Preparing For Your Engagement Photo Shoot | Sarah Kane Photography

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It's time to start preparing for your engagement session and you are stressing out about where to go and what to wear. STOP!!!  There is no need to worry! The engagement session is supposed to be fun.  One of the many journeys you've taken in life is coming to an end as you move onto a bigger journey as husband and wife.  Engagement photos are a nice way of closing that chapter.


The engagement session is also a good time for you to get to know your photographer.  It's natural to be a nervous in front of the camera and you may even feel a bit awkward at first.  Don't worry if you don't know what to do, most people don't, your photographer is there to guide you into poses that look and feel natural. After 20 minutes or so you will be rock stars. I promise!!


Here are a few tips for a successful engagement session. These are only suggestions and not requirements. It's important that you and your fiancé are comfortable and that your clothing, location, and poses reflect who you are as a couple. Let's get to it!

What should you wear? 

Typically couples have two outfits. One casual and the other a bit more fancy. This will give your shoot two totally different “looks”.  I recommend beginning with the dressy outfit first!  Wear something you are comfortable in. Don't choose something you wouldn't normally wear. 

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Coordinate colors, but try not to be too "matchy".  Don't wear the exact same colors as each other. If one person is wearing a red top the other should not.  Think about where you will be displaying pictures in your home.  Let your home decor influence your color choices.

Patterns are ok, but only one person should wear them. Try to stay away from each couple wearing a patterned shirt or pants.  It can look too busy.

Don't be afraid to accessorize and dress in layers.  Ladies think, scarves, bold jewelry, bright colored shoes.  Men, collared shirts under sweaters, blazers, and suspenders are always fun! Stay away from clothing with large logos or shirts with print.

Make sure your clothes fit well.  Avoid really baggy or bulky tops. They can make you look larger on camera.  Make sure to check the front and back of your outfit. You don't want any bra straps or underwear sneaking into pictures! View some of my favorites here

Ladies bring along a pair of comfortable shoes to walk in!

EMPTY your pockets. You don't want any phones, keys or wallets showing through your pants!


If you are having your hair and makeup professionally done for the wedding consider having your trial session for the engagement shoot.  Load up on the anti-frizz serums.  You don't want too many fly away hairs that will show up in the pictures.  A few can be removed post processing, but too many can be tricky. Don't overdo it though, you don't want to look greasy! 

Don't forget about your nails. They don't have to be perfectly manicured, but they should be well groomed. 

ring shots | Sarah Kane Photography

The Ring

Make sure your ring is clean and shiny. It will be photographed up close and you really want it to sparkle!


This is the most exciting part! Don't be afraid to get creative. Your location should represent you and your fiancé as a couple.  Start by looking at how you met.  Can you incorporate that into a shoot?  Make a list of all the things you like to do together.  Don't leave anything off the list no matter how big or small.  

Consider having a themed engagement. Share your list with your photographer and see what ideas she/he has.  Do you have a favorite movie together? Tv Show? You don't have to recreate it exactly, but let it inspire you. (my top 5 favorite themed engagement shoots)

Do you have a favorite activity together, something you both enjoy? You will be more relaxed and comfortable which will allow for natural candid shots.  Do you go out for coffee together, wine or beer. Consider having the shoot at your favorite coffee shop, winery or pub.

Location ideas

Ocean, lake, river, mountains, barns, berry farm, carnivals, pumpkin patch, apple orchard, local parks, plantations, botanical gardens, open fields, tall grass, city, allies, train station, forest, abandon buildings (be save stay outside) (View more location ideas in the Richmond are here).

Suggested Activities

Picnic Engagement | Sarah Kane Photography

Apple/berry picking, pumpkin patch, fishing, bowling, flying kites, roller skating, picnics, cooking, baking, sports, biking, playing chess or your favorite board game, jogging, hiking.

Bring props! They are fun and will make your shoot creative and unique. Richmonders check out Paisely & Jade for some really cool prop rentals! 

Ideas for props

Balloons, baskets filled with flowers, signs, banners, picnics, blankets, scrabble pieces, Vintage bikes, musical instruments, holiday ornaments, confetti, rose pedals, bubbles, hot chocolate with marshmallows, flags, vintage furniture, suitcases, cars.

Lighting is everything! 

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Be on time! The best time to shoot is 2 hours after sunset and 2 hours before.  You don't want to miss the good light! When the light is gone our session is over! 

Stay out of the sun

The last thing you want is to have lobster skin for your photo shoot, so make sure you wear sunscreen and protect yourself from sunburn.  A  little color is ok, but don't overdo it with tanning!  Too much of a tan is not flattering in photographs and you definitely don't want any tan lines to show.

Most Important

Be yourself and have fun! Don't be afraid to get your photographer involved in the planning process. Pinterest is a great resource for ideas. View some of my favorites here!