Wait, I have to plan another thing? There are so many things!

Yeah, I definitely understand how you'd feel that way. Wedding planning is in general probably the most stressful, time related thing you will ever have to plan. Unless you decide to take a massive amount family members on a vacation, that might actually be just as difficult depending on your family. What is often overlooked though, is the importance of planning or at the very least preparing yourselves for an engagement shoot that creates pictures you'll look at and remember forever. My couples luck out on this because I ask questions to really find out what suits their personalities the best and then I plan the rest, giving multiple suggestions and options for them to choose from without making it seem difficult. That said, here are

#1: Timing of the Shoot

If you can, avoid mid-day like the plague. While good shots are possible, nothing is better than a sunrise or sunset. Mid day lighting by itself creates bad shadows because the light is over head, occasionally creating the dreaded racoon eyes. Different times of day have different lighting, and while an overhead sun can be outdone with a scrim to create shade or lighting to over power it... It doesn't create those epic sunset or sunrise colors in the sky you see. Even though I am the farthest thing from a morning person, I suggest my couples to go for sunrise instead of sunset because it creates the same colors in the sky without having to worry about crowds intruding on your shoot. Sunset is amazing of course because the colors get better towards the end of the shoot when you are most comfortable. Just keep in mind if you're shooting at Indiana Dunes National Park or another super popular location then be prepared to share your shoot with more than just your fiance.

#2: Go the Extra Mile

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION! This is probably fairly obvious, but the better the location the better the shoot. Know a local park nearby that everyone goes to for engagements? (in my case, Coffee Creek) SKIP IT. Stand out by going to one 100 miles away, pick something unique like an arcade, rent a classic car or even do an adventure session at a national park. You will enjoy the shoot more, see new things and not have a cookie cutter engagement session. You'll get to see something new, and you'll get much better images from it that your engaged friends don't have. Make the shoot an adventure!

Sedona Engagement shoot at Cathedral Rock

#3: Be Yourselves

Some photographers like to pose couples to look like magazine models for every single shot, but I personally prefer real interaction between my couples. Theres still a little bit of posing but interaction is king. What is the point of an engagement session if you aren't being captured for the way you naturally are with each other? Embrace the running jokes, make each other laugh, because an authentic smile in an image will create an emotion in you everytime you pick that image up to look at it. If you want to do something odd like wear dinosaur costumes for part of your shoot, do it. This is your engagement, your fiance, and your wedding. BE YOU.

Couple making each other laugh at Sunset Hill Farm in Valparaiso Indiana for Engagement photos

BONUS: 2 Hour Shoots Are Better

This probably sounds like a sales thing, and I assure you it's not. A longer shoot means more time for you and your fiance to get comfortable. You get more time to go to different locations, change outfits or maybe get a different lighting situation. You could shoot sunset in the city for example, and wait till after sunset when the city lights come out for a completely different tone.

police officer and nurse engagement photography at Lost Dutchman State Park near Superstition Mountains

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include the year too, just in case.