Planning Your Engagement Session? Here Are 5 Must-Know Tips!

by | January 8, 2019

So you’ve got a million things to-do for wedding planning and now you have to prepare for an engagement session.  So many things to consider.  Where should it be?  What should we wear?  What style should we go for?  And your partner’s not giving any input!  What’s a bride to do?

First of all, stop and breathe.  Instead of seeing it like one more task to cross off on your wedding to-do list, look at it like a date night and a chance to slow down, relax and have some fun with your partner. Engagement sessions are a great way to reflect on how far you’ve come and what an exciting time this is in your life!

It’s also a great way for you both to get to know your photographer and practice being behind the camera, which helps ease anxiety on your wedding day.

Okay, ready set go!  Here’s some helpful tips on how to prepare.

1.  The Location

It can be tough deciding on where to have your engagement session.  Living in San Diego means you’ll never lack options when it comes to choosing a location.  I always recommend that people start by asking themselves if they prefer a beach, nature or urban setting.  Luckily, we live in a place where these settings are no more than 30 minutes away. Once you’ve done so, your photographer can help you hone in on a specific location.

Another option is thinking about how you usually enjoy spending time together.  Are romantic walks on the beach your thing?  Or do you love going on quiet hikes together with your dog? Maybe being playful at an amusement park or bowling alley is your jam.  Or maybe you just like to chill by hanging out at home, playing board games and snuggling on the couch.  Yep, an in-home session is an option too.  Don’t be afraid to think outside the box!  Picking an activity that you both like to do is a great way to add variety to your engagement session and tell your love story.


2.  Choosing a Date

Once you’ve chosen a location, it’s time to pick a date.  If possible, I recommend scheduling your session 3-6 months from your wedding date. Depending on the location and how much time you have before your wedding, you may want to wait until it’s the right season.   For example, if you’re planning a nature setting, it might be best to wait until spring or summer.   Since San Diego is usually pretty dry year round, your options for greenery will be much better then.  Once you’ve chosen the date, the next thing to think about is what to wear. If you’re doing more than one location, you will want to bring a different outfit for each setting.

3.  The Perfect Outfit

Start with your closet first but if you don’t find anything that works, go shopping! You’ve invested in getting professional photos so you’ll want to look your best. I cannot stress enough the importance of putting some effort into what you wear.  It will make a difference in your photos and you’ll be glad you did.

If it’s an at-home session, I recommend your best casual but comfy outfit.  Otherwise, dress like you’re going out on a date.  Not just any old date but your first date!  Remember how you wanted to impress your partner?

Choose colors that will coordinate with the scenery.  For example, consider softer colors for the beach and deeper colors for urban or rustic locations. You want the colors you wear to compliment the surrounding.  Also, choose colors that coordinate with each other’s but stay away from matching.  The days of showing up to photo shoots in matching white shirts and jeans or khakis are long gone and to be honest, so 1995!

Clothes should not only compliment but be appropriate for the setting.  Casual clothes or long flowy dresses for the beach and more dressy attire for urban settings.  If you’re going to be in a nature setting, consider bringing extra shoes for walking but ditch the cross trainers when it’s photo time.  I’m looking at you, guys!  Remember that shoes are an important part of the outfit. You’ll want them to be clean and not too worn.

Avoid clothing that is too bright because they’ll put a color cast on your faces.  Nobody wants to look like a glow stick.  Also, avoid logos because they’re distracting.  Patterns are okay but should be limited and not overpowering or overdone.

Need some color palette or wardrobe inspiration?  Check out the Jalea Photography Pinterest boards.

4.  Hair, Makeup and Grooming

Ladies, consider splurging on yourself and having your hair and make-up done.  You’ll walk into the session feeling confident and beautiful!  Consider this an opportunity to try out your hair and makeup artist. Just make sure to give yourself plenty of time before your shoot so that if things run late, you won’t stress about being on time or missing the good light.  If you’re getting a new do, give yourself at least two weeks so that you have time to get used to the cut. Let me know if you need a recommendation for a hair and makeup artist.

Remember to have clean nails for those ring shots!  This goes for guys and gals.  Ladies, they can be painted or clear.  Whatever you prefer.  Consider getting your rings cleaned too.  They’ll really sparkle in the photos.  Most jewelry stores clean them for free or sell a bottle of cleaner to take home.

5.  Last but not least…relax!

So you’ve picked a location, you’ve got a date on the calendar and decided on what to wear. Yay!  The hard part is over.  The next best tip I can give you is to relax.  The more relaxed you are the better your photos will turn out.  Think of your engagement session as practice run for your big day.

But we’re awkward in front of the camera!  Photographers hear this all the time.  Not to worry! It’s normal to feel a little anxious.  Unless you’ve professionally modeled before, most people haven’t and they do just fine.  Promise!!  I’ll be showing you some easy posing techniques and guide you every step of the way.

Ready for some fun? Now that you have all the tips you need, you’re ready to rock your engagement session!



Are you interested in booking an engagement session with me?  I would love to help you get beautiful natural looking photos while having fun and feeling comfortable in the process.


Get in touch with me here!




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