Be sure to go ahead and bookmark this page now, because it's going to be your BEST friend as you plan and prepare for your big day!
Welcome bride-to-be (and future groom!). We are SO excited you're here! Being engaged is SUCH a special time in your lives and we're so excited for what's to come. This guide will be your BEST FRIEND as you plan and prepare for your big day, and will allow you to know exactly what to expect during your wedding photography experience! We are obsessed with serving our couples and helping to ease the stress of planning. As always, feel free to reach out at any time if you have any questions along the way!
We love photographing weddings because it gives us the opportunity to serve and love on all of our couples. It’s such a joyful and EXCITING time in your life, but we totally understand how overwhelming the wedding process can be! We're here to walk you through every step of your photography experience from making you feel confident in front of our cameras with constant direction to helping you craft the perfect wedding timeline. At the end of the day, planning is so incredibly fun, but the really awesome part is that you’ll become husband and wife. We love celebrating that with you because marriage has been one of the biggest blessings in our life. We're here to encourage you as you make your journey towards marriage and prepare for your big day!
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Lovely Bride Cincinnati
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Every Last Detail
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This is your FIRST step of your experience with us which also makes it SUPER exciting! There are two main goals of our time together (besides getting gorgeous photos, of course):
1. Spend more time together and get to know each other better!
2. For us to teach you our posing so you're PROS when your wedding day comes!
Our session will last 1.5 hours, includes one or two locations, and two outfits. You can do more locations and outfits.. However, that also means you will get more variety with fewer images in your final gallery! I guarantee 80 images in your gallery from your engagement session!
We recommend wearing two outfits: One dressy and one casual. Please feel free to go ALL OUT for your dressy outfit, and think "date night" for your casual outfit! Our biggest piece of advice is to wear outfits that COMPLIMENT each other, not match. Keep reading for more style tips and outfit ideas!
Because our weekends are dedicated to weddings (just like yours!), We only schedule engagement sessions on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings. Our start time is completely based on sunset time for the time of year you're considering! Email us for available dates!
WHAT TO EXPECT
If you're like every other couple, you're probably a little nervous thinking about being in front of the camera... I mean, you're not used to having a big black box pointed at you, am I right?! Even we get nervous when we're having photos done!!
It's COMPLETELY normal to feel this way, but we want to encourage you to just relax and have a good time. We're going to be giving you allllll the direction so you never feel like you don't know what you're doing. We're going to capture those timeless photos that everyone loves, while getting a little goofy and having fun. Some prompts we give you might seem a little silly at first, but TRUST US, they create some legit magic.
All you two have to do is show up and be an adorable couple in love... easy, right?! We'll take care of the rest and we're going to have a ton of FUN!
TIPS & TRICKS FOR SUCCESS
BE ON TIME: We typically plan your start time based on sunset time. If you are late, it cuts into the sunlight we have available! No one wants dark photos, so arriving on time will ensure we have gorgeous light to work with for your whole shoot! :)
CLEAN THE RING: Your ring will be a focal point of your photos, and I'd love to grab a few up close shots of just your ring while you change outfits! Cleaning it will ensure it's nice and sparkly for photos!
EMPTY YOUR POCKETS: Especially for guys, make sure you don't have anything in your pockets! We are more than happy to store phones and keys in our bag, or ladies, you can bring along a little purse to keep everything in.
RELAX! You don’t have to be a pro at this! We're going to help you along the way and it’s going to be a blast! We don't expect anything from you. Enjoy this time together and make a date out of it! Plan dinner afterwards and celebrate!!
GET YOUR NAILS DONE: Make sure your nails are freshly painted, or spoil yourself with a trip to the salon! Chipped nails will be noticeable in your photos. Neutral colors and pastels photograph beautifully and will match any outfit!
BRING COMFY SHOES: If you're wearing heels, bring a pair of flip flops or comfortable shoes to walk from spot to spot. Your feet will thank me later!
The engagement session is one of our favorite parts of our time together because it gives you both a chance to be in front of our cameras before you get married, which is going to make your wedding day experience feel so smooth, seamless and comfortable. Not only that, but we get to create something so special together. You’re going to be married for over the rest of eternity, but you only get to be engaged for this short period of time. We’re so excited to capture the only time in your life when you get to be each other’s fiances. We created this guide for you and packed it with all our best secrets for getting the best out of your engagement experience. Our goal is to create images that are natural, candid, fun, and represent you as a couple.
