While many of my couples know exactly when they want to do their engagement session, there are just as many who are confused about when to have an engagement session. Engagement photos used to accompany an engagement announcement so it was done quite early in the engagement but for the modern day couple, engagement photographs are less about an announcement and more about remembering this unique time in their lives which brings a certain amount of freedom.
This is the first thing you need to consider; what are you going to do with the photos from the session? If you want to use the photos as a Save the Date then you’ll need to do your session at least 8 months before your wedding to allow time for editing and printing to get them to your guests 6 months before your wedding date. Should you like to use the photos in a personalised guest book, then you’d need to do the session at least 4 months before your wedding to again allow time for editing, design and printing in time for your wedding.
If you aren’t using the images for anything other than your personal use, don’t feel locked into a time frame although I find most couples like to do their session around 3 months prior to their wedding date.
I love encouraging my clients to first pick a season; summer, autumn, winter or spring. Each has its own special qualities and brings something different to the session. For example a summer engagement session will allow you to dress simply and summery and perhaps end up at the beach where an autumn engagement session allows you to layer your clothes, wear a fabulous pair of heels or boots and can offer a gorgeous backdrop of autumn colour. Most couples immediately have a preference based on their own likes and dislikes and its a great opportunity to do something different to your wedding. If your wedding is in the peak of summer then you might want to compliment it with a shoot just a few weeks before your wedding, or do something totally different with a spring session where you can still layer your clothes.
Lastly, think about the colours and flowers around at the time of your session such as Jacaranda trees in bloom in early November, vibrant wattle and camellias in August, scarlet bottle brush in September and of course those beautiful plane trees losing their leaves in May.
Once we’ve picked the season, we’ve narrowed the session time down to 2-3 months and its time to choose the day. I always encourage my clients to go with a week day as there are less crowds, less traffic and public events than we might encounter if we did the session on a Saturday or public holiday. Its not necessary to take a whole day off work for the session but what better reason for a day off than spending the morning with your fiance with a late brunch, getting dressed in a new outfit for your engagement session and then because you look so amazing, heading out for dinner after your shoot. Sounds pretty awesome right?
At this time I’ll give my clients the dates that I am unavailable over the time period they want to do the shoot and then they can come back to me with the day they want to book based on their schedule.
Photography is all about light so the time of day is extremely important and my preferred time of day for an engagement shoot is the last 90 minutes before sunset. In winter this might be around a 4pm start time but in summer it might be closer to a 6pm start time. Once we’ve confirmed a date and location I’ll check when sunset is expected on that day and let my client know what time I’d like us to start.
There is no right time to have your engagement session and some couples want to do it ASAP and others may have a schedule that makes it impossible to do until the week before the wedding – I had my own engagement session the DAY before my wedding! So find what works best for you and your photographer and enjoy the experience.
If you didn’t get a chance to read my post on 6 reasons why you should have an engagement session, then pop on over there too to find out more about engagement sessions.