Engagement Session Guide
Montreal Engagement Session
Engagement sessions are a great way to know what it feels like being in front of the camera and to feel comfortable with 'posing'. It's also a good way for us to get to know one another while making beautiful images! I know planning for your engagement session may feel like a daunting process, so I've put together a guide to help you plan out the best engagement session for you lovebirds!
Now I want to make it clear that this is just a guideline and not something that has to be followed step by step. The end goal is to have your engagement session focus on your love, not about the location and what you're wearing. But for the sake of this guideline, let's talk about choosing a location that speaks to you as a couple and some outfits that will make you feel like a rockstar!
Pre/Post Wedding, Engagement & Portrait Session
Choosing a location can be overwhelming. There are lots of options out there, as well as a lot of Pinterest ideas that can make you change your mind a hundred times. The key to narrowing down a location is to pick something that reflects both you and your partner. Picking a location based on your interest is a great place to start. We want you to pick a location where you can feel the most comfortable and relaxed. So if you don't like the beach or the city, then we would avoid choosing locations based on something you've seen on Pinterest or other engagement photos. Other things to think about when choosing a location are:
Do you want an indoor or outdoor location?
Do you want to include an activity you enjoy doing together? Biking, hiking, picnic, drinking coffee or beer, etc
Does your location have a variety? If you're wanting to do both city and nature, make sure to pick a location that can offer both.
If you are still not sure which location you would like to choose, you can also take a look at our Location Guide that we have prepared for you.
If you're choosing a location like a coffee shop or brewery, you might want to double-check if the establishment you've chosen will be okay with you photographing in their shop. Some places have a strict policy and it's best to be prepared. Also, if you have a location like the Montreal Jardin Botanique greenhouse or Laronde for example, be mindful of their hours of operation; we would hate to feel rushed while doing your engagement session.
We love shooting in natural light, and the best time to shoot is during sunset. It gives the most flattering light and provides a romantic setting. Depending on which month you decide to do your session, be sure to check what time the sunsets. Normally we start the sessions 1-2 hours before sunset so we can take some pictures during the golden hour and also a bit of the picture with Montreal's night view, but of course, we'll chat about the exact time and place to meet!
If you've decided on an outdoor location, make sure you come prepared for that specific location. If we're heading out in the woods, you might want to bring bug spray and appropriate shoes. If you're worried about getting your shoes dirty, I would bring an extra pair just in case... bring sneakers or even go barefoot! Another thing to keep in mind is the weather. Dress according to the weather, or at least be prepared for it. Bring jackets, umbrellas, rain boots, etc. Preparing for these elements will help you feel more comfortable and allow you to focus on each other! The more comfortable you are in your environment the more relaxed and authentic your photos with us!!
How much thought are you putting into choosing your engagement photo outfits? Here at Luxury Moment Photography, we often hear the question “What should I wear for my engagement session?” and our answer is always “Something you feel confident in.” Whether it’s as simple as a basic, white t-shirt and jeans (which never go out if style by the way!) or a fancy, velvet dress for her and a suit and tie for him, wearing something you feel great in is not overrated.
On top of that, it’s always a nice touch if your engagement photo outfits echo each other in a way. While couple’s matchy-matchy outfits are thing of the past, I love it when your outfits have common elements, like texture, fabric, style or color palette. Thus, coordinating your wardrobe is one of the main elements for a successful engagement shoot.
We want you to consider a few things first when it comes to choosing your outfits. Ultimately, we want you guys to look like yourselves.
When choosing an outfit for your engagement session, the first thing we want you to consider is "AM I COMFORTABLE"? Our goal during the engagement session is to make you feel comfortable and at ease. If you are wearing something you hate or feeling awkward in, it may translate into the photos. The only thing we want you two to focus on is each other, and it will be hard to do that if you're uncomfortable with what you are wearing. We recommend wearing something you've worn already, for my shooting style relies heavily on getting you two to move around and being relaxed together. So choose something comfortable enough to sit down and run around in.
