Engagement Photos: What’s the Plan?

the answers to all your burning questions can be read below…


Engagement photos are more than fun snapshots; they’re one of the first mile markers in your wedding planning journey. This fun, low-stress photo session is like a wedding day dry run. You’ll learn to perfect all sorts of flattering poses while capturing save-the-date and wedding-website content in the process. Plus, engagement photos kick off one of your most important wedding-vendor relationships. This is not a photoshoot. This is a date, and I am just your very stalker-ish and sometimes bossy third wheel!


As a wedding photographer, I will ALWAYS encourage my couples to take advantage of doing engagement photos. Not only do you receive beautiful images, but it also gives you a chance to get to know you wedding photographer (ie. ME!). On the wedding day, your photographer will spend the whole day with you, in close proximity. Engagement photoshoots are a great idea because they provide an opportunity for us to get to know each other better. At the shoot, we can build a relationship and learn how to communicate best so that you are both ready and comfortable working together once the big day arrives. Although some couples may not realize this, building trust and confidence is an integral aspect of a successful wedding. The preliminary session of an engagement shoot will give you that added level of comfort, helping everything run smoothly and worry-free on the actual day.


Wedding days can be stressful. Being in front of a camera all day can be stressful. Can you imagine a complete stranger showing up to the wedding with a camera? That sounds stressful! This is why we I do everything in my power to cultivate a working relationship with my couples beforehand, and highly encourage the engagement session. We don’t have to walk away being best friends (though we might!), but I do want to you to be completely comfortable and confident around me, and that takes some effort and trust.



Once you’ve booked with me, it’s time to schedule your engagement shoot. If you’re planning to use these photos for save-the-dates (which go out about six months before your wedding), you need to book a session around 8 months out. That way I have time to edit the images, and you still have time to get those invitations designed. If you have a longer engagement, or you’re not planning to use photos for save-the-dates, you have more flexibility.

In terms of season, I recommend avoiding the dead of summer (mid-June through mid-August) unless it’s a cool year or you’re up for a sunrise shoot.

For the time of day, most photographers will recommend evening or early morning for soft, warm sunrise and sunset hues. I love starting my sessions about an hour or two before sunset to capitalize on this flattering golden light.


Deciding on which outfit to wear in front of a camera has made me stress for weeks! However, choosing what to wear for your engagements photos doesn’t have to be complicated. First: I’m here for you. I provide every portrait client with an exclusive styling guide full of tips, tricks, and examples of what to wear. When selecting, choose clothes that you feel confident in! Clothes that accentuate your best qualities and hide that which you might not be too comfortable about. One that is dressier and one that is more casual (for both of you). Flowy dresses are FANTASTIC for a dressier option as it shows movement (which is my jam!) … and if you don’t want to buy, you can rent! This gives you an excuse to dress up and feel fabulous. Your casual outfit should be something fun and best represents you as a couple.


Muted tones in beige, grey, navy, olive, white, and mauve are the most flattering. Avoid deeply saturated or bright/neon colors like a vibrant red or orange; those colors will reflect back on your face, especially in the sun. Also keep your location in mind. If you are going to be in the middle of a field of grass, that olive dress you had in mind might not be the best choice since it will get lost in that sea of green. Make sure you dress for the weather. The main thing is to be comfortable. You don’t want to be in a little dress freezing in February!

I love Landry & Hunter’s outfit choices.  She wore a beautiful pink mauve flowy dress, and dressed it up even more with jewelry. Paired with Hunter’s blue dress shirt, they really stood out from all the golden grass at our location. Since they are both Aggie grads, their casual outfits are perfectly THEM.



Living in this area we are pretty lucky. The Texas Hill Country area has so many beautiful locations to choose from. Whether you love urban metros, gorgeous parks, or historic buildings, we lucked out when it comes to engagement photography locations. Sometimes my couples will buck tradition and pick locations that are meaningful to them (I took a few of my own in Gruene Hall, where I met my hubby in 2008).

The only wrong place for an engagement shoot is somewhere where you as a couple would not normally go. So if you wanted to have your pictures done at a basketball game but neither of you are interested in the sport, that would be a wrong location. If you wanted to take pictures while on a hike but both of you hate being outside, same!

Go somewhere that excites both of you. A place that has a special memory, like your first coffee date, is a great start! Talk with each other about what you want your pictures to look like. Do you want to get all dressed up, more laid back and cozy, or go on an adventure? The possibilities are endless, so the first thing you to decide is what you want the vibe to be. It will be easier to pick a spot when you know what you want. These pictures don’t have any rules, they don’t have to be fancy, they don’t have to be crazy, they just have to reflect you as a couple! I am seriously up for (almost) anything. I love an adventure and I love a cozy coffee house.

If you are still stuck and have no idea what you want then that’s where I come in. As long as you know what kind of vibe you want for your session, I can help you find a place that is perfect for both of you! You are definitely not alone.


Leave the lighting to me! Almost any place you pick, I will be able to work with. Once you have chosen your location, let me know and then I will help you determine the best time to go so that we can get the best lighting for you! Just remember that your location will affect how the light looks. If you want pictures that are brighter with lots of natural light but you picked a theater, your pictures will be darker and moodier. So just keep that in mind.

For great local engagement photo locations, check out Top Hill Country Engagement Photo Locations.

