Ultimate Engagement Session Planning Guide

Looking for help planning your engagement session? I put together a collection of tips and resources to make sure you can have the best engagement session ever! Each section is meant to give basic answers to all of the most common questions asked about engagement sessions. Also some sections have more in-depth articles written to more thoroughly answer those questions and links to those articles can be found below as well. If you have questions not answered feel free to reach out to Joshua!

Enjoy having your love story told!

How to prepare for your engagement session.

Honestly if your busy and stressed out you can just show up and I’ll make sure you have a great time and great images. There’s nothing you “have” to do to get ready. However heres a few tips to consider to get the best result as well as some more thorough advice below on how to kick it up a notch.

Preparing for your session

  • Choose a location that fits your style
  • Consider a location that’s part of your story or can be fun.
  • Put together a comfortable but stylish outfit (accessories a plus) you will be confident in.
  • Consider if you want a theme or props
  • Look at a session or two to visualize how poses will turn out
  • Review the guide below for ideas.
  • Mentally prepare yourself to just have fun! I want couples to just be sweet together and have a good time.
  • Lastly, Don’t stress about preparing. We can be spontaneous and still get great results.
Why should we have a session?

Posing in the japanese garden atlanta botanical gardens engagement session

Engagement sessions are had for a few reasons. Usually its to have nice portraits to use for your wedding. Couples will create save the dates with a picture, have a photo printed for their welcome table at the reception, or use to make a guestbook album or print. Couples also like to have some non-wedding photos together as well. Lastly it helps get you over the jitters of getting photographed so you are more comfortable and relaxed on your wedding day.

What to wear

The most important thing to consider when deciding what to wear is to always remember to be you. No matter what style tips you hear the most important thing is that whatever you wear fits you. However here are a few general rules that can help.

Bring 2 outfits

It creates nice variety and versatility if you come with one relaxed casual outfit and one dressy. Another option is to have a third really casual “personality” outfit like a team jersey, or favorite rock band tshirt.

Avoid busy patterns. 

Unless you really love bold patterns usually more subtle simple patterns are less distracting. Having a 4 color plaid might be too much but a monochrome checkered shirt might work great.

Avoid graphics and text

Graphics and text can be distracting in a photo. However they can be great for a few personality portraits you want to have some without them.

Layers & Accessories

Hats, watches, scarves, jewelry are always great. Layers always look good and bringing a sport coat can be a great way to dress it up for guys.

Where should we have an engagement session?

There’s two main considerations in deciding where to have your engagement session. The first being what’s your story? Is there any way to tie in who you are into the shoot. For instance, where you met or your favorite hangout spot. Love music? Maybe start at a record store.

The second is what style do you like. Do you want more green outdoorsy photos or something more industrial and grungy? I have some examples of styles below.

You can do two

Not sure what style you like? How about two. Maybe start at a park and finish downtown. Or start at a pretty venue and then finish somewhere fun like a bowling alley to capture your personalities.

Engagement Session Location Styles

Industrial - Rustic

Nature-Parks

City - Urban

Home - Indoor

Themed - Fun

Graffiti

Rooftop Skyline

Stadium

Atlanta Engagement Session Location Guide
Atlanta Engagement Session Locations
Engagement session props

Do you need props?

Props are not necessary on an engagement session but some couples have fun ideas for tying in their personalities and love story with a few props. The most popular are signs with a quote or date for their save the dates. The other most popular is an homage to their favorite team with something like a jersey. The third type of prop is something from your hobby or interest. Star wars fans? Bring lightsabers.

Bringing the dog

Should you bring the dog on your engagement session? A lot of couples share a dog together and it can be an important part of their love story. It is nice to include a few photos with them. It can be overwhelming to manage the dog the whole time so one solution is couples have a friend come along to take the dog after getting photos with them in the beginning of the session.

Picking a theme

Should you have a theme for your engagement session? Don’t put pressure on yourself. It’s not required at all! However, if you have something fun don’t be shy! If you have somethign about your love story you’d like to tie in or want an excuse to have fun we can try a theme.  One couple met in theatre and wanted to dress up in different eras and it was so fun it got published. Another couple wanted to fit their love of traveling in so we went to a marta station. A theme can be as simple as picking the place you met or bringing along a prop for something fun and different. We always do a normal session with the normal style then finish with the fun and creative stuff so you have both. 

Lifestyle Activities

Sometimes making a date night activity can make the best storytelling and candid photos. Can you think of something fun you’d like to do together that can help show who you are? 

Its kind of a simpler take on the theme idea. What do you like to do together? Where do you like to hang out? Some ideas for fun activities you could try: Going to an arcade, hanging at a coffee shop or favorite bar, going to a skating rink, cooking at home, going to a record store or comic book shop, painting, water gun fight, fitness session, etc. Really the possibilities are endless. Have fun!

How Should I Pose

During the session, I’ll give you posing direction. The goal is to make everything fun and natural. The best photos come with you and your fiance are just happy smiling, laughing, and interacting together. In general, plan to get close, really close and snuggly. Also feel free to be sweet and silly to keep each other looking relaxed and happy. Lastly be ready to laugh, alot. Even if you have to fake laugh it always turns into really amazing looking smiles.

What to do with your engagement photos

Engagement photos are great for using for your wedding. Save the dates being the most common use for the photos. You can also make guestbook albums with the photos or even a large canvas at the welcome table. You could even have a print with a matte that people sign as a guestbook. And of course framing one or 2 around the house is always a great idea.

Want your engagement story told?
Engagement Session Information
What they say

“Joshua took our engagement photos and I would highly recommend him. He made the process easy and was awesome to work with. We have not done professional pictures before but Joshua kept us relaxed and we really enjoyed it. He was able to keep us laughing and captured moments that we will cherish forever.” Lauren & Kevin