Engagement Session Tips Ft. Kelsey & Zach’s Engagement Session

Congrats you’re engaged!

Today we are looking at some engagement session tips and we are featuring Kelsey & Zach’s beautiful photos for examples taken at the Ottawa Arboretum in Feb 2019. We are going to get right into it- here we go people:

Are you debating having an engagement session?

Well first off if you are booked with Hello Lovely- it’s a given, an engagement session is happening, you probably already knew this before booking. We work them right into our wedding packages because we know how important they are for us getting to know the couple and how they are such great practice for the wedding day. If you are looking at other photographers and the price is extra for the engagement- trust us it’s worth it to do one and we will let you know why below.

This is a really exciting time for you and your partner but also it can be a stressful time as well. Photos can be hard for some people- trust us we know that feeling, we hide behind cameras for a living. The last thing we want to do is stress you out or make the engagement session stressful in any way.
Usually in our experience a man doesn’t LOVE spending his time getting his photo taken, and we understand not everyone is used to having a camera pointed at them for an hour. But that’s the whole reason why a engagement session is SO important to do!

Okay we convinced you an engagement session is in the works now to figure out the location!

Where to shoot?

IF you have a sentimental spot in mind for your engagement session like your first date location or a cafe you both really enjoy, then that’s great! Perfect, easy pesy. In the future when you look back at your engagement photos you will think about those memories and that’s amazing.
But to be honest, a lot of our couples don’t have a particular park or spot in mind for there shoot. In that case you are usually choosing a random location like a green space or downtown and it doesn’t matter where the engagement shoot is in that case. AT ALL. I’m going to say it again, don’t stress about the location if you didn’t have one in mind because it really doesn’t matter. Photographers are all about chasing the light so we will be doing that the entire session, so really in the end the location is secondary, it’s about the couple.

We do send our couples if they ask, examples of urban VS nature to narrow down the locations spot. If you want more a city downtown vibe with lights and murals in the background, that’s cool we know some places. Or if you want a big open green park with blooming trees then we can send you some recommendations for that as well. What I’m trying to say here is don’t fret about the location, because essentially a engagement session is a walk with your photographer where we get to know you and randomly stop to take your photo. If they are a great photographer they can make a parking lot look cute.

What to wear?


Probably the second biggest question we get asked about engagement shoots!
Depending on the type of vibe you are going for and location you already choose, dress in a way that makes sense for that. It’s obvious but don’t wear heels if you are shooting in a park in the spring, your probably going to sink into the mud. Don’t wear rubber boots if it’s summer and you are downtown and always on dry land, maybe snazz it up instead.

Rule number #1 is be comfy! Whatever that means to you. If you are a converse gal like me- then wear those.

Some things to avoid is to dress exactly alike or in the same colour- no need to be matchy matchy.

Here’s a few fast tips for what to wear:

-dress for the weather
-dress in layers
-bring accessories like a scarf, vest, hat etc.
-don’t wear branded things or heavy patterns.
-when in doubt wear neutral colours.
-be yourself.

If you want to bring multiple outfits which a lot of our couples are doing these days make sure you let your photographer know ahead of time so they can plan out the time and coordination for that. Do you need a bathroom to change? Do you want to change into that outfit for a certain spot?
All of this organization needs to be done ahead of time for an easy smooth engagement session.

What time of day should we shoot?

In a perfect world we would love to shoot every engagement session at golden hour. It’s the time of day that’s about 45mins before the sun goes down and the light is usually very warm and beautiful. But not every couple is free at that time of day and that’s okay! Any time of day works but we tend to avoid high noon just because the sun is right above us and cast harsh shadows on your face and nobody enjoys that.

This photo below was taken at 3pm in Feb 2019 and the sun was shining through the trees for a gorgeous back lit photo. This is the stuff we love.


Get close!

As for shooting the actual engagement session we ask that you trust us to chase the light and that you trust us again when we ask you to get real close with your partner! Often in photos you have to exaggerate the movement, that means touching your partners face, kissing for 5 secs at a time and all around snuggling. You have to be do a little PDA so that photos look like you actually like each other.

If you aren’t a couple that kisses on camera couple that’s fine! Hold hands, grab his shirt, tuck her hair behind her ears. Just GET CLOSE. Trust us it looks so great in photos.


Can I bring my dog or child?

Sorry I lumped those two things together but the answer is the same for both. YES. Please do. But if you decide to bring your child/children or pet then please bring along a friend or family member that can take care for the little human/pet after and during the shoot. Usually we start off shooting with the pet/child right away and then when they are over it (usually 20 mins later-sometimes less) we get the family or friend to look after them while we keep shooting with just the two of you.

Be silly!

The number one thing we hear after we book a client is “We are pretty awkward on camera.”

Hey us too! We have that in common. But really it’s kind of a awkward thing we are doing. We are asking you to snuggle your partner while we take your photos. To help with that we will often tell you jokes and ask you to be silly with your partner, make them laugh, kiss their neck- all these things to get a genuine laugh or smile! Less posing and more giggling.

Thanks so much for reading our post and feel free to message us on our social media or send us an email about any other engagement session questions you may have.


HL gals.
(Jamie & Erin)

Hello Lovely