10 Ways to Prepare for Engagement Portraits

couple standing on a bridge in the forest

YAY! You are engaged and you’ve booked your photographer (or at least you are planning an engagement portrait session). Congratulations!!! Now, it is time to prepare for your engagement portrait session. For a lot of couples the engagement session is the first couples portrait session they have done. What do we wear? Where do we do pictures? What should we expect?

Engagement Sessions are some of my favorite sessions! So, I thought I would share some tips on how to prep for yours in the hopes that you have a blast!

1. Pick a Photographer

Some photographers offer engagement shoots as part of their wedding packages (casually raises hand). Other couples would rather not commit to the whole enchilada and treat the engagement session as a way to feel out a photographer. Maybe you want to do a destination session and you need to find someone local to that area. No matter what, you need someone with a camera and who can share your vision or has their own vision you love!

2. Pick a location.

First, think about what type of background you would like in these portraits. Do you want to be itty bitty with the landscape as the big wow or do you want this session to be all about your connection? What backdrop do you want? Urban? Mountains? Rural? Fun? Eclectic? From there, I can offer suggestions for a few awesome spots. I really like spots where we can get a couple of different looks in one space. Sure, you can have a full session in a 10×10 space, but do you want to spend an hour like that?

Then, chat with your photographer about those desires. I offer suggestions to my clients for locations as part of my engagement photography services. As your photographer I have resources and a lot of spots I visit. Within my network I am able to I ask my clients what type of “feeling” they want.

man and woman dressed formally sharing a romantic winter kiss portrait session

3. Wardrobe time!

What do people wear for engagement sessions? Seriously, I’ve had couples in suits and cocktail attire and others in jeans and tshirts. Think of it as a way to introduce the world to you as a couple, as a unit. What are you hoping to portray with that image? As you prepare for engagement portraits keep these tips in mind…

  • I suggest that women wear gowns with a bit of flow to them if they are looking for a more formal or bohemian vibe. As your photographer, I have a client closet that I open up and can also help you rent some gorgeous pieces for your session.
  • Men almost universally look good in dark blue jeans or slacks (I kind of hate how easy it is for them) and a coordinating shirt.
  • If you are going for a more casual look, jeans and tshirts are cute and timeless!
  • Wear shoes that you will be comfortable in.

My biggest advise it to just be aware of how your clothes look and make you feel ahead of your session. If you feel like the pants are too tight or bulging a bit, the camera doesn’t hide that. Same with skirts that are on the short side. These sessions often include different positions and activities. Being worried about your clothing might make it a bit harder for you to enjoy and I want you to be having fun because your pictures will show that!.

4. Don’t forget the ring!

This seems like a no brainer, but plenty of couples forget their engagement ring on the day of their session. So, set a reminder on your phone so that you don’t forget it.

5. Have clean nails.

You will be showing off your ring, and I work hard to capture detail shots (such as the way you hold hands). Clean nails, even if they aren’t painted, will make you feel a bit happier with the end result!

ring on leaves

6. Props.

Oftentimes when a couple gets ready to prepare for their engagement portraits they ask about props. Props are a ton of fun for sessions and we can definitely incorporate them into yours! I’ve had couples bring signs, balloons, blankets and champagne and more. We can incorporate whatever is meaningful to you into your engagement session as long as they abide by the rules of our location. For instance, many state parks do not allow alcohol, but having a little champagne is often a nice ice breaker for your engagement portrait session.

man and woman sharing champagne at engagement portrait session
That ring though!

7. Give yourself plenty of time to arrive on time.

Besides the obvious fact that the sun waits for no person… When my clients are on time to their sessions, they are typically way more relaxed throughout the engagement portraits. The more relaxed you are, the more likely you will be able to enjoy the session which leads me to the next tip…

This starts when you prepare for engagement portraits – so don’t rush to get ready if you can avoid it!

8. Treat your Engagement Session like a date.

What do I mean? Get excited about it, take the extra five minutes to primp and be ready to really fall in love with your fiance’ all over again. This session is about you, your love, your relationship. Plan dinner afterwards, or at least coffee. You won’t regret it!

9. Get to know your photographer.

For my clients and I, the engagement session is where we get to know each other. I share bits about my love story and I want to hear about theirs. This is our opportunity to get comfortable with each other before I follow them around all day with a camera. Lean in and really have fun fun! Feel free to crack jokes and share stories. This will help you have connection when your big day arrives!

prepare for your engagement portrait session by having fun and being ready for it!
Your engagement session should be fun!

10. Have fun!

Going back to treating this like a date. Your engagement session should be fun so as you prepare for engagement portraits, be ready to fall a bit more in love! I want my clients to have fun. I want them to play, joke around and really be themselves for their engagement session. You guys fell in love with each other and I want to see the expressions that make your heart melt. I know how to get us there, but I want you to have fun. Even if you don’t like portraits or you feel self conscious… Tell me going in but be prepared for me to let you know I have never had a client say that and not get amazing images. Your engagement session is an important part of your love story and I can’t wait to photograph it.

Let’s #createMAJECK!

Mary Elizabeth Fabian is a photographer and owner of MAJECK. Her focus is on telling stories and capturing emotions that highlight moments in time. To book her for your engagement session or wedding click here.

Breckenridge at Sunrise

couple embracing at sunrise

I love my job. I seriously love waking up every day, meeting new people and creating art to go on people’s walls. Even better, there is travel involved! Adventure is everywhere if you just look and that what I did with Nicole and Ryan.

Teaching her how to skip rocks

I posted on a military page that I was looking for a couple willing to wake up and do a sunrise session with me in Breckenridge and these two awesome newlyweds drove over 2 hours before the sun to do just that. For an hour we hiked around Sawmill Reservoir, skipped rocks and laughed so very hard. It turns off they had run off and gotten married but had no pictures and Ryan’s mom wanted them. This was perfection!

 

When couples reach out to me for their elopement and engagement portraits and have visions in mind, I work very hard to bring those visions to life. Sunrise isn’t easy on everyone – but when you can do it – it is so worth it. The sun glows on everything and begins to fill the earth up with warmth – it’s kind of like how love makes you feel. Out of body. Etheral. Just incredible.

Of course, not all of our images were specifically lifestyle – although my style is to let every session naturally move through the paces and create it’s own story. I am here for elopements and couples sessions to tell your love story through photography. I’ll pose when needed but I much prefer to do a combination of prompts and observing your interaction. Love is beautiful. I don’t need to force anything.

intimate moments captured

As I have moved through 2019, I have discovered just how much I love working with couples planning their elopements. In 2020, I will be offering a new line of elopement packages for those adventurous couples wanting a photographer to capture their moment and breathtaking natural backdrops. If that is you – message me for my 2019 prices!

To see the full album, including some crazy antics, click here!