January 24, 2018

2 Tips for Engagement Session Planning

As the saying goes, I could shout my love for engagement sessions from the rooftop — they mean that much to me! :) The perfect way to shake any pre-portrait nerves, engagement sessions allow me to get to know my couples in an informal environment before their wedding day, AND I get to teach my brides and grooms how I work and what to expect!

In other words, my couples leave their engagement session feeling confident and comfortable, which makes a world of a difference on wedding day! However, I’ve also noticed that engagement sessions bring about SOO many questions. After all, more than likely…the last time you’ve had professional photos done were for your senior pictures! Haha! As you can hopefully imagine, engagement sessions are much different than senior sessions. For starters, you’re not by yourself!! #winning

But seriously, I totally recognize the new-ness that is part of engagement session planning, so for today’s Bridal Basics post, I wanted to share two big tips to keep in mind. Hopefully these can help guide you as you start thinking about when and where you’d like your engagement session to take place!

2 Things to Consider When Planning Your Engagement Session

1) Season 

The very first thing you should consider when thinking about your engagement session is what SEASON you’d like for it to take place in! Personally, I love shooting in every season for a different reason and truly don’t believe one is better than the other. Summer and fall engagement sessions are probably the most popular, between the gorgeous leaves and cute outfits. :) However, spring and winter engagement sessions can be so much fun, too! When timed right, spring sessions are full of gorgeous blooms! And winter engagement sessions are the perfect excuse to snuggle up with your man + all the scarves and layers (and hot cocoa, too!).





There truly is no one “better” season than another, it really just comes down to personal preference!

2. Location 

The very next thing to consider when planning your engagement session is WHERE you want it to take place! Unless my couples already have a specific location in mind, I typically first ask what “feel” or “vibe” they are going for: urban/downtown or more natural.

Downtown shoots tend to have a more neutral backdrop (although lots of fun and color can be found via wall murals / signs, too!). There are a lot of different locations throughout Indianapolis that make engagement sessions unique no matter where we are! The big thing to remember with downtown sessions is to always trust your photographer. Some of my very favorite sessions have taken place in the most seemingly-un-photogenic places: random road sides…the tops of parking garages…and more! Other favorite locations are along the White River Canal State Park, at the Indiana War Memorial Park, or around Monument Circle, too!

Not to say that all downtown shoots are full of cement and brick walls. There are a couple awesome parks in downtown Indianapolis (around the War Memorial and the White River Gardens canal area, to name a few!) that provide a wide variety of images. These next two images are literally only 30 feet away from each other…but we got two totally different feels!

This was another downtown shoot that was right off Mass Ave on Lockerbie Square…but still so much green!!!

And another canal shoot with a good mixture of city photos and a nature vibe!

On the other hand, nature-y shoots tend to have a lot more..well..nature! Haha! I still try to find neutral pathways and settings to reflect my style, but you will definitely see MORE trees and greenery when we go to a park or garden. I love shooting on Butler’s campus (Holcomb Gardens is so gorgeous!), around Broad Ripple, at the IMA, and Flowing Well Park in Carmel, to name a few! A big plus for shooting at a park or garden is you don’t have to worry about traffic as much…but depending on the season, mosquitos can be in full force! Haha!

***Bonus Location Tip***

It is also super fun to think about visiting a location that has a really meaningful memory for the two of you, too! Whether that’s your college campus, an old soccer field, or your very favorite coffee shop, meaningful locations are always a fun option. :)

And that’s about it! Can you think of any other questions you had (or have!) when planning your engagement session? Comment below or shoot me an email, and I’ll make sure to cover them soon!

If you liked this post, make sure to check out:

3 Tips for Better Portraits

Why Golden Hour Matters

A Zionsville Engagement Session




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Sami Orndorff is a Wedding Photographer & Lifestyle Newborn Photographer located in the greater Indianapolis area.