Our light & airy photography and artistic style has a lot to do with what you wear! Chances are you're here because you have the same love for dreamy pictures as us and want your images to turn out soft and beautiful too! We ask that all of our clients wear more formal, light, neutral colored clothes, that blend nicely with our shooting and editing style. We have built up a beautiful selection of formal dresses that we offer FREE to each of our clients to borrow as a supplement to your own wardrobe! Take your pick and feel like a princess while we create gorgeous light & airy, dreamy pictures of you!
STYLE TIPS: FOR HER
DRESS IT UP!
Have you thought about rocking a romantic gown, tulle skirt or flower crown but just never had an occasion for it? This is your chance to do it up! Remember: There is no such thing as “too dressed up” when it comes to your portrait session, so don’t be afraid to have some fun! Long, full-length, flowy dresses and skirts look amazing on camera because they bring extra movement to the photos. Consider softer fabrics like chiffon or tulle which allow for beautiful movement in the images.
No matter the length, dresses or skirts are a good choice for pictures look most stunning because they really flatter every female body, especially on camera!
Three-quarter length sleeves create a slimming effect on all arms. You could also bring a cute jacket, blazer or cardigan along, too. Super short sleeves have the opposite effect on arms on camera, so we recommend avoiding those when possible.
Heels elongate women's legs, making them look fabulous. Closed toes heels, in particular, look great on camera because they carry out the line of your leg all the way down to your toe. If your toes are showing in a peep-toe heel, don’t forget to paint them! These little tricks make all the difference!
Paring an accessory or two with your outfit can really help bring some extra dimension to your images, and be a nice tie-in when you’re coordinating with a group. Belts, bracelets and earrings bring great visual interest, so choose one or two that don’t compete for attention.
Floral crowns can be a really romantic touch!
You can bring more than one outfit if your session is long enough. Most clients who choose two outfits will bring one “wow” dress, and then another slightly more casual dress that has a “date night” feel.
HAIR & MAKEUP
This is the time to treat yourself! Nice hair and makeup will give you an extra boost of confidence in front of the camera. Apply makeup in natural light, if possible, since that’s the type of light we’ll be shooting in, and it’ll give you the best expectation of how it will translate on camera. Engagement pictures are a great time to have a trial with a hair and makeup artist if you plan to use one on your wedding day.
Avoid all fake tanners before pictures! They make look natural in person, but on camera they pull very orange and splotchy and make your fiance look ghostly. Lotion tanners are the worst because you can see them in the creases of your fingers and nail beds. Hold off on tanners until after your wedding and use them on your honeymoon when your portraits are over instead!
Make sure your eyebrows are freshly done! We'll be doing a lot of close ups, so manicured eyebrows for both of you, full eyelashes, and white teeth will be noticeable! Make sure your nails look nice and your ring is sparkling clean for those ring closeups!
Leaving your hair long and soft will frame your face and be the most flattering in your final portraits. Play with loose braids and hair accessories for some added interest!
When choosing colors for your outfits, we recommend selecting softer, lighter tones and more muted shades. By avoiding ultra-bright, bold colors, it will help bring all the attention to your faces and let the eye focus on the way you feel about each other. The camera loves shades of soft pink and muted blues, mixed with sophisticated light neutrals like heather gray, creams, leather brown and white. That softer color palette fits beautifully into almost all natural outdoor environments and can easily be paired in so many different ways. See our Pinterest page for outfit and color inspiration! As you’re coordinating your outfit with your fiancé, keep in mind that your outfits will look the most cohesive on camera when the color palette and wardrobe pieces coordinate, but don’t actually “match.” In fact, we recommend that you avoid thinking about “matching,” and instead think about what “fits” together. This will create more visual interest, and allow each personality to shine through. The goal for coordinating is to visually break up the colors and shades so that you’re not both wearing the same color on top and bottom. Most brides choose their dress first, and then build her fiancé’s wardrobe based around that.
STYLE TIPS: FOR HIM
Matt Says I should just write,
"Bro, you gotta dress up"
and leave it at that! But stay with me here boys, I promise it'll be worth it to you!
