The Ultimate Guide: Planning For Engagement Photos

So you’re engaged? Congratulations! The next step is planning your engagement photoshoot! Maybe you’re wondering “why should I plan an engagement photoshoot?” The answer is simple. It’s important to capture you and your future spouse before your big day, and engagement sessions can also help you get comfortable around the camera. Most couples use their engagement photos for their save-the-dates. During weddings, sometimes timelines can be tight and all we have are 30 minutes for portraits, so getting comfortable in front of the camera is very beneficial! That’s why I’ve created this guide to help you out if you’re planning for engagement! Let’s get into it!

California Wedding Photographer | Michelle Angeli

1. Be Yourself & Have Fun

First and foremost, it’s so important to be yourself and have fun! This is your time to let loose and show who you are as a couple. Whether that means shooting at a specific location, incorporating your pets, what you wear, or bringing a few of your own props (bottles of champagne to blankets, signs, picnics, personalized mugs, books, etc)

If you do bring your pet, keep in mind that we will need to choose a pet-friendly location. Pet’s typically do better during the first half of the session as it can be hard to keep their attention the whole time. It’s a good idea to bring someone along to hold onto them in between shots!

2. Timing & Lighting For Your Engagement Session

We typically plan the timing of your session based on the look and vibe you’re wanting to go for. For outdoor engagement sessions, the best time is usually an hour or two before sunrise or sunset. Other locations like indoor or forest sessions may require an earlier time. It’s very important to be on time for your engagement session, especially if it’s a sunrise or sunset session as time is limited with the sun setting or rising!

Seasons & Weather While Planning for Engagement Photos

Spring – In California, spring can be one of the best times for engagement sessions! There is still the potential for rain, so we may also schedule a backup date if rain is on the horizon. Temperatures can be unpredictable, so layers may still be needed!

Summer – We love summer for its later sunsets! These sessions can begin as late as 6 pm! Plan for a few extra towels and bring makeup to freshen up your look during the summer heat!

Fall – Fall is such a beautiful time of year and our books typically fill up fast for fall engagement sessions! If you have your heart set on a fall engagement session, let’s get in contact ASAP!

Winter – Winter engagement sessions can begin as early as 2:30 pm for us to catch the sunset! We recommend dressing in layers so you can stay warm between photos!

Weather Conditions – We can shoot through any and all types of weather! The only weather we won’t shoot in is thunder and lightning for safety reasons. The weather may affect the start/end times of a session. We always have clear umbrellas on hand which makes for some very cute photos, but if you don’t want an overcast shoot we may need to reschedule and dates within three weeks of your original time cannot be promised!

Choosing Your Engagement Location

I love when a couple chooses a location that is meaningful to their love story. Your favorite coffee shop? An in-home session? A playful arcade gaming sesh? We’re down! But if you’re looking for a different vibe, we also have lots of location recommendations that we give you in our official engagement planning guide when you book your engagement session with us!

There are so many beautiful locations in the San Francisco Bay Area, so we recommend figuring out what kind of backdrop you want first and going from there! Keep in mind some locations may require hiking, permits, travel fees, parking fees, etc. If a location requires a permit, we can help facilitate it since we’ve done it before!

Choosing The Perfect Engagement Outfits

Ok, so choosing the perfect outfit for your engagement session can be harder than eating noodles with a spoon, am I right?! My biggest recommendation is to stay true to yourself and wear something you will be comfortable in!

Accessories – Don’t forget to accessorize with some cute shoes, hats, statement necklaces, a nice watch, or your favorite scarf! These may seem small but they can really add to the look! Remember, you can always take off your accessories if you aren’t feeling it, so it’s best to just bring them if you aren’t sure!

The Outfits – Usually, couples have two outfits for their engagement sessions such as a casual outfit and then a more formal outfit! Patterns can definitely be a good choice, but don’t overdo it! I recommend if you’re incorporating patterns, to just have one person wear a nice pattern and the other stick to a solid color! Don’t feel like you need to shy away from bright colors if that’s what you’re into! Thinking more of a neutral-toned earthy look? We can do that, too! We’ve also had couples wear all-black, or their favorite band shirt. Do you and what feels true to you! In our official engagement guide, we give you a list of some of our favorite places to shop for engagement outfits!

Hair, Makeup, and Nails!

Makeup / Hair– Getting your hair and makeup professionally done will give you the best results and hold up better against the wind and humidity. It’s important to feel your best during your engagement session! It will also give you a little trial run on what to expect for your big day!

Nails – We will probably be getting a few detail shots of your rings and a close-up of your hands, so it’s always best to get them cleaned up before the session. That goes for both of you! Going to the nail salon together could be a fun date prior to your engagement session!

The Ring – Just like your nails, your ring will need a nice cleaning prior to the session as well so it’s sparkling for your engagement photos! We recommend soaking it in gentle dish soap water for 20-40 minutes and giving it a gentle scrub or getting it professionally cleaned.

Save The Date Timeline Recommendation

If your wedding is local, save the dates are typically sent 6 – 8 months prior to the wedding. For destination weddings, you’ll want to send them out 8 -10 months prior to the wedding. If you’re wanting to use your engagement photos for your save-the-dates, we recommend scheduling your session at least two months before you plan to send them out! This allows a good amount of time for inclement weather, editing, printing, etc.

Ready To Start Planning For Engagement Photos? Count Me In!

I hope this guide was helpful in your engagement photo planning! Of course, when you book with me you’ll get a more in-depth guide and my experience to guide you because I’m here for you every step of the way! You can learn more about me here and if you think I’d be the perfect photographer to capture your engagement photos, then inquire with me here!

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site + brand design by bella maven 
   ALL IMAGES © 2008 - 2024 MICHELLE ANGELI