Tips for a Great Engagement Session

This post is about what the bride and groom can do to help ensure the best engagement session possible.  I often talk about how engagement sessions are one of the favorite things about my job as a wedding photographer.  The “relationship buildup” to the wedding between me (wedding camera guy) and clients (super happy brides and grooms) unfolds like so…

  • Wedding photography inquiry email or phone call.
  • Consultation.
  • Various Q&A’s over phone and email.
  • Engagement Session.
  • Consultation over engagement guest book design.
  • More Q&A’s over phone and email.
  • Consultation over engagement guest book design.
  • Design the wedding album.
  • Deliver the wedding album.
  • Bride and groom go completely crazy over the wedding album.
  • Bride and groom now know what they hoped when they picked Holland Photo Studio.  I’m the real deal!
  • Bride and groom look back more happy with each passing year at their wedding photographs.

A bride and groom on their engagement session in front of a Texas sunset sitting on a ranch fence post.

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Of course I’m skipping over all good mushy details and the fun of getting to know each other but that’s the essential skeleton of the process that often is a year from start to finish.  My hope and goal is between the first and the last step, my clients somewhere along the way start becoming friends…that they look to me as a trusted ally on their wedding day.

The keystone that leads to that goal is the engagement session.  It’s the first time we really get to establish the groundwork for the trust that is essential on the wedding day.  One of my firmest guiding principals I must prove myself to my clients BEFORE the wedding day.  From the relaxed honesty that comes from being amongst friends grows the best of my wedding photography.

One thing I always remind myself is that although I have photography many engagement sessions, this will be their first time.  Just like most things…there’s a little warming up involved.  It usually takes about fifteen minutes to find a good flow and then the fun really begins.

Knowledge is power, so I’ve put together this list of advice for engaged couples looking forward to their photo session.  I hope it helps…the most important thing to remember is to relax and love who the two of you are together on that day.  The time leading up to your wedding is a once in a life time experience.  If you’re in love and happy paired with a great photographer, you can’t go wrong!

{ 1 } Ladies, wear more makeup than you usually do! Even though you may feel like it looks too fake or heavy in person it will look better on camera, I promise! It is even a good idea to schedule your wedding makeup trial for your wedding day on the day of your engagement session.

{ 2 } Wear clothes that fit you well! Nothing too baggy or too tight as these things are accentuated on camera and usually end up not being very flattering.

{ 3 } Wear some color! Gone are the days where we need to wear matching white shirts and jeans! Rich colors look fantastic, plum purple, deep red, rich green…etc. You and your love should coordinate your colors without being too “matchy matchy”.

{ 4 } Accessorize! Belts, hats, scarves, necklaces, and of course very cool shoes. Don’t underestimate the power of some cool shoes at a photo shoot! Show some personality with your accessories. Look at some pictures in style magazines if you are having trouble putting together a look. See what you like and go shopping, have fun!

{ 5 } Bring multiple options for outfits to the shoot! It is always good to have choices. Sometimes there are things that I know will not work well on camera or with the chosen location, so it is best to have backup options.

{ 6 } Men, be aware of your socks! There is nothing worse than a great shot of you two with some white tube socks taking all the  attention away!

{ 7 } Men, don’t wear your watch to the shoot! Watches are typically not an accessory that adds to the shot; they can be quite distracting. Picture a sweet shot of your hand gently touching your lady’s cheek…but wait, a big shiny metal watch is stealing the show!

{ 8 } Relax… The most important thing to remember is to try to relax. Focus on each other and not me. I will direct you to be where I need and help you to know what to do. I will give you more direction if needed, but if I am not talking, just keep snuggling or smooching!

{ 9 } Some wonderful affectionate gestures that look great on camera… Guys: kiss her cheek, her nose, her forehead… Girls: smile or close your eyes when he does. Whisper something dirty or sweet into each other’s ears…

{ 10 } Remember that you are in love! That is why you are doing this; it is more about that than looking perfect. Be yourself and let me take care of the rest!

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