Shelly Pate

Best Tips To Get Ready for Your Engagement Session

Couples walk holding hands at Iceland engagement session

Your engagement session is coming up! But, what should you do to prepare? What should you bring, and what on earth do you wear?? Every single couple I work with comes into the engagement session completely nervous–you are not alone!! Couples always joke about how awkward they are in front of a camera (aren’t we all!?!). Getting relaxed and laughing when you feel awkward or silly gives us FABULOUS, natural photos. Here’s a peek at the support I provide my couples so they can best get ready for their engagement session! (Looking for couples photos but you aren’t engaged? These tips apply to ANY type of photo session so keep on reading!)

What To Expect During Our Shoot

Expect to move around a ton! I’ll give you suggestions and guide you along the way, but my directions will be super general because I want you to do everything your own way. My biggest piece of advice would be to pay attention to how you two interact over the next few days:

  • How do you sit on the couch together?
  • Who’s the big snuggler?
  • Are you super silly together, or more reserved?
  • When you go on a walk, do you like to hold hands or wrap arms?
  • What are your love languages?

These are things you might not think about on a day-to-day basis, but you could feel stuck on once the camera comes out! Each movement doesn’t have to be huge or  totally different from the last. Movements can be super small like swaying, running your fingers down your partner’s arm, playing with their hair, etc. Just enjoy being together!

What To Wear

Couples walk holding hands at Washington DC engagement session

My number one recommendation in choosing your clothing as you get ready for your engagement session is to bring options. I’ll pull from the options you bring and have you change depending on our shooting location. This way I can make sure that your outfits compliment our environment so that the focus remains on you two. Your job is just to make sure that you feel like a million bucks in all the options that you bring!

Here are a few quick tips for choosing your outfits & you can catch more in this Engagement Outfit Guide:

  • Grab a mix of formal and casual looks (pants and dresses).
  • Be comfortable: especially in your shoes! Bring extras if the pair you love isn’t comfortable!
  • If you have a shirt that is known to not stay put–don’t wear it.
  • Pull your color palette from the environment of our shoot location.
  • Florals are always awesome, but we want the pattern to be small so it is not distracting.
  • Do not match each other exactly: e.g. both in white shirts and blue jeans.
  • Bring accessories like hats/jackets to mix & match!

We can also keep it simple and you can just wear one outfit! I am totally good with your sending me pics so we can pick it out together beforehand!

Couples embraces at Washington, DC engagement session


Couples embraces at home engagement session
Couples embraces surrounded by leaves at engagement session

Wear something that looks and feels like you. We are documenting YOUR life together– it should look like it belongs to you. I want you to feel at ease and as prepared as possible so you two can walk away with THE best photos that really capture your relationship. You do you and these photos will be freakin’ awesome!!

Upon booking, I will send out my 15 Pro Tips Guide for your session that includes even more details on what to wear and how to prepare! Ready for your closeup? Let’s chat!

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