Below is an excerpt from our packed engagement session style guide which we send out to all our brides and grooms and our engaged couples.
We truly believe that an engagement photo session is a must-do and should definitely be on top of your pre-wedding to-do list. It gives you the chance to get comfortable in front of the camera as a couple before you get married and without the restrictions of a wedding day. Many wedding photographers today even include a complimentary engagement session in their packages.
This is a huge deal because an engagement session gives you confidence on your actual wedding day and makes the overall flow so much more smooth and comfortable.
You are only engaged once in your lifetime. Shouldn’t you enjoy this time to the fullest and wouldn’t it be nice to create some stunning memories? Since most couples have never been photographed professionally before, many questions come up prior to the shoot.
What location should you choose? What time offers the best lighting? And of course, what to wear to your session? The last one is probably the most difficult question since the options are endless. We don’t consider ourselves stylists or fashion experts, but we still want to share a couple tips and tricks that looked best on camera in our past engagement sessions.
Tip: Since you will already be all dressed up, why not take advantage of it? Finish your date with a romantic dinner or brunch afterwards.
Your engagement session is supposed to be fun! It might be a first for you, so think of it more as a date. Try to figure out a time where you both aren’t stressed out from work and definitely don’t try to squeeze it in between two meetings!
Weekends are usually the prime days for wedding photographers and blocked in advance for bigger events. Think about your mid-week availability or maybe even consider taking a day off. An engagement session during the week will also limit the number of tourist groups in the background.
We usually recommend to start a session about 2 hours before sunset to capture the dreamy light at golden hour. However, depending on the location and the lighting conditions this can be adjusted.
For most of our couples it’s the first time to be in front of a camera and it’s completely normal to feel nervous and insecure. Even though the location of your engagement session is totally up to you, we always make sure that the majority of the locations we suggest are intimate and further away from touristy spots.
When choosing the right engagement location for you, ask yourself what vibe you would like for your session and finally in your photographs. We know, there are so many great options around Charleston and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Check out some of our favorite engagement photo session locations in and around Charleston
Tip: You can’t decide or you are still unsure? Just bring a second/ third outfit to your engagement session!
Here we go. The question of all questions: What should you wear for your engagement session? In general we suggest to dress it up.
Do you have that one statement piece in your closet that’s just waiting for the right moment to wear? Maybe you bought this rocking dress, tulle skirt or flower crown but just never had an occasion to wear it? Your engagement session is the chance! There is no such thing as “too dressed up” when it comes to your engagement photographs, so don’t be afraid to have some fun and to wear something extraordinary!
In our experience, long, flowery dresses and skirts look amazing on camera because they bring extra movement to the photos — especially with the dreamy backdrop of a golden beach or a dock in the middle of wild marsh. Cute, shorter-length dresses photograph beautifully as well and really flatter the female body.
If a dress doesn’t sound like you and your family and friends wouldn't recognize you on your save the dates, no worries! There is nothing wrong with a casual jumpsuit, cute shorts or a pair of jeans combined with a plain white T-shirt. In our experience, we capture the most authentic images when you feel comfortable and confident.
As you’re coordinating your outfit with your fiancé’s, keep in mind that your outfits will look most cohesive on camera when the color palettes coordinate, but don’t necessarily “match.” You should each aim to wear a different dominant color, but stay within a similar color palette family.
Think about the details. Want your engagement photographs to look more editorial? Include a little extra something to the shoot! A flower bouquet, a statement piece necklace or props like a bicycle, tree swing or picnic basket. This is an easy way to add an extra spark to your photographs.
Professional hair and makeup should be on top of your engagement session checklists. We assure you it will give you an extra boost of confidence in front of the camera. If your wedding professional includes a hair and makeup trial, why not just combine it with your engagement session?
Tip: Don’t forget, your ring will be a focus detail! Consider to give your nails a treatment, too!
Tip: Long pants and closed-toed shoes are the most sophisticated looks for men. For your engagement session, leave the shorts and sandals at home.
Let’s talk about about the guys. Men in general have it easier when it comes to fashion. There is no exception when selecting the perfect engagement session outfit. Just two words. Suit up!
You can’t really go wrong with a well-fitting suit. A tailored suit gives you immediately that classic & timeless look. Solid shades of gray or navy are a strong complement to most women’s outfits. A black suit should be well aligned with your better half (black tie theme), since it goes towards a very elegant, almost luxurious vibe.
Be careful with patterns as pinstripes or plaid patterns since they tend to distract the eye and are usually more difficult to align.
A suit just isn’t you? Rather think about a more casual combination? Mix a jacket or sport coat with a different pant color (chinos or jeans). Adding another layer underneath, such as a v-neck sweater with a pop of color or a button shirt will bring extra dimension and add visual interest.
Ties, bowties, pocket squares, colored socks, suspenders, and watches (maybe a pocket watch) are the perfect complements to any engagement session outfit. We personally prefer classic men’s watches over a smart watch.
This being said we’ll give you the same advice as with the ladies earlier. Chose what makes you feel comfortable and confident. If you as a couple are just the sporty type and this is what you want to go with - then that’s it!
There really are no do’s or don’ts when it comes to express your personalities and love in your engagement photographs. We highly encourage you to make it your own.
After you’ve booked your engagement session or wedding package with us, you’ll receive our full digital engagement session guide with even more tips and tricks for your engagement session. Ready to book? We hope to see you soon!
1. Think about your style and vibe
2. Set date, time and location
3. Schedule hair & makeup appointments
4. Get your nails done
5. Choose your outfits
6. Clean your ring
7. Pack a bag with:
□ Flats for walking between locations
□ Second/ third outfit
□ Touch-up makeup
□ Water bottle (for warmer sessions)
□ Coat or cover-up (for colder sessions)
□ Pick a fun post-session date spot (restaurant, theatre, etc.)
We hope to see you soon
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