New England Wedding Photographer

Engagement Session Tips

, planning & advice


Engagement session photo taken at Wachuset Mountain during a fall engagement session. Feature amazing views, a silhouette of a couple coached by New England Wedding and Engagement Photographer, Alice Pepplow.


An engagement session is a photo session that you do with your future spouse. This is a great opportunity to work with your photographer so both of you can learn what you like for your wedding photography. Durant our photo session, we will teach you some basics on how to stand in front of the camera, tips on how to flatter your body and coach you thru the process. You will see how fun it will be! The reason to do an engagement session is different from couple to couple. Some want this experience so they can learn and feel more comfortable in front of the camera, some want to send out a nice picture of the engaged couple as a Save the Date Card, some create a Custom Guest Book for their wedding guests to leave a personal note next to the photos. All in all, it’s great to just celebrate that you are engaged, love each other and to remember this moment forever!


An engagement session is a great way for both of us, the couple and the photographer, to see how the other work so there is no surprises on the wedding day. On the session, Alice will guide you on how to stand, talk about body language for photos, what to do with your hands and talk about expressions so you will look your absolute best, while looking natural. Just like on the photos from Alice’s portfolio. Once you learn the basics, we will search for good lighting and interesting backgrounds. There is no reason to feel nervous, but very normal if you do… We guide you on “posing” but ultimately we are looking for you both interacting naturally, but just aware what makes you look good. We are looking for your true personality and not stiff posed photos. We will shoot a variety of classic photos looking at the camera, you two interacting together and more open scenery photos giving a great variety of engagement photos.


It’s important for you to think of what represent you best or what type of environment you are looking for. Are you more hip and urban, glam and dressy or outdoorsy and nature lover. The best sessions are the ones where you are doing something that you love. Are you into biking? Lets incorporate that in some shots. You get the idea… Thinking of this will already give a great idea of places to be photographed, and then select the best time of the day for that particular location. Usually pictures outdoors are scheduled towards the end of the day, about 2 to 1.5 hours prior to sunset. Indoor locations will vary, so please talk to Alice about this. On the day of, we will start the session with some guidance and tips on what works best, we will also get a better feeling on how you are with each other. Some couples are very playful while some couples are more cuddly. While we will choose interesting backgrounds and look for the best lighting, the poses that we will direct you into are only a starting point, we will let you act naturally so your personality comes thru. As mentioned above, I strongly believe that having a connection with the place or having something that represents you, makes for your pictures to be all that more special to you. You might choose your own house, or local park, or the place where you went on your first date… you get the idea. Normally we look for interesting backgrounds, places that have charm, like old buildings, in an urban setting can be charming cafes, or graffiti wall, nature also offer great options, think of fields, trails, parks. If you are out of ideas, Alice also can suggest local places depending on the style that you like. You will be surprise how Alice will get creative with locations, this shot bellow with the white flowers is an example of that… We shot thru branches and coached the couple into a intimate pose.

Engagement Session with flowers, spring engagement session by New England Wedding and Engagement photographer Alice Pepplow


There are some guidelines for the session to be a success, but lets start saying that you must pick something that is you! If you are the jeans and t-shirt type of gal, you might not feel super comfortable in heels and a dress. So while this is a very special moment, it is also important that you don’t feel selfconscious of what you are wearing! Dressing in something that makes you feel confident and pretty is a great start with the right energy. Also, don’t feel like you both need to match outfits, this is actually a trend that can look a bit dated. Think of coordinating more than matching. Choosing colors and styles that go well together. If you will be wearing a dress and heels, what would he will be wearing that fits that same mood and looks great with your outfit?

The guidelines bellow are a good start:

NOT SO GOOD: Stay away for busy patterns and stripes as they distract from other aspects of the pictures, including your face. Avoid bright white, and things with logos or writing. Do not use turtle neck or scarfs that blocks your neck. When using scarfs, use it in a more loser style. Avoid strapless or strapped tops, sleeves are usually are more flattering look for arms.

WE LOVE: It’s great to see clothing that has texture and a bit of personality. Clothing that fit you properly and shape your body are also good, Highly recommend something that is fit on your waist line, creating a more feminine shape. V-necks are very flattering as it elongate your torso. Solid colors normally works really nice, but be careful with boring clothes. Solid with texture and interesting cut/ personality are a plus. Also, think of interesting possibilities, like a long flowing evening gown, things unusual can be very cool! Adding a hat or interesting accessories can also make for fun shots.

If you prefer you can also change clothes half way into the session. Some couples prefer to keep it all in one outfit, some couples like to do a more casual and one more dressy look.

In any case, choose both of your looks head to toe with the tips above. You won’t regret for planning it well!


If you are hiring a hair and makeup artist for your wedding day, this is a great opportunity to use your trial. You want your hair to frame your face, so if your hair is long, give it some body and style to accentuate your face. Up-Dos tend to look too formal and normally is not our favorite unless if you re going for a very dressed up look.

For makeup, mascara is a must for everybody, even if you don’t wear makeup. No nude colors for the lip, prefer a berry tone as they define your lips and photograph best. You can go about 20% heavier than normal on makeup for photos as the flash can sometimes wash you out. Prefer mate finishes for eye shadows and avoid glitter and shimmer. Having your eyebrows done can really brighten up your face and expression.

Your hands will show on some photos in case we have you touch each others face, so a manicure or simply a fresh coat of nail polish is always a good idea.

For man, make sure you have a fresh shave unless if you are going for the stubble look.

Don’t cut your hair the day before your shoot! It will look like you just got a haircut. Give your hair at least a week after a cut to relax and look natural. This apply to man and woman.

Photo taken by Central Massachusetts Engagement and wedding photographer Alice Pepplow, at Moore State Park in Paxton MA, during a spring engagement session with a dog


You are encourage to bring your dog and your kids to the session, but keep in mind that we will mostly focus on the two of you. So while we will capture some portraits including others, we request that you bring a person that can watch the dog or the kids for the rest of the session. It is also highly encouraged for you to bring something that will make dogs and kids happy, like water, snacks and a toy. The session can last up to 2 hours and normally they are not patient to wait, especially if they are hungry or tired.

For photo props, unless is something that you do together, like biking etc… I gently discourage the use of props as they can sometimes create cheese pictures or  become a distraction from the two of you. If you’d like we can use on a few pictures, but mostly we will focus on nice portraits and interactions of you and your love. We have photographed with signs, picnic sets, bikes, cars, balloons, hats and things like that.


Absolutely! This is one of the comments that I hear all the time and normally people feel that way because they don’t know what to do in front of the camera. As I mentioned above, I will guide you, teach and demonstrate poses myself on what looks good for a woman and a man. I’m highly experienced on how to make all body types to look flattering and comfortable. After you see some tips, you will start to relax naturally, seeing  that you can do this. I also, will be encouraging different types of interactions with one another, you will have so much fun and you will end up forgetting “not being photogenic”. I promise that I’ll do anything to make you feel relaxed and comfortable. I encourage you to focus on the person that you are marring and enjoy your time together. Celebrate each other is a great start for a successful engagement session.

Classic and elegant engagement session taken by New England wedding photographer Alice Pepplow, the bride and groom were coached to look natural while looking at the camera.

If everything you read here about on how to prepare for your engagement session helped you, you may share this on Facebook or pin this to Pinterest for future reference on any photo session, a wedding, engagement, rehearsal dinner or any other photo opportunity that you want to prepare for it. We are proud to provide beautiful and natural engagement photos for Central Massachusetts, Worcester, Boston, New England and beyond. Visit our Engagement Photography Gallery to see more of local Engagement Sessions.