What to expect - Engagement Session

Hi friends! You probably saw the post about what to wear to your engagement session already... (if not, click here)...but I'm sure you still have questions. After all, planning for such an important session takes time, thought and effort. It also takes cooperation. 

Today, I'm answering some frequently asked questions and I'll be sneaking in a few tips along the way. I'd love to hear your own tips, advice or suggestions if you've already had your engagement session. What made it awesome? What could have been better. What do you WISH you had known?

charlotte wedding photographer engagement session


Where should we go? What type of location should we chose? 

I hear this one the most often. And not from my clients. I see it posted online EVERY single day.  A recently engaged woman posts in a Facebook group that she's engaged and she's got her photographer. Now all she needs is a location for her engagement session. What does everyone recommend?

Let me tell you why this doesn't work. 

Because those people don't know you. They don't know all the ins and outs of what places charge venue fees or require permits. They don't know what you and your fiance like, what your hobbies are, what you do in your spare time. So why would you go to strangers for that advice? Your photographer should be helping you narrow that down.

Each one of my engaged clients receives a questionnaire that gets them thinking about who they are as a couple. I ask each one to describe the other. I ask them to list their favorite activities, to choose some character traits from a list, if any locations are significant to them. We build each session based on the aesthetic the client wants or something that is meaningful to them. None of this is random folks.  This questionnaire is the beginning of planning your session...down to which season is right for you.

{Take a look at Elizabeth and David below. You might think, oh...they are just in a park. But no. On the contrary. They are in the park like median in front of their BRAND NEW HOUSE that they just purchased together. This space will always have significance to them. They will see it every day.}

charlotte wedding photographer engagement session

Question Number 2.

How long does the session last? 

In all honesty, every session is different and I like to feed off the vibe of my couple. If they are having a blast and enjoying being in front of the camera, we can easily shoot for a full two hours. Besides, I encourage an outfit change, and that takes time. But sometimes a couple is a bit camera shy and doesn't desire as much attention. I can tell...and will often let the session come to a close after an hour or so. There is no real set time. 

Engagement sessions almost always last an hour, and truth be told, that's all the time we need to get you a full gallery full of beautiful images. But if we want to switch locations, change outfits or just want a larger variety, we can shoot for up to two hours. So if you're planning your evening around your session, I'd allot for two hours. However, there is a chance you'll have too much fun and we'll end up on a rooftop somewhere popping bubbly like the case of Rebecca and Carl's SUPER fun engagement session.

charlotte wedding photographer engagement session

Question Number 3.

Should we bring any props?

This is TOTALLY your call! I am all about incorporating things into your session. I even have a gorgeous little picnic basket number I can bring along for a small additional fee. (I hate to charge, but handwashing this stuff is time consuming. You get it, I'm sure.) Bring even more than you think we might use if you want. Just let me know ahead of time and I'll ensure to bring someone along to drag all our stuff. My husband is great for this!

What type of items should we bring?

Again, totally up to you, but here's a list of some things I've seen and LOVE:

  • Ampersand (&) Sign or a Sign with your Initials
  • Chalkboard with your date
  • Champagne
  • Bouquet of flowers
  • Blanket to sit on
  • Picnic Basket
  • Pets (yes ya'll...bring those pets with you!! I've even photographed a session with pet rats!)
  • Car
  • Football

Question Number 4.

My significant other isn't really into it. I don't know if we'll be able to get their true personality to show. What do you suggest?

Leave that completely up to me!! I do recommend prepping them...as in, "babe, we are getting engagement photos done on Friday...make sure you're ready" but don't worry so much if they aren't the PDA type or don't like to smile at cameras or are shy in general. My job is to bring the YOU out of you. And that goes for both of you. 

We'll do little things to get you moving and interacting. I give you prompts...silly things to say and do with each other. I promise that those smiles you see are all real. We'll spend a lot of time letting you just love on one another, as romance photographs so well! Don't be surprised if you are asked to do something crazy and completely out of your norm. Just go with it. Some of my client's favorite photos have been the ones where they really wanted to second guess my directions, but didn't. Trust your photographer folks. We'll get you there.

charlotte wedding photographer engagement session
charlotte wedding photographer engagement session

Question Number 5.

When will I receive my images? And how? How many will I get?

While I can't speak for other photographers, my clients can expect to receive their final gallery of images two weeks from the date of their session. I love engagement sessions though. I get pumped about them. I've even been known to have galleries delivered within a couple days. You can rest easy knowing that you will definitely receive your full gallery within two weeks though. So if you need to order products for wedding day, just be sure to schedule your engagement session one month (or more) prior to your wedding day.

All my couples receive their engagement photos through a digital, online gallery. This shareable gallery allows them to download their high resolution photos and share any that they'd like on major social media platforms. Not only that, but it comes with two MAJOR perks.

1. Access to my professional printing lab. Anything from a 4x6 on up to something to cover your walls can be ordered directly from your gallery. These prints are of the most amazing quality...nothing like you can find at Walmart or Costco. The public doesn't have access to this lab, so I highly recommend it for anything you plan on putting on display.

2. Cloud storage. That's right. Your gallery is hosted for 10 years. So no matter what happens to your photos in that time frame, you can rest easy knowing all you have to do is log back in to your online gallery and download them again on a new device. No more losing photos!!

Ever couple is different and so is their engagement session, so the number of images you can expect will vary. However, I strive to deliver a full gallery of different scenes, poses, activities and emotions. Most of my clients receive about 70 images in their engagement gallery. I imagine that's more than enough to cover your walls. ;)

charlotte wedding photographer engagement session
charlotte wedding photographer engagement session