Preparing for Your Engagement Session

March 26, 2015

Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials! Everyone’s excited for the big day and cannot wait to hear about your proposal story, your wedding day, and all the details that go along with that. But more than anything else, they want to see photos of the lucky couple. So you find the photographer you like and schedule your engagement session. Here’s an in-depth guide for couples to help prepare for the shoot.


Ladies, you definitely have a much harder time prepping for the shoot, but you tend to have the routine down. Mani-pedi, facial, haircut and style, make-up at the mall, and you’re good to go. However, here are a few tips that might help you along the way. A lot of women will hire a makeup artist for the wedding day. My wife paid for a couple trials before picking her makeup artist. If you feel confident with the breadth of work a makeup artist is showcasing, combine your test with your engagement shoot. This way, you have fantastic makeup done and pay only once for it. You could even negotiate to have the artist on standby for a couple different looks, so you can change things up between locations.

As for clothing, make sure to have them cleaned and ironed. If you’re planning on wearing a suit, have it dry-cleaned. Any shoes or boots will benefit from a good polishing. When driving to the location, do not wear your jacket or sport coat, so as not to wrinkle it up before the shoot. These simple guidelines will help you prep wonderfully for your photoshoot.


Guys generally have an easier time preparing for shoots. All they need to do is some simple grooming. However, there is a good amount to think about. First of all, a good haircut is crucial for the shoot. If you’re like me, however, your hair looks better a few days or even a week after actually getting cut. Keep that in mind when scheduling your haircut. The same can be said for shaving. If you want a 3-day stubble, don’t shave 5 days in advance. Also, since a close-up of the hands is a standard photo these days, get a manicure a couple days before the shoot. I realize it’s not something a lot of men do, but it will make for great photos.

As for clothing, the same guidelines apply as above, with one other addendum: please do not match your partner. And I mean literally match. The last thing you want your engagement shoot to look like is the placeholder photos that come with frames that you buy at Target. This means no white shirts and dark jeans, or anything of the sort. Each of you should express your own style, and let the photographer guide you if you think you may clash in photos.

The Couple

Now that we have individual grooming and prep out of the way, let’s talk about the details surrounding your shoot. When it comes to locations, have a few spots in mind that are meaningful to you. If you need suggestions, tap into your photographer’s experience. A combination of the two will help you get locations that are photographically beautiful as well as overall meaningful to you. Also talk through and discuss if you want to have some sort of theme shoot as one of your looks. My wife and I did a 50’s shoot that turned out great. I have photographed some couples with pets and other who didn’t want any real theme. It depends on you as a couple, so don’t feel too obligated one way or another.

Finally, be rested. No amount of grooming or Photoshop will hide the dark circles under your eyes, and the overall look of exhaustion. Drink plenty of water all week, get enough sleep, and try not to stress too much. All of these things translate into your photos, so be mindful of them.

Oh, and one last thing – have fun! These guidelines are only meant to get you to the shoot. Put them out of your mind once you’re there. Enjoy each other’s company, and the beautiful day. It’ll make for excellent photos.


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