Getting the Most Out of Your Engagement Session

Its spring and for me that means lots and lots of engagement sessions on the Eastern Shore of Maryland! I love doing them for so many reasons. I think it gives the couples and the wedding or portrait photographer a chance to work learn how to work together and get in sync before the big day. I have found that couples are less stressed about how to pose and what to do with their hands etc. if they have done an engagement shoot as opposed to not having done one prior to the wedding day. There are other advantages as well. As I was thinking about this on my way to an engagement session at Assateague Island near Ocean City just yesterday, I decided I should share some of the knowledge I have gained over the past 11 years of doing wedding and portrait photography.

Assateague Island, Berlin engagement session.

Assateague Island, Berlin engagement session.

Here are a few ways I believe you can maximize your engagement session experience.

  1. Do a hair and makeup trial.

    By doing a makeup and or hair trial on the day of your scheduled shoot, you can see if you and your makeup/ hair artist’s personalities jive. While wedding photographers are with you for most of your day, makeup and hair artists are with you for at least a few hours at the start of the day so make sure you get along well with them.

    Another reason for this is to test your makeup to see if you will like it on your wedding day. It is much better to discover that you don’t care for the look before one of the most important days of your life. Sometimes you may like your makeup until you see it in the photos so if at all possible, schedule your makeup trial for the same day as your Ocean City photo shoot.

    Most makeup and hair artists will give good deals for trials so if you plan to hire a muah for your wedding, take the opportunity to schedule a trial before your engagement shoot. Ask your wedding photographer for recommendations for makeup artists in Ocean City and surrounding areas. Many times they have worked with them quite a bit in the past and can guide in a good direction.

A bride gets ready for her wedding day at Atlantic Sands in Rehoboth, De

A bride gets ready for her wedding day at Atlantic Sands in Rehoboth, De

2. Image Research

Prior to your session, do some research on Google images, Pinterest and Instagram by searching Engagement Photography. While your at it, make and share your Pinterest board with your photographer. This allows you both to be on the same page as far as the type of photos you are hoping to capture. You should have a good idea of the style of photography to expect from your wedding or portrait photographer, however they may offer a range of specialties. For instance, I will do multiple poses and lifestyle type imagery during a single portrait session or wedding. But, if I know the bride is looking for more lifestyle than anything else, I will shoot that style more heavily. You will likely also get ideas for locations and outfits by doing this research.

3. Select a Location Special to You

Lewes Engagement Session at Sunset.

Lewes Engagement Session at Sunset.

Where did you you and your fiance get engaged? Where do you like to like to hang out the most? If your answer is the Ocean City boardwalk or lounging on the beaches of Assateague, move those places to the top of your list of possible places to do your engagement shoot. Take this time to make it all about the two of you and really personalize your photos. Even if you think this location is not the most photogenic, mention it to your wedding photographer. If they are very experienced and have mad lighting skills, it is incredible what they can produce from an otherwise unexciting backdrop. Many times I will suggest starting at that personal spot, grabbing a few shots and then go to an entirely different location. This may mean going over an hour, but I do whatever it takes to get you the most amazing photos that you will treasure for a lifetime. There area many other photographers who are as passionate about what they do as I am and feel the same way so don’t think it is off the table before broaching the question.

4. Bring Props

Dog licking an icecream cone during a couple’s engagement session in downtown Berlin.

Dog licking an icecream cone during a couple’s engagement session in downtown Berlin.

Engagement Session with puppy and sign prop at Smokey Hollow near Ocean City, Md.

Engagement Session with puppy and sign prop at Smokey Hollow near Ocean City, Md.

Farmhouse signs, a cozy blanket, even your furry friend!

5. Consider Doing a Themed Shoot!

Gym themed engagement session with wedding date on weights.

Gym themed engagement session with wedding date on weights.

What are some things that remind you of your fiance and what you enjoy doing together? Engagment sessions don’t have to all be the same . Personalize it by doing a themed shoot. Do you like to camp? How about doing a session in the woods in a tent or with a vintage camper surrounded by string lights? If you have the idea, I will bring your vision to life! Themed sessions are so fun and really highlight what it is that you both enjoy doing together.

Baywood Greens Golf Course Engagement Shoot near Ocean City, Md

Baywood Greens Golf Course Engagement Shoot near Ocean City, Md

Assateague National Park engagement session.

Assateague National Park engagement session.