Check out Tyson + Ana’s engagement photos in Blanco, Texas. It was so lush and green in March, that it almost seemed surreal. Keep time of year in mind when choosing your location as well. This park doesn’t look like this in August *wink wink*.


I get asked a lot if I would recommend booking your hair + makeup trial for the engagement photos. I say yes every time. The reason is that when you get your hair and makeup done by a professional it is a ginormous confidence boost! Being confident will help you relax in front of the camera. I am lucky to have gorgeous brides who really don’t need any help at all! I have worked with some amazing HMUAs and have a list on who I can refer you to. Namely, Made 3 Beauty and Southern Tease are absolute magicians!


You’ll definitely want to bring a bag! Even if you don’t anticipate bringing a lot of extra stuff with you two for the engagement photos, the bag is going to house your phones, keys & wallet during the session! Some things I suggest bringing along aside from your wardrobe changes + any potential props :

  • Tennis Shoes – If you’re planning on wearing heels or wedges/any footwear that could be problematic to walk/hike in, pack a pair of sneakers so that you can change between spots.
  • Lipstick/Make Up Touch Ups – There’s usually a fair amount of kissing & nuzzling, so bringing along some makeup to touch up either your lip stain or foundation to keep you feeling polished and photo-ready is super useful! Make sure to include some type of towel in case anyone gets too sweaty.
  • Fun Flask (where allowed) – Sometimes you just need a little liquid courage! It’s kind of amazing what a difference taking a quick swig of alcohol before engagement photos can do for the nerves!
  • Jackets – Even if it’s not a particularly chilly day, engagement sessions usually end right at dusk when the sun has hit the horizon. The majority of the time, there’s usually a 10 minute walk back to the car and without the sun it can get a little brisk.
  • Water bottles (especially for those summer or hiking sessions, it gets HOTT!)
  • Snacks that are not messy. This is the only time I will not be encouraging the eating of chocolate. Unless of course we are doing a chocolate shoot!
  • A brush, hairspray, and/or gel. Do you trust your hair to stay how you want it for 1-2 hours? I definitely don’t trust mine!
  • Umbrellas…because weather.
  • A change of clothes. It helps to have a back up in case you decide to cool off in the river or creek.


To keep the pressure low, try thinking of the engagement session as just one part of a fun date night! Heck, why not roll with that idea and make plans to follow the session with a yummy meal at a favorite restaurant or grabbing cocktails at a new hotspot? Even better, the session can be something you two love doing together or have always wanted to. While engagement sessions are about getting beautiful portraits for you two to use for your wedding in one way or another, it’s also a chance to spend some time together.


My goal during the session to to really get you to connect so that I can capture those micro expressions that flit across your faces and create emotive photographs that aren’t just gorgeous, but more importantly have the ability to evoke feelings — to give you that same warm and fuzzy, spilling-over-the-brim-can’t-contain-it feeling that you had the moment the shutter clicked. In order to really accomplish that, the subjects need to have authentic connection, and that can be kind of hard when your stressing about xyz or if your hair is placed just right or if this side of your face is actually more photogenic than the other side, etc etc. Keeping focused on each other and that “date” mindset will help allow the space for that connection to happen and for you two to fall in sync as if there wasn’t a photographer standing only 10 feet away with a camera pointed at the two of you.


One thing I ask of all my couples is to trust the process. While having ideas of how you want your portraits to look can be helpful– both for you and for me — it’s also imperative that you trust my direction and go with the flow. I’ve photographed over 100 weddings, which means I’ve photographed just about that many engagements. Most of my work in general focuses on connection, and in order to really showcase those dynamics in photographs, there has to be a certain level of connection and interaction actually happening. Sure, some of my suggestions may seem kind of silly, but it’s really the reactions that I’m looking for! The more we move around and talk, the more engaged and focused on each other the two of you will be, and in turn you’ll get some beautiful photographs that aren’t stale and stiff.


You might be thinking, “okay, we’ve got our location and we know what we’re wearing, what else is there to know?”

There are a few things you can do to prepare so that our session goes smoothly and we can all have a great time and get great pictures!

  • Avoid foods the day before your shoot that make you feel bloated (fast food, foods that are high in salt or fat or sugar). Trust me, being bloated is not going to make you feel your best during your shoot!
  • Speaking of food, keep it light the morning of as well, bring some snacks (especially if we are adventuring!).
  • Make sure everything is all ready the day before so you aren’t scrounging up your clothes in the morning, you don’t want to be flustered before your shoot! One time before we had our family pictures done, I forgot to do this and I realized all the clothes we were going to be wearing were in the washing machine. I was definitely frazzled and it was not a great start to our session.
  • Don’t get your hair cut/colored right before the shoot, the best time to do it is about a week to two weeks before.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of a manicure! Since these are your engagement pictures, you know
  • I’m going to want to shoot that bling! Gents, having your nails groomed is also a good idea.
  • Clean your ring! We want it all pretty and sparkly for the pictures!
  • Try on your outfit a couple days before the shoot, you want to make sure that you still feel great in it. If you don’t feel great, change it up!
  • If you have any questions about your session (that isn’t answered in this guide) send me a message!

By choosing the right photographer and following the tips above, you can ensure to walk away with unique engagement photos that capture your love story and the beginning of this journey.

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