Engagement Week // Day 5 // Engagement Shoot Prep // Grand Rapids MI Engagement Photographer

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Engagement Week // Day 5 // Engagement Shoot Prep // Grand Rapids MI Engagement Photographer


July 21, 2016

Hello darlings!

We thought we would wrap up Engagement Week with the ultimate engagement shoot prep guide!

Unless you’re a model by profession, the idea of being in front of the camera for an hour or two may be a bit uncomfortable for you. The good news? If you’re anything like us, preparation and lots of insight into what you can expect goes a long way to shake those nerves. Look at your engagement session like a date night, a chance to get all spruced up and have fun just the two of you!

This guide is here just for you, to make the days leading up to your session, as well as the session as stress free as possible! You’ve got enough going on and this is meant to be a joyous time of planning, anticipation and dreams for your future! We’re here – and this guide is here – to ensure you are able to focus on the things that matter.





Preparing for your engagement session starts a few weeks before your shoot. The better prepared you feel, the more likely you are to relax and simply be present. Tension and stress have a sneaky way of showing up in photos so looking and feeling your best really does matter. Here are a few helpful tips about what you should consider prior to your session:

-Schedule an appointment to have your hair cut and/or colored one to two weeks prior to your session.
-A few days before the shoot, both of you should try on your clothes to make sure that they have a perfect fit.
-Ladies, an engagement shoot is also the perfect time for your wedding make-up trial. Give yourself a couple of hours buffer when scheduling the appointment. This way if anything runs late, you won’t feel stressed or frazzled worrying about time and we won’t miss some potential perfect light.
-The night before your engagement shoot, gather all of your outfits and any props together in one location so that nothing gets forgotten.
-Your engagement session is the perfect excuse for a date night! After your session, have a nice sit down meal at your favorite restaurant, or try a new one! If you’re from out of town, we would love to point to toward some of the local favorites.


Location. Is. Everything. The possibilities are endless and honestly, quite overwhelming. Brainstorm locations that mean something to you as a couple. Places that excite you or take your breath away are a good place to start. But don’t be afraid to keep it simple either. Don’t rule out your favorite neighborhood coffee shop or that antique store you just can’t get enough of. Don’t convince yourself that they aren’t “fancy” enough. They are perfect if they make you happy! We love authenticity.

Start establishing a clear vision for what you want your engagement session to be. Outdoors and woodsy? Modern and urban? Cozy and laid back? Establish that and from there you’ll more easily be able to narrow down into specific location ideas.

Logistics are an important consideration often overlooked. Some locations require photo permits and contracts in order to take professional photographs. Also consider parking options and if there is a private spot for an outfit change or two. If you have multiple locations in mind, plan a route in advance so you’re making the most out of your session time. Once the location and date are picked for your session, work with your photographer to determine what time of day would be best in order to take advantage of the best light possible.



Now that you’ve decided where your engagement shoot will be, it’s time to begin planning what you’ll wear! Let the fun begin.

Go Shopping.

 You are making an investment to have professional pictures taken, you should look your best. Being comfortable is absolutely essential, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get a little glammed up and come as a polished you.

Dress Smart.

Be sure to select pieces that make you feel confident and flatter in all the right places. If you feel good, that will shine through in your beautiful images! We suggest bringing two outfits, but more is always welcome! Bring more than you think, and Kelly will help with whatever styling needs you may have. Try not to match your outfits, but rather coordinate them. We love pastels, and soft pretty patterns…they photograph beautifully!


Compliment each other, but leave the matchy-match outfits at home. Instead, coordinate more subtly by wearing varying hues or shades of the same color. Color coordination brings a balanced, easy feel to your photos. Bonus: it will be even easier to find light that flatters you both if you’re dressing in the same color family!

Color Matters.

Choose colors and patterns that won’t visually fight with your surroundings. Stick to light colors and neutral shades for the base of your outfits. Think blush, cream, soft blues and light gray. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t add in a pop of color! (But you probably will regret wearing bright yellow head-to-toe).

Be On The Same Scale.

On the day of your photo shoot, you should both look like you’re headed to the same place. The easiest way to do this is to wear outfits that match in levels of dressiness or casualness. Guys, if you’re wearing a suit and tie ladies, a timeless a-line dress would be the perfect combo!

Bring A Variety.

Our rule of thumb is always bring more than you think! If you’re debating between outfits, just bring your extra choices with you. Kelly will take a look at everything prior to getting started and make decisions with you. We’ll consider light, location, temperature, and comfort level to help decide.

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Don’t bring lots of heavy items or bulky garment bags that you’ll need to carry or keep an eye on. If those things can stay in your car, or all fit in a small to medium sized manageable duffel bag, that’s best. Here is a list of what you should bring with you to your engagement shoot:

Water bottles

A pack of gum

Small makeup kit for touch ups

Hair brush and hair gel/spray

Small towel or hankie for perspiring faces

Comfortable shoes for walking

Umbrella (for rain or for shade!)

Any meaningful props or heirlooms that you would love to incorporate into your session!




First and foremost, relax and have fun. This is all about being yourselves and enjoying this special time together! Not to worry, Kelly thrives in posing and directing right where you need to be and will be in constant communication all throughout your session, making you feel right at home. We love natural and genuine, and work hard to get those little in-between moments of the two of you!

Tips, Tricks & Ideas

Don’t think of this as a photo shoot – think of it as a date.
Flirt with each other. Flirt with the camera. Even if it feels silly in the moment, these little moments make the sweetest images!
Keep moving! Your hand, your gaze, your smile, your posture… small things like this add variety and keep the session flowing.
Soft kisses on the forehead, laughing, dancing, holding hands, whispers, etc… all breathe life into your photos. Go for it!
Talk sweetly and laugh. These moments are helpful and are exactly what we love to capture.



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