THE ENGAGEMENT SESSION IS ONE OF OUR favorite parts of our time together because it gives you both a chance to be in front of our cameras before you get married, which is going to make your wedding day experience feel so smooth, seamless and comfortable. Not only that, but we get to create something so special together. You’re going to be married for over fifty years, but you only get to be engaged for this short period of time. We are so excited to capture the only time in your lives when you get to be each other’s fiancees. So we have created this guide for you, and packed it with all our best secrets for getting the best out of your engagement experience, so let’s dive right in!
FOR THE ENGAGEMENT SESSION WE LIKE TO USE NATURAL LIGHT because we believe that natural light, from the sun and its reflections creates photographs that feel fresh, timeless and true to you as a couple. We begin all engagement sessions two hours before the scheduled sunset during the “golden hour,” when the light is the dreamiest. Use a sunset calculator online to determine the scheduled sunset for the date and location you’d like to do your session. Then, just subtract two hours to figure out your start time. 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 time off work or have evening plans afterward.
To get the most out of your session, please plan a buffer when getting ready so you can arrive a few minutes early. We like to shoot when natural light is still in the sky, so we’ll want to take advantage of every minute we have together before the sun goes down. Although we might have a few tricks up our sleeves during the later part of the day. If you’re wearing two outfits, save your favorite one for the second half, and if you’re wearing only one, arrive in that.
QUICK TIP: Our weekends fill up first and far in advance. You can get a Fast Pass to the front of the line by scheduling mid-week.
THE LOCATION OF YOUR ENGAGEMENT SESSION IS UP TO YOU! The first thing to decide is whether you would like to feature a natural or more industrial,urban area in your session. Like you can see on our website and blog, most of our couples want to showcase the natural beauty of Georgia or the area they choose to be photographed to give their out-of-town guests a fun preview of what to expect when they travel for their wedding. But we live in an area where there is so much unique history and architecture, and if that speaks to you, that is wonderful. We especially love shooting in the natural areas because they are so unique and the light is divine. There are also other great options around the state, and we’re always up for exploring a new spot together.
THIS IS THE TIME TO THINK outside the box! We encourage you to brainstorm unique locations that you might have special access to that most people don’t. For example, maybe you, or someone in your personal or professional network, can secure permission to a location that would otherwise be off-limits, like a beautiful private estate, country club, or resort. Maybe it’s a family ranch, upscale hotel, or even an airplane hangar. The sky is literally the limit! Spend a few minutes thinking about it and checking around. You will be surprised with what you come up with. Plus, if something seems out of reach, just remember: you never know until you ask! Our couples have secured permission to some pretty amazing places in the past. If you get stuck or need inspiration, check out our blog and keep browsing through. We have some great go-to locations around town that we can always hit, too. Just let us know which session you love, and the overall feel you are going for, and we will go from there! Easy. Peasy.
YOUR ENGAGEMENT SESSION includes travel time anywhere within metro Atlanta. If you’d like to go somewhere outside of these cities, we are up for the adventure! The travel fee for locations outside of these areas are priced depending on the distance.
We love traveling and actually on the road quite a bit. We’ve done engagement sessions from north to south and everywhere in between, so if we’re already going to be in or near an area you’ve always dreamed of doing your photos, and we can coordinate our schedules, let’s set it up. We’d love to make it work!
If you’d like us to meet you in a destination outside of Atlanta for your engagement session where I don’t already have plans to visit, just let me know and we can get you a custom travel quote.
HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT rocking a sequined gown, tulle skirt or flower crown but just never had an occasion for it? This is your chance to do it up! Remember: There’s no such thing as “too dressed up” when it comes to your engagement session, so don’t be afraid to have some fun! If you don’t want to add a new permanent piece to your collection, a lot of our brides love Rent the Runway for their engagement photos because you don’t have to spend a lot to feel like a million bucks. Plus, you can send the outfits back when the session is over. Other brides just love having a great excuse to bring a new permanent piece (or two!) into their closet!
There’s no such thing as too dressed up.
LONG, FLOWY DRESSES AND SKIRTS LOOK AMAZING ON CAMERA BECAUSE they bring extra movement to the photos. Especially when juxtaposed with nature, like under mossy trees, garden, plantation or beach. Cute, shorter-length dresses photograph beautifully as well. Dresses and skirts tend to look most stunning on camera because they really flatter the female body—which is probably why the red carpet is always full of so many dresses and not very many pantsuits! We recommend avoiding pants and shorts for your session, and saying yes to a dress or two!
