Preparing For Your Engagement Session

Woo-hoo! It’s time to plan your engagement session! Taking these pictures is one of my favorite parts of being your wedding photographer. It’s likely your first time getting cozy in front of the camera, so this is your warm-up for wedding day portraits! It’s a fun way for you to get comfortable with photography, dress up & look amazing, and have beautiful pictures to use for save-the-dates, your wedding website, or to print & frame. At the very least, you’ll have a whole new set of profile picture options for Facebook. ;) 

This page covers all the details you need to plan for your session. Take a few minutes to read it through & feel free to shoot me an email if you still have questions! 


When Should We Schedule Our Session? 

We can set your engagement session date any time after your contract is signed! Sessions can be scheduled on weeknights (Monday - Thursday) from April 15 - November 15.

If you plan to use your engagement pictures for your save the dates, you’ll want to schedule your session 6-9 months before your wedding date. For example, if your wedding is in June, we’ll schedule your session for fall (September-November). 

All sessions last 90 minutes and are shot outdoors during golden hour (the 2 hour window before sunset). Estimated start times by month are listed below:

  • April - 5:30pm
  • May - 6:00pm
  • June/July - 6:30pm
  • August - 5:45pm
  • September - 5:00pm
  • October - 4:00pm
  • November - 2:30pm

If you're an early bird like me, we can alternatively plan a sunrise session! (and then grab a venti coffee right after)

*Because all sessions are shot outdoors & the Midwest is soooo cold in the winter, no sessions will be available during the winter months. This ensures you'll both be comfortable and look your best & my camera will be protected. 

Where Should We Take Our Pictures? 

This is probably the question couples ask most! Luckily I LOVE helping you pick pretty locations and have lots of examples to help you decide. 

Your session can take place in the city or the suburbs. If we shoot in the suburbs, we'll stick to one location. If we shoot in the city, you can pick two! Here's a few recommendations:

Cantigny Park in Wheaton ($35 permit fee) | Example 1, Example 2
Danada Forest Preserve in Wheaton | Example 1
St. James Forest Preserve in Naperville | Example 1

Wrigley Building on Michigan Ave & Olive Park | Example 1, Example 2, Example 3
North Ave Pier & Lincoln Park Nature Boardwalk | Example 1 
Lurie Garden | Example 1
Lyric Opera Building & The Loop | Example 1

Interested in a different location? Let me know! One thing to keep in mind is many locations now charge permit fees for photography. If you'd like to shoot at a location that requires a permit, you are responsible for contacting them & paying the fee. 



What Should We Wear To Our Engagement Session? 

Ahhh, my favorite part!! Dressing up for your engagement session can be a lot of fun & I love helping you decide what to wear. Download my full style guide here. 

A Few Suggestions

  • Hair & Makeup: Some brides have already chosen who will do their hair and makeup on their wedding day & like to use them for the engagement session too! But if you need any suggestions, my FAVORITE artist is Makeup by Jaycie - she's amazing! Her information is here.
  • Where to Find Outfits: I LOVE Rent the Runway! I used them for my own anniversary session last year and felt so glam haha. I have an account with them & if you'd like to give it a try, you'll receive a $30 credit with this link.
  • Need Inspiration? Sneak a peek at a few cute outfit combinations here. 
  • How Many Outfits Can We Wear? Some couples wear one outfit & some wear two - it's up to you! :) 


When Will We Receive Our Gallery? 

Your gallery will be ready to go & delivered via email 4 weeks after your session takes place. 


Can We Bring Our Dog to Our Session?


Meeting your dog makes my heart happy & I am thrilled when couples decide to bring their fur baby to their session. For the best experience, ask a friend or family member who lives nearby to join us for the first 15 minutes of your session. We'll spend that time photographing you with your pet. Then, they can head home or be cared for by your guest & we'll spend the rest of the session focused on you two! It also helps to bring a few treats or a noisy toy to help your dog look toward the camera. 

What Happens If It Rains? 

My priority is always 1) to make sure you are comfortable & taken care of and 2) to set us up for success by choosing to shoot in the best lighting & weather conditions possible. I watch the forecast before every session, and if there's a chance of rain, I'll email you a notice about 36 hours before your session. Because the weather changes so often, I usually wait to make a decision until noon the day of your session. If there's a 50% chance of thunderstorms, we'll reschedule for the following day or week. If there's a 10% chance of light rain and you feel comfortable moving forward, I'll meet you at our scheduled time with cute umbrellas in hand! 

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