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Couple getting their engagement photos taken in Minnesota.


Helpful tips for getting ready for your engagement photography session!

February 24, 2023

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You’re freaking engaged!!!

I couldn’t be more thrilled for you, and now comes the exciting part – planning your wedding day! Want to know one of my favorite things about engagements? It’s the awesome engagement photography sessions where I get to capture your personalities and relationship. Ya know those warm feelings you get when you watch a rom-com? I get those feelings every time I get to photograph a couple’s engagement session! I’ve learned a lot in my years of photographing engagement sessions, and now, I’m going to share what I know with you. That’s right! My pro engagement photography tips are right here for you to scoop up before your shoot! 

Follow along as we dive into pro-level engagement photography tips for you! Let’s goooo!

Engagement Photography session example of a couple standing embracing each other.

Why do an engagement photography session?

An engagement photography session is an excellent way to capture the love and excitement between you and your partner! It’s an extraordinary way to celebrate your engagement and make amazing art for your home and save the dates, and to bring you joy for years to come. 

You can also think of your engagement session as a first date with your wedding photographer! That’s right, this session gives you and your photographer a chance to get to know each other, which will help you feel comfortable and confident on your wedding day. The more time we spend together, the more likely you’ll see yourself in your photos. 

Why work with a pro? I’ll help you with everything from choosing a location, advising you on your outfit choices, and most importantly, treating you like the unique individuals and couple you are! While I have some go-to poses and prompts, those are all stepping stones to bringing out your true personalities — and that takes practice! Of course, I’ll also edit and deliver your images so you have a timeless, professional gallery to enjoy and share for years. Plus, it’s FUN! This is such an exciting time, so let’s celebrate you!

Location, Location, Location!

One of the first things I encourage you to do is to choose a location for your engagement photoshoot. This could be somewhere special to the two of you, somewhere with iconic views (think Minneapolis skyline), or somewhere that fits your vibe (think city, forest, park, etc.). If you want to look around on your own quickly hit up Google to find some fun places near you for your shoot. Feeling adventurous? Find an awe-inspiring new space that encourages a new adventure for you as a couple to explore together! Considering something super “Minnesota?” Check out my Minnesota State Fair Engagement session here for some adventurous ideas! 

Either way, this is your chance to find somewhere you both love. One of the best tips I can give couples is to try to find a space with some variety built into it. So if you’re taking pictures at a park, for example, there might be some trees, a pond, lake, or stream, and maybe a more open space! A location that includes several backgrounds will help save time and maximize your engagement photography time with your photographer. 

Naturally, you are not alone in this search — I have a great list of locations to pull from to fit just what you’re looking for as well!

What should I wear?

Be comfortable! That’s my number one tip when choosing your outfits. Being comfortable in your outfit will help you have fun and enjoy the session. Similarly, I encourage couples to discuss beforehand if they’d like their outfits to be complimentary or if they’d like to match! Generally, I recommend that your outfits are complimentary unless you are going for something ultra-specific. You can also bring multiple outfits for a wardrobe change throughout your session – so really you could do both if you want! 

Also, it’s helpful to pick an outfit you can move in, as you might be walking, hugging, jumping, dancing, or whatever feels right! Engagement photo sessions are meant to be fun, so ensure that your clothing allows a full range of motion. That way,  you can show off those cool dance moves that I know you love to do when no one’s watching. 😉

Speaking of dance moves, do you know what takes your engagement pictures to the next level? If you’re someone who anticipates you’ll be swinging, dancing, and doing lots of movement I recommend a long, flowy skirt that can add some stunning movement to your photos! Have a favorite accessory such as a hat, ring(s), necklace, or shoes? Incorporate those into your outfit so that your engagement photos are true to who you are! Be sure to dress appropriately for the weather conditions as well as the terrain and activities (as needed!). Want to see some fun winter outfit ideas for an indoor and outdoor engagement photo session – check it out here!

Things to bring with you to your engagement photography session!

When preparing for your engagement shoot here are some awesome ideas of things that you can bring with you! These items I’ve found these to be immensely helpful with couples over the years, feel free to add any personalized items that fit your engagement photo shoot vibes. 

  • Sunscreen/bug spray (summer months)
  • Hand warmers, hat, gloves (winter)
  • Snack(s)
  • Personalized items (eg. family heirlooms, hats, jewelry, mugs…etc)
  • Waterbottle for cool water/thermos for a warm beverage
  • Multiple outfits (2 are included with my standard engagement sessions!)
  • Touch-up makeup/hair product (as needed!)
  • Props (champagne glasses, picnic blanket, signs, bouquet)
  • Pets (bring a friend to hang out with your pet when you’re doing photos without them!)
  • Your smiles 😊

Don’t forget about your hair and nails!

This is totally my personal preference, and my biggest recommendation is to go with the aesthetic you want for your session. For example, if you want a more formal look, getting your hair, nails, and makeup professionally done is always a good idea! If you’re going more casual, you may choose to get your nails done and do your own hair and makeup. Keeping with the theme — whatever makes you the most comfortable and confident!

Whether you choose to get your hair done or do it yourself, I recommend using any hair products that will help maintain your style in outdoor conditions (think heat, humidity, wind, etc.). Don’t get me wrong, we love a little wind-blown style! But no one wants the flyaways to be out of control, ya know?

Similarly, for makeup, you or your artist should use a setting spray to make sure that you look flawless for your whole session! Ok, nails! You know there will be photos of your engagement ring(s), so making sure your nails are at least cleaned up and your hands are moisturized is a must! Yes, this goes for the guys too! If you decide to paint your own nails or get them done, choose a color that works with your chosen outfits! Not sure what color to go with (or haven’t nailed down your outfit yet)? Go for a neutral! Your nails will look clean and go with anything you choose to wear. Now, the focal point of your photos will be your beautiful ring, as it should be!

Pro Tips!

As I mentioned above, I’ve been shooting engagement photos for years now, and the very best tip I can give you is to have fun, be yourself, and enjoy this time with your other half!  At first, it can feel odd or uncomfortable to be photographed as a couple. But I promise, if you take a few deep breaths and remind yourselves why you are having an engagement session, and focus on each other, you will have an awesome time and your photos will be amazing! Of course, you can also lean on your photographer, and they will guide you through your session.

It’s important to me that everyone has an amazing photography experience on their wedding day, and I believe that starts with the engagement session! I’m here to help you feel confident, comfortable, and like yourselves! If that sounds like what you need, please check out my wedding photography services and engagement photography services here! I can’t wait to hear from you!

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It's Jess!

Passionate about celebrating relationships between partners and between us and our home, Earth.

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