planning your

ENGAGEMENT SESSION

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choosing the perfect time, location, outfit & more!

Welcome

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A NOTE ABOUT THIS GUIDE

I'm so excited to be working with you and I can’t wait for our time together during your engagement session! It’s normal to be a little nervous about your session. I myself get nervous before having my photos taken!


I'm a big fan 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 to pose. But don't worry, by the end of your session you'll basically be pros!


Second, you can showcase your personalities in a more casual setting that is significant to the two of you. While they’re great for save-the-dates, I’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 I get asked the same things over and over again, I thought it would be the most beneficial if I put together a guide that walks you through everything you need to know. 


I’ll cover what to wear, location ideas and more!

A NOTE TO THE GUYS

I get it. Having your picture taken for 1 hour might not be in your top-10 favorite things to do during your downtime. And at first you might feel sort of awkward being in front of the camera. But I think you’ll find that by the end of the session, it’s a lot easier than you thought, and you even had a little fun. I look forward to it because it’s a great opportunity for us all to hang out a bit before the wedding day.

Time & Light

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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. I’ve found that there isn’t a “good” or “bad” time to take your photos. It truly is up to you!


Sessions typically last about 1-1.5 hours and if possible—I love to begin sessions about 1.5 hours before sunset. I 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 if you choose to do an early morning session.


I 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 more harsh as it rises. 

Save-the-dates

when to send them

For local weddings, save the dates should be sent between 6-8 months before the wedding. For a destination wedding, you’ll want to send them out 8-10 months before the wedding. If you want to use your engagement photos for your save the dates, I recommend scheduling your session at least two months before you plan to send out your save-the-dates. Between 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.

Inclement Weather

what if it rains or it's windy?

I’ll check in the week of your engagement session to confirm the time & location we’re meeting and the weather. I know it takes a lot of time to get ready for engagement session and it’s the worst to get dressed up and drive out to your session only to have it rain or the wind blow your hair all over your face. If the weather looks like it won’t be great, I typically try to make the call at least 12 hours in advance and reschedule our session as soon as possible.

Locations

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LAS VEGAS ENGAGEMENT LOCATIONS

Las Vegas has many location options for engagement photos! From the desert to the city, the options are truly endless. The best session locations are often meaningful places to the couple; however, I'm also happy to make recommendations.


The locations below are my favorites but I also love exploring meaningful locations with my couples!


*Extra fees may apply

Posing

"What do I do with my hands?"

When it comes to posing for your engagement session, you don’t need to worry about a thing! I’ll guide you through the entire process beginning with “poses” that are super easy and natural. If I tell you to do something that feels a little funny, it’s probably because I know it’s going to make the two of you laugh - and that’s the photo I'm actually looking for.

I want you to feel as relaxed as possible and enjoy your time together!

Outfits

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TIPS FOR LOOKING YOUR BEST

When picking outfits I 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. I 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. 

for the ladies

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WARDROBE TIPS

outfits

I love the way larger patterns photograph - just be careful not to choose a pattern that is too small - it may accidentally make your photo look a little too busy. Softer, pastel colors tend to photograph better than bright colors - especially since bright colors could reflect on your skin.


Depending on your location, you might want to consider a fit and flare or a flowy dress! They look great in walking and photos with movement.


But most importantly, choose an outfit you feel comfortable in, but don’t be afraid to dress up!

accessories

Statement jewelry or shoes is a great way to add color or pattern to a simple dress.


Heels lengthen legs but if your heels aren’t comfortable for walking, bring an extra pair of shoes to slip into in between shots.

hair & makeup

Engagement sessions are the perfect time for a hair and makeup trial! Professionally done hair & makeup last longer than typical hair & makeup. They also tend to hold up better in case it's windy.


I think it’s so important that you look and feel your best for your engagement photos - and if you’re planning to do a hair & makeup trial anyways, the engagement session is a great time to test how your hair & makeup look on camera.

manicure & Ring

There will probably be times during your session when I'm shooting your hands holding or the engagement ring on your hand - which means it’s a good idea to get your nails done before your session.


I always try to take a photo of your ring during your engagement session - so it’s a good idea to have it cleaned or clean it yourself before your shoot! To clean at home, soak your ring in warm water with dishwashing soap for 20 to 40 minutes. Then gently brush the stone with a soft toothbrush, rinse and repeat if needed.

for the gents

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WARDROBE TIPS

outfits

You can’t go wrong with a suit and tie. Consider pulling out that suit you had to wear last time you were a groomsmen! To make it a little more casual, skip the tie and button down the collar or even wear jeans with this look.


If wearing a shirt with a pattern, stay way from patterns that are too small - it may accidentally make your photo look a little too busy. Softer, pastel colors tend to photograph better than bright colors - especially since bright colors could reflect on your skin. When in doubt, black and white will always be a classic!

Prop Ideas

something pretty

Florals are always a good idea! They bring color and texture to the photos and give you a little preview of what you may like for your wedding bouquet. If you want a romantic & elevated look, this is the way to go!

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something fun

Popping a bottle of champagne or biodegradable confetti can make for some really fun shots! You could also set up a small picnic for some cute photos of each other enjoying a candid moment together.

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something special

Bringing something special to your session makes it for meaningful images to both of you. For example, this couple brought a vintage bike to their session because they love riding their bikes during sunset around their neighborhood.

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Checklist

let's do this!

- Set date, time and location with Julia
- Review guide for style tips
- Schedule hair and makeup appointments
- Choose your outfits (feel free to text me if you need help! 702-913-8005)
- Get your nails done
- Clean your ring

Pack a bag with:
- Flats or flip-flops for walking between photo spots
- Second outfit including shoes and accessories (optional)
- Touch-up makeup and hairbrush
- Water bottle
- Coat or cover-up (for colder sessions)

THANK YOU!

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I know that this guide is long and hopefully it covers everything you need to know to prep for your engagement session! However if there is something I missed, or you need a recommendation feel free to email 

juliastocktonphotography@gmail.com