Long, fitted pants and closed-toed shoes are the most sophisticated and masculine looks for men. They draw attention away from his legs and feet and place it where you want it: on his handsome face! So, for your session, it’s best to leave the shorts and sandals at home, as well as any pants that are loose or baggy. Fitted dress pants, fitted colored pants, or fitted dark jeans work best on camera. We are huge fans of a nice fitted navy blue or light grey suit! It photographs the best! Solid shades of gray or navy are a strong compliment to most women’s outfits, whereas pinstripes or plaid patterns tend to distract the eye. We recommend staying away from all graphics and logos.
Layers on men look great on camera, so even when it’s hot outside, trust us when we say that it’s worth an hour or two of discomfort for photos that will last you both a lifetime. Adding another layer will bring extra dimension and visual interest to your photos. Suspenders, vests and coats up the level of any look. These also help him feel less awkward in front of the camera when he has something to put his hands on (like pretending to button his suit) as well as broadens his shoulders and trims in his waist. If the temperature permits, he could even consider adding a v-neck sweater with a pop of color from a long sleeved collared shirt and tie underneath.
Fresh haircuts are a must!
Brown leather dress shoes compliment almost every look. Ties, bowties, pocket squares, colored socks, belts, suspenders, vests and watches are sharp compliments to any outfit for men and boys alike.
Because dapper and debonair never go out of style!
PREP YOUR MAN
Most men aren't overly excited to take photos because they don’t have an expectation of what’s to come and why it’s so important to you. Take fifteen minutes to educate and empower your guy. Tell him why you chose us and our style of photography. Show him some example pictures you love and explain why you like them and express to him how much it means to you. Trust us, once he knows it’s important, he’ll light up the camera for you! The most common thing we hear from guys before photo sessions is that because of a bad experience in the past, they don’t like taking photos or don’t think they’ll be good at it. By the time we’re done, though, they can’t believe how fast it went and just how much fun they had!
Since you’ll already be dressed up, some couples pick something fun for a treat after the session. But it’s also good if your bellies aren’t empty when you come for your session.
TIME OF SESSION
We are natural light specialists because we believe that natural light, from the sun and its reflections, create photographs that feel fresh, timeless and truest to you. We begin most full portrait sessions two hours before the scheduled sunset during “the golden hour,” when the light is the dreamiest. We can also shoot a sunrise session if that works better for your schedule, especially if we'll be photographing in a location that will get crowded with people later in the day. Please arrive on time to your scheduled session so we can get the most out of the daylight!
For most of our sessions, outdoor, open-air environments are always our first choice. We love shooting in wide-open natural spaces because the light is divine, especially during golden hour. We know you chose us for our bright, light & airy photography style and a lot of this has to do with a clean light background. It’s best to stay away from dark thick trees and greenery in the background. Parking lots and urban buildings are fun to shoot in too! There are great options all around and we’re always up for exploring a new spot together! If you have a special location request that is special to you, please let us know! Travel fees may apply.
Want your photos to look more editorial? Bring a little extra something with you! Fresh flowers bring an extra “wow” factor to just about everything, especially when they’re attached to something else, like a bicycle basket, tree swing, tent, picnic basket, balloons or car bumper. Whether you want to incorporate larger items like classic cars or bikes, or smaller ones like blankets or hats, even planning for just one extra styled item could be a fun way to make your session more unique.
ONE FINAL NOTE
We know we just gave you a lot to think about. We gave you this guide to help make your engagement session experience something you’ll look back fondly on for the rest of your lives. This is definitely not a rule book. At the end of the day, the location you choose and outfits you select won't matter nearly as much as the memories you make together. We want you to relax and enjoy your engagement session. Laugh a lot. We will take care of the rest!
PORTRAIT SESSION CHECKLIST
Schedule your date, time and location with us
Review guide for style tips
Schedule hair and makeup appointments if applicable
Choose your outfits
Pack a bag with:
Flats or flip-flops for walking between photo spots
Second outfits (if you’re doing two)
Touch-up makeup & mirror
Water bottle (for warmer sessions)
Coat or cover-up (for colder sessions)
ENGAGEMENT PHOTO DELIVERY TIMELINE
Within 4 weeks
Personal online gallery with all of your final, retouched, high resolution images with print release available to download and print.
