the blog

Mandy’s Quick Tips | Getting the Most Out of Your Engagement Session


You might be wondering what’s the deal with an engagement session anyway, and why are so many photographers offering them with their wedding collections? An engagement session is a portrait session done after a couple gets engaged, but before they get married. Having an engagement session with the photographer that is ultimately going to photograph your wedding is a great idea for a few reasons. First, it’s a great opportunity for the three of you to get to know each other. A lot of times, the booking process might happen entirely over the phone or via e-mail. And even if you do have an in-person consultation, it’s unlikely you really got to know each other during that time because you were really still focused on packages and pricing. You will be spending 8-10+ hours with your photographer on the most special day of your lives. Getting to hang out and chat with them at an engagement session will make it feel less like a stranger is following you around at your wedding. Second, an engagement session is great practice for the wedding day. Do you ever feel awkward and take a little time to “warm up” in front of the camera? I know that I do and I do this ALL the time. Your engagement session is a low-stress opportunity to get used to having your picture taken. You’ll learn my poses, how I direct my couples, and generally what to expect from the portrait time on your wedding day without the stress of timelines and interruptions. Engagement sessions really do make the portrait time on your wedding day much more efficient. 

As you prepare for your engagement session, here are some pieces of advice that will come in handy:

1. CLEAN YOUR RING! : I will be photographing your gorgeous diamond! This means that this would be a perfect opportunity to have your ring cleaned so that it’s clear of dirt and build up that may be visible through a macro lens! It’s also a great idea to make sure your nails are looking their best.

2. HAIR & MAKEUP : Splurge a little! If you were considering getting your hair and makeup done, this is the perfect opportunity to treat yourself! You will cherish these images forever and so investing in professional hair and makeup can be an extra fun way to celebrate the occasion and allow you to be extra confident during your shoot! Tip: If you’re worried about looking tired or just want a little something special for your portraits, getting false lashes makes a big impact in portraits! There are all types of lashes that range from looking completely natural to looking like Beyonce! I would lean towards the natural end of the spectrum! 🙂

3. THE TIMELINE : Being a lover of natural light, my timing for your session isn’t a coincidence, it is scheduled so that we have the best lighting for your photos. (Trust me: I’m the girl looking at the sunset schedule a year in advance!) Please allow enough time when you find yourself planning and include time for travel or traffic. We can really only shoot until the sun sets, so if we begin a bit late, we won’t be able to stay late!

4. TAKE A DEEP BREATH : It’s more than okay to feel nervous! Please know that I do not expect you to be models. My job is to direct you in a way that helps you relax, feel natural, and be your true comfortable selves in front of my lens. You do not need to practice poses, study Pinterest pints or let the nerves take over. By the end of the session you will feel like Tyra Banks and wonder when your big break in modeling will come! Don’t worry if you are feeling nervous, I’ll be sure the end result is something you will love!

5. SWITCH IT UP : Feel free to bring one change of clothes. I love to offer the opportunity for an outfit change halfway through the session. This gives you the opportunity to get a few different looks and feels with your session while maximizing our time together. Many couples opt for one dressier option and one more casual option. I love this because it really adds a lot of variety to your final collection. Warning: You may need to change in your car! Just be prepared for the adventure! I’ll stand guard!


– Neutrals such as blush, tans, light pinks, faint blues and teals, creams, grays and whites will always result in more of a light and airy look to your images. These colors photograph softer and more romantically!

– If you’re really looking for a soft, feminine look, I recommend a flowing, maxi-length dress or skirt! The movement of this type of fabric photographs beautifully!

– The goal is to COORDINATE instead of MATCHING! Wear colors that are in the same color palette, but not necessarily the same color. I also recommend avoiding both of you wearing WHITE as a top. This won’t allow for any contrast in your images.

– Guys, I recommend that you avoid patterns that are smaller than a dime! These small patterns can create strange visual effects in a digital camera. Close-toed shoes photograph well and we recommend avoiding graphic tees and tennis shoes!

– Gals, we recommend that you wear something that flatters the parts of you that you love the most and also allows you to be extremely confident! If you are uncomfortable when you look in the mirror (having to suck in and only like the way you look from one angle), then that probably isn’t the best outfit choice for you. I want you to be so confident in your outfit because I know that you will love your portraits so much more if you’re not worrying about how your clothes fit!

share your thoughts!


telling your story.

i BELIEVE IN LIGHT, laughter, having a great time AND