How to Prepare for Your Engagement Shoot

January 13, 2021

How to Prepare for Your Engagement Shoot by TONI G PHOTO.

So you finallyyyy got the diamond ring and now you’re ready to take your engagement photos & overly share them on insta, yeah?! PERFECT lol! You def wanna take these photos in the early stages of your engagement because 1) the hype/excitement is still up!! And 2) you’ll want to use these photos to send out your “Save the Date” cards. :)))

First thing’s first… you’ll have to find & hire your photographer! 

I’d recommend starting your search by asking your newly engaged or married friends if they know of any good photogs that they (or someone they know) had a good experience with! 

Then, take your search to insta! Look up your town’s photographer hashtag (for example: “#FresnoWeddingPhotographer”) & see if there’s anybody who’s style AND personality you feel like you’d vibe with!

  • Check insta stories, highlights, captions, bio, guides, website, blogs — does this photographer seem friendly and helpful? Like they’ll work their hardest to make your day about YOU (& not them getting a “feature-worthy shot”)? Do you feel like this person could be your friend in real life? 
  • Check their posted photos + tagged photos… Do the couples in the photos look happy/comfortable? Do you like their editing style? Does it look like they’re able to photograph in all different types of lighting, situations, & locations? Do they post photos of REAL couples & not just styled shoots with models? 
  • And lastly, check their reviews on Yelp, Facebook, & Google Reviews!! Does this photographer’s past couples have great things to say about them? Does it seem like they had a good experience? Do you notice this photographer has taken photos of the same couple multiple times (meaning they keep coming back to them?)!! 

Search through literally everything you can find for hints at who they are as a person before reaching out :))) And of course, continue your vetting process AFTER you reach out — noticing things like if they’re still making you feel comfortable in conversation before booking! 

And if you stilllll haven’t found your dream photographer after searching through insta… then, I’d recommend taking your search to the good ‘ol faithful google search bar. :)))

***The rest of this article is assuming that I’m your photographer (can’t wait!! heehee)! But even if I wasn’t available for your shoot… I hope that you still find this info helpful for your upcoming engagement shoot!! ;)))

How to Prepare for Your Engagement Shoot 

  • Planning 
  • Outfit 
  • Makeup/Hair
  • Props
  • Day-Of Relaxation

Planning

After you’ve found your photog, you’re going to need to pick a location and date for your shoot! CLICK HERE to view my favorite spots in California (ex: Yosemite National Park, San Francisco, Joshua Tree National Park, etc). I always recommend trying to choose a place that has special meaning to your relationship. Somewhere nostalgic like the place where you had your first kiss or where you said “i love you” for the first time. Going some place that you already know & feel comfortable at can definitely help you feel more relaxed at your session. But, on the flip side, going somewhere completely new & beautiful can also be exciting!! It’s really just up to you & where you envision your photos happening. :))) 

After you’ve picked a location, you’ll find a date that works for both you & your photog. I’d 100000% recommend taking the day off of work & shooting on a week DAY (rather than a weekend). And for the love of allllll that is good and holy please don’t choose a holiday like “Labor Day” where everyone else alsooo has the day off of work lol! This helps ensure that there won’t be a bunch of tourists on their vacation killing the vibe at your photoshoot location!! But if you HAVE to pick a weekend date, maybe consider doing a sunrise session instead of sunset to avoid the tourist crowds! Also, make sure that you check the weather! You wanna make sure you’re not freezing your little bootie off and also not sweating your little bootie off! I normally plan for shoots in woodsy or beach locations in the summer/fall, desert or city locations in the winter, and wildflower locations in the spring. :)))

