I’m SO excited for your upcoming engagement session, so I wanted to answer some of the most common e-session questions, and send over a few tips and info that will help you prep for our time together!
1. What Should I Wear?
Probably one of the harder decisions to make is deciding what to wear at your engagement session. Of course everyone’s style and preference is different, but my suggestion is to bring one dressy outfit and one casual outfit, and to start with the dressy option first. I say the terms “dressy” and “casual” loosely, because again, everyone has their own interpretation and variation of what is considered dressy vs. casual, and that is completely okay!
I suggest not wearing anything that accentuates or bring attention any areas that you might consider “a problem area.” For example, for me personally I’m not too fond of my arms, so if I were having my photos taken, I probably wouldn’t wear anything strapless, because in every photo, I would automatically be focused on what my arms looked like, instead of the entire picture as a whole. I want you to look and feel great in all of your photos, so sticking with outfits that you know you look and feel great in is a top priority!
If your man is anything like mine, he probably wears a hat 99% of his life. Just as important as it is for us to feel comfortable and “like ourselves”, it’s important for our man to feel the same way. So, I’m actually not totally against hats in photos, but I will encourage some photos to be taken without the hat as well. And don’t worry, I don’t mind being the “bad guy” and asking your man to take off his hat 🙂
Shoes do matter! When picking out your outfits, remember that your shoes will be visible in some of the shots, so definitely take this into consideration!
Dress like the season. If you really want a “fall vibe” definitely play this up by dressing in “fall clothes.” For example, boots, a cute scarf, maybe a light jacket, anything that we might wear during the fall season (even if it’s still 75 degrees in September) will absolutely further translate the “look” you’re going for in your photos. Here are some great examples of “dressing like the season”
bonus tip: long flowy dresses, or any kind of fabric with movement is always super flattering and photographs beautifully!
2. What Should I Bring?
First and foremost, you are absolutely welcome to bring your dog!! This is a super popular question, and for any of my e-sessions, the answer is always YES! Just give your photographer a heads up just in case they are allergic! If you are bringing your dog, here are a couple of helpful tips!
- Bring treats, toys, anything that will help get their attention for photos!
- Bring a leash!
- Ask a friend or family member to come to the session to help handle your pup when they’re not in the photo with you.
- Let your dog sniff around first before trying to get their attention for photos. If you’re taking photos in an unfamiliar location, show up a little early so your dog can become familiar with the area first.
As far as “props” this isn’t something that you need to overthink or something that is totally necessary. Again, a lot of this has to do with preference. Remember that “props” should compliment your photos, not distract. Remember that your “props” can also be incorporated into your ring shots as well! Here are some popular props that you might want to incorporate into your photos:
- Banner/sign with your wedding date
- Anything sentimental that has to do with your relationship
- Blanket to sit on/wrap around you
- Sign/banner for your dog to hold or wear
Here are a few examples of props done right!
3. How Do I Pick A Location?
Locations can be tricky, especially because LIGHT is the biggest determining factor when it comes to locations. Our eyes don’t see light like a camera does, so picking a location is definitely something I’m happy to help with!
When picking a location, just like we thought about seasons, think about what aspects do you want showcased in your photo? Do you want to be by the water, do you want to be in a field, or near the trees? The best locations are often places that have a lot of variety and can provide multiple “looks.” Often times, the most random locations end up being the prettiest! Locations don’t always have to be extravagant with unicorns jumping out of waterfalls in the background, so don’t get too hung up on this. For example, one of my favorite places to shoot is at a local park that has sand and a little “beach” but then has trees and grass a few feet away. As a photographer, variety is always our friend and we can make the most out of one location!
Next, any location that has some sort of sentimental value to a couple is always a great place to shoot. These photos are about YOU as a couple, and anything that can add to the personalization of your photos is always a bonus!
Here are some examples of one location that provides multiple “looks”
4. What Time Of Day Will My Shoot Be?
As I mentioned, light will play a factor in what time of day is best to shoot at the location. Typically, later in the afternoon, when the sun is lower in the sky, is ideal shooting time. Depending on the time of year and location, I’ll recommend a time that’s best to shoot at, and we’ll go from there!
5. Misc. Prep:
There are a couple of things that you should do to prepare for your upcoming e-session:
- Clean the ring!
- Get rid of chipped nail polish!
- Schedule a makeup-trial (totally optional)
- Haircut for guys 3-5 days prior
- Spray tan 2-3 days prior
It’s no secret that your ring will probably be photographed at some point during your engagement session, and a shiny clean ring always photographs best! You don’t have to get it professionally cleaned, the best hack I’ve found is to use a little squirt of windex! I’ve heard this from a couple of my brides and it works just as great to make that baby sparkle!
This is usually a no-brainer, but I also suggest cleaning up your nails! Polish isn’t an absolute must, but definitely make sure that you don’t have any chipped polish, because this can be a big distraction!
