A dozen questions running through your mind right now, and we’re here to answer them! We’ve coached many couples through their engagement session experience, and we'll be sharing the same resources with you!

We can relate to everything you’re feeling because we've been on the other side of the camera many times! The hunt for a perfect outfit. The location decision. Even choosing which season we want!

Friend, we've got some great stuff here for you. Grab a vanilla latte and dive in!

Are you thinking about your engagement session and feeling a little intimidated?
You feel nervous about the unknowns. It might even be the first time you’ve had a professional photo session. Where to go? What to wear? How to prep? What do I do with my hands while I’m smiling at the camera? Do these questions sound familiar?

Confident & prepared


Our goal is to make you feeL

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

In the blur of planning our own wedding, our engagement session is one of the most vivid memories we have of that time in our relationship. And the best part? We’ll have those pictures forever.

In case you're still not sure, here are 3 reasons why you won't want to skip a professional engagement session.

We might be a little biased as photographers, but we really and truly believe that your engagement session will be one of the highlights of your engagement memories!

It’s a season of wedding planning craziness. You might feel like the last thing on your mind is to schedule a professional engagement session! Your friend with a camera already grabbed a few shots for you after he proposed. Those will work well enough, right?

3 Reasons Not To Skip A Professional Engagement Session

Not to mention - you get to choose one or two outfits that bring out your unique style and choose ANY location you want!

Is meandering through an estate garden in a flowy dress and holding his hand something you’ve seen in magazines but never dreamed could happen for you?

Does kissing under the Spanish moss draped historic streets of Savannah sound like a dream come true? Now’s your chance to create a session that feels like stepping into a real-life fairy tale!

Engagement images are timeless

Engagement pictures will always bring back vivid memories of how you felt and what your relationship was at this time in your lives. Your wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and so is being engaged. It’s a special time of its own that deserves to be documented intentionally.
You'll never regret making the time for this session - but you might regret not.

1. You’ll discover that your engagement pictures will be priceless to you

We’ve been able to spend an entire evening with our couple – getting to know them on a deeper level, hearing more about their lives and their relationship.

This means that we learn even better how to create pictures that genuinely reflect you and your unique relationship because we've been able to experience that together.

This genuine connection will make the wedding day (and your wedding pictures) even MORE amazing!

We’re huge fans of having your engagement session with the photographer who will be photographing your wedding. We love all of our couples from the very first vanilla latte date, but the engagement session is where we really leave feeling like friends.

2. You'll connect with your photographer

Bonus reason you’ll love having a professional engagement session: you’ll have engagement images that match your wedding portraits! Your photographer has a distinct style, and it’s beautiful to have that consistent style running through your entire engagement/wedding experience.

You’ll learn how it feels to be in front of your photographer’s camera and how they work through posing and bringing out emotion. Your photographer will be able to see how you interact together, what you’re comfortable with, and what your best poses are.

Once you see the engagement pictures, you'll feel even more confident and excited about what the photographer is going to create for your wedding day! 

When the wedding day comes, you’ll already feel like pro in front of the camera! You’ll know exactly what to expect and feel comfortable with the poses because you’ve done this all before.

3. The engagement session is a chance for you to get comfortable in front of the camera 

Chapter 2

To summarize: it's never too early or too late for your engagement session, but we recommend aiming for at least 4-6 months before your wedding. If you're planning Save the Dates or have a long engagement, then 8-10 months is even better!

If you only have a few months between booking your photographer and the wedding, that’s okay! Your photographer will start working with you to schedule your session soon after booking. You’ll want to get your session on their schedule as soon as possible!

If you’ve booked your photographer over a year out, you’re in the position to have seasonal options! You can choose between the soft and romantic blossoms of a spring session, the vivid colors and nostalgia of summer, the rich and hearty hues of a fall landscape, or the simple yet magical stillness of a winter session.

We recommend scheduling your engagement session at least 4-6 months before the wedding day

You’ll want as much time as possible to enjoy your engagement pictures during the actual engagement part of your relationship, so it’s never too early!

When Should I Schedule My Session?

Bonus tip! If you want a spring or fall engagement session, talk with your photographer as soon as possible. These are the busiest months for weddings and portrait sessions in the south (everybody loves spring blossoms, fall colors, and cooler weather!), so you’ll want to talk about what options are available for engagement sessions.

Send Me the Tips!

I remember how it felt to finally officially start my wedding planning...and realizing how intimidating it was! How do I even know where to start? We’ve got you covered! Here are 8 tips to get you started on your wedding
planning journey!

Just Engaged?
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I remember how it felt to finally officially start my wedding planning...and realizing how intimidating it was! How do I even know where to start? We’ve got you covered! Here are 8 tips to get you started on your wedding
planning journey!

