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Your Guide to Engagement Sessions

Every engaged couple will need to decide whether or not engagement pictures are going to be a part of their story. So, what even is an engagement session, some might ask? An engagement session is just quick photo shoot (usually about an hour or so) of an engaged couple being all cute and in love (that’s really all there is to it). These sessions have evolved over the years and instead of being awkward and/or cheesy like they were at one point in time, they are now fun, sweet, and pretty epic!

We love engagement sessions and we’ve put together this list of 5 of the most important things you’ll need to think about when planning your engagement session. Hopefully this helps you – but if you need more information – you can always email us too!

1. Do you need an engagement session?

Some people will tell you that you MUST have an engagement session before your wedding day, but we don’t think that’s necessarily the case. Yes, an engagement session provides some practice being in front of the camera, but it isn’t really a “practice round” for your wedding day because an engagement session is nothing like your wedding day. It will be similar to the formals taken on your wedding day, but that’s about it. The rest of the day will be you enjoying your wedding, pretty much forgetting we’re there altogether.

So, how do you know if you need an engagement session? Here are some questions to help you decide:

  1. Do you need pictures for save the dates?
  2. Are you extremely nervous about being in front of the camera on your wedding day?
  3. Do you want more pictures together other than the ones you’ll have on your wedding day?
  4. Do you want pictures during a different time of year or at a different location than when/where you are getting married?
  5. Are you going to have a limited time for pictures of just the two of you on your wedding day?

If your answer is “yes” to any of the above questions, then an engagement session is probably the right call for you! If you don’t need one though, don’t worry, we’ve never had an issue on a wedding day with a couple that didn’t have an engagement session. We’re there for you to give you the best possible photography experience on your wedding day with or without an engagement session!

2. Your engagement timing…

Some couples choose to have their engagement pictures taken the opposite season that they’re getting married so that they have more variety in their pictures together. Others base the timing on when they need to get their save-the-dates in the mail. Browsing Pinterest can help you discover engagement looks that you’re drawn to and may help you narrow down the right season. Keep in mind that locations look different based on the time of year, for example lush trees in the summer will be bare in the winter and snow on the ground can provide a completely different look to any outdoor location.

We have no preference on timing, we’ve done engagements as early as 18 months before a wedding and as close as 1 month before a wedding. Your timing is what works best for you as a couple!

We try to schedule all engagement sessions during either sunset or in some cases, sunrise as these two times of day provide the best lighting.

3. Location, location, location…

We highly recommend choosing a location that has meaning to your relationship. We have a lot of couples choose parks that they frequently visit or the spot where they got engaged for their engagement pictures. It’s also common for couples who met in college to visit their old campus for their engagement session. Being able to help tell your story in your engagement pictures with the location makes them all the more special.

Don’t have a location that speaks to your story? That’s okay, we have so many go-to locations that you can pick from! Check out Pinterest with an “engagement picture” search and find the theme that speaks most to you. This will help us narrow down the type of scenery that you envision for your pictures. From there, we can give you options that match your vision.

Check out our list of the top 12 picture locations in Cleveland.

4. Looking good for your engagement session…

We recommend on dressy/formal outfit and one more casual outfit for every engagement session. Try not to match each other, but rather compliment each other. Wear colors and designs that look good together. Check out Pinterest for outfit inspiration. Here are some tips:

  • Wear one formal outfit (a dress and a suit) and one more casual outfit.
  • Don’t match, but rather compliment each other. Wear designs that look good together.
  • Girls, heels look good in pictures.
  • Layers photograph well for girls and guys.
  • Girls, think about having your hair and makeup professionally done (it could even be a good time for your wedding trial run).
  • Girls, make sure your nails look good since your ring will put your fingernails on display
  • Be comfortable. Discomfort will come through in the pictures.
  • Avoid passing trends. You may regret these outfits once the trend passes.
  • Guys – make sure your suit fits you correctly.

5. Including your dog in your engagement session…

If your dog is a part of your family, definitely include them! It’s much harder to include your fur baby in your wedding day, so including them in your engagement pictures is a great way to get pictures of them with you. Make sure you plan accordingly by having someone designated to come along to keep your pup(s) while you are taking the rest of your pictures. Obviously, you’ll have to choose a dog-friendly picture location as well.

Check out one of our favorite Cleveland Engagement sessions here:

Click here for more information on Cleveland Wedding Photography.

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