TIPS FOR NAILING YOUR ENGAGEMENT SESSION

Updated: Dec 10, 2019


Your engagement session is a big moment in your relationship and you really should utilize it as a time to capture your true personalities and your love for one another! Over the years I have fallen in love with the engagement session, it is such a pivotal moment in client / photographer relationship and it really helps me understand who you guys are and what you like so when the wedding day comes I know all there is to know!! It is also a perfect way for us to become friends and really get to know each other beyond just client / photographer relationship!!

Here are some of my best tips and pieces of advice that will help you and your fiancé absolutely NAIL the engagement session and get some bomb ass photos!

MAKE IT PERSONAL

Do whatever you can to make the session really SCREAM you guys! If you are the outdoors adventurous couple then lets find an amazing scenic location, set up a tent and build a campfire! If you the lay at home and lounge around type then lets hangout at your house, make a pizza, have some wine and cozy up on the couch!

What I am getting at is that I want the session to be so much for than just pretty photos at a park! I want you to look at these photos and I want it to speak volumes about your relationship and your personalities!

Some of my favourite Ideas:

  • Go to a carnival or the PNE - ride rides, play games and eat cotton candy

  • Built a little tipi fort at home with string lights and have a campout

  • Bake Cookies, drink wine and cuddle on the couch in your house

  • Build a campfire on the beach at a lake

  • Take a helicopter up to the top of a mountain and explore

  • Walk around the city all fancy and act like a celebrity

  • Go to DISNEY WORLD!!!

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

Location is super important for your session and it kinda of ties in to the points above… find a location that has some meaning to you both, it could be where he popped the question, it would be where you go camping every year, it could be in your home… the options are endless!!

If it comes down to it and you just can’t figure out any special spots, I want you to close your eyes and envision the perfect engagement session… what do you see? Mountains, Trees, Lakes, Urban, Cities? Once I know that I can start suggesting some ideas!!

Once we have the location picked up we will arrange times based off that beautiful golden hour sunshine… so just know to expect your shoot to be in the evening around sunset… NO we will not be shooting at 1pm in the afternoon to make your 4pm reservations!

No location is too far or too difficult… if it can be dreamed it can be done! All you have to do is ask!!

MAKE IT AN ACTIVITY!


one of my favourite ways to making an engagement session feel less like a photoshoot and more fun is to plan it into some kind of activity! Then outside the box, no your shoot doesn’t have to be in a field somewhere! It can be at home, baking cookies and drinking wine and dancing in your living room, or it could be at a carnival riding rides, eating cotton candy and playing ring toss! I always say when you have an activity to do in front of you it makes it feel more like a documentary style session of your life, your love and it will make you feel more comfortable to open up and have a good time which will result in real genuine reactions and interactions! 


The activity doesn’t need to be extravagant or involved, it could be as little as a picnic at a lake or heading to your favourite coffee shop in town or eating pizza and beer! The possibilities are endless, try and think of something you guys would do together as a couple on a date night, the bring me along to capture it! If you want to dress up in your fanciest gowns and black ties and run around the city and act like celebrities on the run from paparazzi lets do that too! 


WHAT SEASON CALLS TO YOU?

This isn’t the MOST important aspect when planning the engagement session but it most certainly will help the deciding of location! What time of year do you want to do the photos? If you are hoping for Lucious greens and nice sunset glows then maybe summer is your idea! If you are thinking snow boots, scarves and hot chocolate then winter might be your plan!

Whatever the time of year we will find a location that is perfect! Just keep in mind of the weather possibilities and also the outfits you want to wear!!


IT'S YOUR MOMENT, DRESS UP

Dressing your best will help make you feel comfortable and photogenic… now when I say this I DO NOT MEAN you have to show up in a gown and stilettos… where something that looks nice and also makes you feel like yourself! Neutrals are always good options, avoid clashing colors, strong patterns and neon colours or shirts with logos or branding on it! I a always open to helping you pick out outfits to perfectly compliment the location!

