What to Expect at Your Engagement Session


I regularly get asked if an engagement session is important or really needed. For me as a photographer it helps me learn more about you as a couple, and get you use to being in front of the camera before your wedding day. Having the engagement session preps you for your wedding day so formal pictures run as smoothly as possible, and if there is a time crunch you already know the style of posing I do.

Having engagement pictures taken is completely different from being photographed on your wedding day. You aren’t dressed in your wedding attire and it’s just the two of you and me, so it’s a bit more intimate and at a slower pace than your wedding will be.

I’ve taken the time to answer questions that come up regularly and also have a few tips and tricks to making your engagement session fun and successful.



Here’s an idea of how a normal engagement session flows. I always say the first fifteen minutes are the most awkward, and that’s okay (it’s normal I promise!) We’ll walk around the location to find a good spot to stop and start taking a few pictures. As we are walking I ask your comfort level on how touchy feely you are with each other and just some fun questions to get the nerves out. Once we stop to take pictures I will walk you through some basic posing and just have you naturally interact with each other.

Knowing your comfort level is huge for me, I don’t want anything to make you feel uncomfortable and I want you to enjoy yourselves.  Most of my posing is more natural with prompt cards, it’s all very easy and fun, I promise.  The prompts are super fun and meant to make you laugh and be more natural and not stiff. One of my favorites is where I have you look at each other and without breaking eye contact tell me an embarrassing story about your partner. I’ll also ask you questions like “What are you most looking forward to about being married?” I’ll usually ask you to cuddle and kiss during the session but I want to make sure you don’t feel at all self conscious or uncomfortable. The basic poses we go over are mainly for your wedding day portraits. It gives me an idea of what poses will work best for your wedding and also so you know poses if there is a time crunch or just to make your day flow easier.


Locations really depend on what look you are going for, and your comfort level with being intimate with your other half in public. If you’re very nervous about the shoot, you probably don’t want to head to a busy area full of people. 

I regularly look for new locations around Michigan, so I’m always happy to help find a good location based on what you are looking for. I get asked a lot for engagements and even weddings if I’ve photographed the location/venue before, and honestly I love the challenge of photographing somewhere new. As a creative a new location gives me that extra edge to find new places instead of using my “to go to” locations. I do still love photographing a location again, so if you are set on a certain place I am more than happy to photograph you both there.

I love locations that are multiple location types in one. For example a beach town, where the downtown area is a quick walk away from the waterfront. This gives two different looks, especially if you can't decide which one you want. 



Living in Michigan, the weather is unpredictable and we have very noticeable seasons. I have no problem taking pictures at any time of day; but the softest light can either be found around an hour before sunrise or around an hour before sunset.  Whenever possible I do try to schedule sessions around these times, soft light is more flattering and creates beautiful colors and tones in the images. I do want you to be comfortable, so in the middle of winter a before sunrise session isn’t going to be the most practical. We will figure out what works best for the time of year and what works best with your schedule.


First and foremost, wear something you feel comfortable in. You don’t want to be fiddling with your clothes and feeling self conscious during the session. You won’t enjoy the session as much, and it will show that you aren’t comfortable in the images.

I usually suggest couples dress up a bit, as that will make the shoot feel more special. However the most important thing is that you feel comfortable. You don’t have to wear suit and tie (unless you want to!) but try to stay away from clothing with words and big logos on them.

Almost all my sessions include some form of walking a little bit of a distance, so comfortable shoes are a must. If you do want to wear heals bring them along in a tote bag, it can easily be set aside for when we are taking pictures. I do try to bring an assistant with me during the winter to help with carrying coats and other winter accessories. Again, I want you to be comfortable and as warm as possible while we are out taking pictures. I do my best to remind you, but please be mindful of any bulky items like keys and phones in your pockets. They will show in the pictures and it doesn’t look good.


I love engagement sessions, they are a ton of fun and are really helpful if you are nervous about being in front of the camera. If you have any other questions about engagement sessions with me, please email me at sydney@sydneymariephotography.com or fill out my contact page.