Outfit

Now that your photographer, location, and date is picked… it’s time to go SHOPPING!!!! You’ve probably alreadyyyy been saving inspo on instagram & pinterest at this point… which is perf lol!! It’s helpful to research outfits that other couples have worn in a similar location that you’ll be shooting at for inspo! I always recommend picking outfits with natural colors, because they tend to photograph better & make your skin tones look dreamier (like oatmeal tan, deep burgundy, mustard yellow, black, white, etc). And some colors tend to pop out against certain backgrounds better than others… like red dresses against the woodsy green trees is AMAZING! And white dresses against the blue dreamy glow of Yosemite or a beach scene looks like actual heaven!! Def just stay away from bright or neon colors & distracting patterns —  because you want to keep the attention on your cute faces & not so much on your outfits!! But as long as you pick something that’s comfortable & suits the location/weather — you’ll be good! I normally have couples bring one casual outfit to start out with + then I’ll have them change into a more dressy/flowy dress for sunset. :))) 

CLICK HERE to see where most of my clients buy their engagement session dresses (Lulus, Free People, ShowPo, etc) and CLICK HERE to view my pinterest board for more inspo!

Makeup/Hair

You def don’t HAVE to get your makeup/hair done for your engagement shoot…. But WHY NOT, ya know?! Lol :))) I 100% recommend using your engagement shoot as a chance to relax & get all dolled up! Seriously nothingggg beats sitting/relaxing in a makeup/hair chair with your eyes closed, talking about how excited you are for your shoot, & not having to do your own makeup/hair for a change!! :))) You can ask your makeup/hair artist if they can use your engagement shoot as your wedding day trial — because you’re gonna have to do that anyways so might as well make the most of it!! But even if it’s not your trial & you want a different look for your engagement photos… it’s def recommended to use this day as a chance to pamper yourself! :)))

MY FAV GALS

Makeup:
@makeupbyforeverliz
@ciamakeup
@kristennicolemakeup
@beautybycorin
@makeupbyamandamarie
@makeupbydara
@baileyvalente 

Hair:
@bnstylin
@giannafryy 
@bridalbuns
@morgan_dose

Props

Another fun element that you can include into your engagement photos are… PROPS! :))) I’ve had clients bring their puppies, motorcycles, music instruments, a car’s headlights, a bottle of champagne to pop, or even just like a cute wine & picnic set up! Having something to do or play with can help make you feel more comfortable (because you’ll actually have something to do with your hands lol)! You don’t HAVE to bring anything at all! But if there’s something special to your relationship that you want represented… I’m always down for that :))) For example, one of my clients used to have their first dates in the bed of their truck… so we set up pillows & blankets & took photos in the bed of their truck! And a different couple used to play lots of card games together on their first dates… so they brought a deck of cards & we took photos of them playing together at a coffee shop! And per usual, your cute dogs + a bottle of champagne to pop are ALWAYS always always encouraged to bring lol! :)))

Day-Of Relaxation

Wooo!! Yay! So after you’ve planned the photog, location, date, outfit, hair/makeup, & props… it’s time to wait for your engagement shoot day to arrive!! :))) I 100% recommend for both of you to take the day off of work — so that you’re not rushing to get everything ready after a stressful full day at work! Take the morning slow, wake up naturally/ without an alarm clock, order breakfast, & just chill with each other or go on a fun/relaxing date together. :))) If you travelled to your engagement shoot location, you should definitely spend some time exploring together & reminiscing on your relationship! Maybe take some time to jot down a few sweet thoughts of each other or a list of reasons why you’re thankful for them on a piece of paper that you can read to each other during your photoshoot (I’m always down to give you guys a quiet moment during your photoshoot to capture your emotions reading letters to each other)!! :)))

And if I’m your photog, then we’ve exchanged phone numbers at this point, I’ll text you when I’m headed out to the location, and we’ll start your photoshoot!! Then you’ll get sneak peeks within a few days (because I know the feeling of wanting to post right away!!;)) + the full gallery of your cute photos back within 2 weeks! :))) 

Hope that helps ease your mind a bit & help you not be nervous at all for your photoshoot! All you need is a photographer, location, date, outfit, hair/makeup (if you want!), props (if you want!), and to relax on the day of your engagement shoot —

and that’s How to Prepare for Your Engagement Shoot! :))) 

Just have fun with it & bring some alcohol to loosen up if that helps! I’ll play music on my speaker & give you fun prompts to make it feel like it’s a fun date just between the two of you! Nothing to ever worry about! :)))

See ya soon!! :))) xoxoxx
Toni G.

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