Temecula Engagement Session at Owl Creek Farms Foundation, Temecula, CA - Temecula Wedding Venue

the kap blog

5 Tips to Rock Your Engagement Session (Updated Feb ’23)

Engagement + Couples, Wedding Wednesday

February 28, 2023



Oh my gooooodness! Okay I see you there! So, the big questions been popped, you’ve told your family the amazing news, posted an image of the engagement ring on Instagram, set a wedding date and found your wedding photographer. Now, the next item to check off the wedding planning list is setting up an engagement session. As a wedding photographer based in Dallas and Southern California, engagement sessions are one of my favorite parts of the whole wedding planning experience! Your engagement photos are a reflection of you and your partner. They should be a reflection of your personal style and scream YOU! Here are five tips so you can rock your engagement session!

Time & Date

As a natural light specialist I believe that natural light, from the sun and its reflections, create photographs that feel fresh, timeless and truest to you. I begin most engagement sessions two hours before the scheduled sunrise or sunset during “the golden hour”. This is when the light is the dreamiest, softest, and most complimentary. Remember, the sun sets much earlier during the colder months of the year and much later during the warmer months. So, make sure to factor that in when choosing your engagement session date.  Especially if you’re taking off work or have evening plans afterward.

As for a date, I understand due to work and personal obligations, weekdays may be a bit of a headache for your engagement session. What if I told you that one of my biggest tips to rock your engagement session was to schedule on a weekday? If you would like your engagement session at a popular location a weekday will be necessary to avoid photo-bombers. I have found that when a location is busy, my couples have a hard time getting comfortable and really allow themselves to get intimate with one another when there is a crowd of strangers watching them.

Joshua Tree National Park wedding proposal by Dallas based Wedding and Elopement Photographer

Styling your Session

Want your engagement photos to look more personal or editorial? Bring a little extra something with you! Props can add a little something that really give your engagement session a personalized feel. However, props should be used in moderation because if used excessively they can be come distracting and take away from what matters—YOUR LOVE! Think of props as an accessory, not a focal point.

Some great prop ideas include fresh flowers, a guitar, or a bottle of alcohol you both enjoy (shots of tequila, anyone?). Maybe it’s something from your proposal or a hobby you both love and share. Or, maybe it’s a food you love or a bottle of wine that is special. A bottle of champagne is always fun to pop and share afterwards! Fresh flowers bring an extra “wow” factor to just about everything, especially when they’re attached to something else, like a bicycle basket, tree swing, or balloons. Whether you want to incorporate larger items like classic cars or bikes, or smaller ones like blankets or hats, even planning for just one extra styled item could be a fun way to make your engagement session more unique and scream you!

Go Pro: Hair & Makeup

This is a great time to use your wedding makeup and hair trial run. Professional hair and makeup looks amazing on camera and removes the stress of getting ready on your own.  This is the time to treat yourself! Whether its lash extensions or blown-out hair, professional HMU will give you an extra boost of confidence in front of the camera, and it always photographs like a dream. Remember, the camera takes roughly 10% of your make-up “off”. Sometimes, clients feel like their professional makeup is “too much” at first, since it’s more than you would typically wear. Or that they’re false lashes look too big. If you feel that way at the beginning, don’t worry! Good makeup artists know how to get it all just right for the camera — and my clients always love the final result.

If you need a recommendation for hair and makeup, I work with the best in the business and have a go-to team! They’re sweet as pie, talented as heck, unbelievable professionals and wonderful people. You’ll LOVE them! Just let me know and I’ll send you their information. I know they’ll take good care of you!

Make a Day of your Engagement Session

The Back Abbey + Scripps College in Claremont CA by Dallas Texas Wedding Photographer

So, your hair and makeup are done, your dressed to the nines, and now you wait for your engagement session. Talk about anxiety starting to rise. Oftentimes, people have never had professional photos taken of them since their high school senior portraits or some awkward family session.  Therefore, I always recommend my couples to start their engagement session before I arrive. Go on a small date. Get a small bite to eat. Get a drink to calm some nerves. Start the engagement session off on a good foot–being relaxed and focused on each other. Often times, I usually tell my couples that I think it would be fun if I tag along and be a complete third wheel on part of their date. During this time, we can get to know each other more, share some laughs, maybe a drink or two, and capture some natural moments as they happen.

How to Prep Your Partner

Temecula Engagement Session at Owl Creek Farms Foundation, Temecula, CA - Temecula Wedding Venue

Most aren’t overly excited to take photos for two hours. Oftentimes, because they don’t have an expectation of what’s to come and why it’s so important. Take fifteen minutes to educate and empower your partner. Tell them why you chose me and my style of photography. Show them your three favorite engagement sessions that I’ve done. Then, explain why you love them and express to them how much it means to you. Trust me, once they knows it’s important, they’ll light up the camera for you! You never know, they may turn into the Instagram model they’re  meant to become. The most common thing we hear from before engagement sessions is: because of a bad experience in the past, they don’t like taking photos. That, or don’t think they’ll be good at it. By the time I’m done, though, they can’t believe how fast it went and just how much fun they had!

Final Thoughts

The most important thing for you to remember to rock your engagement session is to just enjoy your partner. Let this be a time that you have fun with each other, focus on each other, and laugh a lot! You will look back on your engagement pictures, have stories to tell, and remember this moment in time,  how fun you both had, and how quickly wedding planning came and went.

There you have it–five tips to rock your engagement session! In case you missed my prior post here is a quick guide on what to wear to rock your engagement session! So, you’re recently engaged and want a unique engagement sessions experience catered to you and your love?! Fill out the contact form today and let’s start planning!

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