Your veil should compliment, but not compete with your dress. If your dress
is simple, then having a more ornate veil decorated with crystals and
embroidery can enhance your dress and overall look.
Cathedral or shoulder length veils look good, no matter what your height, but
fingertip veils tend to make small girls look shorter.
If you’re hoping for a whimsical veil portrait, choose a veil without weighted
beads on the end since those won’t be able to be tossed and swept off in the
wind as easily
If you are sentimental, consider wearing a veil worn by someone precious to
you as “something borrowed.”
There are so many benefits to a first look, but it’s still romantic to give your groom a new
wedding look to see when you walk down the aisle! Waiting to put your veil on as he final
finishing touch will give him something special to look forward to when the ceremony happens!!
This also prevents your groom from accidentally pulling your veil off as he throws his arms
around you in the rush of excitement of your first look! By waiting, you won’t have to be too
careful worrying about your veil, and can just react to each other. For this same reason, we also
recommend not carrying your bouquet to the first look.
Finally, choosing to do your first look without your veil will give you more variety of portraits!
Pictures before the ceremony will be without your veil, but husband and wife photos in the
evening will be extra dreamy with your veil on.
Sample Wedding Day Timeline
12:30 Photographers Arrive – Detail Shots (rings, shoes, dress, invitations, bouquet, etc)
1:15 Bride + Bridesmaids Getting Ready; Groom + Groomsmen
2:00 Bride gets into her dress, pictures with mom helping button up back, Bridal portraits
2:20 Father First Look
2:30 Groom First Look
2:45 Bride & Groom Portraits
3:15 Bridal Party + Groomsmen portraits
3:45 Family Formals
4:15 Run over time, Bride in Hiding / Photographers capture Ceremony & Reception venue details
4:45 Line up for ceremony
5:00 Ceremony Starts
5:30 Ceremony Ends
5:45 Reception Starts- Dinner, guest candids
6:15 Golden Hour HUSBAND & WIFE Portraits
6:45 First Dance, Father Daughter dance, toasts, cake cutting, garter & bouquet toss, open dance floor
8:15 Sparkler send off
8:30 Photographers Depart
This 8 hour photographer timeline is assuming two things: a FIRST LOOK and NO travel time from the getting ready location to ceremony venue, or ceremony venue to reception venue.
Wedding Planning advice!
Assign at least one "go-to person" to handle any last minute issues that may arise! If you don't have one appointed person, those responsibilities are going to fall on someone else (usually your mom, maid of honor, or photographer). Whoever ends up taking over the logistical things that pop up the day-of, they won't be able to enjoy the day or focus solely on their job. Sometimes your venue will provide a day-of coordinator, but make sure they will be there the whole day and are there to actively help! Sometimes they're there just to oversee things and not help with the things that need to happen the day-of. If you're okay with this go-to person being a family member, then go for it! But realize that they aren't going to be able to enjoy your day, so hiring an event planner might be a good idea. Bringing someone else in isn't as much as you'd think, and it takes so much stress off everyone! They can also be a really good middle man when sticky situations come up throughout the wedding day. Trust us you won't regret it!
CHOOSE A SPACE WITH LOTS OF WINDOWS
Choosing a spot to get ready with lots of window light is HUGE! We always opt for spaces with lots of natural light. When it's time to get into your dress, we will likely direct you to a clean area that has lots of window light coming in!
GATHER YOUR DETAILS
So much time and personality goes into the details of your day, so it’s important that you’ll be able to cherish them forever! While we encourage our brides to take moments to slow down, take a deep breath and truly experience each moment of their day, you just can’t take in each and every little detail of a day so packed with emotion and experiences. That’s one of the reasons why photography is so important! When you get your pictures back you will love getting to relive the wedding day and pick up on details, people and perspectives that you completely missed! Sharing these details with future generations will be something you all treasure.
If you can, please have all of your details gathered in a box before we arrive! This includes:
All 3 rings | A copy of your invitation suite | Your jewelry | Shoes | Bridal dress
Veil | Hair pieces | Perfume | Styling items that go with your wedding theme and colors like fabric, ribbon, patterned paper, or tray | Heirlooms | Loose flowers and greenery from your florist | & anything else you want photographed!
