Aug 11, 2023

How To Prepare For Your Engagement Session

Congrats, friends!!! You’re ENGAGED, and you’re having an engagement shoot to celebrate! What an exciting time. If you’re wondering how to prepare for your engagement session, wonder no longer – I have GOT. YOUR. BACK.

You’re only human, so you’ve probably already started thinking (read: obsessing) about your future wedding. The attire, the aesthetic, the venue – all those ideas are swirling in your brain and probably already pinned to your digital mood board. But what about your engagement photos?

These may not get as much love as their wedding photo counterparts, but they’re just as important. And if you’re booked in for an engagement session, you’re no doubt in need of a few killer tips for your engagement photos to ease you into the experience. 

Luckily, I’m here to share allllll of my secrets. 😉

First, Let’s Talk About How to Prepare For Engagement Photos 

Before you find yourself staring into each other’s starry eyes while a camera click-clicks away in the background, you’re going to need to do some planning. Why? Because engagement photos are an investment, and in many ways, they’re the very beginning of your happy next chapter.

With that said, you don’t want to overthink them, either. You want to have FUN at your shoot, not worry about posing or looking perfect!

Remember, your engagement photos can be as casual or as glam as you like. Either way, preparation is key to ensuring your shoot goes off without a hitch.

What To Expect with Engagement Photos 

Average Cost

The cost of an engagement shoot can vary based on a bunch of factors, including your location, the experience of the photographer, the number of outfit changes or locations, and the number of hours you’ve booked for the shoot. 

On average, the cost of a quality engagement photoshoot can be anywhere from $400 to over $1,000. My engagement sessions range from $490 to $990 for reference.

Average Turnaround Time

Just as with cost, the average turnaround time can vary depending on how many photos you choose, the experience of the photographer, and the type of editing you’re looking for. Typically, the average turnaround time for photos is between two to four weeks. 

That’s why you’ll want to book your photographer quickly. This is a SUPER exciting announcement, and waiting to share the big news with the world until your engagement photos are ready – while totally worth it – can be agonizing! So get in quick and snap up that shoot date.

How To Pick Your Photographer

While it’s true you’ll want to book a photographer ASAP once you’re engaged, it’s also really important to do your due diligence and choose someone you trust. 

It’s pretty easy to hunt down a photographer’s work and verify their experience. When searching for your perfect fit, check out their socials (Instagram is always a good bet), read reviews online from past clients, and comb over their website. Don’t be afraid to ask to see a whole engagement gallery (you can find a recent one of mine featuring downtown glam and desert vibes here)!

Then, schedule an in person or virtual sit-down with one or two photographers you’re feeling good about so you can make sure you’re going to vibe with each other. 

What To Do Before an Engagement Photoshoot

Set Your Budget

First and foremost, you’ll want to set your budget. Remember, engagement shoot packages and pricing can vary, but knowing your budget ahead of time will make choosing a photographer and an engagement shoot package (if there is one available) a ton easier. 

Create A Mood Board

It’s time to get inspired! This is a great excuse to get lost in the wide world of Insta and Pinterest, so make sure you take time to search keywords and hashtags that are relevant to the style of engagement photos you want. 

Have fun building your mood board, but also be realistic. Consider your location, and whether you want an indoor or outdoor shoot. Do you want several wardrobe changes (love that for you), or just one (also love that for you!)? What about props? 

While having a vision is a definite must when preparing for engagement photos, remember to stay open-minded. It’s great to know what you want, but it’s just as important to be flexible and listen to suggestions from your photographer. Trust ’em – they know what they’re doing!

Choose Your Location

When it comes to how to prepare for your engagement session, one of your biggest enemies is time. The hours are going to go by much quicker than you realize, so set yourself and your photographer up for success by choosing a few locations ahead of the shoot date. 

This way, you can stick to a schedule and pick the best times of day to shoot at each location. If you’re not sure which times are best for shooting, your photographer can be your guiding light. They’ll help you decide when and where would be best to shoot ahead of time so you can make the absolute most out of the day. 

Plan What You’ll Wear

One of the most common questions I get around how to prepare for your engagement session is: what the actual f*ck should we wear? (Or, the tamer version: What do couples wear for engagement pictures?)

While there aren’t set rules for what to wear for an engagement photo session, there are some guidelines I always recommend. First: wear clothing you feel confident in. Whether you choose your most glamorous outfit or your most casual jeans, you should be FEELING yourself.

Should you match outfits? Well… yes and no. It’s best to color coordinate without being matchy-matchy. In other words, avoid dressing identically to your partner (this can result in a weird or phony vibe). Instead, wear colors that complement one another’s outfits and accessories.

I also suggest staying away from loud patterns or colors that aren’t flattering.

Hire Your Photographer!

As I mentioned above, it’s super important to take an appropriate amount of time to hire a good photographer – one you trust. Make sure you check out their past work, consider their costs, and read the fine print (boring, but necessary). 

Keep in mind that more experienced photographers may be more costly, but they’ll also provide valuable guidance on things like the best times of day to shoot, tips for posing for engagement photos, and tons more.  For example, my wedding clients get access to an exclusive facebook group full of resources including a pdf guide on how to prepare for your engagement session!

Remember, It’s Not Only An Engagement Shoot – It’s An Experience! 

Of all the tips I always share for how to prepare for an engagement photo shoot, the most important one is this: be yourselves and enjoy the experience. I know, I know – it sounds cliché, but being true to who you are as a couple will ensure your photos are authentic and unique to your relationship. 

Try to have fun with the shoot, making an experience out of it. I love to encourage couples to plan a date around their engagement shoot. Call it date night and grab dinner or drinks afterward! This is the beginning of the rest of your lives together – and if that’s not worth celebrating, what is?!?

If you’re looking for more tips for preparing for your engagement shoot, let’s chat. I’m SO excited to help you start planning your wedding photography!

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