How To Prepare for my Engagement Session

how to prepare for my engagement session couple standing on rock in incredible sunset

You may ask, "How should I plan for my engagement shoot?" With these simple tips I hope they help you feel more prepared and confident that you will get the amazing engagement photos you will look back on with love and fun for years. Also your future kiddos will love looking at them too.

Oh, and if you haven't done it yet, CONTACT ME to schedule yours now so we can plan it together.

Pick a great Location

It're really important to pick a great location. This can mean a few different things to different people. I generally like to start with, "Do you have a favorite hiking trail, spot in the mountains, or town you really like to visit." Anything like that will 1) be more meaningful for you than a random park and 2) You will be more comfortable as you know and love the place.

Now if you don't have a favorite spot I have lots of spots that are my favorite or new spots I have yet to experience with a couple that I'd love to take you to. I feel we can still get that comfort experience if we are doing something you enjoy. You like hiking? Fishing? Aspen Trees? Kayaks? Lets try and integrate that into this spot that is new.

how to prepare for my engagement session couple in aspen trees at sunset

I always aim to pick locations that offer variety. Or find two locations near each other that give different views and feels. A location can be a one trick pony. Once you get the main shot or view it doesn't have much else to offer. This happens rarely as I generally find weird spots within locations to change it up. It did once when I was on a beach with zero trees and rocks. It was white sand, blue water, blue sky. Once we did a handfull of shots I realized it was all the same. Your only option at that point it to photograph in different light. Which leads me to my next tip....

how to prepare for myengagement session

Pick the right time of day

This one is a bit tricky. Generally the light is best in the early morning 1.5 hours around Sunrise and then again 1.5 hrs before Sunset. The trick is that this doesn't apply for all locations. If you are planning on being deep in a treed forest and go at the "golden hour" it's going to be very dark as the light is too far beyond the trees and they eat up all that delicious light. In that situation you might want to aim for a time close to midday. So the best time is location specific.

Also depends on the types of photos you are going for. You want them to be light and bright to focus on you two like this

how to prepare for my engagement session couple walking together on road in the fall

Or something with a more dramatic sunset light? I generally try for both by having are start time about 30 to 40 minutes before HOPEFULLY the sunset light begins. Sometimes nature doesn't always cooperate but sometimes she shows off.

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Personal Props

Props can be tricky as well. If you spend any time looking at photos online you are bound to find engagement photos with props in them: balloons, mustaches on sticks, signs, wood blocks with letters, etc. I feel like I've seen it all but I am sure someone else will surprise me. Props like these are not personal, trendy, and will definitely look dated and you will look back and wonder why did we wear horse head masks?

Photo props can be great if they have meaning for you. Maybe you are really into antiques and costumes?

how to prepare for my engagement session vintage retro styled couple photo

I apologize, you may be REALLY into balloons so that one may be okay, but that is the key. Is it a big part of your lives right now. That is the larger purpose with these photographs; to capture your lives and how you are together so that in 10 years you look back and remember those days and you share "some" of those stories with your kids. They seem to believe you didn't exist before them. I've had couples bring a picnic blanket and share some wine or champagne. Totally fun and fine to do. Or beer, whatever you two enjoy.

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I've even done an engagement session on a whiskey distillery tour of Stranahans.

how to prepare for my engagement session couple stranahans whiskey tour near wall of barrels

A tip about props. Depending on the location we picked you may have to carry them so keep that in mind. The way my shoots generally go is once we start we just wander around chasing light or playing in nature and there's no point that we go back to the cars. Its just adventure ahead and we will circle back once the light is gone.

Clothes

Yes please wear some. Just kidding, but, not really. Wear the appropriate clothes for the location and weather or bring a jacket or other clothes to change in an out of as we explore. Just try to keep it to a minimum as it may get annoying carrying and trying to keep track of where you put things down for photos. The mountains tend to be sneaky and hide things from you once you put them down. That and I can get distracted by light and forget to help remember where things went.

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What do we wear? I only have two deal breakers. Wearing all white or all black. Neither photograph well and tend to look weird, with some exceptions to the all white depending on location. Beyond that wear whatever you feel the most comfortable in. If there's going to be questionalble weather consider layers that you can add to or remove for comfort and photo variation. It's a win / win. If you want to bring multiple outfits or alternate pieces of an outfit bring them but keep in mind the sun waits for no one and you might be changing behind a tree in the forest.

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SHOES SHOES SHOES!!! First off, I don't really ever take pictures of your feet. Yes, they may be in the photos once in a while but I certainly try to feature you and not your strappy shoes. I try to keep things pretty low key and easy but we will definitely be off the path and that might include some light hiking or climbing on rocks. So slippy dress shoes and heels may not cut it. If you really want those shoes be prepared to change in and out of good traction shoes. Or none at all like below!

how to prepare for my engagement session couple on top of giant rock by a lake in colorado

Photo Poses

Don't spend any time at all on this. This is my job and posing will come as we are shooting. I generally give you a spot to be in some great light and then little games and cues for you two to focus on. I will make tweaks as we go if clothes, hair, hands, etc. are looking weird. I don't want to have things so rigid that I don't any reaction or expression from you two. That is the gold I am after anyhow; the way you two are with each other.

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If you did find some pose online that you really love go ahead and bring the photo for me to see and we will try it. Who knows it might work or we will all have a good laugh, which is good too.

Now you know

I hope these were helpful and you feel like your session will be a little more like fun and easy and less like work.

Shoot me an email and lets start planning your session now.

I am available for all of Colorado and destination weddings, elopements, and engagements. I love to wander.

Colorado Wedding Photographer | Colorado Mountain Wedding Photographer