If you know me, you know that I LOVE engagement sessions!! I think having these photos to look back on years after you’re married is so important, which is why I’m so passionate about you making the absolute most out of your session. I’ve been photographing couples for quite some time now, and throughout the years I’ve picked up lots of tips to help couples like you. Without further ado, let’s get into it!!

Plan for enough time 

First things first: plan for PLENTY of time!! Trust me, you do not want to just show up and take pictures for a few minutes. Remember, we’re celebrating your engagement! We start getting the best photos about 20 minutes into the session when you’re nice and comfortable in front of the camera. My engagement session packages start at 1 hour (check out the details here!) to make sure we have plentyyyy of time to get great photos. Don’t forget, I want you to have AMAZING photos just as much, if not more than you do!! Even if 1 hour seems like a lot in theory, it will go by so fast and be over before you know it. You might even wish you booked more time when the session is over because we have so much fun!!

Choose a location that’s meaningful to you

The next thing on the list is choosing a location. I recommend picking one that has meaning to you, whether that be where you had your first date, your first kiss, or where you got engaged. It could also be a place that you and your partner love going together! Is there a park you go to every weekend to walk your dog? Or your favorite spot to watch the sunset? Get to thinking about some special places!!

I’m also a huge fan of beach engagement sessions, and most of my couples spend lots of time there, too. As someone who grew up in Southern California, how could I not love the beach!! I’m always open to more unique locations as well – for example, I recently shot the MOST fun sailboat engagement session! You can check out the blog for that session here if you want an idea of what that could look like. Another example is this maternity session at an open, grassy field in Orange County that I’m obsessed with!! 

If you’re feeling a bit lost when it comes to picking a location for your engagement session, absolutely no worries. I’ll help you brainstorm and I also have a full location guide that I send you once you officially book with me! 

Plan your outfits intentionally!

One of my favorite parts – styling your outfits!! I’m so lucky that most of my clients are super stylish and somehow always have the best outfits. When it comes to choosing what you want to wear for your engagement session, here’s my number one tip: shop your closet INSTEAD of the store! Most people head straight to the mall when they have a shoot planned, but I honestly don’t recommend that being your first choice. I’d much rather have you wear something that’s sentimental to you and your partner and that you’re already comfortable in! 

When picking out your outfits, you two should be coordinating, but not exactly matching. We want a slight contrast between you two in the photos, not looking exactly the same!! When in doubt, always go with neutral colots. Now, this totally doesn’t mean you have to stick to just black and white!! It can mean the muted or ‘earthy’ version of almost any color. If you’re unsure about the tones, you are always MORE than welcome to run your outfits by me, which is what I recommend anyways!! Don’t forget to bring accessories like a hat, extra jackets, or some champagne + glasses. 

Don’t let the camera scare you

Photographers hear this phrase ALL the time: “Welre so awkward in front of the camera!” I’m here to tell you that no one is as awkward as they think they are!! As soon as you release that perspective, you’ll have a much easier time getting comfortable in front of the camera. It’s my job as your engagement photographer to guide you into natural prompts that don’t make you feel stiff or posed. It’s YOUR job to make sure you’re having fun and being affectionate with your partner! Don’t worry about trying to look good for the camera. As long as you’re having a good time, you’ll look great. 

Reflect on the intention of the session

Reflecting on the intention of your engagement session will help ease your nerves and allow you to be in the moment instead of stressing about how the photos will turn out. Don’t forget that you’re taking this time to CELEBRATE such a special phase in your life – being engaged!! This is the one and only time that you’ll be a fiance, so reflect on the significance of it. If you can, I recommend spending the day with your partner or going on a date before your session to really get into the lovey-dovey vibes!! So by the time you get to me, you’ll be ready to love on each other throughout the session!

Get to know your photographer 

Getting to know your photographer is a crucial part of getting the most out of your session. Lucky for you, I make it a point to get to know all my couples before shooting their engagement session! Trust me, no one wants to take photos with a total stranger. If we know each other beforehand, you’ll be a lot more comfortable from the beginning, and we’ll have soooo much more fun together. We can chat over zoom, meet for an acai bowl, or even just chat over Instagram – whatever you’re the most comfortable with!! And, as always, if you have any questions before your session, never hesitate to reach out! 

Ready for your California engagement session?

Heck yeah you are!! To get in touch with me, you can fill out my contact form and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible!! 

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Alissa Rose

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Hey there

I am so happy you found me! Here’s a bit about this fun-loving girl behind the lens. I am a born-and-raised beach kid from Carlsbad, CA—a small, coastal town in North County San Diego. These days, I’m based in Long Beach and I travel around this big, beautiful world doing my dream job, which is capturing the moments and memories you want to relive over and over again.