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Tips for Planning the Engagement Session

PLanning the engagement session - tips for photographers
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PLanning the engagement session - tips for photographers

Engagement sessions are awesome!

Seriously – they’re one of my absolute favorite part of the planning process with my wedding couples! We get to go to the location of their choice, they get to wear clothes they feel comfortable in, and it’s just us! (No 150+ guests begging for their attention or tight timelines to follow!)

Unlike a wedding day, the couple gets to be completely focused on each other. They get to be silly, adventurous, jump under waterfalls, climb up mountains, sit on their front porch, go to a restaurant where their had your first date, etc.  Whatever they want! And best of all, they get to be themselves in a relaxed and fun environment!

So today, I want to highlight the engagement session and give you a few tips to help you communicate all of the important details to your couples!

Timing is Everything

For all of my engagement sessions (with the exception of a few sunrise sessions), I tell my couples to plan to meet me at the location 2 hours before sunset. When we are scheduling their session, I simply google the location, date and time of sunset. Then, in my email, I tell the couple that “we will plan to meet at Red Maple Vineyard on May 3rd at 6 pm”. Eliminate any confusion or questions by doing a little leg work for the front end.

This also relates to the time of year. Use your expertise and experience in the area to help them select the right time of year based on the conditions they are looking for. Do they want a snowy, winter wonderland – wait until January or February when there is more snow coverage. Do you want fall colors – late September and October are your months (depending on where you live!)

Pro tip: Make sure you set the expectations with your couple right away. If they are dying to have a shoot in the fall colors, you might want to put a few tentative dates on the calendar and wait to see how everything shakes out closer to that time of year!

Outfit Suggestions

This is one of the biggest questions I get asked, “what do we wear for engagement pictures”. Instead of waiting for this inevitable question, I send an email to my couples with a link to my blog post about what to wear to engagement sessions. I give them 10 helpful tips and suggestions to help ease their mind about outfit choice.

Here are a few examples of those tips:

  • Think about your feet! You’re going to be walking around for an hour and a half, so if you’re one to last 5 minutes with heels on, please don’t torture your poor feet for an hour and a half! You’ll really just end up being miserable, so just like the outfit choice, make sure your shoes are something you’re comfortable in! There’s definitely a whole lot of cute non heel shoes out there!
  • Consider the location. Be aware of what your surroundings are going to be and try not to clash (or match!) If your engagement session is in a forest, you probably don’t want to wear green!
  • Complement each other…Don’t match! Gone are the days (Thank goodness!) where the whole family goes to the beach wearing white for their awkward family portraits. That also means matching each other for engagement pictures is a big no. Complimenting each other is the best way to go! Better yet if someone wears an accent color on a small part of their body and the other is wearing that color. Win! Wearing the same shade is also a great place to start!
  • To read the full post with all 10 suggestions, click here!

Location Suggestions

This is the second most common question I get asked when it comes to planning a couple’s engagement session, “do you have any favorites or good suggestions for locations?” Before we even start looking at dates for their engagement session, I send every couple an engagement session questionnaire. In this questionnaire, I ask them pointed questions that will help me determine what locations and places to suggest for their session. I even ask them to select from a list of themes (like winery, mountaintop, waterfall, etc.) so I can get a gauge of their vision for the session!

Once I get the questionnaire back from my couples, I immediately send an email with date and location suggestions based on their answers!

(BUTTON) Check out my full engagement session questionnaire in the Laura Lee Creative Shop!

Pro Tip: Suggest Dinner & Drinks After the Session!

Engagement sessions are such a special evening with your couple. Take advantage of this opportunity to spend time with just the two of them! You only get a few opportunities to meet them in person so after the session, invite them out for a drink or dinner! You will get to know them on a personal level, hear their story, talk about things you all love to do, chat about the wedding and so much more!

Engagement sessions are a great way to WOW your couple right off the bat and show them your expertise and personality! Don’t underestimate the importance of this session and make sure you do everything in your power to make them feel special <3

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