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MYself AND my associate Dale ARE THE HEARTS BEHIND Sarah Renee Studios.

Together, we capture one-of-a-kind love stories in a one-of-a-kind way. Through engagement photography and wedding photography, our goal is to capture adventurous hearts in a meaningful, lasting ways.

So, hey! I'm Sarah.

8 Tips to Nail Your Engagement Session

As you know here in the Northeast part of the United States the fall weather means EVERYONE is ready to capture the gorgeousness of the fall foliage and with that means an influx in Engagement photos. So today I am going over a few tips to help you NAIL your engagement photos. So, let’s dive right in…

1. Wear something you’re comfortable in.

So this might seem like a no-brainer and something that you have likely heard time and time again, but in my opinion, this is seriously one of the most important pieces of advice I can give. If you choose an outfit that is too tight, too low cut, too short or clingy, you’ll spend your whole session worrying about it and constantly picking at it. Then the flip side of that is, if you choose something you’ve never worn before or even tried on, you may worry about how you look in it or may find out it’s very uncomfortable, which I can guarantee you will come across in your photos. So, what is a girl to do?

What do we suggest?

I highly suggest choosing outfits that make you feel like the most amazing version of yourself. If you opt for a new piece, I recommend you do a test run of it first to make sure you 100% adore the way it makes you feel. Queue… date night! Also, make sure you give yourself plenty of time after your trial run to run it through the laundry at least once to ensure it’s still the perfect fit. The last tip is about the look of your outfits. As much as you consider how your engagement outfits make you feel, think also about how they’ll photograph during your session. For the ladies, we recommend choosing pieces that flow nicely as you move, especially if you’re doing your photos outdoors. Having pieces that allow for movement will bring a whole other dimension to your photos.

2. Steam or iron your outfits ahead of time!

This is an important one, be sure to de-wrinkle your clothes before your session. I won’t lie… A photographer’s least favorite question is “can you just Photoshop that out later?”, the answer is typically a yes we can but do we want to, probably not. And oftentimes having things like wrinkles retouched in your photos comes at an additional cost per image and saves your photographer a lot of stress and headache… Also, ensuring there is no additional delay in your photos since they won’t have to spend all that extra time fixing an issue that could have been avoided. Save yourself the stress and get wrinkle-free ahead of time!

3. Consider professional hair and makeup for your shoot.

So, this is a step that a lot of engaged couples miss out on and then regret it later. However, if you feel confident in your hair and makeup skills, you can skip on down to the next tip! Also, if you’ve never done makeup for photos or you aren’t sure what to do with your hair, you may want to hit up the salon before your engagement shoot. Many makeup artists are very knowledgeable on what is needed to achieve picture-perfect photos and it can be a little different than what you would do for your everyday makeup. Which is why we recommend a trained professional.

Photos require slightly more saturated makeup than your every-day look so that you don’t become washed out. Haven’t done your hair and makeup consultation with your wedding day stylist yet? It can be a smart move to schedule that consult the morning before your session to knock out two birds with one makeup brush! (P.S. We have several Bomb Hair and Makeup Artist if you need a recommendation!)

4. Make a full day out of it.

You’re already getting pampered and going to be having a blast with your significant other, so why not start and keep the day going and make it a full-on date day!? Not only does this give you plenty of time for photos without feeling rushed, but starting your day in this mindset helps you feel connected and romantic as you head into the photoshoot. Start your day with a boozy brunch (well maybe not too boozy, lol) or coffee at your favorite spot and invite your photographer to meet you there to grab a few shots before changing locations.

5. Location. Location. Location

So, it’s a common misconception that your engagement photos must be in your local park. The location for your session is EVERYTHING! It’s what is going to take your session from being another plain old engagement photoshoot to YOUR engagement photoshoot! So before heading to your neighborhood park for engagement photos, think about what you absolutely love as a couple and what places connect with the two of you. For instance, if you get giddy over making coffee together and snuggling on the couch with binging your fav shows, then maybe an at-home session is right for you. Maybe your an adventurous couple who spends your weekend’s hiking, kayaking or just love being in nature? Take your photos in the forest or mountains, hiking gear in tow.

