let's get

So much of wedding planning is focused on, well, the wedding! An engagement session is a fun way to step back and celebrate the actual engagement period. Having nice photos of the two of you that aren't in formal wedding attire is something that you'll really value. You can make them as personal as you want regarding location and style (I've literally done photos in a bar before), or you can hand all those details off to me and I'll tell you when and where to show up!
The actual session will last about an hour/hour and a half depending on how many outfits you choose to do and if we are traveling to multiple spots. You'll get a little preview of social media within a couple days and your full gallery back within 2 weeks! Use the photos as decor at your wedding, save the dates, or anything you want! 
Don't worry about being "good" in front of the camera. PDA feels awkward even without someone taking a picture of it. I will direct you more so than "pose" you so that you can focus on each other and have a good time. (If you're liquid courage people, go for it)

My advice: make this an event and celebration of your engagement. Take the day off, spend the day together, we'll go shoot, and then go on a dinner date after! It will make this feel like a milestone and give your photos some good memories attached to them.

Everything you need to know

for your engagement session


Don't let this one stress you out. I can totally help pick out the perfect location for your photos if you don't have a specific spot in mind. Let's discuss what kind of scenery you envision for these. Do you like open fields, tall grasses, waterways, or woods? Or maybe you like the industrial feel of a more urban area with brick or city streets. Let me know, and I'll get to work on some suggestions!

Now, let's say you have a spot in mind. Maybe it's the coffee shop you met at or a family property that holds a lot of memories to you. Your hometown, your favorite place to walk your dogs, your kitchen you just redecorated together. Anything that speaks to you and your relationship makes these photos way more personal and not like everyone else's. Let's talk over all these details. I want these photos to be exactly what you guys want and something that will speak to you for years to come.



Light quality changes EVERYTHING and will completely dictate the look of your photos. We can't control the weather on your wedding day, but we can for your engagement photos if you prefer a certain look.




If you've taken a look at my insta or website galleries, you'll know I'm a sucker for sun flares and glowy skin tones. That happens on good sunny days with minimal clouds at the right time of day. That's a pretty specific recipe here in the midwest, so if this is a must-have look for you, be open to rescheduling so that if the weather is less than desirable on our scheduled day, we can try a different one.

On the other hand, overcast or rainy days can also offer a cool mood to your photos. As long as I can keep my equipment dry and ensure your photos make it back to you, I'm down to shoot in all the elements. If you're super laid back, prefer a moodier feel,  and don't care that makeup/hair/clothes may get wet, then this type of day is for you!

Time of year and scenery is 100% up to you! I often get asked when you are "supposed" to get engagement photos done, and the answer is: there is no rule! I've done engagement sessions over a year in advance of the wedding and some that are just a week before the wedding. Totally up to you! If you are however, planning to use these photos for Save The Date cards, typical etiquette for sending those out is 6-8 months in advance of the wedding date. 

The majority of engagement sessions are done during weekday early evenings (summer) or afternoons (winter). Weekend availability is extremely limited due to weddings. Chat with me as soon as you have an idea of month/season that you want to get your photos done so that I can ensure I keep room open for your desired timeframe. The sooner we can set a solid date, the better I can make sure I get you the photos you want!

scheduling + availability

what to wear

let's talk about

Ultimately, I want you guys to look like yourselves. Below are guidelines and suggestions, not rules. Don’t feel like your photos are going to suck if you don't do things exactly to a T. The most important thing to me is that you guys feel and look like yourselves and how you normally dress. If you feel uncomfortable in your outfit, it WILL show in your photos. This may be the excuse you are looking for to go buy new outfits, and yay, good for you, you absolutely deserve it. But keep in mind that what you normally wear is likely what you will be most comfortable in, so don't underestimate a good search through your own closet. 

use the arrows at the bottom of each to scroll THROUGH MY BEST TIPS!

first thing's first:

Majority of my engagement shoots are 2, sometimes 3 outfits. It all depends on the location(s) we are going, and how comfortable you are changing on location/in a car/etc. Some couples just do 1, and that's totally fine! It's all in what you want to do and envision. 

Bring a couple things with you, and I can help you choose once we get there on which will look best for the location. Or, to save some shooting time, send me some photos beforehand! 

My best tip: Let's choose outfits that make sense with the location we choose, and what you would naturally be wearing in that scenario. 


If we're on a beach or creekside - barefoot
If we're in the snow - pants and warm tops/accessories
If we're in your home - comfy and super casual
If it's really hot - breathable and flowy fabrics




Materials that move add more visual interest and the natural "feel" to your images than ones that are tight fitting. (If it's cold, think layers or scarves here and flowy dresses if its warm.)

We will be walking and moving alot, so this also helps with the comfort level. Don't wear a brand new pair of jeans that haven't stretched out enough yet to allow you to move comfortably. 

The name of the game here is to capture the honest interactions between the two of you. If you're worried about something popping out here, or too tight over there, we lose that.




something else to consider

The win-win in every scenario will always be neutrals. Now that doesn't always mean gray, black, and brown. There are neutral versions of every color. For example: mustard yellow, burnt orange, sky or navy blue, maroon instead of red, etc. You'll want to steer away from bright, fluorescent colors, because they will reflect colored light back onto your faces. There can totally be exceptions to this, so if you're dying to wear something bright red, let's talk about it and shoot where it can look best. 

The goal is to have the focus stay on your faces and interactions. If the outfits contrast too harshly from both the location and yourselves, you are no longer the focus of the image.

Note: there is a difference between complimenting and matching. Avoid matching if you can. It may help to think more about tones than specific colors.




the game changer

Absolutely. We want to keep personality in your images, so don't feel like you have to stick with blocks of solid color. Think about mixing in patterns, textures, and layers

If you do a pattern, think a smaller, simple design. Large patterns pull the focus straight to it, and remember, we want the focus to be on what the two of you are doing. 

When we incorporate a pattern, we also want to think about balance. So if one of you is in a full patterned dress, let's put the other person in solids or texture that compliments the pattern colors instead of another pattern.


what about

hair + makeup


This is one thousand million percent up to you. Whatever makes you feel like you look the best. If you do decide to get it done, it's a great time to schedule your wedding makeup trial so you can check 2 boxes off the list! The same thing goes here as it does for outfits though: make sure it looks and feels like you.

hair + makeup?



back to

If you still feel lost, don't worry! Send me photos, let's hash it out. I want you to be all the way confident with this so that you can stay entirely focused on each other the whole time. I promise you that if you feel comfortable and "yourself" in your outfit, your photos will be amazing. I'm ALWAYS here to help.

you're gonna rock this. ;)

still stuck?


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(C) 2021 heather mccormick Photography | Washington, IL