Preparing for your engagement session

Top Tips & Tricks for Your Engagement Session

Yay! Engagement session time!! Engagement sessions are one of my favorite parts of the wedding planning process and such a perfect time for us to get to know each other before your big day. This is the perfect time to get comfortable in front of the lens and get to know how I work and my style before your wedding. Your engagement sessions will be relaxed and fun! You will be doing lots of kissing and snuggling while I pose you. Most importantly these are photos from such a special time in your lives, as you prepare to become a family. Here are a few of my tips and tricks as you prepare for your engagement session. 

Tip #1 Hair & Makeup:

Wear a bit more makeup than you traditionally would but you also want to look like yourself. I always suggest getting your makeup done by a pro. Most of the time your hair and makeup artist for your wedding day offer a trial run, what a better time to get all dolled up!

Couple inside a green house at Allerton Park and Retreat Center in IL posing for engagement photos.
Couple snuggling inside a glass green house at Allerton Park and Retreat Center.
Girl wearing a white dress sitting in front of her fiancé on steps at the Bloomington Center for Performing Arts in Normal, Illinois.

Tip #2 Nails: 

Make sure to remove old nail polish or get your nails done. You want your nails to look clean and photo ready. You are going to want a closeup of that gorgeous new diamond! 

Close up picture of a girls engagement ring with red nails and a red dress on. She is holding the arm of her fiancé at University of Illinois for photos.
Man kissing fiancé hand with a close up look at her engagement ring for engagement photos.

Tip #3 Props and Accessories: 

Styling your session with props and accessories is always a way to add more “wow factor” to your photos. Bring along a bouquet, flowers, blanket, a bottle of champagne and it’ll bring your personality as a couple to life. I have several pieces of large furniture I am happy to bring for you two to cuddle on. Let’s chat! What is your style? 

Couple cuddling on yellow couch out in the tall grass at Lake of the Woods in Mahomet, Illinois
Couple sitting on blanket looking at each other for engagement photos with Jennifer Council Photography.
Couple sitting on blanket in the grass looking at each other for engagement photos with Jennifer Council Photography.

Tip #4 What to Wear: 

This is the #1 questions I get asked when preparing for engagement sessions. Pick out outfits you feel good in! Look good, feel good! Try to coordinate your outfits but not be too matchy. Engagement sessions are always a great reason to hit the town shopping! 

Two outfits

  • 2 is better than 1! I always suggest one fancy outfit and one casual outfit. Bring accessories to give your outfits more variety like scarves, watches, jackets, chunky jewelry. Two outfits makes for great variety in your photo gallery. 

Fancy Outfits

  • Don’t be afraid to be too fancy! Rent the Runway has fabulous pieces that you can rent and return through the mail without having to spend a fortune for something you’ll never wear again. For the guys, think J Crew. Layer him with a sport coat and make sure he is wearing fitted pants and closed toe shoes for the fancy outfit portion.

Long Dresses

  • Long dresses are incredibly flattering and romantic. They are playful and photograph very feminine and beautiful.

Neutrals

  • Be careful of wearing small busy patterns or heavy logos and signs. You want your outfits to compliment each other. Neutrals and solids photograph elegantly. Don’t be afraid to wear a floral dress you love just coordinate his shirt to be solid so you don’t clash. I love pops of colors to your outfit with fun bracelets, heels etc. 

Be Comfortable

  • BE COMFORTABLE! Above all I want you to be comfortable and feel great about yourself! Wear things that don’t make you self conscious and have fun with it! Be yourself and express who you are as a couple.
Couple posing for engagement photos at the Lilly House. The girl is wearing a long red dress and the man is wearing a light grey suite.
Man lifting girl in red dress posing for engagement photos at the Lilly House at the Indianapolis Museum of Art in Indy.
Couple smiling looking at each other dressed up standing outside in the fall colors.
Couple posing for engagement photos at Coxhall Gardens in Carmel, IN.
Couple posing for engagement photos on the stairs at Coxhall Gardens. The young girl is sitting in front of the guy and he has tattoos on his arm.
Girl on her fiancé back laughing at each other posing for engagement photos with a wedding photographer.
Guy giving his fiancé a piggy back ride and they are both smiling at the camera for their engagement photos. Photo is outside in the tall grass in Normal, Illinois.

Tip # 5 Fur Babies: 

You are more than welcome to bring your dogs. I love having pets included and look forward to playing with them! My husband and I included our pets in our engagement session. Here are a few tips for a successful session with pets.

  1. Bring a pet handler. This is a must! Bring a friend or family member who can help with your pet and then take them home when we are done adding them to the photos. 
  2. Bring their favorite snacks. This helps me get the dog to look in my direction. 
  3. Make sure the engagement session location is dog friendly. 
  4. Bring a pretty leash like leather or a neutral color. I can not tell you how many times I have had to Photoshop out a neon pink leash. 
Dog laying between owners looking at the camera. The dog is being included in engagement photos.
Couple sitting on blanket looking at each other for engagement photos with Jennifer Council Photography.
Dog looking at camera between young couple who are kneeling down for engagement photos at Coxhall Gardens.
Dog looking at camera between young couple who are sitting down in the grass for engagement photos at Coxhall Gardens in front of a red barn.
Dog looking at camera between young couple who are standing slightly behind the dog cuddling for engagement photos at Coxhall Gardens in front of the sunset and a black fence.
Dog looking at camera between young couple who are standing facing away from camera with dog over their shoulders for engagement photos at Coxhall Gardens in front of the sunset and a black iron fence.

Tip # 6 Time and Location: 

Time: Engagement sessions typically begin about 2 hours before sunset so that we can capture that soft, glow in the evening light. I love sunset photos! 

Location: Do you have a location that is special or sentimental to you? We will touch base before your session and either meet at a location that is unique to you or below are a few locations in the greater Indianapolis area I love.  

  1. IMA Indianapolis Museum of Art (There is a $50 photo pass)
  2. The Cake Bake Shop
  3. River Walk 
  4. Coxhall Gardens Carmel 
  5. Broadripple 
  6. Downtown Indianapolis 
Colts football training coach Spencer, posing for engagement photos with fiancé at Coxhall Gardens in Carmel, IN
Colts football training coach Spencer, posing for engagement photos with fiancé at Coxhall Gardens in Carmel, IN

Tip #7 Plans for after:

Make a Dinner Reservation for after the session. All dressed up, mine as well go have a nice dinner together! This always gives the guys something to look forward to and finishes off the evening with a night out while your hair and makeup are looking on point! 

Couple sitting on a blanket outside at the IMA in Indianapolis with fall leaves posing for engagement photos with champagne flutes toasting.
Couple sitting on a blanket outside at the IMA in Indianapolis with fall leaves posing for engagement photos with champagne flutes toasting.

There will be lots of kissing, cuddling and interacting during your engagement sessions, I encourage it!! The more kissing, flirting and touching the better! If you are feeling nervous or shy it typically only takes about 20 minutes in the beginning before you feel warmed up to the camera. Dance around together, make out, whisper in her ear. The more playful the better. I can not wait to get to know you and your fiancé! To view more engagement sessions head over here