We love when our couples aren’t afraid to incorporate their favorite activities like hitting up their fav tapas bar for a glass a wine, or their local microbrewery for a brewski and bar snacks, heck or taking a canoe down to the lake. Check out this quiz we came across to find out where you should take your engagement photos. (ps. my hubs and I got a mountain engagement, which I would totally be down for)

6. Schedule your session when the light is the best (not in the middle of the day)

We photographers spend years learning about light and let me tell you, there are all different types. Some good, some bad, and SOME EPIC! So, whether you know anything about the sun and how light translates into your photos you may have heard that there are certain times of the day that are better for photos because of the light. Well, it’s true. What light is considered EPIC and swoon-worthy and a photographer’s dream light… GOLDEN HOUR!

What is Golden Hour and when the heck is this Epic light?

Well, it’s a beautiful time of day just before the sun sets and it creates that glorious, golden light, pretty, soft creamy light in your photos. It’s important to be aware of when the sun is going to set (you can check your weather app to find this out or use my fav sunset calendar here!) so that you have plenty of time to shoot before the light is gone. The early afternoon may sound like a good time for photos schedule-wise, but keep in mind that light is extremely harsh at that time, because the sun is directly overhead.

What is harsh light?

When the sun is overhead and you get those dark shadows that come down directly across your face and body and you can’t even open your eyes because it’s so DANG bright! If an evening session is out of the question then opt for Early – (we mean super EARLY, when only the birds are awake, lol). This light can also be just as magical, so you may want to consider a sunrise session where you arrive at your first location just as the sun starts to rise.

7. Remember – HAVE FUN!

This is something that doesn’t seem like I need to mention, right? Wrong. So many couples put so much emphasis on making sure that their engagement photos are going to be the most perfect and amazing photos ever and stress about their outfits and making the perfect photo that they forget this is supposed to be fun. Just relax, and enjoy the time you get to spend with your LOVE and the photos will reflect that and be amazing! The more fun you have at your session, the better outcome you will get, not only in photos but in the entire experience. Which leads me to my last and final tip!

8. Hire a professional photographer. Period.

This should go without saying, but you are going to get the best photos by hiring a professional to take your engagement photos. Your engagement is such a short and special chapter in your life and your relationship, and you deserve to commemorate that time with beautiful photos together! Also, by hiring a professional that has done this time and time again they are going to be knowledgeable and well versed in how to make sure you are confident and comfortable in your photos and at your session.

They are also going to make sure that it is a FUN (remember what I said above, 😉 enjoyable, and stress-free experience. If possible, I highly recommend booking your engagement photos with your wedding photographer. This gives you an opportunity to get comfortable and connect with your photographer prior to your big day, making for even better photos from your wedding.


Looking for engagement outfit inspiration? Check out these stylish ideas on our Pinterest Board

Want to see other couples we have done sessions with Check them out here

Want to learn more about what a wedding day is like with us: Contact Us Here

For even more helpful advice on posing check out Shootproofs Blog:

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  1. shoes horn says:

    As a virtual assistant, I found Sarah Renee Studios’ blog about ‘8 Tips to Nail Your Engagement Session’ very useful. The tips provided by the Cleveland-based wedding photographer will help couples prepare for an engagement photoshoot and make the most out of it. From choosing the right location, outfit, and hair and makeup to trusting the photographer and just having fun, these tips will surely result in beautiful and memorable photos. Thanks for sharing these helpful tips, Sarah!

- denise and jared

Sarah is hands down the best! Our engagement pictures turned out breathtaking, and our wedding pictures did not disappoint either! Sarah was super responsive, attentive, and easy to work with! Sarah is so easy to trust. She knows her sh!t and is extremely talented! I never doubted anything she has done, said, or recommended. Dale was also at our wedding and between the two of them, our bridal party had the time of their lives!


- Ashley and jake

She photographed our Colorado wedding and all I can say is AMAZING. She captured our day perfectly and has provided us memories that will last a lifetime. She made our day stress free and helped me to feel calm and collected. She was so easy to work with, she was personable, fun, and really made the day an exciting one. You can tell she is experienced by her efficiency and the direction she gives when taking the pictures. The photos are absolutely GORGEOUS!

"She made the day Stress-Free"

- Angela and Jon

Sarah took the photos for our Key Largo wedding. She was scheduled to do our wedding in Cleveland but when Covid hit we had to make other plans. She worked with us to ensure we had the wedding of our dreams on the beach in the keys. Our photos turned out gorgeous even with the Florida heat of July. She made the day fun and memorable.

"Fun and Memorable"

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