There’s lots of little details that go into planning your engagement session! As a newlywed, Wichita-native and local photographer, I wanted to get you ahead of the game and share my top 5 tips for planning your killer Wichita engagement session.
1. CHOOSE MEANINGFUL LOCATIONS
Okay, location is big for two reasons: first, because it will be the background/setting of all your printed images and second, because this is where you actually get to go through the process of having your photos taken! Choosing an environment that you and your fiancé are comfortable in will go a long way in how you feel about the session and your final gallery.
Here are a few different approaches you can take when trying to decide on a Wichita-location for your engagement session:
- Select a location that’s the opposite of your wedding venue.
For example, if you’re getting married at an urban venue in downtown Wichita, you might choose a more nature-based setting for your engagement photos so that you have more variety.
- Select a location that’s sentimental to the two of you.
Maybe it’s your favorite local brewery that you go to every weekend, the coffee shop where you had your first date, or the location you got engaged. Wherever it may be, it’s hard to go wrong when you’re choosing a location that’s full of sweet memories.
- Select a location based on your vision for the session.
If you have a distinct vision (complete with a Pinterest board) for your engagement shoot that you can’t get out of your head, coordinate with your photographer to make it happen! I promise that your dreamy boho engagement session can definitely happen in Wichita, as can the modern or vintage themed engagement session.
Some of my favorite locations to shoot in and around Wichita include:
- Downtown Wichita (from the river walk to Old Town, there’s something for everyone)
- Botanica Gardens
- Great Plains Nature Center (Northeast Wichita)
- Swanson Park (West Wichita)
- Bartlett Arboretum (Belle Plaine)
- The Flint Hills (Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve)
- Klausmeyer Farms Sunflower Fields (Clearwater)
2. PICK THE TIME OF YEAR
Unfortunately we don’t all have the opportunity to choose the perfect time of year for our photos (shoutout to the couples who plan their wedding in under six months!). If you do have the flexibility to choose what time of year to take your engagement photos, here are a few approaches to consider:
- Choose a season that’s the opposite of when you’re getting married.
For example, if you’re getting married in November, you may want to take engagement photos in the late spring or early summer.
- Choose based on preference/what works best for your timeline.
If I could have had it my way, we would have had fall engagement photos (it’s my favorite season, hands down!). However, we ended up getting ours done in March because we got engaged in February and then married in August. They turned out beautifully! So don’t fear, you can make it work even if you are punching the clock to get those Save the Dates sent!
3. SELECT OUTFITS YOU LOVE + ARE COMFORTABLE IN
Once you’ve landed on the location + time of year for your engagement session, the next step is to get your outfits mapped out. When choosing your attire, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Bring 2-3 different outfits.
Typically during a session you’ll have 2-3 different outfits, which will give your photos a bit more variety. As a general recommendation, bringing one casual, snappy-casual and classy outfit will give you a bit of everything!
- Be you + be comfy.
Don’t hesitate to wear those jeans that make you feel like a thousand bucks! Do you hate how heels feel on your feet? Ditch them! This is a time for you to choose outfits that are comfortable and make you feel as confident as Beyoncé. And don’t forget to choose clothing you can move easily in.
- Coordinate > Match.
This one is real straightforward. I promise that you don’t need to look like a 90’s family photo, where everyone’s outfit has the same 2-3 colors. If you’re struggling with this at all, Pinterest and her divine wisdom is only a click away, or I’m sure your photographer would be happy to review your outfits and give input.
- Avoid busy patterns or styles that will be dated next year.
Since these are photos that you and your future children (presumably) will be looking at, you’ll want them to feel as timeless as possible. This doesn’t mean that your outfits can’t be trendy, just not ones you’ll cringe to look at in the next two years. As a general rule, if it’s trending at Forever21, you should probably pass. #sorrynotsorry
4. PREPARE WELL
Getting yourself and your fiancé prepped for your engagement photos can seem overwhelming, especially when you’re not sure where to start. I promise there’s not as much to it as you think! The main things I like to recommend couples prioritize when prepping for their engagement session are:
- Ladies, clean your ring + get a manicure.
Let’s be honest, a very exciting portion of this session is getting photos that show off your gorgeous rock! Make sure you get it cleaned so that it really stands out and treat yourself to a manicure.
- Gentlemen, plan your haircut + clean up your beard.
Guys, it’s always a good idea to schedule your haircut 7-10 days before the date of your engagement session. Also, if you’ve got a beard, be sure to clean it up, especially the neckline. If this is something you don’t feel confident about doing, give yourself a pass and go to a barber!
- Iron your clothes + bring a brush.
Pretty straightforward. You don’t want something like a stubborn crease creating distractions in your photos and you don’t want your hair to look quite as windblown as it’ll end up being when shooting outdoors in Kansas.
- Create a Pinterest board + share with your photographer
Making an “Engagement Photos Inspiration” Pinterest board with your fiancé is actually pretty great. It creates an opportunity to look through photos to identify poses, styles and settings that you’re both drawn to. Doing this with my fiancé helped us talk through what we were looking forward to most when it came to our session. Once you’ve created your Pinterest board, you can share it + your vision with your photographer!
5. MAKE A DATE OF IT
From the locations to your outfits, your engagement session should look and feel like you two. Incorporating activities (like spontaneous ice cream runs!) into your session are things you can do to make your shoot feel as natural and carefree as a night on the town with your fiancé. Remember that the way you feel when your photos are being taken is going to impact how you feel when you look at those photos printed and framed.
For this reason, try to relax and just enjoy each other during your session. A good photographer will help you forget that a camera is being pointed at you altogether, so take the pressure off yourself and have fun! It’s not every day that you get to snuggle up to your best friend in a beautiful location while looking your best.
Many of my couples will finish their session in one of their “snappy-casual” outfits and then treat themselves to dinner and drinks after their shoot wraps up. I love this idea and I think it’s a great way to make your engagement photos feel like a date from start to finish.
So there you have it: top 5 tips for planning a Wichita engagement session that you’ll love from start to finish. Enjoy!