to create images that are natural, candid, fun, and represent you as a couple.
I recommend booking at least two months in advance of the month or time of year you’d like your photos taken! Simply shoot us an email with your desired season/ time frame, ideal location, and any other notes about what you’d like your engagement session to look like.
If you would like to use photos for your save the dates, try to book a session for a date at least 1-2 months prior to the date you’d like to send out the cards. This will give you plenty of time to allot of editing, retouching, choosing your favorites, designing your cards, and just in case there are weather issues.
(Our typical turn around time is 3-4 weeks for engagement photos!)
We begin all engagement sessions 75 minutes before the scheduled sunset during “the golden hour,” when the light is the dreamiest. Remember, the sun sets much earlier during the colder months of the year and much later during the warmer months, so make sure to factor that in when choosing your engagement session date, especially if you’re taking time off work or have evening plans afterward.
Approximate Start Times:
Winter (Dec-March) 3-5pm
Spring (April-May) Varies
Summer (Jun-August) 6:30-8:30pm
Fall (Sep-Nov) Varies
The location of your session is up to you! If you have a specific location in mind already, let us know. If not, we can always suggest a location based off the aesthetics you like. Feel free to look through my blog or Pinterest and find some “inspo” photos that have a feel for the look you want to go for. Once you have an idea of the look of locations you like, it’s a lot easier for us help you find the perfect place. I personally love finding locations with variety, for example a beach that also had greenery, a walkway, high dunes, and a dock – that way we can switch it up without going too far or losing too much time and get multiple looks.
We love to travel and are on the road quite a bit! Destination engagement sessions are unique and fun, and a great way to get photos in a dreamy location. If you want to shoot somewhere that isn’t local to us, just let us know and we can discuss travel info. Keep in mind that travel fees may apply.
Most of our brides who choose two outfits will bring one “wow” dress, and then another shorter sun dress or cocktail dress for a more casual “us on a date” feel. Remember, though, you don’t have to bring two looks if it’s too stressful or you’d rather just stick to one favorite look. There is no such thing as “too dressed up” when it comes to your engagement session, so don’t be afraid to have some fun! If you don’t want to add a new permanent piece to your collection, a lot of our brides love Rent the Runway for their engagement photos because you don’t have to spend a lot to feel like a million bucks.
Professional hair & makeup makes a world of difference because it looks amazing, adds confidence, and removes the stress of getting ready on your own. You can schedule your wedding trial for the day of your session as a practice run for the wedding day. Professional makeup not only always photographs like a dream, but you’ll also be able to see what it looks like on camera!
From James Bond to Don Draper, Men look most striking in a well-tailored suit. The best part? If you don’t own one, there are now amazing rentals companies where you can affordable rent a dapper look. Check out TheBlackTux.com, it’s our favorite! Solid shades of gray or navy are a strong compliment to most women’s outfits, whereas pinstripes or plaid patterns tend to distract the eye.
If you are going for a more casual look, long pants, a nice button down, and closed-toed shoes is the most sophisticated look for men. It’s best to leave the shorts and sandals at home.
Think details! Ties, bowties, cool socks, belts, tie clips, suspenders, vests and watches are sharp compliments to any outfit. You can still mix and match accessories to compliment both of her dresses without doing a full change during the session. So, either way, you win.
Anything that shows straps or tags that have to be fixed frequently
Shoes that are uncomfortable/difficult to walk in
Tiny patterns with a lot of bright contrast
Shirts with logos/emblems
Polos or baggy button-up shirts
Flip-flops or sandals
It’s always fun to bring along props! Feel free to bring things along that really reflect your personalities. For instance, I’ve had a couple bring along a soccer ball because they met on the field. Another couple bought cotton candy and had fun eating it together, or we can stop and get ice cream. Maybe a special blanket to cuddle up with, or even your dog! The list is endless! More suggestions: Bikes, polaroid camera, champagne, a picnic basket with fruits, a favorite journal, magazines you like reading. Anything! Don’t hesitate to bring anything that truly reflects you individually or as a couple.
Also consider bringing: bug spray, makeup/hairspray/brush for touch ups, lots of water to stay hydrated!
Don’t forget to plan a dinner date! You’re already going to be all dressed up! Why not take advantage of it? We know the wedding planning process can feel all-consuming, so take some time after the session just for the two of you to relax and have some fun together. You deserve it!
Just like your wedding, the more you plan and invest in your engagement session the smoother it will go and better it will be. Don’t leave the details of your session to the last minute. This will only create stress and will take away from what it is supposed to be – FUN!
The turn around time for us to deliver your engagement session is 2-3 weeks.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions you have. We’re here for you and want to create a session and experience that is perfect for you!
If you’re wearing two outfits, save your favorite one for the second half..
Don’t forget to clean your ring!
Bring a pair of flats to wear when moving from place to place. Your feet will thank you later!
Empty your pockets (boys) of all keys, wallets, cell-phones before the shoot – you can leave things in the car, and keep your keys in my bag so you don’t have anything bulging out of your pockets.
Be sure to eat before your session. Beyond that, consider grabbing a drink beforehand. A beer or your favorite cocktail might be exactly what you need to calm any nerves.
Check out my Pinterest board for outfit inspiration & ideas.