Planning Your Engagement Session

Beyond providing you with meaningful photos, the engagement session is our opportunity to get to know each other prior to the whirl-wind of your wedding day. It helps me to learn what makes you comfortable in front of the camera as well as allows you to experience how I work BEFORE the wedding day so that it is one less thing to worry about. Below you will find some tips and ideas for getting the most out of your engagement session.


Communicate with me! 


The possibilities for the outcome of our engagement session are endless! Lets visit about what your ideas and expectations are!

Don't know where to start? Don’t worry, this is our chance to brain storm together and create the foundation of what our session will be built upon!

The goal of this session is to tell the story of who you are as a couple. Start by thinking of some of the things you do or enjoy the most as a couple. 

I recommend keeping things simple (we don't need a stock trailer load of props) while still putting a little thought into who you are together. 

Example: Josh & Audrey are a down-to-earth, no frills Virginia couple who's casual engagement session couldn't have been more perfect for them...sharing a beer on the tailgate after a long days work. Filthy jeans aren't for everyone but it captured exactly who they are as a couple. 


When should we shoot? 


In the grand scheme of things: Since Save-The-Dates are most commonly sent out 6 months prior to your wedding date, it is ideal to plan your engagement shoot no later than 1 month before your personal Save-The-Date deadline! 

On our session date: Once we chose our location, I’ll visit with you about the best time for beautiful lighting after we factor in if it’s a treed over area, in the bottom of a canyon or the wide open plains. Unless we are at the very foot of a massive mountain or in the bottom of a deep canyon, the best time will generally always be within 1-2 hours of sunset!  

Example: Curtis & Lauren chose to have their engagement session in Lauren's favorite yearling pasture because she loves the creek that runs through it, breaking up scenery of vast rolling ranch country. 


Where oh where?


The location(s) we choose is going to play a huge factor in telling the story of who you are as a couple.

  • What do you you like to do together?
  • Where are you mostly likely to go on a relaxing weekend?
  • Is there a location that has sentimental meaning in your relationship?

Example: Kyle & Monica's engagement session took place on Monica's rural family ranch, which was also where Kyle had proposed during branding. Their classy engagement session included their horses, best cow dog and an incredible desert backdrop.  


What to wear...or not wear.


I shoot everything from no nonsense couples who are perfectly happy in their everyday clothes to couples who enjoy some fancy and frill. My favorite? When I know I am telling the authentic story of who my couple are. 

  • What are you comfortable in? 
  • We can do two outfits/looks if you'd like. Think casual and date night! 
  • Do you already have a color scheme in mind for your wedding? If you are doing a lavender and cream wedding you might want to avoid wearing red and black lace for your engagement session if you intend to use any photos in the save-the-date/invitation suite, as a guest book or as wedding day decor.  
  • Coordinate with your partner, but no matchy-matchy. 
  • Avoid neons like the plague, it does nasty things to skin tones. 
  • Beware the bra straps.
  • Have it all ironed/starched before! I don’t Photoshop-Starch shirts!
  • Accessorize to match your personality! 
  • If you are planning to use a makeup artist for your wedding day, consider doing a trial run for your engagement session. Especially if you struggle with dark circles...or have short eyelashes. 

Example: Jimmie & Sarah came from Texas to Santa Fe for their engagement session, the place where Sarah had always dreamed of having a destination wedding. Their attire matched what would be appropriate for a special date night strolling down the streets of Santa Fe with it's abundance of high end dining and famous galleries.  


Take a deep breath


Thinking about being in front of the camera can be nerve-wracking for most of us. BUT as your photographer, it will be my job to make you feel relaxed and comfortable. I'll get a feel for what makes you two (really) smile and work to create those sweet moments together as a couple.

And I'll tell you a little secret...almost ALL of my clients tell me they are camera shy and extremely nervous before a session. My tip would be to understand it's completely normal and to not worry or stress about it because after a few minutes of shooting you'll understand how I work and realize there's no pressure to "perform" poses. I have a simple way of using little prompts to help you two fall into the most natural poses for you as a couple. 

I ONLY ask that you come prepared to kiss and laugh a lot! :)