MOST OF OUR BRIDES WHO CHOOSE TWO outfits will bring one “wow” dress, and then another shorter sun dress or cocktail dress for a more casual “us on a date” feel. But if you want to bring two “wow” dresses and forgo the more casual dress altogether, give yourself permission to do it! The camera loves runway-esque apparel and so do we!
Remember, though, you don’t have to bring two looks if it’s too stressful or you’d rather just stick to one fabulous look. Just one outfit that you love will be so much better than one outfit you love paired with another you’re not very excited about. So, one or two? It’s really up to you!
WHEN CHOOSING COLORS FOR YOUR OUTFITS we recommend selecting lighter tones and more muted shades. By avoiding ultra-bright, bold colors, it will help bring all the attention to your faces and let the eye focus on the way you feel about each other. The camera loves shades of soft pink and muted blues, mixed with sophisticated light neutrals like heather gray, creams, leather brown and white. That softer color pallet fits beautifully into almost all natural out door environments.
Solid monochromatic colors are easiest to coordinate, but primary or complementary colors also look great and bring energy to the photograph. Darker colors will cause the subject to appear thinner while lighter colors will make the subject appear larger. When choosing color schemes, consider not only what looks best on you, but also what colors will look best as wall portraits and complement your home’s decor.
AS YOU’RE COORDINATING your outfit with your fiancee’s, keep in mind that your outfits will look the most cohesive on camera when the color palletes coordinate, but don’t necessarily “match”. You should each aim to wear a different dominant color, but stay within a similar color palette family. So if you’re wearing a blush dress, soft blue earnings and nude heels (blush being your dominant color), then he could wear a navy coat with gray pants, paired with brown leather shoes and maybe even a blush pocket square. Now he has his own dominant color (navy) while still incorporating a few touches of your color palette. Most of our brides choose their dress first, and then put together their fiancee’s outfit based on that. That’s why we have a section for each of you.
IN OUR EXPERIENCE, EVERY WOMAN, REGARDLESS OF HER shape has an area of her body that she’s self-conscious about, so recognizing what area that is in advance is key. Choosing flattering silhouettes and colors that complement your natural features is the best way to ensure you’ll love the way you look in your photos.
THREE-QUARTER LENGTH SLEEVES creates an awesome slimming effect on all arms, so be on the lookout for an option with a longer length sleeve. You could also bring a cute jacket, blazer or cardigan along, too. Skinny straps or strapless dresses have the opposite effect on arms on camera, so we recommend avoiding those whenever possible if your goal is a set of slimmer-looking arms.
HEELS ELONGATE WOMEN’S LEGS making them look fabulous. Closed-toes heels in particular look great on camera because they carry out the line of your leg all the way down to your toe. If your toes are showing in a peep-toe heel, you might want to schedule a pedicure before your session so you don’t regret letting your feet show. These little tricks make all the difference!
QUICK TIP: Bring a pair of flats to wear when moving from place to place. Your feet will than you later!
PAIRING AN ACCESSORY OR TWO WITH YOUR OUTFIT CAN REALLY help bring some extra dimension to your images. Big statement necklaces bring a lot of pop to the photos, while the smaller, delicate ones are not as noticeable on camera. Belts, bracelets and earrings bring great visual interest, so choose one or two that don’t compete for attention. Fresh florals in a crown or bouquet can be a really romantic touch as well.
PROFESSIONAL HAIR & MAKEUP IS ON TOP OF MOST OF our brides’ checklists because it looks amazing and removes the stress of getting ready on your own. From lash extensions to blown-out hair, professional hair and makeup will give you an extra boost of confidence in font of the camera, and it always photographs like a dream. If you’re working with a makeup artists, have her apply your makeup in natural light, if possible, so that it looks fresh and not too heavy. Plus, that’s the type of light we’ll be shooting in, so it’ll give you the best expectation of how it will translate on camera. Most of our brides feel like their makeup is “too much” at first, since it’s more than you would wear on a normal day, especially when it comes to false lashes, so if you feel that way at the beginning, don’t worry! Good makeup artists know how to get it just right for the camera— and our brides always love the final result.
