Now that you have picked a date, a photographer, and your venue, you can celebrate! Those are some of the biggest wedding planning decisions, and you’ve crossed them off your list! Now it’s time for the fun to start by scheduling your engagement session! Keep scrolling for your engagement session planning guide!
Planning your engagement session can sometimes feel intimidating so I’ve created a free guide to help you plan! The guide includes detailed information about what time to schedule your session for the best light, style recipes to help you choose the best possible outfits, and more!
Click HERE to download the Engagement Session Planning Guide!
Engagement Session Planning Guide – When to Schedule Your Engagement Session
Your engagement session can be scheduled anytime before your wedding day. If you plan on using the images from your engagement session on your Save the Dates, you’ll want to schedule your session 6-7 months before your wedding so you have time to get your images back and your stationery designed, printed, and mailed.
The very first thing I do when a couple books me for their wedding is send a questionnaire that helps me get to know them and gets the ball rolling on scheduling their engagement session time, season, and location. Because my weekends are filled with weddings and serving at our church, I shoot engagements on weekday evenings. As you start to plan for your engagement shoot, you will need to start brainstorming about location ideas. I love when couples pick a location that is special or sentimental to them in some way, but if you can’t think of anywhere specific that you would like to shoot, I have a list of favorites and a list of bucket list locations that can help you decide on a location. I’ve shot at farms, campuses, resorts, and even on top of a parking garage. If you have a pinterest inspiration board, I can help with choosing a location! Keep scrolling for tips on what to bring and think about using this engagement session planning guide!
Engagement Session Planning Guide – The Basics & What to Bring
It’s always a little intimidating to have your picture taken, even if it’s just a photo on an iPhone taken by a friend. We still want to look nice, make sure nothing is in our teeth, and that our hair is behaving! I realize that preparing for your engagement session can be a little overwhelming. Below are some recommendations that will make your shoot the best it can be!
- POCKETS | Empty your pockets! You don’t want to have keys or phones showing through your pockets. (This is for the guys especially!)
- RING CLEANING | Clean the ring! I will typically shoot a few ring shots while you change outfits!
- RELAX | It’s my goal that you look and feel confident, and I understand that your engagement session may be the first time you’ve ever had professional photos taken. I will gently guide and teach you my super easy posing system that will be fun. Enjoy this time together, and since you’re already dressed up make a date out of it and plan dinner afterward to celebrate!
- TIMING | The sun sets quickly especially if your shoot is not in the summer months. The later you arrive, the less time we have to shoot! Once the sun has set, the shoot will be over.
- CHANGING CLOTHES | As much as I would like to say that we always have restrooms for outfit changes, more often than not, our clients do quick outfit changes in their car if there are no other options!
- CLOTHING | I’ll explain this more in-depth in another blog post but generally, our couples like to bring one casual outfit and one dressier outfit! If you’re unsure about a few pieces, feel free to bring all options and I can help you decide.
- FLIP FLOPS | If you’re wearing shoes that are difficult to walk in but look awesome, bring some comfy shoes to change to while we walk to each shooting location.
- LIP COLOR & HAIRSPRAY | You may need to apply more lip color after one outfit change and a few kisses. (If you have a bold lip color, try to have a matte finish so it won’t transfer to your groom as intensely!). Hairspray and a brush will be helpful if your hair struggles in the humidity like mine does!
Approximate Start Times
Photography is all about light and I prefer to schedule the start time of an engagement session around 2 hours before sunset to ensure we have plenty of the good light to work with! Since available light changes so drastically throughout the year, keep the following guidelines in mind when thinking about your engagement session. This is also great information to keep in mind when planning your wedding!
- WINTER | December through mid-March engagement sessions are scheduled around 3-5 pm. Keep in mind the time changes in mid-March so that will make the start time one hour later.
- SPRING | The sunset time drastically changes throughout the Spring months so our shooting times change as well. You can plan on approximately 5:30-7:30 pm in April and 6:00-8:00 pm in May.
- SUMMER | Summer engagements are held later in the day, so plan on your engagement session taking place between 6:30 – 8:30 pm in June, July, and August. This will hopefully mean that the shoot will be during the cooler part of the day as well!
- FALL | The sunset time changes drastically during the fall months. In September, you can plan on 5:30-7:30 until the third week and then 5:00-7:00 until mid-October. After the first week of November plan on 3:00-5:00 pm.
What to Expect After Your Session
Once your session is complete, you can expect a preview gallery of images delivered to you via a super convenient mobile app! This app is where all of your images – engagement preview, final engagement gallery, wedding day preview, and final wedding gallery – will live so you always have convenient and quick access to your images.
Your engagement preview will be completed within 3-5 days from the date of your session with the final gallery being sent 2-3 weeks after the date of your session. Your app will be updated with your final images, and you’ll receive a link via email to an online gallery of images.
From your gallery, you can download any/all images and you can share the link with anyone you’d like so they can download images conveniently as well (as long as you’re ok with that)! You can also print directly from your gallery since your gallery is integrated with a premier printing lab that has been calibrated to print your images exactly the way you see them in your gallery. You pay a premium for my style and editing so I want to ensure your images print exactly the way you see them in your gallery!
Not all printers are created equal, so if you’d rather print your images somewhere else, that’s fine. While I can’t guarantee the quality of the images from other printers, I would be happy to guide you on which places other clients have had the best luck with!
From your gallery, you can order prints and canvases. Your gallery is integrated with AR technology that allows you to choose your print or canvas size and visualize it right on your wall! Click HERE for more details. The information about this great new feature starts at the 3:20 mark.
Within your gallery, you can also order custom save the dates and custom wedding stationery as well. Your gallery will let you visualize your images in each design and change the colors and fonts to match your vibe!
If you found this post helpful, there is so much more information in the comprehensive engagement session planning guide! Make sure to download it below if you haven’t already!
Click HERE to download the Engagement Session Planning Guide!