Engagement- Tips for a successful engagement session

Just wanted to share a few tips for my clients and readers that will help with having a successful engagement session! This is something I have been meaning to post since I usually get the email saying “Nadya, what do we wear , where should we have it, should I do my makeup, etc??” so here i can address all the frequently asked questions for you.

1. Where should we have the session?

Location, location location…. just kidding it’s not always about location in this case. I think it’s nice to have my couples choose a location that is meaningful to them. Maybe it could be a place they met, somewhere they visit often, a place that incorporates a past time they both love or a location that fits the feel of their wedding theme if they have one. Some examples of these may be:

– You met in college , well let’s take to your college campus and walk around and do the shoot there.

– You love going into NYC? Me too, so let’s go into NYC and shoot around the city. I absolutely love doing sessions in NYC so I am always up for that. The beach is also a great place for a session if that’s your thing.

– A favorite past time could be just your lazy weekends at home with each other. I absolutely love at home sessions I think they are as personal as you can get. We can capture you hanging out together having your coffee, hanging on the couch watching your favorite movie or sports team. Taking a stroll through your neighborhood while walking your dog, going to your favorite park! Another great idea is perhaps you both love wine and trying new kinds, let’s then head to a winery and walk around the vineyards and do a small wine tasting and maybe a little picnic.

– Is your wedding taking place for example at the gardens, we can head to one of the many botanical gardens for your session to incorporate the wedding feel into your session. Perhaps your having a really NYC city type wedding let’s head to the meat packing district and take advantage of all the different surroundings.

Sometimes couples don’t have a special place in mind and just want my help on deciding no problem. Let me know what you are looking for and I will do my best to come up with unique ideas and options for you both.

Below are a few examples of the above

Adina + Amriel, we did their session at the steps on their apt in NYC and walked around their street for a few shots. From there we headed around the city to The museum of Natural History central park and riverside park, these were all places that they visit frequently and had special meaning for them.

Lucie + John, we went to a location by the water in Staten Island the Alice Austen House which has beautiful views of the NYC skyline and small park with a cute little home to it. We then headed to where they met which was at a sound studio in Staten Island.


2. What should we wear?

You may think this is a silly question but it definitely isn’t and thank you for asking. My first response is please wear something that your comfortable in and something that represents you and your style. By that I mean I don’t want you to wear 5 inch heels tight skinny jeans and flashy top if that’s not what you normally would ever wear. I personally suck in heels and would probably feel more comfortable in a cute pair of flats or wedges. Of course I don’t want you to show up to your session in jeans, sneakers and t-shirt. What I mean by wear something your comfortable in I mean yes dress in something that suits your style but please dress it up a bit or even if it’s casual make sure it’s not wrinkled and fits well. Another important thing to consider is where your session is taking place. If we are shooting at a park on grass you probably don’t want to wear high heels that sink into the dirt and won’t allow you to walk, be conscious of what your surroundings will be.  I absolutely love that most of my couples do two outfits for their session. They went from casual to dressy to fit in with their multiple location choice and it also gives a good variety to your shots. Most of the time yes they changed in their cars or if a local place allows you to jump into their bathrooms that works too.

Isabel + Mitch, their session took place in Hoboken on court street and they kept it casual for that first part, we then headed to the park and by the water where they dressed up a bit, look how beautiful they both look!

Katie + Bob, their session was at the lovely Point Pleasant Beach. They also did an outfit change, from dressy somewhat to fun.


Another important thing to consider is colors. I let my couples know that they want to try and compliment each others choice of wardrobe. A good way to do this is to pick one color and kinda match it somehow on each others outfits. I do not mean wear the same thing but just somehow find a way to pop that color into your look, here are some samples below. Images and outfits from gap.com and bananarepublic.com


3. Should I have my makeup/hair done?

Yes please. If this is possible I encourage it! Most of my brides are hiring a makeup artist for their wedding day and usually you get to do a trial before hiring them or just to figure out your look for wedding day. If this is the case I HIGHLY encourage you to schedule the makeup trial for the day of your session! For two reasons, your going to have a trial why do it on a day when you can’t show it off, second it will give you an idea of what you will look like in photos with your makeup done professionally. Most of us do our own makeup for sessions which is fine but keep in mind you need to put extra on for session day because you don’t want to look washed out in your photos but still keep it very you and natural. If you don’t yet have a makeup artist let me know I know a few great ladies who do an awesome job and will work with you for your trial date. Also a good idea is to bring a small lip gloss or lip color to reapply between shots just to keep a fresh look. Now as for your hair no you don’t need to get it done but if its included why not. Or maybe just going to the salon and having it washed and blown out is enough and not as expensive. For guys I recommend getting a hair cut the week of the session or week before, I know sometimes it takes a week or so for a haircut to get that right look.  Lastly don’t forget about your nails, just make sure they are manicured and look nice even if it’s clear nail polish because it’s a possibility I will photograph your hands up close especially the one with the rock. You want to feel beautiful on the day of your session and that will give the the confidence to feel comfortable in front of the camera. Also it’s a good excuse to pamper yourself!

4. What not to bring!

This one is short but the one thing I ask all my brides to be to not bring to a session is a big handbag or a handbag at all. I know it’s hard to leave your purse behind but ladies you don’t want to worry about carrying it around and then putting it down on the dirty ground and keeping an eye on it to make sure no one runs away with it. I don’t mind holding your bag but it makes it a little harder for me to shoot with a big heavy purse hanging off my arm. If anything bring a small wrist-let with the essentials that I can stick in my camera bag between shots or just have your man hold your important stuff (ex license and credit card, that’s it) . You can also leave it in your car especially if your changing outfits later on. If we are in the city and you need to bring stuff to change and have no car, bring a backup that I can wear during shooting that I don’t mind either.  Ok sorry just had to put that out there it happens all the time!

Well I hope these tips helped, I can’t wait for your session!

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