Five Engagement Session Planning Steps

Milwaukee Coffee Shop Engagement Photos

Now that you have decided to book an engagement session with Grace Creatives, you might be wondering where to start with the planning process. I am here to help! These five steps to consider when planning are designed to help you prepare and make decisions regarding location, timing, outfits and more.

ONE - Choose the season you would like to be photographed during

Often times, a couple will determine the season they want to be photographed during based on their answers to the following questions:

  • Do you plan on using a photo for your save-the-date cards? If so, you should plan on documenting your engagement session no later than 6 months prior to your wedding day. 
  • What season will your wedding take place during? Would you like the photos to match your wedding day or do you prefer a little more variety and a different setting?
  • What is your favorite season?
  • Are you more comfortable wearing short sleeves or a sweater? Prefer the former: schedule during spring/summer. However, if you prefer the latter, then I would consider a late fall or winter session!
Summer Engagement Session

TWO - Determine the location(s)

Is there a place that holds significant meaning to your relationship? Any fun spots you’ve been wanting to visit? What about a hobby or activity you love doing together? Downtown or in the middle of a field? On the beach or at your favorite ice cream shop? These are several things to consider when choosing a location for your engagement session. 

Do you have more than one location/idea in mind? As long as the two locations are within a 15-minute drive from each other, then I am more than happy to move from one location to another during your session. 

Milwaukee has a large metro area and there are so many locations to consider based on distance and scenery. If you need ideas, here’s a list for you to review:

Milwaukee Tree Farm Engagement Photos

THREE - Narrow down a date and time

Once a couple has decided on the season and location, then we can narrow down dates and a time for the session. I am most flexible during weekdays/weeknights, but I know this isn’t always feasible for couples, and most prefer weekend dates. That being said, during the summer/fall I work most Saturdays shooting weddings. Therefore, if you prefer a weekend time, Friday evenings and Sundays work best! 

Grace Creatives engagement sessions typically last around one hour with 1-2 outfit changes. The best time to capture portraits is within a 2 hour window right after sunrise or just before sunset. Most people prefer sunset, but I am happy to schedule either time!

Send me a few dates that work for you and we can get something on the calendar.

Downtown Tosa Fall Engagement

FOUR - Plan your outfits

Think about 1-2 outfits that you would like to wear during the engagement session. Oftentimes, couples will choose to bring one casual outfit (think jeans, t-shirts, sandals, shorts, and etc.) and one dressy outfit (dresses, button-downs, high heels, and etc.). 

If you are struggling with deciding what to wear, follow these 5 principles: 

  1.  Coordinate colors – Don’t match completely. When choosing which colors to coordinate, stay within the same color family and choose different shades of colors. No need to match identically to your partner.
  2. Neutral colors work best – Avoid bold or super trendy colors. I want to be able to photograph you, your partner, and what makes you unique. Bold, bright, and fluorescent colors can sometimes fit your personality but can also be distracting. I would advise you to choose neutral colors for the main outfits. Then, if you want to add a pop of color, you can include it via jewelry, accessories, or smaller-sized clothing (ex: scarf or shawl). For fall and winter, jewel and earth tones look really pretty as pops of color. For spring and summer, yellows and pinks pair well with the surrounding foliage. 
  3. Avoid busy and large patterns – Rather, choose to layer with textures. Large patterns stick out (ex: giant repeating flowers). Therefore, choose to slightly layer with textures such as lace, knits, stitching, and different types of materials (jean, leather, corduroy, khaki, suede). 
  4. Wear something true-to-self. Show up wearing something comfortable and something that I would typically see you wearing out (ex: a Saturday date night or Sunday morning at church). Also, please note if your engagement session is outside during late fall/winter, then I would advise you to wear warm layers!

Lastly, don’t forget to wear your engagement ring! Bonus points if you remember to clean your ring and/or get your nails done. 

Still need some inspiration? Here is my Pinterest board with a variety of outfit ideas:

Boerner Botanical Engagement

FIVE - Have fun!

I am so excited to chat with you during our engagement session and see your personality shine! Let Alison know your favorite radio station or music artist to play music during your session! Also, why not plan a date night or fun activity to attend immediately after? You’re already dressed up…why not go out to dinner or grab some fun drinks!