Planning the Perfect Engagement Session: What Every Couple Needs to Know

An engagement session not only lets you work with us prior to your wedding day to get comfortable, but it also captures the love and excitement leading up to your big day. It’s a fantastic opportunity to create beautiful photos for your save-the-dates, wedding website, and home decor. To help you plan a successful engagement session, we’ve compiled essential tips and answers to common questions that will ensure you’re fully prepared and confident for your photoshoot.

a couple showcasing their engagement ring on their engagement photography session in albuquerque
a couple kissing for an engagement photography session in albuquerque, new mexico
a couple kissing and posing for their engagement photography session at casa rondena winery in albuquerque

Choosing the Perfect Location

Significance and Style

Select a location that holds personal significance for you as a couple. It could be the place where you first met, your favorite park, or a stunning natural setting you both love. Ensure the location matches your style and the aesthetic you envision for your photos.

Variety and Accessibility

Look for locations that offer a variety of backdrops to give you a diverse set of photos. Consider the ease of access, parking availability, and whether any permits are required to shoot there. We will work with you to take care of all of these minor tasks.

Timing and Scheduling

Best Time of Day

The golden hour, occurring during the first hour after sunrise and the last hour before sunset, offers the most flattering natural light. This soft, warm illumination gives your photos a magical glow and enhances their romantic feel. To achieve the best photography results, plan your session around these times.

Seasonal Considerations

Different seasons offer unique opportunities and challenges. Spring and fall provide mild weather and beautiful natural colors, while summer and winter may require special considerations for heat or cold. Plan accordingly based on your preferred season and location.

Wardrobe and Styling

Outfit Choices

Choose outfits that reflect your personality and are comfortable. Solid colors, subtle patterns, and coordinating styles (without being too matchy-matchy) photograph well. Avoid overly bright or neon colors that can distract from your faces, these colors can also reflect the color of the fabric onto you or your partners skin.

Comfort and Coordination

Wear comfortable shoes, especially if your session involves walking or hiking. Consider bringing a pair of stylish shoes to change in to if you're having to walk to get to your location. Coordinate your outfits with your partner’s, keeping a cohesive look without wearing identical clothing.

Posing and Comfort in Front of the Camera

Natural Poses

Discuss with us about natural poses that make you feel comfortable. We will guide you through different poses and help you interact naturally with each other to capture genuine moments.


Engage in activities or interactions that feel natural to you. Laugh, talk, and enjoy each other’s company. The more relaxed you are, the more authentic your photos will be. With us, we cue you to do activities together to make your session feel more natural.

What Not to Do Before Your Engagement Session: Essential Tips to Avoid Common Pitfalls

Now that we've covered what you should do to prepare for your engagement session, let's discuss some crucial "don'ts" to ensure everything goes smoothly.

Don't Experiment with New Hairstyles or Colors

Avoid making drastic changes to your hair right before the session. New cuts or colors might not turn out as expected and can leave you feeling less confident. Stick with a style and color you know and love.

Don't Try New Skincare Products or Treatments

Using new skincare products or treatments right before your session can lead to unexpected reactions, such as breakouts or irritation. Stick to your regular skincare routine to avoid any skin mishaps.

Don't Wear Uncomfortable or Unfamiliar Clothing

While you might want to look your best, avoid wearing brand-new outfits that you haven’t broken in yet. Uncomfortable clothing can make you feel self-conscious and affect how you appear in photos. Wear something that makes you feel comfortable and confident.

Don't Over-Schedule Yourself

Avoid packing your day with too many activities before your session. Being rushed or stressed can negatively impact your mood and energy levels. Give yourself plenty of time to relax and prepare.

Don't Skip Meals

Ensure you eat regular meals before your session. Skipping meals can make you feel lightheaded and tired, affecting your ability to enjoy the session and look your best.

Don't Forget to Hydrate

Stay hydrated in the days leading up to your session. Dehydration can affect your skin’s appearance and your overall energy levels. Drink plenty of water to keep your skin looking fresh and vibrant.

Don't Forget to Communicate with Us

Failing to discuss your ideas, concerns, or preferences with us can lead to misunderstandings. Ensure you have a clear plan and communicate any specific shots or poses you want to include.

Don't Neglect Grooming

Ensure you are well-groomed for the session. For men, this might mean a fresh shave or trim. For women, this could include having your nails done and any other personal grooming tasks you normally perform.

Don't Overdo the Makeup

While you might want to look flawless, avoid applying too much makeup. Heavy makeup can look unnatural in photos. Opt for a natural look that enhances your features without overpowering them.

Don't Forget to Check the Weather

Ignoring the weather forecast can lead to unpleasant surprises. Check the weather ahead of time and plan accordingly, whether that means bringing an umbrella, dressing in layers, or adjusting the session time.

A couple posing for engagement photography in albuquerque

FAQs for Engagement Sessions

How long does an engagement session typically last?

Engagement sessions usually last between 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the location and the number of outfit changes.

What should we wear to our engagement session?

Wear outfits that reflect your personality and are comfortable. Solid colors and coordinating (but not matching) outfits tend to photograph well. Avoid neon colors as these tend to be distracting and can reflect the color of the fabric onto your skin.

Can we bring our pet to the engagement session?

Absolutely! Just let us know in advance so we can plan for some pet-friendly shots.

How many locations can we choose for our session?

This depends on the proximity of the locations and the total time allotted for the session. Discuss this with us to see what’s feasible.

What if the weather is bad on the day of our session?

If weather forces us to reschedule, we will discuss options about another time and date.

Final Thoughts

Planning your engagement session doesn’t have to be stressful. By considering these key factors and working closely with your photographer, you can create beautiful, meaningful photos that capture your love story. Enjoy the process, and let your photos reflect the joy and excitement of this special time in your lives.