How to get the most from your Engagement shoot

So, you have an Engagement shoot scheduled, now what?

I love engagement shoots. With me, it’s a laid back and easy going experience. I include them in all local San Francisco bay area wedding packages. The engagement photo date is a great way for us to get to know each other a bit more. It also serves as a way for you to get used to me and my camera. Most people don’t feel totally great in front of the camera. One of the most common comments I’m told when meeting with new clients is that they are not photogenic. Well my dear friends, that is not true. You just need to be yourself. And have a photographer who can capture all the awesome things about you. That’s where I come in. I’m really good at finding the best in people. 
I’m going to break the most important points down into an easily digestible format. The best guidance I can give you, is to always ask yourself ‘is this me?’ because ultimately these photos are about you. So being yourself is what will make them best. 

What should we wear for our engagement shoot!?

  • Pick between Casual or more fancy: Decide what is more your style? You can use these photos for save the date or invitations. Some people choose to make their dress style reflect the formality of their wedding. 
  • Coordinate, don’t match! Pick outfits that are similar in style, but you don’t want to be totally matching. After all, your not twins!
  • Add some color! If you have a wedding color, or a favorite color, why not add it in as an accent piece?
  • Comfort is key, if something feels uncomfortable it will show, you won’t be able to relax. Also picking something that is appropriate for the temperature is important. 
  • Fit: This sort of goes with comfort, but the key to clothes looking good is that they fit well. 
  • Bring a second outfit, or a layer that you can switch up. It’s nice to have diversity in your outfits!
  • When in doubt, ask me. I’m happy to help!

Engagement shoot makeup and hair?  

  • If your going for a more dressed up look then this is a great time to get a trial from your makeup artist and hair stylist. This also gives you a chance to see what it will look like on camera. 
  • If natural is more your style, then all you’ll want to do is feel clean and fresh. So no chipped or old nail polish, and maybe schedule the shoot for the day after hair washing day. 

Posing vs candid?

  • We’re going to do a mix of both! But mostly I want to capture you as you are. Interacting with each other! 
  • So, get close! PDA is all good in these situations, holding hands, high fives, kisses and hugs. You love each other, show that off.

Where should we go for our engagement shoot!?

  • Pick a location that is meaningful to you! 
  • We can do the shoot in your home and around your neighborhood. Both Oakland and San Francisco have amazing character and great looking neighborhoods, why not show that off? It will be fun to look back on your old neighborhood years from now. 
  • Or, let’s go to your favorite coffee shop or brewery. We all know the bay area has an endless supply of both! 
  • Are you an outdoors couple? cool, lets go for a hike. The Marin Headlands have great views of the city, or maybe one of the east bay parks is more your style? 

Here are a few examples of fun places and ideas for your engagement shoot!

 This is the place where he proposed! Going back to the place where you proposed is so sweet.
Ella Sophie Bay Area Engagement Photographer, Engagement Photography ideas. Couple in Dumbo eating ice cream
Where he proposed, engagement photography ideas. Oakland Photographer Ella Sophie
Couple in front of flowers, candid engagement photography by Ella Sophie, Oakland CA
Fun playful engagement photography, by Oakland photographer Ella Sophie
Curious what an in home engagement shoot looks like? These two opted to hang out at home first, and go for a walk in their neighborhood to catch the sunset.

Ella Sophie - Oakland CAElla Sophie - Oakland CAElla Sophie - Oakland CAElla Sophie - Oakland CA

These two are climbers, and love romping around outdoors! There was a lot of tree climbing involved in this session, and although we didn’t have any boulders to climb. They still got to be in their element.
Outdoor adventure couple, winter engagement photography by Ella Sophie
Oakland photographer Ella Sophie, outdoor adventure couple engagement shoot ideas
I love hiking, and will pretty much run in circles around you as you hike and explore the beautiful outdoors. If that’s your style. 
Oakland Photographer Ella Sophie, hiking engagement session
Engagement Photography ideas, hiking at redwood regional. Oakland Photographer Ella Sophie
This is their neighborhood park, and the location of their wedding. It is one of their favorite spots and they wanted photos here to remember it.
Sunnyside conservatory, San Francisco, Same sex engagement photography by Ella Sophie
Same sex wedding photographer Ella Sophie. Sunnyside Conservatory SF engagement shoot

Get inspired!

  • Look at the engagement photography page on my website and pick out some of your favorite images! 
  • You can also check out full engagement shoot sessions that I’ve blogged about for even more variety.
  • Looking at other engagement photos can give you ideas of what you like or don’t like. Send your favorite images to me. Also, please share if there is something that you just do NOT think is cute, and I won’t ask you to do that.
  • I won’t be offended if you make a pinterest board either. You can check out mine here.

A few last tips

  • Do your best to get a good night’s sleep the night before. So, basically, don’t go out partying till late. 
  • Drink lots of water! You should be doing this anyway, but in the days leading up to the shoot, aim for at least 2L of water a day. 
  • Avoid trying something like a spray tan for the first time. 
  • Trust your photographer. I have been doing this for a pretty long time. I take my job very serious. This is my passion and if I’ve agreed to be your photographer, I know I can get great photos of you.

Ready, set, go! Send me an e-mail or give me a call if you’d like to schedule an engagement shoot with me. I’d love to capture your fun and unique relationship.

All Images © Ella Sophie
Ella Sophie is an artist and photographer living in Oakland California. With a background in fine art, and a love for raw images that truly tell a story. Her specialties include portraiture, empowering boudoir, editorial, and alternative weddings. When she isn’t working you can find her encouraging fellow entrepreneurs and artists. Or backpacking, hiking, and traveling. Taking in the beautiful wilderness.

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