ENGAGEMENT SESSION GUIDE
1-1.5 hours on-location: $800
Includes high-res edited digitals for download in an online gallery
Also perfect for anniversaries, vow renewals, & post-wedding bridal portraits.
If I could get away with calling "Engagement Sessions" "Hang-out Sessions", I totally would. The engagement session is one 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 where we find our groove and it's 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 see my camera. Engagement Sessions help me understand who you are as a couple so that I can tell your story in the best way possible. These sessions give you a look into how I work and how we'll work together on your wedding day to create beautiful images.
We'll work together on locations and outfits that best represent you as a couple. Two locations and two outfits and we'll shoot (hang) for up to two hours (which sounds like a long time, but it goes by fast because these sessions are super fun). The ideal time to shoot is an hour or so before the sun starts to set so we get the prettiest light. That's pretty much the gist of it. I'm all about keeping things simple (and making gorgeous 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 fiances.
We created this guide for you, 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.
when to book and availability
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 2-3 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
Quick Tip: Our weekends fill up first and far in advance. We schedule most engagement sessions for mid-week, but we'll try to be as flexible as possible if only weekends work for your schedules!
*Please be on time! I’m a natural-light photographer, so the sun dictates how long I can photograph you. Please make proper considerations for traffic, hair delays, and fashion emergencies! I usually plan for about an hour to an hour and a half of coverage… This is usually plenty to get everything we need!
choosing a location
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.
WHat To Wear?
For the Ladies:
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!
For The Guys:
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.
Here are a few things to avoid:
- 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
- Spray tans
- Shirts with logos/emblems
- Polos or baggy button-up shirts
- Flip-flops or sandals
- Tennis shoes/sneakers
- Cargo shorts/pants
- Baseball caps
A few more tidbits:
- If you’re wearing two outfits, save your favorite one for the second half, and if you’re wearing only one, arrive in that.
- Don't forget to clean your ring! :)
- Be sure you've tried on your outfits multiple times and seem them both together so you know you're going to look great. What you choose to wear has to be comfortable. Be sure to wear something you can move around in and lastly, something that makes you feel awesome!
- Avoid matching, coordinating is better.
- 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
What to Bring?
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, chmpagne, 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:
bugspray, makeup/hairspray/brush for touch ups, lots of water to stay hydrated!
Most men aren't overly excited to take photos for 90 minutes, because they don’t have an expectation of what’s to come and why it’s so important to you. Take fifteen minutes to educate and empower your guy. Tell him why you chose us and our style of photography. Show him a favorite session that we’ve done, explain why you love them and express to him how much it means to you. Trust us, once he knows it’s important, he’ll light up the camera for you! The most common thing we hear from guys before engagement sessions is this: because of a bad experience in the past, they don’t like taking photos or don’t think they’ll be good at it. By the time we’re done, though, they can’t believe how fast it went and just how much fun they had!
What to expect during the session...
Remember what our goal is here: to create natural, fun images that represent you as a couple. We will take some time at the beginning to walk and chat so we can get to know each other a bit more. Once we start shooting, it will take a bit for you to start to feel comfortable in front of the camera and by the end you'll be professional models! (Kidding, of course, but we're sure you'll surprise yourself!)
Speaking of models, we definitely don’t expect you to go all “America’s Next Top Model” on us. We just want you to be yourselves. We will put you in positions and poses that feel natural and help create authentic moments. With that being said, if we ever pose you in a way that feels completely uncomfortable or you think feels unflattering, please speak up! We’re all about the experience and don’t want you looking back on your images and remembering how uncomfortable a pose felt.
Throughout the session, we may take a few minutes to pause, drink some water, relax and chat. We are not going to just shoot constantly for 1.5 hous straight. We want to get to know you and we want you to get to know us. We want to know what makes you laugh, what you like to do for fun and what you love about each other. Feel free to ask us questions too. The more comfortable we are with each other, the better your pictures will be and, most importantly, we won't be strangers showing up with cameras on your wedding day.
Some things to consider:
TURN AROUND TIME: The turn around time for us to deliver your engagement session is 2-3 weeks.
SAVE THE DATES: These should usually be sent out around 8-9 months prior to your wedding.
GUEST BOOKS: If you aren't planning on using your engagement session images for your Save The Date or Invitation, but would like to use them at your wedding (for example, as a guest book), add at least a month from delivery to be able to design, revise and order your book.
After your session...
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!
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!
Weather Policy | Engagement Sessions
In the event of adverse weather conditions:
-If the client has been contacted and advised to reschedule due to the photographer’s concerns about weather, and the client still proceeds with the session and it rains, limiting the time and or photos that were able to be taken, the client will be charged for an additional session at the photographer’s hourly rate to reschedule or shoot additional photos. Due to photography equipment, it is up to the photographer’s discretion if bad weather persists to cancel the session, during the session.
-If the client has been contacted and advised to reschedule due to the photographer’s concerns about weather, and the client decides to go ahead and reschedule, the client will not be charged to do so. The client will then be put on first alert for their engagement session and able to have their session even on non-session days.
Engagement/Portrait Session Policy:
-Props: The client is responsible for bringing any props that they would like in their photos. In the event that the client has forgotten a prop for the session and wants photos with that prop, the client will be charged for an additional session at the photographer’s hourly rate to reschedule or shoot additional photos.
-Appearance: In the event that the client would like additional photos due to appearance out of the photographer’s control (hair, makeup, etc.) in the previous session, the client will be charged for an additional session at the photographer’s hourly rate to reschedule or shoot additional photos.
-Locations: If you have more than one location for your engagement session, the travel time going from destination 1 to destination 2 and so forth does count towards the total amount of the session time.
-Location Access and Fees: If the client wants to do a session at a location that charges for access, the client will be responsible to cover fees associated with shooting there, and all parking fees. They are also responsible for organizing the access and any permits related to doing so.
-Outfits: Although there are no additional fees for additional outfits, the amount of time it takes to change into those outfits does count towards the total amount of the session time.
-Tardiness: In the event that the client is late to the appointment set, the client’s session will still be for the same scheduled ending time.