ENGAGEMENT SESSION TIPS
This page here is dedicated to helping you and your partner feel fully prepared for your engagement shoot! From deciding what to wear and where to go, I’ve put together these tips from over the years to help couples, like you, get the best possible photos. The three main components to a successful engagement shoot are wardrobe, location, and time! Keep on reading to learn more about each and how it can impact your photos.
Starting with what you’ll be wearing, make sure it’s something that you feel comfortable in. There’s no need for clothing that’s too tight or clingy, as being uncomfortable in your clothes will definitely show in the photos. Speaking of what not to show in photos, it’s best to avoid clothing with stripes, crazy patterns, large logos or even text on them. Just keep your look simple and clean. Avoid clothes with bright and vivid colours. Now I’m not saying coloured clothing is bad, just make sure the colours are subtle and not too distracting. When in doubt, stick to softer tones like blue, white, gray and black. It never hurts to bring a few extra pieces of clothing so we can mix and match a bit. It’s also not a bad idea to do an entire outfit change half way through as well to get a different look (start with something casual then change into something dressier later on, or vice versa). If fashion really isn’t your forte, try looking for outfit ideas on places like Pinterest or Instagram!
If you’re feeling confident in your hair and makeup skills, then just skip this next part! Otherwise, something to consider is having your hair and makeup done professionally, or at least by a friend who’s really good at it (and doesn’t mind). If you’re doing a hair and makeup consultation with a stylist for your wedding day, it’s not a bad idea to try and line up that consultation test with your engagement shoot day.
Now that you’ve got an idea for what to wear, it’s time to start thinking about where exactly you’ll be going for your engagement session. The way I look at it, choose a location that fits you and your partner’s lifestyle and reflects something that you both love. You can even imagine that you’re going on a date instead of doing an engagement shoot, so feel free to incorporate your favorite activities as well. Are you an active or outdoorsy couple? Consider places like Gatineau Park or the Dominion Arboretum. More of an urban, city couple? Then take the ByWard Market or even an in-home session into consideration. Don’t be limited to just one location either, make a day out of it. I’ve found that engagement sessions involving multiple locations always turn out the best, given the variety. Stopping by your favorite coffee or lunch spot at some point helps to turn your engagement shoot into more of a story.
The final thing to plan for your engagement shoot is the time of year you want to do it. Simply, how do you want your pictures to look? Do you want your photos to have nice lush, green scenery? Then summer time is your best bet. Maybe you’d like nice fall colours for a backdrop instead? Or perhaps you and your partner love a winter wonderland with hot chocolate and beavertails. Time and location go hand in hand, as you have to think about what your location will look like at that time of year. If you’re planning on doing an activity for your engagement session, more than likely the time of year is an important factor to consider too. Once you’ve got your location and time of year picked out, you can dress accordingly for it.
By this point you might be wondering what’s the best time of day to schedule your session for, and the answer is to schedule it around golden hour. Now golden hour, which is the time of day just before the sun finally sets, is when you’ll get the best light. I’m talking about that warm, glowing, golden light that makes everything look amazing. Depending on what you’ve got planned out, it’s best to begin your engagement session an hour or two before the sun sets. This’ll allow for enough time for shooting and any traveling required. I’ve found that the average engagement session goes for at least an hour, possibly up to 3 if there’s lots of traveling! I always strongly advise my couples to schedule their engagement session around golden hour as any time before that period and the light from the sun that’s directly overhead will be too harsh. If you’re feeling up for it, catching the sunrise can result in light that’s just as magical as golden hour. Not sure when sunset or sunrise will be? You can simply Google the date you had in mind for your engagement session and add in “sunset” plus your city. An example for that looks something like this “October 20th 2019 sunset Ottawa”.
You might’ve heard before that engagement sessions are good for getting comfortable in front of the camera, but they’re useful for more than just that. They’re an opportunity to create a collection of unique photos that really capture who you and your partner are together.