If you’re thinking about hiring a professional makeup artist for your wedding, then I recommend scheduling a makeup trial for your engagement session. This is extremely helpful because it lets you see how your makeup is going to photograph. This is totally optional, but a great little extra tip that I love to share! My favorite makeup artist is The Painted Pair!
If your guy needs a haircut, I’ve found that 2-3 days prior to the session is usually best. That way it provides a little bit of time for it to “grow in” a little and look more natural! Again, this is your preference!
If you’re thinking about getting a spray tan, and it’s your first time, I would suggest scheduling your spray tan 2 days prior to the shoot. That way, if it’s too dark, or doesn’t turn out exactly the way you’d like, you have time to fix it before photos! However, if you’re familiar with spray tans, do whatever already works best for you!
6. What If My Guy Isn’t Into Pictures?
This is VERY common, and a frequent concern I hear from many of my brides. They are unsure how cooperative or “into it” their guy is going to be when it comes to having photos taken. It’s completely normal to feel a little unsure or nervous about photos (guys especially) so here are my best tips to getting your guy on board:
- Don’t let it get to you
- Let me make corrections
- Set expectations
- Ask for his input
- Express yourself
First and foremost, it can be easy to become stressed or annoyed when he doesn’t seem all into the whole photo thing. Remember that this probably isn’t exactly at the top of his to-do list and this is unfamiliar territory. I would encourage you not to be discouraged by his attitude about the whole photo thing prior to the session. He might seem totally uninterested or ask something along the lines of “do we have to do this?” It may be hard, but don’t let this topic become an argument or a fight even before you’ve had your photos taken together, because that will further put a negative vibe on the whole photo thing.
Once you’re at the session, make sure to let me make any corrections or adjustments. I’m going to be the one looking through the camera, and I’m certainly are not going to let your look any less than your best! When these adjustment/corrections come from the photographer, they are not taken personally because it’s our job to make adjustments. However, when it comes from you, it might be taken as being “nit-picky” which could have a negative affect on the overall experience.
As mentioned, one of the biggest reasons that guys aren’t “into” photos is probably because he has no idea what to expect. I suggest taking a few minutes sometime prior to your session and showing your guy a couple of previous e-shoots that your photographer has done. This allows you to set expectations and provides insight to him as far as what to expect.
Include him in on the planning. Get his input as far as locations and outfits and allow for him to be included. If he shrugs his shoulders or doesn’t have a preference, that’s totally fine! And who knows, he might surprise you!
It’s important to explain to him why these photos are important to you. I think this often gets overlooked and can sometimes be assumed that it’s just another thing you “have to do.” By explaining why this is important to you will help him understand and probably be more willing to be a little more cooperative. Talk it out and also find out what his reservations are and how he’s feeling. Prior communication is key!
Lastly, I will say that he will probably surprise you with his cooperativeness. Honestly, I’ve NEVER come across a guy who is just completely NOT into it, or not cooperative throughout the entire session. Remember that it is MY job as a photographer to ensure that BOTH of your are comfortable and look your best. As weird as it may sound, we photographers spend a lot of time analyzing people, body language and both verbal and non-verbal communication, so rest assure, I’ve got a couple of tricks up our sleeve to ease those nerves and get you guy into the photo groove. Rest assure, we’ve got this and I think you will be pleasantly surprised!
8. How Much Is My Engagement Session?
CFP e-sessions are regularly priced at $300, BUT! If you are a CFP Bride and have already reserved your wedding with us, your session is only $100!! Full payment is due the day of your session, and we accept cash, checks or Venmo. If paying with a check, please make it out to “Cristina Fenner Photography”
9. When Will I See My Pictures?
You can expect to see sneak peeks on Facebook and Instagram within 48 hours of your session!! That means, if you haven’t already, be sure to “like” and follow me on Facebook and Instagram so I can tag and share your sneaks with you!
About 2 weeks after your session, I will send you a link to your private online gallery, where you can view and download all of your full-resolution digital images with print release!
10. Saving The Best For Last
One of the MOST important things about e-sessions has nothing to do with the actual photos. E-sessions are crucial because they give us the opportunity to get to know one another and start to build a personal connection, rather than just a vendor/client relationship, and this small aspect is the KEY to comfortable, relaxed and authentic images. This time together at your e-session will also provide you with insight on how I work, communicate and provide instruction, and will make a world of difference come the wedding day! Plus, everything that I teach you during your e-session is almost the EXACT same stuff we’ll be doing on your wedding day, so when the special day arrives, you’ll be a total pro!!
Last but not least, remember that this should be a fun and exciting experience for both of you! I hope all of this info has been helpful to you as you start to prepare for your upcoming session. Please feel free to reach out at anytime if you need help picking outfits, locations, anything! I totally love the “prep” stage, if you couldn’t already tell by this massive blog post!