session Tips

by ALISON DUNN PHOTOGRAPHY

Your engagement session

Congratulations on getting engaged! I can’t wait to work with you at your engagement session. While you might be just as excited as I am, I know that many people don’t really look forward to getting in front of a camera. Let me put you to ease right now – I’ll be guiding you the whole way.

I like to capture natural, but candid-looking photos so you look just like yourself at your best. I’ll coach you every step of the way, from where to stand to where to put your hands. By the time we’re done, you’ll be surprised at just how easy it is! And more importantly, you’ll be a pro by the time your wedding is here.

Frequently asked questions

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When should we schedule our engagement session?

It’s up to you! Many couples opt to have their session early on in their wedding planning process so that they can use the images for their save-the-dates. If you have a favorite season of the year, let’s do it then!

What time of day is best for great light?

We’ll get the best light if we start our session around 1.5-2 hours before sunset, or just at sunrise. If your session will be in the late afternoon/evening, make sure you arrive on time, since we’ll be working against the clock to capture the golden hour light! Also, if you’ve chosen two locations that require travel between them, the commute time may mean we have to start earlier than golden hour and miss part of it to travel.

Where should we have our session?

While I’m always happy to help you pick out your session location, I find that couples love their images so much more when the locations they choose are personal and meaningful to them! As you decide where to have your e-session, think about the following:

Where is somewhere special to you? Maybe you love her grandparents’ farm, or you both have a favorite coffee shop. Think about places where you’ve had special dates (or your first date), the place you first met, or where you got engaged.

What do you two love to do together? Do you love to cook, or go get ice cream? Are you favorite memories from beach vacations, picnics, or bike rides? I’d love to bring your hobbies and memories into your images. You may even want to consider an in-home session, where I photograph you in your most comfortable state!

How do you want your images to look? Think about whether you like urban cityscapes, or rustic, country backdrops. If you don’t have any specific locations in mind, knowing the look you want to capture from your engagement session will help us find the perfect spot! Once you pick one or two starting locations, I love to scout out locations as we go, looking for locations with great light! Often, the best spots are found by accident because we wandered down a street none of us had been down before.

Keep in mind that some parks and other special locations may require a permit and/or fee, so we’ll want to get that squared away before the shoot!

 

What should we wear?

There will be time for a quick outfit change during your session, so I always recommend one fancier outfit, and one outfit that’s more casual (in either order). A few guidelines to help you choose:

Coordinate with each other: Complementary colors always look better than matchy-matchy outfits. Avoid the family portrait, all-white-shirts-and-jeans look. Also, make sure your outfits are on the same level of of formal/casual.

Add layers and/or accessories: Layering will bring dimension and color to your images, so feel free to add a scarf, vest, statement necklace, etc.

Consider the patterns: If you choose a pattern, have only one of you wear a pattern at a time. Avoid teeny-tiny stripes or checkers, since cameras can have a hard time registering them.

Match outfits to locationsMake sure the outfits you’ve chosen make sense with the locations we’ll be at. For example, a boho, flowy dress may not make as much sense in the city as it would at the beach or in a field.

We’ll orchestrate a quick change in your car or in a public bathroom if one is close by, but if neither is an option, I’ve also had couples bring along a dark/patterned bedsheet or tablecloth with them to change behind.

If you’re looking for additional outfit inspiration, I’ve put together a pinterest board of some of my engagement sessions here!

What about hair and makeup?

If you can time it right, your engagement session day is also the PERFECT day to do your hair and makeup trial! Having your hair and makeup professionally done will make you feel extra confident for your session, and it puts your fancy look to good use! If you’re doing an updo for the wedding but would like to have your hair down for the session, your hairstylist can almost certainly take your hair down at the end of your trial and re-style it so that you’re ready to go. Let me know if you need recommendations for hair & makeup artists!

Will you be helping us with posing?

Absolutely, the whole time! While my goal is always to help you look natural, I coach all my couples through the entire session, from how to stand to what to do with your hands! I’ve got your back. All you need to worry about is showing up!

Can we bring our dog?

Yes PLEASE! I’d just ask that you bring a friend or family member along to hang out with Fido while I get photos of you two alone. And bring some favorite treats to help me get his or her attention!

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