HAVE YOUR BOUQUET ARRIVE BEFORE WE START SHOOTING
If possible, have your florist deliver your bouquet and boutonnières BEFORE we am scheduled to arrive. This ensures they will be included with all of the other pretty details!
This is just a bonus tip here, but purchasing a velvet ring box in your wedding colors will help to personalize your details! Our favorite places to buy them are fromAmazon, TheFamilyJoolz and The Mrs. Box!
GETTING IN YOUR DRESS
Make sure to have it in the timeline that your bridesmaids, mom, and anyone else you want to help you get into your dress be ready AT LEAST 15 minutes before your schedule time. This ensures they can be included in these special photos!
MAIL THE INVITATION
If you could mail us a copy of your wedding invitation with all of the others, that would be AMAZING! 1807 Amberwood Way Maineville, OH 45039
While one of us is capturing detail shots and bridal getting ready portraits, the other will photograph the guys getting ready if they are getting ready in the same location as the bride or within 10-15 mins. If you want this photographed, ensure it is on the timeline.
HAIR & MAKEUP
We would encourage you to have hair and makeup scheduled to be done around 30 minutes before you're scheduled to get into your dress. Hair and makeup ALWAYS takes longer than you'd expect. This gives you some buffer time in case things run behind!
In case you aren’t familiar with the “First Look”, it’s a moment that’s become common to wedding days in recent years where the bride and groom see each other in a quiet and intimate moment before the ceremony. The bride often walks up behind her groom, then taps him on the shoulder, at which point he turns around and sees his bride in all her beauty. You may not have thought about it yet, but on your wedding day, you’ll spend the first half of the day apart, usually getting ready with your respective wedding parties. Then, from the ceremony until the send-off at the end of the reception, you’ll be the center of attention – every single one of your 50 or 100 or 200 guests will have their eyes on you. But the First Look is different; at the weddings we photograph we reserve that moment for our couple and us exclusively – no family, no friends – and there’s no agenda at all. It’s often the only unscripted moment that our couples share together during the entire day without anyone else present.
There’s always some very warm embraces, lots of kisses, perhaps a tear, and lots of “Oh my gosh you look STUNNING!” Some couples might read private letters to each other during this quiet moment before they start their journey to forever together. This intimate time melts nerves melt away. When our bride and groom are finally in each other’s arms, they seem to relax for the first time all day.
Throughout the chaos of a wedding day, it will very likely be your ONLY alone time! It allows you to have a chance to talk and enjoy hanging out with each other. Grooms, you get to TELL your bride how beautiful she looks as soon as you see her! You get to extend your day TOGETHER by 2-3 hours.
Our brides LOVE this because your hair and make up is totally fresh for all of your portraits. You don't have to worry about touching up before photos because you just had your hair and makeup done! Your bridesmaids will LOVE you for this as well!
With a first look, you can ENJOY taking all of your wedding portraits and not feel rushed. Plus, you'll receive MORE variety in your portraits because of the extra time! It makes taking photos a lot more enjoyable because you aren't trying to squeeze them all in!
You can finish the majority of your wedding photos before the ceremony begins. We will jump right into bride and groom + bridal party photos after the first look! This means no long cocktail hours with guests waiting on us to finish taking photos!
Once we do family formals directly after the ceremony, you can actually go enjoy cocktail hour or start the reception! If any of your bridal party aren't family members, they get to enjoy ALL of cocktail hour!
So many couples say their nerves went away after they saw each other! It helps you to feel more relaxed and make the ceremony more enjoyable. Plus, you’ll probably remember your ceremony better because you weren’t so nervous. The whole thing would probably be a blur otherwise!
Sunset portraits are literally the BEST fifteen minutes of portraits you'll get on your wedding day. Typically we'll sneak out for 15 minutes during your reception (in-between events, of course!) or right after family formals to grab a few of these! Trust us, they are WORTH IT and are those dreamy, swoon-worthy photos you see all over Pinterest with the glowy lighting.
They also give you another chance to slow down and connect with each other, away from the chaos of your big day!
Here are a few things to know:
- Bring the veil + bouquet! This looks DREAMY with sunset lighting!
- If it ends up being overcast, don't worry! We've had many overcast and rainy weddings end up having a beautiful sunset.