DRESS FOR THE LOCATION
Choose outfits that make sense for your location and weather conditions. If we are going to be hiking in the mountains, bring shoes that are comfortable and sturdy. If we are shooting in the snow, make sure you bring a warm jacket and shoes that are appropriate. We wouldn't want you to freeze to death for the sake of a shot. The sessions are 1-2 hours long and if you decide to wear a dress in the snow, make sure you are well prepared and have lots of layers. If you are thinking of doing a formal dress in nature, make sure it's something you can easily move around in. We would also stay away from doing heels unless we're in the city!
When it comes to choosing colours for your outfits, we would recommend sticking to neutrals, pastel and earth tones. Neutrals don't just mean, whites, greys, and browns, every colour has a neutral tone which is a muted version of colour with the same hue. The colour swatches below are examples of neutral and earth tones that work really well when selecting your outfits.
When picking a colour, keep your location in mind. Choose hues that match your surroundings, like wearing grey-blue near the ocean, rose pink during sunset or burnt orange during the fall. This is a great way to balance the focus between you and the environment. That being said, if we are in the forest, we would try and stay away from dark green or brown. Instead, choose colours like heather grey, beige or mustard yellow. Complementing your surroundings is great, but we want to make sure you stand out from the scenery.
We also recommend staying away from overly bright, fluorescent and distracting colours. We don't want your outfits stealing the show as we ultimately want the focus to remain on the two of you! Of course, if you are going to do a bright colour make sure that your partner is wearing muted tones and a hue that complements your outfit choice. Now, normally we are a huge fan of black and white, but when it comes to choosing an outfit, make sure there is a good balance between light and dark. For example, don't do a black shirt with black pants; create contrast within your outfits as well as your partner. Additionally, if you've decided on a white top, and your partner decides on a light grey, make sure that the colours are different enough from each other so you don't become one big blob!
When thinking of props it doesn't have to be "I love you signs" or "save the date banners". Props can be as simple as being part of your outfits like a hat or sunglasses. Whatever props you want to bring, make sure it makes sense with your location and outfit choices! Some more ideas for props are food, drinks, motorcycle, camper-vans, campfires, kayaks, paddleboards, blankets, a bouquet of flowers, smoke bombs, and even your household pets!! (Honestly, bring your pets!!!).
* If you are thinking of getting a bouquet for your session, let your florist know the colors of your outfits to complement one another!
A lot of people ask if it is necessary to have their hair and makeup done for the shoot! We definitely think to have your makeup professionally done before a session makes you feel your best and it is also the perfect time for your makeup and hair trial! Most of our clients book their hair and makeup trials before their sessions to get the most out of it. We suggest scheduling your makeup to be done at least 1 hour before the session begins so you aren't late. If you're thinking of doing an up-do for your wedding day, we would request your makeup artist to leave you with a more relaxed looked for your trial. Engagement sessions are more relaxed and up-do's can look overly formal (unless that's exactly what you're looking for). * If you need suggestions for hair and makeup artist, just let me know and we can refer some talented artists your way!
Long flowy dresses are always flattering! They look great as you are walking and as you are standing still. Long dresses give lots of movement to photos and make women look very feminine which is perfect. Dresses can also be dressed down or dressed up, so they work as a casual outfit or as a dressy one. You can also pair your dress with heels or a cute hat. Accessories help add to the outfit and give your photos a little something extra. If dresses really aren’t your thing, we have seen women wear jeans or pants for their engagement photos and those can look great too, but the setting and style have to be just right! Stay true to yourself and wear what is comfortable and what you know you will look amazing in!
For fabrics and colors, we love seeing women in patterns or pops of color. Be mindful of balancing patterns between you and your partner though. If you are going to be wearing a dress with a big floral pattern all over it (which we’d love!), have your partner wear more solid colors to balance everything out. If you want to go with a more timeless look and don’t want to commit to a big patterned and colorful fabric, stick to neutrals, muted tones, or color blocking. Soft blues, pinks, and whites are less distracting and bring attention to your faces rather than your clothing. You can also incorporate different textures and textiles. Cameras can pick up the look of the fabric and details in the clothing which is super fun. Some of my favorite fabrics to photograph are lace, chiffon, thick-weaved sweaters, and silk.