I ALWAYS suggest bring 2 outfits to your session, one more casual and one more dressy! this will add variation to your session and it will give you the most out of the time together!


Outfit Inspiration Click Here

Hair & Makeup...

Along with dressing up… many of my brides have decided that this is a perfect time for your hair and make up trial with your other vendors and I completely agree! Getting all dolled up will help you feel your best and will obviously add that extra level or importance to the shoot!! It also takes the stress of you to make sure your hair and make up are perfect while you're in your bathroom freaking the fuck out.... trust me, I'm married I know what it looks like!

MAKE A NIGHT OF IT

The best way to really have a calm and fun engagement session is to eliminate any stresses around the day, plan to get ready early so you are not rushed, get off work early so you don’t come home in a panic, plan to go out for dinner to make a date night out of your evening together!

I always want to shoot to be as relaxed and intimate as possible and the best way to do that is to make sure your not rushed and make sure you don’t need to be rushing out of the shoot! Make it a day where you can let go of little things, don’t start small disputes and just have one of those gross mushy gushy lovey days!

BRING THE HEAT - SHITS ABOUT TO GET LIT

Making the engagement session all it can be is to make sure you are feeling the heat between each other, make sure you know there is going to be a shit ton of PDA, cuddling, kissing and all the affection! Also… MAKE SURE YOUR GROOMY KNOW THIS!! I don’t want the session to be a surprise to him so make sure he sees my work and knows what to expect in the session!!

When the day finally arrives, forget everything else and focus on one another, thats the whole reason we are all here! Try to put the pressures and the nerves away and just stick to whats real and what in front of you!!



GUUUURL YOU LOOK GREAT!

Try your hardest not to worry about the way you look during the shoot, my job is to pose you and make you look bomb AF!! YES you heard that right…. you do NOT have to come up with the posing you're going to do throughout the session! I always hate that there is at misconception out in the universe that the clients are going to have to come up with the posing! You hired me and you damn well better believe that I got all the tricks to make you smile, laugh and be intimate with each other! Do not stress about how you’re going to look or what you’re going to do! Come with an open mind and the session will be perfect!!!

I am very prompt forward kind of poser when it comes to my photographs, I am in LOVE with movement so you wont be standing like still mannequins because thats boring as shit! I want movement and playfulness and hair in the wind!! I will give you little games and prompts to play with each other to being as much life to the session as possible!! However don't be afraid to make a pose or a prompt your own, its what you do with the poses I'm giving you that make the session personal!


HAVE FUN! BE SILLY! BE YOU!


You probably already know this about me but I ain’t your average photographer, I’m not gunna pose you like fashion models and do shit that doesn't look good! Im the one who is going to make you whisper dirty shit in each others ears or draw penis shapes with your noses or frolic down the middle of the street! I want your true genuine personalities to come out during our shoot and it is my job to make that happen! We will play games, tell jokes, laugh… LIKE A LOT and we will just have a genuinely fun time! I want you to come to the session open minded, prepared to be silly and just let loose and let go of the “perfection-ism” and just be ready to goof around! 




PINTEREST - VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED

Pinterest is a great tool if you use it correctly…. I am not a photographer who likes to copy exact Pinterest poses because they are unique… chances are 5 million other couples have that photo if you found it on Pinterest! I want you to use it in a way that will give me a good idea on the vision you have for the style or the location of your session! It is also AMAZING for outfit inspiration and deciding on what colours and clothing types complement each other!!

To summarize… use Pinterest for basics and the outlines of your ideas… don’t use it for the specifics because then you loose all originality!

Here are some of my boards to help you out with finding the good shit on Pinterest!

Outfit Inspiration > Click Here

Boho Styled Session > Click Here

Carnival Styled Session > Click Here

At Home Session > Click Here

Glam Styled Session > Click Here


Jordan Doak is a Wedding & lifestyle photographer based in the Fraser Valley & Maple Ridge, BC

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