Call it a "pre-wedding session" or call it an "engagement session"

Here's some tips and tricks to help you nail it.

So we talked you into a pre-wedding session, hey? Yep! We get to know each other, and we get to look like idiots in front of each other. We’re going to make you two kiss in front of strangers (us) and it’s likely TJ will tell some bad jokes to make you laugh. Ok, but seriously, engagements are some of our favorite parts of the entire wedding photography experience. Really, what’s the best way to get to know each other? Over the years, we’ve done tons of engagements (or pre-wedding sessions - call it whatever you want), and we’ve found a few things that help so much in order to get those candid and gorgeous shots! Here are some of our favorite ways prepare for your session...

First of all, why are we doing

We’re very happy to help with location. Actually, we prefer to help as the area is very important to the outcome of the photographs.

Give us some ideas of what you two like. Some examples: cream city brick, forest, the lake, urban, industrial. Neighborhoods you love: Fifth Ward, Walkers Point. If you have a “must have spot” let us know!

Once we land on a neighborhood, we’ll figure out a coffee shop or pub to meet at. After we treat you to a drink, we’ll peruse the neighborhood and photograph until the sun goes down!

 If you don’t care where we go, we have some favorite locations within the city and beyond. We’d love to share some with you.

 A lot of businesses are not keen on a photography session inside their establishment. Because of this — and a lot of bad indoor lighting — we highly, highly prefer photographing outdoors. 

let's chat about locations

You want your outfits to compliment the environment we’re in and each other.

For the most part, any neutral color will compliment whatever environment we shoot in, whether this means nature or urban.

Neutrals aren’t just shades of tan, gray and white, there are neutrals of every color! For example, mustard is a neutral of yellow. Forest green is a neutral of green. Navy is a neutral of blue, etc, etc.

Red, pink and fluorescent colors have the tendency to reflect onto skin. So if your fiancée wears a red shirt, your skin will most likely end up looking a little pink in all photos. This is why neutrals are a great choice!

If you're a pattern person, one pattern per outfit works well! Do not wear overly distracting patterns. We want the photos to be about you two. Not what you wear.

Most couples wear one outfit for the entire session. We recommend no more than two. Please keep in mind it’s likely you’ll change in the car or a public restroom (we are running a very sexy business here).

Next up: what to wear

Accents photograph really well. Some ideas for accent pieces are: a statement jewelry piece with a neutral top, a bright skirt/dress with neutral shoes. If your partner is wearing neutrals, go ahead and slip into a bit of color. The contrast will look awesome on camera!

We like to think of engagement sessions as a date. Dress to impress. Show off your personality and character! Leave the work blazer at home and wear something you feel ultra confident in.

If the weather is cooler, please bring a coat! You can wear it in between shots or even in some photos if you’d prefer. In the cool seasons, there is no hiding the fact we’re in a cold climate. If it’s windy, dont’ wear a light dress.

The best photography locations are sometimes not on flat ground. Wearing flats is a great idea!

Recap: leave the work clothes and white socks at home and dress confidently! Oh - let’s leave the props behind too! We both carry bags already and while we’re happy to help carry things, a duffle bag is a little restricting.

All engagement sessions are completed Monday - Friday (weekends are dedicated to weddings; you’ll get there soon).

We begin the session treating you for a drink of choice. Once we figure out what area we’ll be in, we’ll figure it out a coffee shop or pub beforehand. If you have a favorite hangout spot, let us know!

Plan on meeting us about 2.5 hours before sunset. This is the best light. Please note: during autumn, this could mean getting together at 3PM.

We highly encourage doing your engagement session in the warm months. The session should be comfortable, relaxed and stress free. The weather shouldn’t be something you have to worry about. In the summer, the weather is better (obv) and we have ample time to reschedule any rainy days. Photographing in the rain is straight up not fun... for anyone and our cameras. If rain is in the forecast, we will use your rain date.

Interested in autumn? Please don’t wait until October 1 to schedule with us. Our fall schedule fills up very fast and we cannot accommodate everyone.

In fall, the good colors last about 2-weeks. Despite the beautiful changing colors, these 2-weeks are often rainy, cold and windy. When it crummy weather, we reschedule. With very limited days to use, fall sessions are unfortunately often pushed to mid-November or the following spring.

During the fall, we prefer to photograph in nature verses a cityscape. What’s the point of squeezing in a a fall session when there’s no nature in sight?

When should we do this?

Yes! We’d love to include your dog in the session. After all, they are a part of your family!

Sometimes when pups are around, we’re all distracted. Let’s figure out a plan to meet at your house or nearby park to spend some time with your four-legged friend.

To be honest, there are only so many poses we can do with dogs. 15-minutes with them is ample. Once we’re done with the puppers, we can carry on to focus on you two!

Hot topic: dogs

A lot of brides use their engagement session as a great way to use their bridal hair & makeup trails. We think it’s a great idea! However, if we have to reschedule due to weather, please say “but I’m doing my hair & makeup trail...” Forgive our harshness. Your professional hair & makeup are not going to look really beautiful in a thunderstorm. No matter how many times you watch The Notebook.

Most of the time, these dates align perfectly and it works out great! Wisconsin weather is unpredictable, so it’s important to be flexible. Especially since you cannot be flexible with the weather and date of your wedding day!

If it doesn’t work out with your hair & makeup trail, rock your everyday look! Your soon-to-be spouse fell in love with it and it’ll look great on camera. We just know it. 

Check out our engagement gallery for some inspiration...