How to have a successful engagement photo session

Engagement photoshoot session near PIcton at McCaulay Mountain Conservation Area in Prince Edward County

So you and your partner have taken the next step and decided to get married - amazing! Committing to each other as life partners does not have to involve getting down on one knee, or a ring, or even a wedding for that matter. In this day and age there are more and more couples looking to avoid patriarchal traditions or simply the cost associated with the wedding process. Still, many couples gravitate to the idea of commitment in some way, shape or form, and the exchange of a ring holds romantic symbolism and does not need to be tied to possession or other dated garbage.

Many of my clients ask: Do you offer engagement shoots? Are they necessary? I 100% offer them! But, no - definitely not necessary. I would say though that I encourage my clients to really consider engagement photos, not only because there is so much joy and excitement to be captured, but also because it’s an opportunity to connect with me before I photograph you at your wedding. Being comfortable with me ahead of your wedding day and knowing what to expect when it comes to my approach to capturing the two of you means there is one less question mark to stew over.

Having photographed many engagement sessions in Prince Edward County, Toronto and beyond in the past, there are definitely some things that I would recommend that you do both in preparation for and during the session. While they aren’t going to make or break the shoot, they will absolutely influence the success of it.


Come to the conversation with your photographer with at least an idea for the type of location that you are after. Do you want a forest? Urban? Farmland? Indoors at your place? Coffee shop? There are plenty of options out there in terms of vibe. I have lots of specific locations in my back pocket, but knowing what you are after will allow me to provide you with a shortlist. Sometimes permits are required for certain locations (especially for engagement photography in Toronto!), but I can provide you with that information, too.


For most couples (still today) who are engaged, a ring has been exchanged. It may not necessarily be a diamond ring (wood and tattoos are stylish these days too), but whatever it looks like will be highlighted throughout the session and so will your hands. If you are a nail picker or biter or you work with your hands for a living, you might consider taking care for a few weeks ahead of the shoot. And not just the ring-wearer! Both of your hands will be in photos together, so if your hands tend to be bloodied, scabbed, etc. maybe try and make a conscious effort to keep them looking good!


Wear something classy, but comfortable and that you feel good in. I’m not talking tuxedo or gown, just not sweat pants and a hoodie! Jeans are a great look with a nice sweater or button-up. A summer dress is great, too. Whatever you end up wearing should make you feel great. There’s nothing worse than spending the whole shoot worrying about underwear lines or a T-shirt that keeps riding up. If you feel great in your outfit, you will look great in it on camera. Also, don’t worry too hard about trying to match outfits. As long as your colours are not sword fighting with each other, it’ll work.

Connect before the shoot

If the two of you have gotten into an argument or fight before the shoot, it will be obvious. The chemistry won’t be flowing and the closeness that we all want captured by the camera will be at risk. For that reason, I would say leave yourselves plenty of time to get ready so that you don’t feel like you are rushing to the shoot. Go out for a meal together or grab a coffee. Share a laugh or two together even before you meet with me. I promise you that the whole experience will be that much better if you have had a chance to connect as a couple beforehand.

Open Mind

If you are familiar with my work you know that my approach to wedding photography is always with photojournalism in mind. Engagement sessions are no different. Come to the sessions with an open mind and let me give you all sorts of fun and interesting prompts. I guarantee that we will have a great time and any nerves will be put to rest quickly. I won’t be posing you in a traditional sense - I will be documenting what happens organically after I give you a playful instruction, like Slow dance for me! or Go in for a kiss, but don’t make contact. Who can hold out the longest? or Give them a piggy back and spin around! The resulting photos will be full of love, laughter and life.

Whether you are planning for a Prince Edward County wedding or an elopement in Toronto or something in between, consider an engagement shoot to get your feet wet with photography. If you want to learn more about working with me, please send me a quick note; I would love to chat!

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