8 Tips for the Newly Engaged Bride!

Chapter 3

If you’re going for a destination session, talk with your photographer to get started on the location and travel details. Each photographer has a different style when it comes to destination sessions, so it’s the best place to start!

There are lots of great places in Huntsville for an epic engagement session. Downtown, Huntsville Botanical Garden, and Providence Village are some of our favorites. We have a full location guide that we share with our brides to help them find a spot with the perfect vibe for their session!

1. Decide whether you want a local or destination engagement session

If you’re looking for something a little more unique, think outside of the box a little bit and consider locations that might be a little less well-used.

Choosing A Location

It takes a little extra planning, but the memories are priceless. If the wanderlust is strong and you love to travel, this is for you!

One sweet Florida couple met us in the Smokey Mountains for a weekend getaway engagement session. Those mountains are breath-taking and absolutely worth the road trip.

Another couple decided on a winter session in South Dakota - complete with shimmering snow and a gorgeous frozen river. The Midwest was part of their story, and incorporating such a meaningful location brought a new layer of uniqueness to their images.

And while we were exploring charming southern cities, we headed down a couple days early to add in an amazing Charleston session!

If there’s a place that you think would be perfect, do it! This is a super special time in your love story, and you want to do it right. Find the perfect spot, take your photographer along, and enjoy the memories for the rest of your life!

One of our brides really wanted to get married in Savannah, but a destination wedding just didn’t work out for them. We met them in Savannah one weekend and created some of the most amazing memories (and pictures!) with them during the engagement session.

mansions, private estates, light stone buildings, museums

2. Choose a style for your session

Elegant

downtown, public parks, beaches

Classic

farm, barns, cotton fields

Rustic

botanical gardens, flower and tree filled public parks, private estate with extensive grounds

Garden

Disney World, colleges or universities

Themed

coffee shops, at-home session, favorite activity

Lifestyle

Do you spend every possible weekend down at the beach? Have a sunset walk on the beach session.
Do you hike on the weekends? Find your favorite mountain.
Are you country all the way? You might want to look into a horse farm or an old barn.   
Obsessed with Piper and Leaf tea, which just so happened to be your first date spot? Head to your favorite shop!

Is there a location that would highlight part of your unique story? Bring that into your engagement session!

A favorite place to hangout, the beach where you shared your first kiss, the fountain where he proposed. Think about your favorite special places and whether your preferred style will fit into any of these locations.

3. Is there a location that is special to you or part of your love story?

There are so many great options for a location. It’s hard to go wrong! If you're struggling to figure out what style you're looking for, browse through engagement sessions on your photographer's blog. See which sessions  you fall in love with - you might have just found your best location options!

4. Narrow down the specific location based on your answers above

Meet Joel & Amber!

As you’re considering different options, ask your photographer for recommendations! Many times, they’ll have certain locations that work well with their unique style.

Our style is elegant, classy, and vibrant. We gravitate toward gardens, beautiful architecture, and historic downtowns. While we can make any location look good, we know that those kinds of locations really make our style pop!

If you like the pictures you've seen on this page and want to know more about creating a J&A Wedding Experience of your own, we'd love to meet you!  Click below to connect with us!

Bonus tip!

Chapter 4

Outfit #1:
Navy or dark gray suit, tie or bowtie, dress shoes, cuff links or pocket square

Outfit #2:
Button-up dress shirt, dress pants, dress shoes

Epic outfit options for him

Tips!

-Strapless and sleeveless dresses are not usually the most flattering options. Consider a dress with some type of sleeves for a slender and flattering feminine look. You can also pair a cardigan with your dress.

-Heels elongate your legs and are very flattering on camera.

-Statement pieces of jewelry add extra pop to your outfit. A necklace or a great pair of earrings can really tie your outfit together.

Outfit #1:
Dress with a long, flowing skirt, heels, and a statement piece necklace.
  
Outfit #2:
Classy cocktail dress, heels

Outfit #3:
Shorter casual dress, heels or wedges.

Epic outfit options for her

Feeling overwhelmed just thinking about your finding the perfect outfits for your session? You're not alone. Follow these tips for choosing outfits that the camera (and you!) will love!

Brides always want to know how dressed up they need to be for their engagement session. Our advice? There’s no such thing as too dressed up!

Engagement Style Tips

Tip: Don’t stress too much about making sure you have every piece coordinated perfectly! I’ve been there, too, and it can be stressful. Many colors coordinate well together. If you like the way your outfits look when they’re together, roll with it!

