"I booked my engagement session, now what?"
As amazing as it may sound to just book an engagement session and then show up, you'll probably want to put a little more thought in before hopping in the car.
Choosing a Location
"Location, location, location!" This phrase doesn't just apply to real estate, it also very much applies to where you'll want to do a photoshoot. You can work with your photographer to choose a location (or a couple!) that will give you the best light and the best vibe that matches the mood you're going for. For example, if you want bright and airy photos, you will definitely be better off choosing an outdoor location. However, if you're looking for a more moody vibe, places that are a little darker can definitely work.
It's also important for you and photographer to think about access, how crowded that location may be at a given time (more on that to come) and whether or not you'll need permits to take photos there. Trust me, you do NOT want to try to show up to a location where you need a permit without one only to be asked by security to leave. That happened to me and a couple I was shooting with when I first started out, and while we did eventually figure out some other spots that would work and quickly changed our plans.... I would really not recommend this experience.
Choosing the Right Timing
Usually your first thought when planning when to do your session is, "When are we free?" Even though it may be tempting to grab brunch and then head over to a session mid-day, you should definitely consult your photographer on when the lighting is best at your chosen location.
Many clients LOVE that golden hour lighting, and you are able to get this in outdoor sessions during the hour (give or take) before sunset. In the middle of December, that can mean that 3-4 pm has the best light but in the summer, you get that same lighting between 8-9 pm. You and your photographer should check the sunset time in your area for the day of your shoot while you're planning.
Another option is sunrise because you can get a similarly glowing, misty effect with just the right backlight. Sunrise can also be a great choice in places that are very touristy or easily crowded during the day. For example, if you're trying to take photos on the Brooklyn Bridge and you want photos that show you the whole scenery, making that early morning trip out there will definitely be worth it. Not only will you not have random photobombing passerby in the background, but it is such a beautiful experience to have a gorgeous location all to yourself. Sunrise shoots are definitely more intimate and can be really special if you're willing to wake up with the roosters!
Choosing an Outfit
Believe it or not, an outfit can really make or break a photoshoot. Sure, your photographer will still be able to get some gorgeous photos of you regardless but having the right outfit can really change the effect or mood of your photos. It's always better to overdress than underdress. It may feel a little silly to be in a suit in the middle of a park, but your photos will look extra chic and classic in the long run.
The safest bet is to pick a sophisticated looking outfit with solid colors. Having a very patterned outfit can be a distraction and draw in someone's eyes to your body instead of your beautiful face, or clash with the background. However, if you are super excited about wearing that polka dot dress, go for it but make sure you let your photographer know so they can pick locations with less busy backgrounds!
If you're not sure on what to wear, your photographer can definitely help you out to ensure that you will look great in front of the camera. Check out your photographer's packages and investment options, too, because they may give you the option to bring multiple outfits to a session.
Remember to BREATHE!!
Once you've picked out your clothes, and confirmed a location and time with your photographer, you can relax. Leave the rest up to your photographer, I promise the magic will happen. Don't forget that this is a session that is meant to capture a beautiful chapter in your lives and the love between you and your fiancé, it really should NOT be a stressful experience! So, if relaxing means listening to a little music or drinking a glass of wine throughout your session, by all means DO IT! This is your time to shine and have fun. Breathe, let loose, and smile!