How to Prepare for your Engagement Photoshoot

Sep 17, 2021

The simple objective of an engagement session is to document love between two people. this photoshoot is meant to be playful, fun, intimate, and to make something beautiful together. I want you to have iconic photos to look back on one day.

However, as wedding photographers, We want to know you on a deeper level. Engagement sessions can also be a great way for us to spend time together getting to know one another before your wedding day.

After photographing hundreds of engagements I decided to put together a list of a few things that I feel may help better prepare you for your engagement photoshoot.

Wardrobe can make or break imagery.

Wardrobe is really important and can make or break imagery. Pick an outfit that speaks to your personality. It is most important to feel comfortable and confident in what you are wearing. If you are uncomfortable it will show on the camera. Avoid picking outfits that will constantly need to be adjusted. I like to capture a lot of movement during my engagement photoshoots. It will be important that your clothes move with you.

Have your clothing chosen in advance so you don’t feel rushed the day of your photoshoot.  What do your dream engagement photos look like?  Are they are soft, romantic, and elegant?  Chose neutral colors with soft, flowing fabrics…. think creams, very soft pastels, oatmeals, light browns, tans, grays, and slate blues.  Want to showcase the fun and bold side of your relationship?  Choose coordinating colors (but not match-y, match-y) with bold accent colors. Please reach out if you need assistance! I’m more than happy to help with this portion. 

Think of something classic and timeless. When you are looking back at these photos in 10 years you do not want them to age because of wardrobe.

Hair and Makeup.

Keep makeup simple. I believe you should look like yourself in your engagement photos and on your wedding day. Don’t overdue your eyes with big lashes, and dark shadow. Try and schedule your bridal trial run with your hair and makeup artist for the day of your engagement session.. This is a good way to get some use out of your hair and makeup and also look camera ready.

Date Night.

Think of your engagement photoshoot as unique date. If you want to plan a picnic or dance to some love songs on a mountaintop, we are all for it! If eating tacos and drinking beer is more you’re thing-Let’s do it! Feel free to bring along whatever you will need to help you loosen up and forget about the camera.

Try to spend time with connecting with your partner hours before the photoshoot. Not only does it give you time to warm up romantically,  but will also allow you to meet your photographer feeling ready and relaxed. It will lighten up the mood and make for some really lovely imagery filled with lots of connection and love.

Make sure to eat before the session.

Be sure to eat before your photoshoot. This is very important. Many of our engagement sessions involve a hike to the photo location. Photos generally take an hour, but with driving to and from the location and the possibility of a hike, the entire experience can last for much longer than that. If you are hangry during the session it could show in the final product. So grab a bite to eat at your favorite spot. Get drinks, relax, and have fun before we meet up for your photoshoot.

Location is everything.

Picking a location that you have some sort of connection to is really important. It can be a place where you like to  picnic, a hike you really enjoy together, brunch at home in your “comfies,” somewhere you have always wanted to visit, picking blueberries, biking, or canoeing. The possibilities are endless. Let us know your interests and we can help brainstorm a location. To see home examples of North Carolina engagement photoshoot locations click here.

Try to plan for the “Golden Hour.”

Try to time your photoshoot around sunset. Golden hour is generally defined as the hour just before the sun sets. This is a glorious and romantic time of day. Sunset not only photographs really well as it offers a diffused light, but also sets the mood for a dreamy evening with your love in a stunning location.

Hire the right photographer.

Choosing the right person to document your engagement session is highly important. Just as the act of becoming engaged itself was a monumental event, the photos of its celebration should be ones that you will want to look back on for years and years to come. Having said that, professionally taken photos are the most ideal medium to accomplish that.

If you should choose to hire a professional photographer to take your engagement photos, I would suggest hiring the same photographer that is documenting your wedding. This will allow you to get to know the person that will be capturing one of the biggest days of your life. It will also ensure that your engagement photos and wedding photos will blend together seamlessly.  

When you are shopping around for a photographer, it is usually best to first look at the theme of their bodies of work and find one that really vibes with your personality. Once you have found the one, then you can contact them and begin to work out the pricing details. Generally it is more economical to book both shoots at the same time as more often than not, they can come as part of the same package.

