Preparing for your engagement pictures

Here are a few tips on what to expect from your engagement session!

On choosing a location ; There are a few different directions you can go with location for your engagement session:

1. someplace pretty (usually outdoors)

2. a location that’s meaningful to you as a couple

3. a unique setting; getting creative and coming up with something you haven’t seen before

I love all of these options.  Obviously going with a “pretty” backdrop is a dependable option and is usually what I’ll suggest as a safe choice for couples who aren’t sure what type of look they want from their engagement session photos (think beach, woodsy park, downtown Portland etc.).  A location that has some meaning to you and your fiancé might be something like the location of your first date,  a destination city or your favorite Sunday morning coffee shop, or a place that represents your shared love of a hobby or interest (for example, downtown Portland waterfront where you both spend weekend mornings jogging or Mt. Hood where you spend your weekends skiing)


Having your photo taken is a bit of a strange experience, and the first few minutes together will feel a little awkward.  It’s totally normal.  It’s important to remember that the awkwardness will go away.  It takes a few minutes to loosen up and get used to me following you around with my camera, but it’ll happen!  If nothing else, I think that actually saying this to the people I’m photographing helps to alleviate the problem a little bit and breaks the ice.

Another GREAT reason for having engagement photos taken is once the big day arrives you’ll forget about (or at least be distracted by something other than) your photographer a lot sooner.

During the session ;  I don’t want to put you in a lot of unnatural poses that will look strange or uncomfortable in the final image, which means I don’t do a ton of posing in the first place.  I want you both to be yourselves as much as possible.  My favorite images come from candid, spontaneous moments of genuine laughter & sweet gestures of true affection that usually come from a distinct lack of posing!

Instead, I’ll give general directions and then stage myself to best capture whatever unfolds between the couple from there.  If you have an engagement session with me, I’ll ask you to do some walking (both away from and toward me) while looking at each other (maybe the occasional over the shoulder at the camera).  I’m also a fan of telling you to hold hands, give each other a big hug, just sit and chat together (almost always guaranteed to produce a sweet smile or adorably sincere laugh). 2014-08-01_0012

Hair and makeup ; Ladies, consider having your hair and makeup professionally done.  You know how you feel when you first leave the salon after a haircut?  That confidence definitely translates to photos (plus you’ll look your best, too).

You can get your trial hair and makeup scheduled for the same day as our engagement shoot — two birds with one stone!  You’ll want to do a trial run with your hair stylist and makeup artist at some point before the big day, and you’ll also be able to see how it photographs.

And don’t forget a manicure; we wedding photographers like to shoot that pretty sparkler on your left hand.  And I’m personally a big fan of the shoe shot, so don’t forget about details like a pedicure (if you’re wearing open-toe shoes) or just wearing cute shoes in general — remember, they’re part of your outfit!  Jewelry counts, too.  Accessories like a nice watch or a hat are fun for dudes, as well!

Props ; Bring goodies to your engagement shoot if you feel like they’re meaningful to who you are.  Just make sure they fit your personalities.  For example, Ryan and Nicole are both huge college football fans so they brought hats to the shoot.  What makes this fun is the Oregon/Oregon State rivalry.  2013-11-18_0024


There are also plenty of pretty simple, straightforward props, like blankets to lay on or snuggle with for an outdoor session (like the cozy park setting above).

Timing and lighting : I will pretty much always schedule photo sessions to start in late afternoon, at least an hour or two before sunset.  The “golden hour” that we photographers are always raving about is technically the hour immediately before sunset (as well as the hour immediately after sunrise), but the 1-2 hours leading up to magic hour are pretty magical as well, if you ask me.  For a shoot during the longer days of summer, I’ll suggest a 5:30 or 6:30 p.m. start time; during the winter months when we’re in standard time (i.e. no daylight savings), it’ll be closer to 2:30 or 3:00 p.m.  Timing is crucial; as soon as the sun sets, it’s all over.  This is obviously not as important for an indoor location, but it does still matter if I’m relying on natural light for our session.  Which is always.

I usually set our meet time a little on the early side just to ensure we have the time we need.  I have had a couple of experiences, though, during which clients were running late and we had to rush through a session to get images before the sun went down.  It’s stressful for all involved!  Fifteen minutes late is okay, but pushing our session back by an hour or more is generally a bad idea because it just means we won’t be able to take full advantage of the light that nature has to offer.

Engagement shoots with Danielle Krause Photography are typically 1-2 hours.

What’s next ; What I do after our engagement session is load the images we took throughout the day, then sift through the collection to narrow down to the best 45 photos.  Those are the images I’ll spend more time editing — the images you’ll get on your online gallery within a few weeks of our session.  The images you’ll get from me are high-resolution, print-quality files so you can use them for printing actual photos to display at your wedding, or for “save the date” cards and guest books.  Also keep a lookout for a “sneak peek” on my blog and Facebook within a couple days of the shoot.  I don’t advertise and rely heavily on word-of-mouth referrals and my blog and facebook to spread the word about my business.  Please feel free to “tag” yourself in your sneak peek photos and spread the word…. it’s GREATLY appreciated.

I think I’ve covered most of what I wanted to chat about, but if I missed anything, let me know!  Post a comment below or send me an email.  I hope this better helps you and your fiancé prepare for your engagement photos!

xo Danielle