By Lauren Fair Photography

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I’m Jill, a wedding photographer based in New Jersey — and I’m so excited that you’re here! Follow along with the blog to get a glimpse into the heart behind my work.

15 Things You Should Do Before Your Engagement Session

Engagement photos are such an exciting part of the wedding planning process — it’s so much fun to be able to commemorate this special time in your lives, but in truth it can also be stressful! You want to be as prepared as possible before your session to make sure everything goes smoothly, so follow these 15 tips to get ready for your engagement photos!

Before Your Session

1. Choose your outfits. This can be one of the most time consuming parts of preparing for your engagement session — are you going for a formal or more casual vibe? Are you doing one outfit or two? Do your outfits complement each other well? Make sure you give yourself plenty of time before your session to ensure you love your outfits and aren’t scrambling to run to the mall the morning of. Check out this post for more engagement session outfit tips and recommendations.

2. Get your outfits dry cleaned (if needed). Dropping your clothes off at the dry cleaners is definitely not something you want to wait until the last minute to do! If your outfits require dry cleaning, make sure you have plenty of time to get them back before your session.

3. Book professional hair and makeup. I highly recommend hiring professional hair and makeup artists for your engagement session! You want to look and feel your best for your session, and putting your glam in the hands of a professional will definitely help alleviate stress on the day of. Be sure to reach out to hair and makeup artists with plenty of time before your session to make sure you can find someone who is available. (In some cases this is a great time to do your hair or makeup trial before your wedding day!)

4. Prepare your partner. More times than not, at least one half of a whole couple hates having their photo taken. If your partner falls into this category and is absolutely dreading your engagement session, be sure to take some time to talk it through with them — explaining why it’s important to you, how you will use the photos, and that they’ll have way more fun than they might expect!

5. Make sure your location doesn’t require a permit. Your photographer will most likely know this ahead of time, but double check that the location you are shooting at does not require a permit. Often these need to be secured at least a few weeks in advance and require an additional fee and sometimes proof of insurance, so just make sure you are aware of this with plenty of time before your session!

Day of Your Session

6. Get your nails done. Your hands will be in your photos — a lot! Your engagement ring is a big focus of your engagement photos, so even though you aren’t a hand model you’ll want to make sure those cuticles and nails are looking fresh. Opt for a subtle, natural color so as not to detract focus from you, your partner, or your gorgeous ring.

7. Clean your ring. Speaking of which… clean that ring! Like I said, your ring is going to be in a lot of photos and, especially if your photographer uses a macro lens, in very intricate, up close detail. You can bring your ring to a jeweler to have it professionally cleaned (just don’t let it out of your sight!) and then bring an on-the-go diamond cleaner to your session to give it a final clean before photos. Some of my favorite brands include Mine, Diamond Dazzle Stik, and Shinery.

8. Empty your pockets. This one is especially for the guys — you do not want lumpy pockets full of phones, wallets, keys, etc. in your photos! Leave anything and everything you can in the car, or bring a bag along to hold anything you want to keep with you.

9. Take off your Apple Watch. As an avid Apple Watch wearer myself, I get it. I love my watch too! However, we all know how quickly technology changes, therefore it is not a timeless accessory. You don’t want to look at your photos in five, ten, twenty, or fifty years and think, “I can’t believe I WORE that.” It dates your photos and it makes much more sense to opt for a classic analog watch.

10. Have cash for parking. You never know what you’ll run into when it comes to parking situations, and in the age of credit cards and ApplePay many of us don’t always have cash on hand. There are a few engagement session locations I shot at that require a cash parking fee, so better safe than sorry — throw some cash in your bag just in case!

11. Bring flats/flip flops and water. For the ladies wearing heels… bring flats to wear in between shooting, and thank me later. Most engagement session locations require a bit of walking to get to the next spot, and if you’re like me and can only tolerate heels for a few minutes at a time, it’s much more worth it to do a quick change into flip flops than to get cuts on your feet. If it’s warm out, bring water as well for you and your partner to have on hand.

12. Allow plenty of time for getting ready. Think about how long it typically takes you to get ready, and add at least an hour to that. You don’t want to be rushing around before you have to leave and start to get stressed about timing, then need to head out before you feel ready. If you are getting your hair and makeup done, account for additional travel time if you are going to a salon or your artist’s home, and make sure you have ample time to get home, get dressed, and do any touch ups you feel necessary.

13. Allow plenty of time for travel. Similar to my previous point, aim to get to your engagement session at least thirty minutes before it officially starts. Account for not only driving time, but also if you need to get gas, if there’s traffic, finding a parking spot, and walking to where you’re meeting your photographer. You don’t want to be driving like a madman to your session, getting into arguments with your partner, and arriving feeling tense and angry. You want to start off your session on a good note!

14. Bring a brush, makeup, etc. for touch ups. Make sure you bring along a hair brush in case of wind or humidity — for my own engagement session it was the windiest day of my life and after five minutes, my hair looked like a rat’s nest. I could have definitely benefitted from having a brush on hand, because even if it sacrificed the curls at least it wouldn’t have looked quite so messy. Similarly, bring extra makeup in case you need to do touch ups between shooting, especially to fix your lip after kissing!

15. Plan a date night for afterwards! You’re already dressed up and looking your best, why not take advantage of that?! Make a reservation for a date night after your engagement session — whether you go to your favorite go-to spot or try somewhere new, take a night to celebrate yourselves and a successful session!

If you liked this post, check out my favorite NJ and NYC engagement session locations.

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