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Engagement Sessions: How to Prep & What to Expect

So you're newly engaged and are getting ready to book your engagement session? Here is a detailed guide on what to expect and how to prepare for the best results and overall experience.

Decide On a Date and Time

Natural lighting is everything! The best time to shoot is golden hour (about 1 hour before sunset.) The lighting is even and less harsh on the skin/eyes, and it creates a gorgeous, golden hue as the sun begins to set.

OR, opt for a sunrise session! Fewer crowds in popular locations is a huge perk that makes it worth the lack of sleep. You’ll still get that yummy, glowy light but in reverse- you actually gain light throughout your session, instead of losing it.

The lighting will ultimately determine the entire look and feel of your images.

Pick a Location

What’s your style?! Do you have a location that is special to you? I love to incorporate those sentimental places into your photoshoot like your favorite coffee shop, the restaurant you went to on your first date, or the bridge where got engaged, etc.

If you don’t have a particular place in mind, I always recommend a variety of natural and indoor settings to choose from such as; parks with open fields, tall wooded trails, or the beach. A few of my local favorites are the sand dunes in Saugatuck, MI, downtown Grand Rapids for a fun city vibe, or parking garage rooftops which are typically less busy and great for shyer couples!

  • Parks with open fields

  • Tall wooded trails

  • The beach

  • Sand dunes

  • Downtown in the city

  • Parking garage rooftops

What To Wear To Your Engagement Session

Think neutrals!! Everyone looks great in earth tones and neutral colors. Try to avoid heavy patterns and logos (as they can be distracting), and pick outfits that complement each other and the general scenery. I also encourage my couples to plan multiple outfits– one fancy and one casual to add some spice and variety to your photos.


Summer/ spring engagement session style guide by Andi B Photo.


Winter/fall engagement session style guide by Andi B Photo.

Places to shop for engagement session outfits:

Tips For The Girls

If it’s within budget, your engagement session is a great time to meet your wedding day hair and makeup artist! Having them prep you for your engagement session not only gets you comfortable in their chair but also lets you know what to expect come wedding day. Oh and we will be focusing a lot on ring/hand shots, so a fresh manicure is a must!

Tips For The Guys

Make sure your outfit complements your partner. Find the happy medium between matching and clashing a.k.a. different patterns, same color scheme. Avoid trying anything new with your hairstyle/facial hair before the session. You don’t want to regret what ends up in your images forever, so stick with what’s comfortable! And same as the ladies, clean hands and nails should be a top priority.

Extra Things To Bring

I always bring blankets and champagne glasses to every engagement session, but I also encourage my couples to pack a few essentials for an even better experience.

  1. Extra layers to switch up your look (jean jacket, hat, etc. for texture.)

  2. Your favorite drinks.

  3. For winter sessions– a coat you to throw on between shots.

  4. Comfy shoes/ boots for walking (depending on location.)

  5. Mini mirror & makeup for touch-ups.

  6. Water for hydration.

Include Your Pets

I love taking photos of you and your pets! Fur babies are always welcome at my photoshoots. However, it can be difficult to concentrate and enjoy your time if you are constantly worried about their safety. To avoid this from happening, bring someone along to help keep them entertained and on leash in between shots. An extra person is also helpful in grabbing your pet's attention and rewarding them for good posing/behavior.

Quick Tip: A well-exercised pet is a cooperative pet! Taking them to the park or on a walk before your session will help to tire them out. And don't forget to bring their favorite training treat!

Make a Date Out Of It

You’re already dressed up and looking amazing, why not make it a date out of it? It will give you and your partner something to look forward to during the session (especially if one participant is less than excited) and create even more meaning associated with those images. Each time you look at your photos you’ll be reminded of that special memory together.

In the end, your engagement session should be fun! Make it unique to you by incorporating locations or objects that hold meaning to you as a couple. Choose outfits that complement each other, without being too matchy, and don’t overthink it! Just wear something that feels like you. Include your fur babies and bring someone along to assist. And finally, make a date out of it to make the experience even more memorable.


Ready to book your engagement session?

How to prep for your engagement session Pinterest graphic.

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