Let us know before the shoot about any personal concerns

As photographers we want you to get the absolute best out of your photography sessions with us. This includes us wanting you to be as thrilled as possible with the final product. My main motto for successful shoots is: Comfort is key. If a subject is comfortable with me, their attire, and themselves, the photos will be exponentially better than if they spend the entire session in discomfort. We want to know about any and all concerns you may have. Please be as specific as possible.

If you are extremely nervous about having your photo taken professionally, tell us and we can recommend some tips to take off some of the stress. If you are self conscious about a part of your body or appearance, let us know and we can adjust the shoot to conform to what makes you feel the most photogenic. We hardly ever have subjects that are poised and confident coming into a session so we know how it goes. Please do not be afraid to come to us with anything. We are more than happy to help!

After your have received your photos.

Once you have received the finished product and are as pleased as we hope you will be with them, odds are you will want to share them on some format of social media or another. That is totally understandable. Share away! There are just a couple things to consider before doing so. In post, we work very hard trying to make the photos capture your vision. Please stay away from social media photo editing or filters as they can reduce the quality of the image and aberrate from the overall theme of the photos. Also please do not post screenshots of online versions of the pictures as that will make them look grainy from loss of quality. Lastly, when posting your photos, if you wanted to give us photo credit, we would not mind one bit; in fact we would love that as it helps us connect with people who might want similar work done.

When you look back on the beginning of your marriage, you will want to remember how it all began and an engagement session is one of the best ways to always cherish that memory. As with other tip guides I have done, no tip or trick is mandatory or one or two may not be right for each individual. These are merely meant to be a nudge in the right direction. As always, do not be afraid to contact us with any questions you might have!

What to expect during your mountain engagement photoshoot:

This photoshoot is meant to be playful, fun, intimate, and to make something beautiful together. I want you to have iconic photos to look back on one day

  • I will guide you through a series of suggested roles or poses. I will be giving you prompts and things to talk about. The main idea of the prompts is to catch a spark or a quick exchange of comfort or smiles between the two of you.
  • I’m giving you permission to be silly, weird, quirky, relax, show affection, and to just be yourself.
  • When I suggest a pose or a way to cuddle and hold each other feel free to move around in that pose. The less stiff you are and the more movement there is, the better the photos will be. You rarely will have to hold still for anything. 
    • Examples of movement within a pose would be swaying back and forth, tickling, pushing your partners hair behind their ears, say silly things to make each other laugh, and kiss each all over the place
  • Don’t panic if I’m not telling you what to do–it just means I love what your doing and to keep going. I like to get many angles of each pose.
  • If you would like your photos to be a truly unique and a good representation of you, my advice is to show up ready to have fun, get weird, and to just be yourself. If you are silly and quirky–let loose and let that shine out. If you are nervous and tense that will show in the photographs. With that being said I will do whatever I can to make you comfortable! 
  • Being in front of the camera can be daunting but I promise that it can be a positive experience. 

Things to keep in mind for your mountain engagement photoshoot

  • Most photoshoot locations require a 20-30 minute hike. If you do not want to hike please let me know beforehand and I can suggest other options
  • Please know that there are rarely bathrooms or indoor places to change wardrobe. There will most likely be a secluded outdoor place for you to have privacy to pee and change clothes.
  • Sometimes the trails can be muddy, I highly recommend wearing hiking boots during the hike and changing at the top.
  • If you are more comfortable with wearing hiking clothes up and changing to your photoshoot wardrobe at the top, that will be fine.
  • Keep in mind the mountains can be COLD. Especially if your photoshoot is scheduled for November-May. The mountain temps are much colder than it is in town. Please bring layers-coats, hats, gloves, whatever you need in a backpack. We usually will photograph just after sunset and once the sun is down it can be a chilly hike back down. 
  • Bring water!

Looking for an engagement photographer? Contact us.

We are Briana and Matthew. Based out of Asheville, North Carolina. Your Wedding and engagement photography experience is important to us. We would love the opportunity to talk with you and learn more about your story.

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