How to Prepare for Your Engagement Session

Mocha Tree Studios Ottawa Wedding and Engagement Photographer and Videographer Dark Moody Intimate Authentic Modern Romantic Cinematic Best Candid HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR ENGAGEMENT SESSION 1

Engagement photo shoots can be a bit daunting for many couples (you should do it!). It is likely the first time you and your fiancé(e) will devote an entire hour in front of the camera together. It is likely the first time you are working with a professional photographer, whose style and personality you have (hopefully) carefully considered. Depending on the location you have chosen for the photo shoot, you might be in a public space, where people will inevitably glance at you and your partner having, what many might consider to be, a private moment. 

How do you prepare for this? How do you act in front of the camera? What do you wear? These are some of the most common questions I generally get from my couples and I've come up with several tips I usually send to them in order to prepare them for what should be a fun photo shoot! 

Mocha Tree Studios Ottawa Wedding and Engagement Photographer and Videographer Dark Moody Intimate Authentic Modern Romantic Cinematic Best Candid HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR ENGAGEMENT SESSION 2

General Tips: 

1. It is important that you and your partner are well-rested and relaxed! You want to look your best, and getting enough sleep is a good first step. Allow yourself extra time to perfect your wardrobe, style yourself, and travel. I recommend arriving for your session early (5-10 mins) and take the opportunity to have some quiet time before the session begins. Trust me, if you look tired, stressed, or was in a rush, it will show in your photos!

2. We will delve into what you can/cannot wear further below, but it is not necessary to accessorize your session with props, unless it is something that you have discussed with your photographer as crucial part of your session. I always communicate to my couples that we want to create photos that are natural, relaxed, and pure, and I find that keeping the theme simple allows for more authentic moments, interactions, and expressions. 

3. Having your hands free throughout the session adds to a more relax atmosphere. We don't want you clutching your purse or have to worry about putting it on the ground or keeping an eye for it the whole time you are in front of the camera. So, I generally recommend to my couples not to carry extra clothing, drinks, purse, or anything else. Best to leave these in the car. If it rains, your photographer should have one of those clear umbrellas for you to use - I usually bring and carry mine for my couples. 

4. This is going to sound cliché, but it is important that you be yourself. As I always tell my couples: "just do you." Embrace whatever mood you are feeling. Feel free to relax, laugh, and have a good time. You don't have to feel like you have to act in front of the camera. Same goes with looking at the camera; we are conditioned to smile and look at the camera when it is pointed to our faces. You don't have to do that. Sometimes, the best images are created when you and your partner are interacting with one another and enjoying a moment as opposed to posing.

What should you wear?

I am pretty relaxed when it comes to wardrobe. In keeping with my "just do you" mantra, I usually tell my couple to wear whatever they feel comfortable wearing. That being said, there are a few generic guidelines and suggestions that I ask my couples to consider when selecting their wardrobe: 

  • Simplicity is always best, so when in doubt, keep in mind that "less is more."
  • Avoid patterns, stripes, and logos as they can be visually distracting and can often conflict with other elements of your portrait. 
  • Neutral colours (beige, white, black, tan, and grey) are great because they compliment skin tones and don't conflict with common background elements like a line of trees, for example. 
  • Wear clothing that fit properly because a proper fit will allow you to move freely and comfortably and make you look confident!
  • Always dress with full length in mind, including shoes and socks! If possible, shoes should be simple and non-distracting. Same goes with jewelry (neutral colours and non-distracting). 
  • If you wear glasses regularly, wear them to the engagement session as we want you to look like you normally do! Don't worry about shine or glare, we can handle those!
  • You can apply makeup and style your hair as you normally would, but as mentioned in the previous blog, since it is your engagement shoot, it is a good opportunity to try out a hairstyle or makeup that you might want to use for your wedding day.

BONUS TIP: I recommend against going for a professional tan or intentional tanning outdoors prior to your session. A fresh tan may look good in person but the camera is more sensitive to skin tones and your natural colour is always more flattering in photographs.

Let me know if I have missed anything. Comment below to tell me what is the most helpful advice you have received for prepping for a photo shoot! Share this blog to any of your friends who are thinking of or are going to be having an engagement session coming up!


MOCHA TREE STUDIOS is based in Ottawa, Ontario, and specializes in romantic and cinematic wedding photography and videography. MOCHA TREE STUDIOS produces stunning and modern photographs and films with dramatic lighting, deep shadows, and romantic tones. MOCHA TREE STUDIOS focuses on capturing candid moments and raw emotions. MOCHA TREE STUDIOS offer services in surrounding areas, including engagements and weddings in Toronto, Montreal, Kingston, Wakefield, and the Ottawa Valley. 

Sheen Andola

Mocha Tree Studios, 378 Gallantry Way, Ottawa, ON, K2S