We’re so excited to be working with you and we can’t wait for our time together during your engagement session! It’s normal to be a little nervous about your session. We always tell people that we still get nervous before having our photos taken – and we do this for a living!
We’re big fans of engagement sessions for a few reasons. First, they allow you to get comfortable in front of the camera. It takes time for most couples to warm up to being photographed and understand how we pose. Timelines can be pretty tight on weddings days and 30 minutes may be all we have for portraits – which is why we’ve found that wedding day portraits turn out so much better when couples do engagement sessions ahead of time.
Second, you can showcase your personalities in a more casual setting that is signficant to the two of you (and even include pets!). While they’re great for save-the-dates, we’ve taken engagement photos anywhere from 18 months in advance to a few days before the wedding.
There is a lot to think about when it comes to planning a session and since we get asked the same things over and over again, we thought it would be the most beneficial if we put together a guide that walks you through everything you need to know.
We’ll cover what to wear, whether to bring pets & how to manage them, location ideas and more!
– RODNEY K. GARY
TIME & LIGHT
Is there a "good" time to take photos?
Engagement sessions can take place anywhere from immediately following a proposal to just a few days before the wedding. We’ve found that there isn’t a “good” or “bad” time to take your photos. We normally plan sessions based on a particular “look” a couple has in mind, spring flowers for example, or based on schedules.
Sessions typically last about an hour and a half and when we can—we love to begin sessions about two hours before sunset. We prefer to shoot when the sun is lower in the sky to avoid harsh shadows and bright sun patches. The first two hours after sunrise is also an ideal time to shoot.
We schedule sessions during what we believe will be the best light of the day – which means that it’s super important to be on time. If you’re late to an evening session, we could run out of light before we’ve finished shooting and if your session takes place in the morning, the sun gets harsher as it rises.
If your wedding is local, save the dates should be sent between 6 and 8 months before the wedding. For a destination wedding, you’ll want to send them out 8 to 10 months before the wedding.
If you’re hoping to use your engagement photos for your save the dates, we recommend scheduling your session at least two months before you plan to send out your save-the-dates. Between inclement weather, editing, designing your save-the-dates, and printing, two months is generally a safe amount of time to make sure your images and cards are ready.
South Carolina & Georgia Engagement Locations (and we'll travel to a exclusive destination)
We love when couples choose a location for their session that complements their wedding. For example, if you’re planning a chic, elegant wedding, it may be fitting to take your engagement portraits among the classic architecture in downtown Savannah, while a local park or flower-filled fields may be more fitting for a couple planning a more rustic affair. The best session locations are often meaningful places to the couple; however, we’re also happy to make recommendations. From waterfalls to lavender fields to apple picking and college campuses, the options for engagement session locations are endless!
Classic & Elegant
The Vista (Columbia, SC)
Tybee Island Beach
Hilton Head Island
River Street (Savannah)
Riverbanks Zoo & Gardens
Tree & Flower Farms
Sailing / Boatingg
Destination Engagement Sessions
While we take most of our engagement sessions in the Maryland area,
we’ve photographed sessions everywhere from Richmond to New York City to Austin, Texas. If you have a location in mind that is significant to the two of you, let us know because if our schedules align, we might be able to take your engagement photos outside of our normal area.
Travel fees may apply depending on the location and our availability.
Tips for Looking Your Best
When picking outfits we recommend keeping in mind the word “complement” rather than “match.” For example, if the groom-to-be is wearing a blue and pink pastel plaid shirt, the bride-to-be may want to choose a long, soft blue dress. It can also be a great idea to choose “color-families,” such as pastels or jewel tones.
Generally, couples pick two outfits for an engagement session: a more formal outfit and a casual outfit. We recommend saving your favorite outfit for later in the session when couples usually feel more comfortable in front of the camera. And don’t forget to bring a few accessories! Statement necklaces, cute shoes, and classic watches are great ways to add detail to outfits.
What to do if it rains
It’s typical for us to schedule two engagement session dates. A primary date and a rain date. Having two dates helps us make sure that your photos happen in a timely manner. Coordinating schedules can be tough and we’ve found that the best way to make sure our couples get the look they have in mind for their photos is to schedule two dates at the same time.
We’ll check in the week of your engagement session to confirm the time & location we’re meeting and the weather. We know it takes a lot of time to get