If you need recommendation for hair and makeup, we work with the best in the business and have a great go-to team! they’re sweet as pie, talented as heck, unbelievable professionals and wonderful people, You’ll LOVE them! Just let us know and we’ll send you their information. We know they’ll take good care of you!
CONFIDENCE. It’s always the best accessory.
Don’t forget, your ring will be center stage, so give yourself permission to get it cleaned and your nails done, too!
ALTHOUGH IT MIGHT SEEM counter-intuitive, we recommend that you do not get a spray tan before your session, even a few days prior, because it tends to photograph orange even when it’s applied subtly and by a professional. Your actual skin tone will photograph most beautifully and naturally.
FROM JAMES BOND TO DON DRAPER, MEN look most striking in a well-tailored suit. If he doesn’t have one, now’s the perfect time to invest in something he’ll wear for the rest of his life! The best part? It’s a lot less expensive than you might think! While custom suits can cost thousands of dollars, some of the most well-known brands have off-the-rack suits in their stores for a fraction of the prices. Solid shades of gray or navy are a strong compliment to most women’s outfits, whereas pinstripes or plaid patterns tend to distract the eye.
THERE’S NO SUBSTITUTE for a WELL-TAILORED SUIT
MANY OF OUR GROOMS LOVE TO MIX A SUIT COAT, BLAZER or sport coat with a different pant color. It adds some extra visual interest, and can be more fun than wearing two full suits in a row. I am a big fan of this fresh take on a timeless classic.
NEXT TIME YOU WALK BY a store like J. Crew, you’ll notice the male mannequins and models are always wearing several layers at once. Layers on men look great on camera, so even when it’s hot outside, trust me when we say that it’s worth an hour or two of discomfort for photos that will last you both a lifetime. Adding another layer will bring extra dimension and visual interest to your photos. Blazers, vests and coats up the level of any look. If the temperature permits, he could even consider adding a v-neck sweater with a pop of color from a long-sleeved collared shirt and tie underneath. Don’t be afraid to get a little creative with layers!
LONG PANTS AND CLOSED-TOED SHOES ARE THE MOST SOPHISTICATED and masculine looks for men. They draw attention away from his legs and feet and place it where you want it: on the face you fell in love with. So, for your session, it’s best to leave the shorts, sandals and jeans at home, too. Suit pants, dress pants or colored pants work best, especially when paired with closed-toe shoes. Brown leather dress shoes compliment almost every look, whether he’s wearing a full suit or a blazer and colored pants.
TIES, BOWTIES, POCKET SQUARES, COLORED SOCKS, BELTS, TIE CLIPS, suspenders, vests and watches are sharp compliments to any suit. If you bring two suits to the session, you can start with a traditional necktie and belt, then switch to suspenders and a bow tie for your second look. If two suits are too stressful, no problem. One look will do the trick! You can still mix and match accessories to compliment both of her dresses without doing a full change during the session. So, either way, you win.
MOST MEN AREN’T OVERLY EXCITED TO TAKE PHOTOS FOR TWO hours, because they don’t have an expectation of what’s to come and why it’s so important to you. Take fifteen minutes to educate and empower your guy. Tell him why you chose us and our style of photography. Show him your three favorite sessions that we’ve done, explain why you love them and express to him how much it means to you. Trust me, once he knows it’s important, he’ll light up the camera for you! The most common thing we hear from guys before engagement sessions is this: because of a bad experience in the past, they don’t like taking photos or don’t think they’ll be good at it. By the time we’re done though, they can’t believe how fast it went and just how much fun they had!
DON’T FORGET TO PLAN a dinner date! You’re already going to ball dressed up! Why not take advantage of it? We know the wedding planning process can feel all-consuming, so take some time after the session just for the two of you to relax and have some fun together. You deserve it!
WE KNOW WE JUST GAVE YOU A LOT TO THINK ABOUT, we created this guide to help make your engagement session experience something you’ll look back fondly on for years to come. At the end of the day, though, the location you choose and the outfits you select won’t matter nearly as much as the memories you make together. Your future marriage is the most important thing to us, and we want your engagement session to be a time for you to just be yourselves and enjoy it. Have fun together. Laugh a lot. And we’ll take care of the rest!