Preparing for Your Engagement Shoot

The engagement session is a very memorable and fun part in the planning process. When I did my engagement shoot I remember being nervous because I had never been professionally photographed that way. I was thinking what should I wear? where should we go? Eek….so many questions but this blog will provide clarity so you can enjoy your session. Engagement sessions are part of the wedding process so it takes some strategic planning.

You can go one of two ways or if you’re lucky you can get both
(side note - some places charge or require permits so be sure to check on that). 

  • First (the lucky way), if you’ve already had a design consult with your planner then you can narrow down a place that matches the theme of your wedding. It can be stylized with props and elements that tie in with the design of your wedding. So when you send out your save-the-dates, your wedding will be cohesive. 
  • The second way to approach the location question, if you’re unsure of the theme of your wedding, is to find a place that has meaning to you both. That may be where you met, where you had your first date, where he proposed, where you two vacation or a scenic hilltop...whatever you both hold near your heart is a good place to start.

The Attire
There are plenty of places where you can get inspiration. I like to use Polyvore because they have a plethora of collections and curated outfits that you can add your twist to make it your own. You can always look to Pinterest as well for ideas.

Lighting is everything...
in every aspect of life and especially important for shoots. For the early birds, the sunrise provides a glorious natural setting so getting to the spot early is key. Another ideal time in the day is sunset and will definitely provide the opportunity to capture those romantic and intimate silhouette shots. However be aware of crowds and have a back up plan ready to account for overcrowding. 

Hair and Makeup
If you’ve already booked your MUA and hair stylist, you may be able to schedule a run through on this day so you get an idea of what it will look like on your wedding day. I am a huge fan of the 'natural' look but if you are doing a glamorous ballroom shoot or night out on the town then, surely you must rock the glitter and red lipstick.

Styling and props
Make the engagement shoot fun, interactive and different from everyone else’s. For my shoot, I took MANY props...some that I made for the wedding and some that I sourced at a vintage store. I didn’t use them all but that is okay. I gave them to my photographer and she styled them and used them in the way she thought best. Your photographer should do the same. Here are a few prop ideas you can use for your engagement session- vintage luggage, hat boxes, lanterns, flowers, giant balloons, stylish throws, jewelry, picnic basket, wine bottles and monogrammed glasses, giant letters, wood cutouts and the list goes on.

Alma Moncada Photography


  • Be sure to consider the weather and season so as to not wear cargo shorts (which shouldn't be an option at any shoot in my opinion) to a snowy mountain shoot.
  • Men should wear their best tube socks in case your photographer has you sit down; your socks may be revealed. You'll be happy you wore your dressy socks.
  • Take multiple outfit options even if you don’t end up using them all.
  • Be careful with the jeans, you may need to spin this right. For you ladies, wear your jeans with heels to dress them up a bit. Or for you fellas, wear a button-up or incorporate a blazer.
  • Pack comfortable clothes because you may want to make a date of it afterwards.
  • Run your ideas and outfits by your photographer. They may have already shot at the location and will have advice and tips for you.
  • Be real. It could be awk to have someone telling you to stare off in the distance, to pretend like you are laughing with imaginary friends or to lean in for a kiss in slow is a bit weird. But usually- if you think about it- you and your love are silly together so try to imagine that your photographer isn’t there and you two are on a date. Be silly, smile, laugh and genuinely lean in to kiss the love of your life...just do it slowly so your awesome photographer could capture the moment.

Some don’ts

  • I would recommend staying away from neon colors and graphic printed Ts.
  • Be careful with the spray tanning.
  • Omit the running shoes.
  • Dress up and not down so leggings may not be the best option.

That's it, you’re ready.

Think of this as if it were your first date. You want to put your best foot forward to impress your date. Be stylish yet not too overwhelming where it doesn’t even seem like it’s you anymore.