Planning Your Engagement Session
CHOOSING THE PERFECT TIME, LOCATION, OUTFIT & MORE…
I am so excited to be working with you and can’t wait for our time together during your engagement session! It’s normal to be a little nervous about your session. I always tell people that I still get nervous before having our photos taken – and I do this for a living!
I am a big fan of engagement sessions for a few reasons. First, they allow you to get comfortable in front of the camera. It takes time for most couples to warm up to being photographed and understand how I pose. Timelines can be pretty tight on wedding days and 20 minutes may be all we have for portraits – which is why I have found that wedding day portraits turn out so much better when couples do engagement sessions ahead of time.
Second, you can showcase your personalities in a more casual setting that is significant to the two of you (and even include pets). While they’re great for save-the-dates, we’ve taken engagement photos anywhere from 18 months in advance to a few days before the wedding.
There is a lot to think about when it comes to planning a session and since I get asked the same things over and over again, I thought it would be the most beneficial if I put together a guide that walks you through everything you need to know.
This covers what to wear, whether to bring pets & how to manage them, location ideas and more!
NOTE TO THE GUYS
Trust me I get it. Having your picture taken for 1-2 hours might not be in your top-10 favorite things to do during your downtime. And at first, you might feel sort of awkward being in front of the camera.
But I think you’ll find that by the end of the session, it’s a lot easier than you thought, and you even had a little fun. I look forward to it because it’s a great opportunity for us all to hang out a bit before the wedding day.
TIME & LIGHT
Is there a “good time” to take photos?
Engagement sessions can take place anywhere from immediately following a proposal to just a few days before the wedding. We’ve found that there isn’t a “good” or “bad” time to take your photos. We normally plan sessions based on a particular “look” a couple has in mind, spring flowers for example, or based on schedules.
Sessions typically last about an hour and a half and when we can — we love to begin sessions about two hours before sunset. We prefer to shoot when the sun is lower in the sky to avoid harsh shadows and bright sun patches. The first two hours after sunrise is also an ideal time to shoot.
We schedule sessions during what we believe will be the best light of the day – which means that it’s super important to be on time. If you’re late to an evening session, we could run out of light before we’ve finished shooting and if your session takes place in the morning, the sun gets harsher as it rises.
While we shoot most of our engagement sessions between April and late November, sessions can take place all year. Most of our couples choose a season based on the location where they want to shoot. A few things to keep in mind during each season:
Snowfall, hot cocoa, and cozy coats
If you’re planning to take your engagement photos during the winter, keep in mind that if your session takes place in the evening, we could begin shooting as early as 2:30 pm to catch the sunset.
We recommend dressing in layers so that in between photos you can warm up. Make sure you bring a little extra makeup and tissues in case your nose begins running.
Fresh flowers and sunny days
Even though Spring begins in March, we typically don’t begin shooting for another 6 weeks because the weather in New Hampshire and most of New England is still pretty chilly. When we schedule spring dates, we typically schedule both a primary date and a backup rain date.
Walks on the beach hand in hand
In spite of the heat, we’re big fans of summer sessions! Because of the later sunset, sessions sometimes begin as late as 6 pm. If you’re taking your engagement photos during the summer, we recommend bringing extra makeup and a few towels to make sure you stay fresh throughout your session.
Colorful leaves and snuggling close
Fall is one of the prettiest times of the year on the East Coast and because of the perfect weather, our schedules typically book up quickly! If you have your heart set on a fall engagement session, we recommend scheduling it as soon as you book!
SAVE THE DATES
If your wedding is local, save the dates should be sent between 6 and 8 months before the wedding. For a destination wedding, you’ll want to send them out 8 to 10 months before the wedding.
If you’re hoping to use your engagement photos for your save the dates, we recommend scheduling your session at least two months before you plan to send out your save-the-dates. Between inclement weather, editing, designing your save-the-dates, and printing, two months is generally a safe amount of time to make sure your images and cards are ready.
I love when couples choose a location for their session that complements their wedding. For example, if you’re planning a chic, elegant wedding, it may be fitting to take your engagement portraits among the classic architecture in the city, while a local park or flower-filled fields may be more fitting for a couple planning a more rustic affair. The best session locations are often meaningful places to the couple; however, we’re also happy to make recommendations. From ski slopes to lupine fields to apple picking and college campuses, the options for engagement session locations are endless! I always love an adventure for these sessions!
Some of our favorite spots to shoot:
- Macks Apples mid-May and Fall
- Sugar Hill June lupines are in Bloom
- Bensons Park Spring Summer and fall
- Nubble Light House All year
- Portsmouth Prescott Park Spring and Summer
- Mines Falls all year
- Sandy point at Great Bay
Plus many other amazing waterfalls, mountains lighthouses, and beaches…
Here are a few more tips to help you along the way:
- We want this session to be about you
- We want you to have a fun time being together
- We will give you guidance when needed, but otherwise do what comes naturally
- The first 5-10 minutes are usually a little awkward, it will pass quickly
- Wear simple and natural colors
- Wear complementary colors instead of matching colors
- Consider the environment you’ll be shooting in. If you’re being photographed in the woods during the summer where you would expect a lot of greenery, it’s best to not wear green.
- Use vivid colors (like red) to create more drama in your photos
- Think of this as date night and enjoy