There are many options when it comes to exits. Sparklers, bubbles, glow sticks, rose petals... there's so many options!
If your coverage ends before your exit, you have the option of planning a "mock" exit with your bridal party or whoever chooses to participate. This is more common than you may think. Instead of saving your exit until the very end, you can plan an early mock exit. This idea allows our couples to save money and still have all of the shots that they dreamed of.
One of the most COMMON questions we get asked is, what happens if it RAINS on my wedding day? While this isn't always ideal and doesn't match the sunny day you imagine while planning, we want to encourage you that you can still have GORGEOUS photos, even if it's rainy! Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind:
1. Overcast skies = perfect lighting. Sunlight, especially mid-day, is actually very harsh. Rainy days give that perfect, soft, natural lighting, no matter where you take your photos! This gives you perfect lighting + the ability to use a lot more locations. It also tends to make colors look more vibrant. :) Don’t get us wrong, we love golden, sunlit photos… but overcast has its advantages as well.
2. Let us worry about the photos. On your wedding, the only thing you should have to worry about is being the bride! :)
3. Be willing to go outside! Most of the time when it’s raining, it’s a lot of light sprinkles and not long, huge downpours… going outside is still definitely doable! We typically will find areas that have large trees to cover our couple & bridal party, or overhangs on the side of buildings. You can also bring along cute, clear umbrellas found on inexpensively on Amazon (enough for an ENTIRE bridal party) if you think there's a good chance of rain. We love the way sweet umbrella shots look!
4. Have a rain plan. Especially if you are having an outdoor wedding, this is very important! Be sure to communicate to your vendors what they should do if it rains on your wedding day. That way, if the situation arises, they will already know what to do and you won’t have to worry about a thing.
DOWNLOADING YOUR PHOTOS
When downloading your photos, we recommend downloading the ENTIRE gallery all at once, so you immediately have a copy of all your images! After downloading your gallery, be sure to save it to multiple places. You can also download individual images as you want them!
ACCESSING YOUR PHOTOS ON YOUR PHONE
The online gallery system that we use is extremely mobile friendly! You can download individual photos in web size onto your phone for crisp and clear images for social media. It's also so nice having access to your memories at all times.
You can actually order professional and affordable prints from within your online gallery and have them shipped directly to your house! Prints are printed in a professional lab to ensure color and contrast accuracy. You are more than welcome to print images on your own. However, I would warn you to avoid places like Walmart, Target and Costco. Usually your colors will not print true-to-life if you choose to print at those stores!
Your gallery is guaranteed to remain open for 6 months after your wedding date. Therefore, I highly recommend backing up your images in more than one place, on multiple devices, flash drives, hard drives, and even in online cloud storage systems like Dropbox or iCloud. You can't have enough copies!
SHARING YOUR IMAGES
You are completely free to share your images wherever you would like! Whether it's on social media, printing them for your home, or sending to your friends, share away! We want you to treat your images like they're yours. Just keep in mind not to add filters or re-edit them in any way (cropping is totally okay!) Watermarking is not necessary, but a photo credit is always appreciated! Feel free to share your gallery link with your friends and family! We will already be passing the gallery on to your vendors for you, so you don't have to worry about that!
Two weeks after you receive your full wedding gallery, we'll send you a link to your initial album design. We typically include images that our couples most LOVE to see in their album.
You get two revisions with your album design. It's all set up online so it's really easy to make changes! You have an unlimited amount of design changes + image swaps within each revision. The revisions are due within 3 weeks after receiving them.
Within 6 weeks of approving your album design, you'll receive your album at your doorstep!
ALEADY HAVE AN ALBUM? HERE'S WHAT TO EXPECT...
Thank you for allowing us to photograph your big day! We don't take it lightly and we're SO excited for you. We want you to know that we am HERE for you throughout wedding planning! If you have ANY questions at all along the way, feel free to reach out to us via email at any point. We hope this guide serves as an amazing resource for you as you plan and prepare for your big day! We're not only here to help but we want to encourage you that marriage is WORTH IT. Always keep that in mind! At the end of the day, no matter what happens, you'll be married and that's all that matters. Thank you again for choosing us as your photographer, and happy planning!
Love, Alyssa and Matt