Tips for planning the best engagement session EVER

So I have been majorly behind on the blog game as of recent, and its only because I have been SO busy photographing gorgeous engagements and boudoir shoots. Today I decided to make a blog post about how to make sure your engagement session ROCKS. These tips can be applied to both photographers and clients alike! 

From our construction themed shoot at the St. Louis Freight Depot. 


My first step to planning an engagement shoot is talking to my couple and finding out their interests. I LOVE doing creative and stylized shoots, but not every client wants something so out of the box original. I always ask them what their interests are, or if they had any special ideas in mind for their photo shoot. Most of the time my clients say we want something elegant or fun! I like to ask, what is the theme for the wedding day? Usually my couples want to use the photos from their engagement sessions for decor at their reception or for save the date cards. If they have a specific theme for the wedding, they may appreciate a session tailored around that theme. 

My tips for the bride to be is to use a hair and makeup artist for your engagement session. Not only does it make you look and feel like a total babe on your photo shoot, but you can plan to do your hair/makeup trial on the same day as your photo shoot and get a feel of what your wedding look will be. I highly recommend checking out Jacqi Kamp from J hair design studio. 

From a rustic and romantic engagement session at watershed nature park

When it comes to outfits for the shoot, I recommend that you dress for your body type and stylize for your shoot. If your planning a vintage/retro engagement session, then you obviously need to find some great 50's clothing. If your planning for a romantic and country session, you would be find with casual clothing  or bohemian styled dresses. The only thing I recommend not wearing is outfits with tons of patterns (camera's can be tricky and sometimes patterns do not translate well into photos) or clothing with labels on them (unless you are planning a sport themed shoot). I love being involved with my clients choice for outfits. They usually text me their outfit ideas, or send me pictures of what they are thinking about ordering. 

My favorite time to take engagement photos is 1-2 hours prior to sunset. The sky is golden and dreamy looking, which is perfect for a romantic look for engagement session. Overcast days are my second favorite. My favorite times of the year (and busiest for engagement) is spring and the first 2 weeks of fall. 

From a retro engagement session at Union Station St. Louis

Location is another very important factor in making your session rock. This relates directly back to what your theme is. I have always wanted to do an engagement session in a vintage book store or library for a couple book worm lovers, or a vintage record shop. The possibilities are endless on locations! 

Sometimes my clients want to bring props for their engagement session and if its a stylized/themed shoot, I highly recommend it! If we are telling a story about a specific interest, props can really help bring your shoot to another level. If your engagement session is not so out of the box, I would recommend bringing at least the rings. Those can be a lot of fun to use for your save the dates or timeline cover for Facebook. 

The poses I use during the engagement session are going to be very similar to those we use during the formal wedding portraits. Engagement sessions are a great way for you to practice your core poses, plus figure out which poses you REALLY loved and will look stunning in your wedding dress. The biggest thing to remember about posing is to keep your body loose, don't be afraid to laugh and have fun or say flirty things to your lover (those always bring out the most genuine smiles or "smizing" as Tyra Banks would say). I do plan my poses well in advance for the shoot (especially if we are planning a themed out of the box session) so that we are not scratching our heads for what to do. I also request for my clients to send me 10 photos that they loved either of my own photos or pictures they found on the web because its important to me to take photos they would like to see themselves in! 

Well I hope this blog helps and you enjoyed the photos, if you have any specific questions about engagement shoots you would like answered please leave them in the comments!