7 Ways to Master Your Engagement Session

If there is one thing that our families love to joke about, it’s the sheer volume of engagement photos we have taken in the past 2 years.  And truth to tell, after our last shoot in DC, even Scott put his foot down. This is the last engagement session, only wedding photos from here on out.

DCEngagement2-16So needless to say, we have learned a great deal on how to get comfortable in front of the camera, and can offer some tips and tricks to get the most out of your engagement session, so you don’t end up looking like Chandler and Monica from Friends: 

Friends Engagement

  1. Study the photographer’s style and then set up a “Meet & Greet” beforehand. There is nothing comfortable about having a stranger take your photo, but finding the right person could be the answer to making your entire shoot feel effortless. Make sure to discuss outfits, locations, and props that you might want to incorporate.  

2. Choose a significant location – While any location can serve as the perfect backdrop for your love, we decided to make it super personal with photos on my childhood farm in NY (and what will become our forever home) as well as document our amazing and active life in Washington DC. Both places define us and our relationship, and so deciding on location was key to making our shoot a success.  How about the first place you met? First date? Engagement site? All of these make for perfect shoot locations.

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3. It’s all about the outfit – Admittedly, this is the most stressful part of the shoot, as your outfits convey the mood and tone of the shoot. We decided to stay away from the overly formal, as our relationship is all about spontaneity and lots of fun. From a photographer’s standpoint, choose light and bright outfits, nothing dark and drab, as light bounces brilliantly off of whites and pastels. However, it took until our 3rd shoot to figure this out, and though I love the images from the other sessions, I love how bright our DC whites came out.  Remember, at the end of the day you want to be comfortable in whatever you are wearing. So wear the outfit that makes you feel incredible.

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4. Time of day – Though your photographer will have a better idea of lighting for your area and the best natural light at the time of day, we tried a sunrise session in Alexandria that was so early in the morning that all of our closeups showed my sleepy eyes. The lighting was moody and for a sunrise in February, super cool. But the best photos are the ones from far away, and so I recommend knowing when you look your best and plan for that.

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5. Don’t be afraid to really dictate your shoot. We have been lucky to have amazing photographers who were open to our ideas and interpretation, but if you are paying good $$ for photos, you have a right to help guide the shoot. If there are things you want to try, props or people you want to include, speak up.

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6. Trust your photographer.  Remember, you did the legwork and found the person whose style and portfolio you love. Your photos won’t feel natural, especially if you haven’t been in front of a professional camera before. Every kiss, every walk, every laugh will feel forced. But let your photographer guide you as well, as they are the ones with all of the experience. Some of our favorite photos are the brainchild of a spur-of-the-moment idea from our photographer, and we are so glad we listened.


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7. Be in the moment and get ready to show some affection. Again, staged kisses and laughter are awkward and uncomfortable, and it wasn’t until our third shoot that we stopped being so aware of the camera and really enjoyed the moment. Remember this is the person you’re going to marry, so have a good time! If the photographer is good, they will catch all of the perfect little moments that truly represent you as a couple.

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So that’s it! Talk to us – what would be your advice for a successful engagement shoot?? Or better yet, we need some ideas for mastering the wedding photos… :)

Missed our engagement session recaps?

Click here for our Alexandria shoot with Erin Tetterton Photography, for our Western New York farm shoot with Michal-Kathryn Photography please click here, and our Washington DC shoot with JoffotoPart 1, Part 2, and Part 3.   Also, if you are a bride and open to capturing a special something, check out my boudoir post with Lauren Werkheiser Photography.

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