After many years shooting engagement sessions, I decided to create a small guide to serve as reference to the couples I will work with – or anybody interested. I hope those engagement session tips’ help you make the best of your engagement session.

Your engagement session should be fun. Be relaxed. Unlike the wedding day, we will not be in a hurry, there is no time line, and you don’t have to keep track of a million things at the same time.

engagement session tips

Below you can find some engagement session tips I like to share with my clients:

Engagement Session Tips 1: Location

. It’s possibly the most important decision you will make regarding the engagement session. An ideal location is somewhere that really symbolizes your relationship; somewhere with a meaning to you. It could be the place you met, where he proposed, somewhere you like to go, or even a place you want to see for the first time. 

. More frequent than not, clients have no idea of a location for their engagement session. I am always happy to help with that. Before the engagement session, I will ask you to fill up my “engagement session questionnaire”. It really helps me to find the perfect locations for each couple. 

. Engagement sessions usually starts in the early afternoon, and end at sunset. The starting time will depend on the time of the year, since sunset times are always changing. That way, we will achieve the best possible lighting in the day. There is always the option to do it in the early morning, but most people prefer the afternoon. Depending on the plan, we can also shoot a bit into the night. Bonfires, and downtown city lights can look really good at night.

. Ideally, we will start in a shaded location, because of the bright sun. That could be a brewery, a restaurant, a home, a warehouse, under a tree, etc. Towards the end of the engagement session, when the sun is lower, we will move to a more open location, such as a trail, beach, park, etc. That way, I am able to create the collections you see in my portfolio. Great lighting is extremely important to great photography. 

. I do not limit the number of locations, and I try to make a plan where we can hit all the planed spots as easy as possible. There is only so much we can do in an afternoon, but I try to be as productive as possible considering we have a lot of control over time and locations. 

. I understand that every couple is different, and in my engagement sessions, everything is game! We can pretty much incorporate anything that you desire. We can start with a sport, and end with a fancy dinner. We can do it under water. We can have you pets and kids. We can shoot a common afternoon at your house. We can incorporate some beautiful architecture. We can even go for a drive on the desert and see some very unique scenarios. Lets chat and find the best location for your engagement session.


Engagement Session Tips 2: Activities

, It’s always fun to incorporate your favorite activities to the engagement session. It really helps to make the shoot mere personal and interesting. Sports are also a great idea that can be easily incorporated. You guys enjoy surfing? We can definitely have that on your shoot. From a pic nic at the park, to a ride in a vintage car, activities always bring a special touch the the engagement sessions. 

basketball couple session

Engagement Session Tips 3: What to wear

. Wardrobe is also a very important part of the engagement session. It helps to define your style, and and really improves the overall results. Since I do not limit the number of outfits you can exchange, I always encourage clients to take some extra ones, in case they fell like wearing them. 

. Since there are so many different styles of engagement sessions, it is hard to give you a list of “things to wear”. It should be something that you are comfortable on, and would wear, lets say, to a casual party, or a dinner out. I want your personalities to show.

. Accessories are always welcome! Sunglasses, that big watch you don’t wear much, a nice neckless and earrings; maybe a fun hat. We can always take some photos with the accessories, and some without, in case you don’t like them as much as you thought you would. 

. Dress like yourself.


Engagement Session Tips 4: Hair and make up

, Pay close attention, because those make a big difference. I always recommend to my brides, to do the makeup and hair trial on the same day of the engagement session. While that is not crucial for the success of the session, it will give you a much better idea of what your wedding photos will look like. Please note that the pictures usually look very different from the mirror, once you have some makeup you are not used to have on a daily basis. 

. Some people opt for a natural look, while other brides have a heavier makeup on. Both ways work really well, and the make up is definitely another factor that helps to show your personality. 

. Bringing some makeup to the shoot is always a good idea. Retouches after a few hours and locations could be necessary. 

engagement session tips in san diego

Engagement Session Tips 5: Props

. Props are not a must, but they can look really nice on an engagement session. The most popular prop that I have photographed is a sign holding the wedding date. Those photos can later be used for “save the dates”. 

. Here are a few places I recommend to look for some cool engagement session props: Etsy, World Market, Amazon, and Home Goods.


Engagement Session Tips 6: Don’t be afraid to share your vision with me

. Sharing with me what you like will help me create a great collection. What drawn you to my work? Do you enjoy the more dreamy, romantic images? Or the more fun, candid ones? Do you really like those creative, landscape portraits I display on my portfolio? Any information regarding your style will be very helpful. 


engagement session tips
Engagement Session Tips 7: Don’t hold back

. Be yourself! While that might be obvious, it’s not a concept that is very easily applied. Don’t act like you think you should, I want to find the real “you”.


Engagement Session Tips 8: Trust me

. It is my job to direct you, and make you feel comfortable. While some people need more direction than others, I will definitely help when you are not sure what to do. Portrait sessions are usually a new experience, and I am very used to dealing with first timers. 

. Trust is a very strong foundation in the relationship between the client and the photographer, and the more you trust me, the more relaxed your wedding day will be. 

. Enjoy every minute of your engagement session, and use that to get more comfortable in front of the camera. 

desert engagement session sand dunes

Thanks for reading my engagement session tips tips. I truly hope that it assists you to get the best out of your engagement session photos.

Below, you can find some more helpful resources for your wedding planning. Knowing that photography is one of the first vendors to be chosen for weddings, I created a guide with some of my favorite wedding venues and wedding vendors to help my clients, or anyone interested, to pick the best of the best for their special day.


Some of my favorite moments that I have captured on engagement sessions

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Clients Testimonials 

Most of us hope that our work speaks for itself and often have difficulty with self-promotion, even when it’s simply stating personal facts for our business.  To relieve this stress, I find it helpful to honestly relay what the people I’ve worked have to say.  I’m eternally grateful to do what I love for a living and truly humbled to receive the praise of my clients.  

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A unique photo booth that’s entertaining and interactive for everyone, the open-air design is a perfect fit for your wedding day! It’s a great alternative during the dancing portion of the night that everyone can enjoy; and the high quality photos are lifetime mements of your special day! 

Wedding Galleries

Please enjoy a few of my favorite wedding images from some of the wonderful couples I’ve had the pleasure of working with over the years. A combination of all types of locations and settings, these photographs are samples are from weddings in San Diego, as well as Destination weddings in the United States and around the world.

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