August 11, 2021

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How to Prepare for Your Engagement Session

Honestly, I really enjoy doing engagement pictures with my wedding couples. To me, it gives me the opportunity to know my couples and how they interact with one another before the wedding day. It’s like wedding take 1, and the actual wedding day is wedding day 2.0. An engagement session also gives my couples an opportunity to get to know me more and how I operate. It also allows us to take our time and the couple can interact with each other intimately + playfully. I get to learn what he’ll say to make you laugh, or what your good side is (I’d argue any side is your good side though!) We get to have fun, take our time and vibe – and I love it! 

However, prior to the engagement session, many of my couples have questions and concerns leading up to their shoot. 

“Madison, I have no idea what I should wear. What do you recommend?” 

“Where should we take our engagement pictures?” 

“What time of day should we do our engagement session?” 

These are very common questions I receive from my couples, and I am here today to walk through ALL of it! 

And to my couples – if you already have booked a wedding with me. Don’t you worry! We cover all of this through my guides, questionnaires, and emails. You are well taken care of + even spoiled if I must say! But for those who haven’t booked with me, here is my guide on how to prepare for your engagement session. 

Choosing the Right Time and Day

scenic engagement session in northern Wisconsin

Here to tell you that lighting matters. Planning your engagement session 30 minutes before sunset just won’t cut it. I love to utilize natural light as much as possible. I truly think natural light gives the most timeless, splendid and dreamy photos possible. Most of the time, I recommend my couples do a golden hour shoot. This means we go out and take your engagement pictures when the sun is low against the horizon, creating that perfect golden glow. In order to capture that incredible glow, I like to shoot an hour prior to the sun setting. As you can see, we captured this STUNNING golden hour hazy glow with Kaitlyn + Will’s engagement session. I truly can’t describe in words how incredible it was! 

scenic golden hour engagement pictures in northern Wisconsin

Now remember the sun starts to set earlier and earlier as we approach colder months. That’s why I use a sunset calculator to determine the time our engagement session will take place dependent on the day. Timeanddate.com is a good resource to use! 

Choosing the Location

The background to your engagement pictures can honestly make or break it. It’s so important to plan your engagement session location. Most of the time, I will ask my couples what kind of aesthetic they are going for. Some want a very scenic natural landscape, others want a more cityscape vibe. In that case, I recommend specific spots in an urban setting like on top of a parking garage, or down the street of a historic district. 

scenic golden hour engagement session in northern Wisconsin

Another thing to consider when choosing the location is if there are any special spots that are integral to your relationship and its foundation. That could be the place you met, your favorite coffee shop, or the place you love to travel to. If you want to do your engagement pictures in the Smoky Mountains because you hike there every year – let’s do it! There’s no right or wrong answer for this one.

Choosing Your Outfits

What to wear to your engagement session is one of my most asked questions. While I offer a style guide to all my couples with tips for matching your outfits, I argue the second thing that matters most is wearing something you feel confident in. I want you to let loose + have fun during your engagement session! The first step to getting there is being confident in what you are wearing! Pick an outfit that compliments you and your body type and go for it! 

scenic engagement session in northern wisconsin. golden hour glow

Additionally let’s walk through some general tips + tricks for planning your outfits. 

+ Stick to solid, neutral colors that blend with the landscape. 

+ If you have a pattern, stick to only one article of clothing being patterned. 

+ Pick a casual outfit, and a more fancy one! Options are great. 

+ Pick an outfit that works with your location. A flowy dress looks great in a mountain or beach landscape! 

+ Find a color palette on Pinterest that goes with your location. Pick some colors out from the palette for your outfits! 

Side note – it never hurts to get your nails done and have your ring cleaned. After all, you’ll be showing off that nice rock! 

Get Personal

wisconsin engagement pictures in the wisconsin north woods

Many of my couples find inspiration for their engagement photos on Pinterest. They will find specific poses and want to do those during their session. I fully support looking for inspiration on Pinterest. However, I do want to acknowledge that no session is the same. What works for one couple may not work for the next. What I do think though is these poses can offer an amazing guideline for the kind of pictures you are wanting. I will certainly guide you through prompts that give you similar poses. The real moments are captured though in the in-between. That’s why I never put my camera down as we go through these poses. The best moments will be caught in the way the pose fails and you two laugh your heads off, or how he looks at you as you twirl. It’s the little, unexpected moments that will truly capture your authentic love story. 

So, get personal with one another. Be prepared to have fun + let loose! Your willingness to be vulnerable and authentically you is what will make your engagement pictures amazing. 

Make an Evening Out of It

scenic engagement pictures in northern wisconsin from a wisconsin wedding photographer

To wrap up your perfect evening, plan a dinner date afterwards! You will most definitely be hungry, so why not continue to have fun and enjoy each other’s company a while more? Your engagement session should be something you are looking forward to, so make it a date! Wedding planning can often be really stressful on a couple. Take this time to relax and love each other’s company and what’s to come! 

lake engagement session in northern wisconsin

If you are feeling stuck on where to plan your engagement session – check out some of my previous sessions like Kiley + Danny’s or Emma + Chase’s for some location inspiration! 

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