Engagement Session Guide

Southern California Engagement Photography Guide and Checklist San Diego

Engagement Photo Checklist

Your Expert Guide to a Smooth and Wonderful Engagement Shoot

Planning a wedding comes with a list of all kinds of things to prepare for and organize. Not to mention that, for most couples, things wedding-related are completely new territory for them! It can be a bit overwhelming. One of the first things that gets planned is the engagement photography session. While it may very well be the first shoot you and your love have done as a couple, lucky for you I’ve got experience to share! Here are some tried and true tips and tricks to relieve some of that stress and help you get the most out of your engagement experience.

#1: Bring a Small Backpack or Bag

Don’t worry, no need to pack for an overnight! When you’re taking your engagement photos, part of making you look great is empty pockets! Having the option to put personal effects that might be distracting somewhere safe and clean (i.e. not in the sand at the beach) is super helpful. Also, packing small touch-up items (such as a comb, a hair tie, or a compact makeup retouching kit) puts us in a great position to be prepared for almost anything! I’ll almost always have an assistant with me to help keep an eye on bags, both yours and mine! It will also make a handy place to store some of the other things mentioned in this list!

#2: Bring Comfortable Shoes

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Comfortable shoes are a must! Whether your engagement shoot takes place in the mountains or downtown, you can almost guarantee that a fair amount of walking will be involved. I’ve definitely seen a look of regret as someone realizes that their shoes just aren’t cutting it. Of course, we all want your feet to look just as good as the rest of you in the photos we take; so if it’s a matter of feeling like you’re sacrificing fashion for relief, you can always keep an extra pair of kicks just for walking in the aforementioned backpack. (See how it’s all coming together?)

#3: Wear Clothes You Feel Good In

Sticking with the fashion theme for a second: again, you definitely want to look your best! But don’t stray too outside your normal style. When people are uncomfortable in what they’re wearing, it shows. Be true to yourself and your style, and your photos will turn out great.

#4: Snacks & Water

This goes hand-in-hand with pretty much everything on this list so far: being prepared and comfortable. You’re going to look best when you feel your best! Let’s make sure we keep spirits high by keeping dehydration and any risk of getting hangry at bay.

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#5: Props & Pets

I think engagement photos feel the most special when they really celebrate you and what makes your love unique! Does one of you regularly serenade the other on guitar? BRING IT! Are you really into your car? Let’s shoot with it! Are you both really into football? Or travel? Or saw a cute idea on Pinterest with scrabble tiles? You see where I’m going with this, and I want you to know: I’m for all of it! I have a black lab that I definitely want as part of my engagement photos! If you feel the same, I don’t want to discourage that at all! The only request: let’s communicate about the use of props or pets ahead of time. This allows us to plan the best utilization of these elements, so that you’re not stuck carrying a guitar case the whole shoot when you only wanted it for a few photos. It also makes sure that arrangements for Fido are taken into account for when your pet is not in the photo.

Engagement Ring - Southern California Wedding Photography

#6: Style Prep Tips

This section is mostly for the ladies, but there’s wise words in here for both of you! Often, a key player in an engagement session is: THE RING! This means close-up shots of your hands, so make sure to get your nails done close to the shoot, if that’s your style! The flip side of that: try to push more major things like a haircut or a spray tan a week or more out from the session; this leaves a little time to deal with any disasters there. These photos are forever! So you definitely want to look your best. But in that same vein: they are forever! So try to avoid going too trendy, unless it is completely genuine to you. I definitely don’t want you to look back at your photos in 5 years and cringe.

That’s it! Be yourself and have a great time!

These are all tips and tricks I’ve picked up in my experience at engagement shoots. I hope these help you feel better prepared and less stressed. The most important tip of all is probably to enjoy yourself and your partner as we have a blast taking pictures that celebrate you and your love!