Engagement Session Guide | Tips from a Wedding Photographer

Recommended Time

I have many years of experience doing photography outdoors, so I know that we can achieve great results at any time of day. However, during an engagement shoot, it’s in our best interest to shoot when the light is at its best. 

The best time to shoot is referred to as the “golden hour.” Golden hour is the hour just before the sun sets. At this time of day, the light dims and becomes warmer. Photographs taken during this time give the appearance of softer complexions and more even tones. Direct sunlight (as in early afternoon) often casts harsh shadows that can be unflattering. For this reason, I recommend shooting in the late afternoon. 

Please let me know if you need help deciding on a start time. I’m always happy to tailor the time to ensure the light reflects best your desired look, feel, and style.  

There are other times of the day to do photos if you want something a little different. For example, some people might prefer night pictures in the city. I can also accommodate that. 

Weather

Weather is unpredictable, but it can sometimes add interest to a shoot. That said, it’s important to be prepared to shoot in a variety of conditions. All of my lenses and cameras are weather-sealed. Please let me know as soon as possible if you need to reschedule because of the weather. 

Cloudy is good! Direct sunlight is what we should be worried about; it can produce hard shadows.

Rain in Colorado is very sporadic and may stop. We can also shoot in it, if you’re up for it. Bringing an umbrella can help solve any problems we may run into. 

Shooting in cold weather requires a thicker and more layered wardrobe, which is often visually appealing. Snow can also add interest if it’s coming down. Of course, we don’t want to be shooting in a blizzard, but a little snow is not always a bad thing for pictures! Winter engagement sessions are best for couples who enjoy cold weather and don’t mind being outside in it for a while. 

What to Bring

Most of all, engagement sessions should be about you and your partner, so I always recommend not over-accessorizing your session. I think accessories (or your animal of choice) can work when they are unique to you and can be meaningful in photos if they reflect real aspects of your everyday lives. 

You can bring your pet, but I suggest bringing a friend to hold him or her while we shoot pictures of just the two of you; it’s very hard to hold a camera and a leash at the same time!

If you are a couple that wants to capture yourself in beautiful fall foliage or on a winter day, I recommend bringing a blanket. They can be used to add extra color or texture and are very versatile. You can use one to sit down on for some pictures or wrap up in it if the weather is cold. 

Anything that you and your partner like doing together can add a personalized and meaningful touch. 

Clothing Suggestions

Try not to be matchy, but do try to wear colors that complement each other’s outfits. 

You can dress as formally or as casually as you’d like, but do try to dress in a way that will match the feel of the location. More formal outfits typically photograph best in the city. 

Be prepared to walk around a lot! I don’t recommend wearing heels. I rarely photograph your feet.

Some colors photograph better than others. I’ve found over the years that digital camera sensors have trouble capturing certain spectrums of light, mostly vibrant colors like crimson red or bright pink. Also, really saturated colors can cast tints on skin and are very hard to correct in post. I always find that neutral, earthy, and light colors photograph the best, but having one really bright, vivid color can add a nice pop to the photos as long as nothing is clashing. 

Location Suggestions

I can suggest a variety of locations for couples looking for a metropolitan setting, or those more interested in outdoorsy locations. I am up for adventures too. Please let me know if you’d like me to make some recommendations for you. By telling me a little about what you are envisioning, I can suggest a location perfectly suited to your style and interests. 

You can also incorporate an activity you enjoy doing together. 

For example, maybe you enjoy hiking together. In that case, perhaps we could shoot at your favorite trail or park. Couples tend to be more at ease if there is something other than posing to do. 

Most of all

We should try to have everything come together in order to convey a cohesive feeling. My suggestion is to pick a word that will help reflect you and your partner, then think about how the location, clothing, and props will work towards creating that mood or style. Let’s say that we want the pictures to reflect a soft mood. You could wear airy colors and we could choose to do photos somewhere with a nice, mostly neutral background. An adventurous mood? More vibrant colors, hiking boots, and a forest background could help.

Get in touch with me if you have any other questions regarding engagement sessions. Happy to answer!