Doing your engagement session with your wedding photographer is the hill we here at Maura Jane Photography will absolutely die on. Okay, that's a touch dramatic, but we do feel that it is incredibly important for a litany of reasons, (and if you want to brush up on them, click HERE). In very, very short summary, an engagement session eases you into posing, that way you won't feel nearly as awkward trying to kiss your boo with a camera six feet away from you on your wedding day itself, along with breaking the ice between you and your photographer so that you feel way more comfortable with them and build a level of trust that they know what they're doing... which is very reassuring come your Big Day.
So, to build on that, we include a complimentary engagement session with our couples, and after years of experience prepping our clients, we've found common questions and have collected a good bit of advice, all of which we're going to share with you now: so keep scrolling if you want the most stress-free engagement session ever!
1. Set the Vibe
In choosing the location for your shoot, you first need to decide what feel you're ultimately going for. This is usually the first question we ask our clients, that way we can help them narrow all of their options down. Are you going for something more urban, or mountainous? Do you want something southwestern, or something with a lot of greenery?
Once you figure that out, we'll have a list of spots to suggest with photo examples so you can make sure it's exactly what you like. We even travel if you'd really like somewhere unique for your photos. For example, the picture below of Jordan and Brett was in New York City, as that's where the pair met!
2. 'Tis the Season
Beyond picking your location, the season your session takes place in adds extra flavor to your photos. It also allows you to choose an extra season for pictures outside of when your wedding is. For instance, if you were going back and forth on whether you wanted to be married in the spring or fall, and decided to say your vows in the spring... then do your engagement photos in the fall!
3. Clean Your Bling
Your photographer is going to get up close and personal with your gorgeous ring. This is a the perfect opportunity to clean your engagement ring so that it will be clear of dirt and any other build-up that could potentially be visible through a macro lens!
4. Break Out Your Beyoncé Fan
Splurge a little! If you were considering getting your hair and makeup done, this is the prime opportunity to treat yourself! You will cherish these images forever, so investing in professional hair and makeup can be an extra fun way to celebrate the occasion and allow you to really boost your confidence during your shoot! You could even use this day as your makeup trial for your wedding!
Tip: If you’re worried about looking tired or just want a little something special for your portraits, getting false lashes will make the most impact in your photos! There are all types of lashes that range from: looking completely natural to looking like the Queen B herself!
5. Timing Is Everything
We're usually early to an engagement session to scope the location if it's a new spot. Because we'll be shooting about an hour out from sunset— the best time of day to shoot— timing is of the essence! We'll be racing the sun and will be unable to shoot after it has set, so we recommend leaving 15 minutes earlier than you think you need to, just to be safe! If you're bringing your furbaby— which we would 10/10 recommend— leave a little wiggle room for that as well, as you never know what can happen/if they won't want to cooperate that day.
6. Preview Party!
While you can't actually have a party right now anyways, we aren't talking about a large group activity. We've discovered in the past that our couples find it helpful to have a little preview party before their engagement session. It doesn't have to be a big, time-consuming ordeal; we would suggest taking maybe ten minute to scroll through a couple of your favorite engagement sessions on our blog, as it will prepare both of you for what you're about to experience, and may even spark some ideas for your own session!
7. Take A Deep Breath (Even If Your Mask Makes It Hard)
You’re going to be amazing models! We always tell our couples that the best models are the ones who have never modeled professionally before— and we mean it! The couples who are usually most nervous are the couples who totally rock their session, so be encouraged! As long as you two are affectionate and purely yourselves during your session, you have absolutely nothing to worry about. We have worked with every personality type and every body type, and we always create images that our clients love! Get excited!!
8. The Perfect 'Fit
Now that we have all that out the way, we just have one last thing to go over: your outfits! Being as our engagement sessions are booked for an hour, we usually suggest you and your love have two outfits, typically with one being more casual and the other being more formal. While our couples change, we don't like to waste a second and utilize that time to grab stunning ring shots!
Neutrals like blush, tans, light pinks, faint blues and teals, creams, grays and whites will always result in more of a light and airy look to your images. These colors photograph softer and more romantically! For fall, however, we totally get wanting your images to pop, so jewel tones make that happen!
If you’re really looking for a soft, feminine look, we always suggest a flowing, maxi-length dress or skirt! The movement of this type of fabric photographs beautifully!
The goal is coordinating outfits instead of matching! We also recommend avoiding both of you wearing white as a top. White doesn’t allow for any contrast in your images.
For men, we recommend staying away from patterns that are smaller than a dime, as these can create strange visual effects on a digital camera. Close-toed shoes photograph well, and we definitely recommend avoiding graphic tees and tennis shoes! Yes, we say to bring one "more casual" outfit, but you'll have these photos forever, so your casual should still look a little nice.
For ladies, we suggest that you wear something that flatters the parts of you that you love the most and also allows you to be your most confident! If you are uncomfortable when you look in the mirror (having to suck in and only like the way you look from one angle), then that probably isn’t the best outfit choice for you. We want you to be really confident in your outfit, because we know that you will love your portraits so much more if you’re not worrying about how your clothes fit!
9. Bring Your Furbabies!
We are always willing to work with animals! We've had a bride include her horse in her engagement session (see that gorgeousness below), and we've had countless other couple include their doggos. If you have them, then they're a big part of your family, and we would definitely encourage including them!