Thank you so much for booking an engagement session. Chances are strong you’ve already heard me rave about why they’re so impactful but just in case you forgot – an engagement session is a great time for you to get a sense of how I work as a photographer. It’s also a fantastic way for you and your love to practice being in front of the camera and learn to trust the process. And when it’s all said and done, you will have fantastic images to remember the time before the madness ensued.

The following is simply a loose guide to help you make some choices about your day – if you need more help, please don’t hesitate to ask. I am here for you. I am team you!

CHOOSING A LOCATION

This one is important. We live in an area that is full of inspiring places to be photographed but the most important detail to focus on is that a location should reflect you and your person. Do you hate museums? Cool, we won’t go to one. Super into coffee? Maybe we hit a coffeeshop. Love ice cream? Let’s grab a cone! Think about what’s important to you and let that guide your decision. I can happily suggest locations for you, but the more personal it is – the more reflective it is of your life.

Keep in mind that most of the DC landmarks will be FULL of tourists who may be in the backgrounds of your photos. Also, some locations require shooting permits or don’t allow photography at all so do your Googles!

WHAT TIME

This is SO, SO, SO important! Did I say it was important? It’s so important. I want your photos to be magical. Effervescent. Bonus if you break into an ugly cry when you view them – I want that for you. In order to help us get to that place, we are at the sun’s mercy. This means that outdoor sessions need to happen in those first magical hours of the day before the sun comes fully out to play or at the end of the day before it goes to bed. For these reasons, it is also vital that you show up on time and ready to go. Arriving late means the late changes which means your session is impacted etc.

WHAT TO WEAR

This is a fantastic time to wear something fancy. This is not an ideal time to wear something that constantly needs to be adjusted or makes you feel overly self-conscious. It’s been said when you look good, you feel good and it is so absolutely true. If you’re unsure about an outfit – TEXT IT TO ME. I am wildly decisive when it comes to fashion and will happily help you make a decision.

You want to look complimentary and not matchy-matchy, unless the latter is an intentional choice which I am absolutely okay with. We generally allow for an outfit during an engagement session so most couples opt for a fancy outfit and a casual outfit but there aren’t any rules – do the thing that feels good to you.

For women – something with movement is always lovely (think maxi skirts and dresses), a denim jacket or a light blazer is also always great because they can be removed and make your photos look slightly different without much effort on your part. Love your legs? Wear a miniskirt. Love your arms? Tank top it is. Feel free to wear heels but bring a pair of flip-flops or something that you can walk in, in case we have to move around. You can absolutely wear flats or sneakers if that’s your aesthetic.

If you have long hair, I always ask that you bring a brush and a ponytail holder to put your hair up at some point – if you’re not a ponytail person – just let me know. Earrings and silk scarves are also great additions and easy changes to make to an outfit that can change the feel of your session but take very little time to execute.

For men – button-down shirts always look fantastic. Preferably something with a sleeve that can be rolled up and adjusted. Denim jackets and light blazers are also great for men. If you’re wearing a tie – keep your shirt fairly neutral (think solid color or a SIMPLE stripe) and bring a tie or two (this is GREAT time for men to pattern mix – simple striped shirt and floral tie? YES!) that we can throw into the mix. These are best paired with clean front chinos or dark wash denim. Do you love sneakers? Put on your flyest pair. Love a classic pair of Vans? Go for it. Whatever shoe you choose – make sure it’s clean. This is a great time for you to pull out that weird, patterned pair of socks you got for Christmas, cuff your pants and show them off. The rules? There really aren’t any.

Here are links to some of my boards on Pinterest that might inspire you
engagment outfit ideas, sharp dressed man, dressing the part/skirting the issue

Oh, By The Way

Also, I love hands and encourage you and your person to get a manicure before your session (yes, even men can get manicures!) – if you’re getting polish, it’s best to keep the color fairly neutral (white, soft pink, khaki). If you have time and remember – try to clean your ring off so that it is its absolute shiniest, best self.

Props

I don’t typically bring any along to my sessions but you can bring a few (don’t overburden yourself trying to do all of the things!). Some ideas? A bouquet of your favorite flowers, bubbles, balloons – this is really a call back to making the session about you and your person. Do you guys LOVE to be play Scrabble together? Bring it, we’ll fake a game. The little details will make your session that much more personal and be that much more interesting.

That’s it. Are you ready? I can’t wait to get you in front of the camera. I promise you that we will have a good time. Questions? Email me at hello@carlettagphoto.com