What Time Works?
This number one thing any good photographer will bring up. The time of your engagement session matters not just because it should work with your schedule. But, because depending on where you live dawn and dusk will typically work the best. Photographer’s have these sweet some spots that we like to shoot during called Golden Hour and Blue hour. Blue hours is at the time right before the sun comes up and right after the sun goes down putting a little blue haze. Golden hour is just that. The sunrise and sunset where the sun’s lightening is golden and dewy. Photographing during these time make for the most beautiful skin tones!
These times, will vary depending on the place and season and never be afraid to reach out to your photographer if they haven’t already taken charge in this department!
What Kind of Light Are You Looking For?
The light is very connected to the time of your engagement session as discussed above. I mean duh. No brainer. I don’t want to be dramatic but seriously the light can make or break some photos.
Besides golden and blue hour you must also consider the amount of light available at a location or in space. This goes not just for your engagement photos but all of your photos for your wedding as well. Light bright and airy photos or warm earthy tones can be difficult for your photographer to get without light or with very minimal light.
So, it’s just be conscious about the time but know it can also make all of the difference in the world for the type of light you or your photographer may be looking for.
The time of day, the location, and the kind of light you’re looking is also dependent on the season. This may seem intuitive to some but not others. For instance, the sunrises earlier in the summer here in the Bay Area. So, a sunrise shoot will need to take place at like 6:30 in the morning and even earlier as we approach those longer days.
Not mention the weather. If you’re from the Bay then you know September and October is a prime time for any an all sunsets. For some reason, during the summer you would be surprised at how foggy it is. But during the early fall, everything just clear and those beautiful pink and golden sunset will blow your mind.
So, adding on to the light, the time, and before we even get to the location. Remember the season your pictures are going to be in and choose a location that goes with the vibe you’re going for your engagement session.
Choosing the Right Location
Location, location, location. Excuse me while I sounds like a realtor for a quick sec. But, the location or locations should feel like you. You photos should take place somewhere that hold some memory for you or just brings a smile to your face. These photos really shouldn’t be for anyone else besides yourself. If you read some of my other posts you’d know I’m in absolute love with the beach and so that’s obviously where I’ll my engagement photos taken one day.
The location can also come into play with the lighting. This is because a place like the beach is a lot more open and has those golden sunsets. While deep in the forest of the redwoods the lighting is going to look way different with all the shade and greenery.
It’s also nice to choose places that have a wide variety of scenery without all the driving. Like Sutro Baths in San Francisco. There’s the baths, the beach, the trees all right there. So, you can get multiple different looks in one spot, which always makes it easier!
How to Choose an Outfit?
What everyone thinks of first! Or maybe second just after the location. But, if you’re one of my couples I send you a whole online guide about preparing for your session and a full 12 pages is on outfits. This because I mean duh ya wanna look GOOOOOD! But, don’t worry girl I got you!
If your session is an hour I’d recommend bringing 2 outfits just two switch things up a bit! Before I dive into style tips the first thing I’d recommend is dressing comfortably. Whatever makes you feel your best put it on even if it’s legging and sweatpants we will make it work!
For some style tips let me just give you a disclaimer I am not a fashionista. I just like what I like so yea. Take everything with a grain of salt or skip to the next section. I’d recommend jeans or pants and a sweater and or a dress. A dress with movement to be exact – something flowy and short or long. Some of my personal favorite places to shop are Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Free People, Princess Polly, Fortunate One, Lulus, Grey Bandit, and Ooh La Luxe. Remember to try and accessorize whether it be with earrings, bracelets, or hats, and remember to wear comfy shoes or no shoes!
When it comes to “matching” with your partner I suggest coordinating and what I mean by that is using the same color palette. So, maybe your dress matches the stripes in his shirt or you both wear earthy tones. Just remember to try and stay away from colors that will blend into your surround location. Some of the best places I think for men to shop are Lululemon, J. Crew., Banana Republic, H&M, or Gap. Some accessories men can wear are watches, hats, vests, or jackets.
End of the day just be comfortable and have fun with it! Check out this post for a more detailed explanation.
Choosing a Photographer
I feel like this one should be a no brainer but just in case. You should vibe with your photography. There are literally thousands of photographers and if you want a photographer to be your best friend there is someone that you will vide with in that way. Or maybe you just want someone to snap some pictures and send them to you and that’s it. That’s fine too! And there’s someone out there that can give you just that too!
If you love someone’s work never be afraid to reach out and inquire. Don’t be afraid to move on and pick a better fit and never feel sorry that you chose the option that was best for you. I will say though that this street goes both ways. Every photographer runs their business differently and no two photographers are the same. Don’t forget that we also make a living off of working with you amazing people and so be nice, gentle, respectful, and understanding. Just listen and choose someone you like. Definitely easier said than done.
Deciding on Pricing/Packages
This connects heavily to picking a photographer. Some photographers include engagement sessions with their wedding packages others don’t. So take a look, inquire, see what your options are. I know I personally prefer and would love to take engagement session photos for a couple and then be able to shoot their special day. It just makes the connection that much stronger and puts you at ease on your special day! Some photographers may only offer couples sessions as an add on or maybe they aren’t local to you and wouldn’t be to travel for your session. All very good things that you should consider. Never be afraid to reach out the worst they can say is no or no thank you.
Go With Your Gut
After everything, all the headaches all the planning and decisions and you’re just starting to get into wedding planning. Go with your gut! Try not to second guess too much and I know again easier said than done. Love an outfit but not sure how it will look on camera? Go with your gut or ask your photographer! Can’t decide who to go with for your photos? Gut – you know who you vibe with deep down – you know. Location? You know what places feel right! Every step along the way don’t be afraid to communicate with your photographer and see what they think or a close friend. Relax this is just beginning don’t stress too much about it! It will all come together the way it’s meant to!
Hi I'm Torez, a die-hard romantic and San Francisco-based wedding photographer with years of experience capturing love stories against the backdrop of our charming city. From intimate City Hall ceremonies to epic coastal elopements, I've seen and photographed it all. I know the ins and outs of navigating wedding planning in San Francisco like the back of my hand - from selecting the perfect location that aligns with your love story, to creating the dreamiest wedding timeline that lets you enjoy your day to the fullest. And guess what? I'm sharing all of that expertise right here with you.