Men should always err on the dressier side for both outfits. Too casual and it might not look good (unless super casual is what you are going for like if the session were in your home). A nice suit, slacks with a patterned button-up, or a sports coat are just a few options. Since these are engagement photos and not wedding photos, most men don’t wear a tie (even in the dressier outfit). Accessories are what really make men stand out in their photos. Pair your outfit with a nice watch, belt, and leather or suede shoes to give it that extra touch, you may even want to add various accessories such as leather backpacks to add some sophistication to the photos!
Stay away from...
Noisy patterns and clothing with logos as they can be distracting and pull focus. Some outfits may look good in person but don’t translate well on camera like super tiny patterns that can warp in images. Also, stay away from wearing all black. You may think black hides all your body's imperfections, but it actually makes it hard to see your figure. You may end up looking like a giant black blob and that’s not what we want for you!
Breaking the Rules
Now that everything is said and done! There is definitely no harm in breaking a few of the rules! Like we mentioned earlier, these are just "GUIDELINES" to help you narrow down your options. We are definitely not a style guru, nor are we claiming to know anything about fashion. These are just some things that we have observed to work well during engagement sessions! At the end of the day, we want these photos to represent who you are as a couple, and if it means wearing bold colors or all black, then we would want you to choose something that will make you feel your best! These photographs are for you and we would want it to represent who you are!
Have at least two looks! We recommend a semi-formal and casual look.
Bring options for your outfits! It's not because I don't trust you to pick something nice, it's always best to have a few options to pull from!
Iron your clothing! Don't let those wrinkles be a distraction.
Moisturize! Summer and Winter days can leave your skin dehydrated, make sure to moisturize those hands and lips for close-ups!
Get your nails done! Make sure your nails are ready for all the close detailed shots.
Clean your engagement ring
Bring your sneaker just in case if we will need to walk around during the photo shoot.
Bring drinks and snacks! Make sure to keep yourself well-fed and hydrated during the session!
Guys - If you're looking to do a formal look and don't have a suit available, look into renting a suit rather than buying!
Avoid logos or branded clothing.
Choose outfits that you can easily move around in.
If you have questions regarding your shoot, feel free to email us Info@luxurymomentphotography.com
Things to Keep in Mind!
TURN AROUND TIME
The turn around time for delivering your engagement sessions are 2-3 weeks.
SAVE THE DATES
If you're thinking of using your engagement photos for your save the date, make sure to let us know. That way, we can schedule your session and have your photos ready before you need to have them sent out.
If you're not using your photos for save the dates or invites but are thinking of making a guest book and/or prints for the wedding. Make sure to allow additional time for, editing, album design, and ordering your book.
As you know, the weather can be very fickle and it's never a guarantee when scheduling. If you're wanting your photos done on a sunny day, we would suggest scheduling them during spring and summer months. Since spring and summer months are right into wedding season, our weekends are very limited and the majority of engagement sessions will be booked during a weekday. Luckily, the sun sets much later during those months and can be scheduled later in the evening.
Since weekends are very limited during wedding season, if a weekend is booked, it would have to be a rain or shine situation. Weekdays are more flexible, so if the weather does not comply, we are able to reschedule for the next available date!
Let's go have some fun!!
Now that we've got all the nitty-gritty details are out of the way, it's time to have fun and enjoy!!! The session will be about feeling confident in front of the camera, easing into the poses, getting to know one another and making some killer photos together!!! Our main goal is to create fun, authentic images that represent you as a couple. The main focus will be on the two of you and your love! Don't let the minors details get to you, for even if you choose a dingy back alley and wear matching neon jumpsuits, we promise we'll make your photos look authentic and make you look AMAZING!! Now let's go shoot!