preparing for your engagement shoot

Most of my clients have never done a photo shoot before, and I often get asked for tips and tricks for their engagement session. I decided to put together some tips and tricks for bride and grooms to be so that they can make the best of their engagement photos.

I am a huge advocate of engagement shoots – it helps me get to know you better, and for you to get to know me better! It also gives you an opportunity to “practice” being in front of a camera. Probably about 99% of my clients tell me that they don’t like having their photo taken, and that they find it incredibly awkward! I experience this when I have my photo taken too, but having trust in the photographer and the confidence to let them do their thing really goes a long way, and an engagement shoot is a big help for that.
Besides all of that, I also find that most people don’t have a lot of (non selfie) photos of themselves as a couple, and while the wedding photographs are beautiful and definitely should be cherished, they will always be your wedding photos. I find that these are a perfect reflection of you as you are as a couple, without the nerves of a wedding day, or the little details that need attention – it can just be about the two of you.

Now, without further ado, here are my top tips for a great engagement session!

  1. Location

I am a huge advocate of finding a location that is not just pretty, but that has special meaning to you. Whether it is the coffee shop where you had your first date, the park where you got engaged or just your favourite spot to relax (or even your home!). This gives the photos a special depth and meaning for you for when you browse through them in the future! Time of day is incredibly important for me to get the shots I need. Midday is never a good idea, but try to aim for around 1-1.5 hours before sunset. (You can check what time the sunsets on any day of the year here: ) You are welcome to ask me for suggestions of locations to use. If you get stuck with a location, I always suggest trying to think of something different to your wedding venue. If you are getting married in a forest, have your engagement shoot done in the city, or on the beach. If you’re getting married on the beach, have your shoot done in an open field or a beautiful garden. It provides some contrast and keeps your photos interesting and different! 🙂 If you have a crazy idea for an engagement session – I’d love to hear it!


  1. What to wear

The age old question of what to wear to your photo shoot is a tricky one! Try to stay away from being to matchy-matchy (ie. White shirts, blue jeans) as this is very outdated. Try to go to complimentary colours as well as colours that compliment your skin tone. Dress for the season and don???t be scared to accessorize with jewellery, scarves, etc. Think carefully about your location as well – wearing jeans and high heels doesn’t work well with the beach, but it would work well in a city or town center! Likewise, think about the colours you’re wearing – something like green in a forest won’t work well because you’ll just blend into the background! And men, don’t be afraid to dress yourself up a little! A t-shirt with a slogan you got for free at a rugby game simply won’t look as nice as a button down shirt.


  1. Hair, makeup and other grooming

Bringing professionals into this can totally change the way your photos look, and I have a selection of recommended suppliers if you are interested. Go for slightly darker/heavier makeup for your photo session, because the camera doesn’t pick up subtle, barely there makeup. A light setting spray or translucent setting powder is very important to eliminate shine. If you’re a makeup newbie, this is a great opportunity to schedule your makeup trial! You can see what it looks like on camera and get an idea of how your makeup will wear throughout the day.

Don???t forget the importance of your hands. Make sure your nails are well groomed and clean ??? whether you do it yourself or get a manicure ??? as I often photograph hands and feet.

Bring your lipstick, powder and any other styling items along on your shoot, as you never know when you will need a touch up!

Don???t worry about blemishes, as I can easily take care of it with my retouching software. If there are scars or moles that you are concerned about, talk to me before the shoot and we can see what we can do.

  1. Props & Pets

I like to photograph people in a natural way, and I find that sometimes too many props can get in the way of natural portraits. Keep props to a minimum and if you do decide to use props, choose props that will enhance your photos. Balloons, heirlooms, an umbrella or quirky drinks are great examples of good props. Pets are welcome, but make sure to bring treats and somebody to look after your pet while I take photos of you, and make sure that the location we’re using is pet friendly.


If you have any other questions, please don???t hesitate to contact me. I have a list of wonderful suppliers ready if you get stuck but would like professional assistance with your hair, makeup, styling etc.

I???m looking forward to our session!