As you accessorize, you can incorporate accent colors. If your dress has hints of green in it, see if you can find a tie that has components of a similar shade of green. Try to get the shades as close as possible.

For example, pink for you, navy for him. Mint green for you, dark gray for him.

Choose  individual dominant colors that coordinate well together

As you’re coordination your outfit with your finance’s, think about colors that coordinate but don’t necessarily “match.”

So if you’re wearing a bright blue dress, a silver statement necklace, and nude heels, he could wear a navy suit, white shirt, brown leather shoes and maybe even a bright blue pocket square or tie.

Coordinating the Looks

Don't be afraid to rock a patterned outfit if you have one you love! Our best advice if you choose an outfit with a pattern: if one person wears a pattern, you definitely want the other to be wearing a solid.

Two different patterns don’t typically go well together and can be very distracting.

Your combination of solids and patterns is almost more important than the colors you choose!

Solid colors photograph really well and help bring all the attention to your faces. We’re big fans of sticking with solid colors for at least one of your outfits, but patterns can bring an extra element of fun to your second one!

Solids and Patterns

Chapter 5

Schedule your appointment early enough to have plenty of time for getting dressed and driving to the location.

Going pro takes much of the getting ready stress off your plate

We recommend going pro! I’ve been in front of the camera for many sessions of our own, and I can always tell the difference.

You feel so much more confident in front of the camera when you’ve invested in professional hair and makeup, and that confidence comes out in your pictures!

Is Professional Hair and Makeup Worth The Splurge?

Chapter 6

Every photographer is a little different in their style, but most photographers will walk you through all the posing.

For our sessions, we coach you through flattering poses while incorporating emotion and movement into the pose.

Your job is to have fun and enjoy the session, and we'll take care of all the posing details!

We believe that in every session there is a place for both formal smiling-at-the-camera poses and interactive poses that capture movement and emotion. We bring that out in every session! 

Will I Know How To Pose?

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Chapter 7

If you’re having a hard time coming up with something meaningful, we’d recommend skipping the props! They’re not necessary at all - just a fun option for those who want it.

When it comes to props, less is more! We recommend sticking with one item. We want most of the session to focus on you, not trying to squeeze in a bunch of different props. If you want to bring something more complex, bring things that fit within a theme. A theme is something like a picnic blanket with wine, cheese, and flowers. There are several items involved, but they all go together into one scene.

The star of your engagement session will always be your sweet faces, of course. But if you're looking for a little extra pop, it can be fun to bring in a prop or two.

Props add an extra twist of diversity to your engagement session because it brings in something that is unique to you and your relationship. You can incorporate some of your favorite things or activities into pictures from an unforgettable time of your lives!

What About Props?

Chapter 8

You’re going to look amazing, and these pictures will become such special memories

The ultimate piece of advice for your engagement session: be sure to relax and enjoy the process! Preparing for an engagement session can be a little stressful as you hunt for the perfect outfits and location, but don’t let that take away the joy.

Choose outfits that coordinate well together, but don’t exactly match. Patterns can be fun, but don’t mix two patterns together. Bonus points if you can use accessories to bring in accent colors that tie your outfits together!

Heels, long skirts, and sleeves are all particularly flattering for the camera.

For the guys, a well-tailored suit is always a win.

Props can bring a fun element of personality to your session, but they’re definitely optional. If you choose to incorporate props, stick with just one or two.

There’s no such thing as too dressed up for your session.

When it comes to choosing your location, think about the specific style you want for your session. Elegant? Rustic? Garden? Themed? Narrow down your options based on your style, and ask your photographer for input.

The engagement session experience is one you don’t want to miss out on! Not only do you get some incredible pictures from this time in your lives, but you also have a chance to get comfortable with your photographer and the camera.

It’s never too early to do your session, but we recommend schedule it for at least 4-6 months before the wedding.

Summary!

Meet Joel & Amber!

That’s what the J&A experience is all about. 

The sense of peace and relief that comes when you trust that everything will work out. You have someone on your team, ready with both practical advice and a heart to encourage you along the way. 

Do you ever have that feeling when you just know everything is taken care of? 

Bonus Chapter

What bundle of furry love could resist looking at the camera when Amber is holding up one of those fabulous bacon-flavored crunchy things? I mean, come on…

Here’s to those furry creatures that bring so much joy into our lives!

Don’t forget the treats! 

04

Pets are often distracted by crowds of people. They’re much more cooperative if we find an out-of-the-way place!

Look for a location that is quiet and not crowded

03

We recommend the last 15 minutes of your session because it’s the perfect time to get a little goofy and play around! You’ll be super confident in your posing and how to be in front of the camera, so adding in a sparkle of puppy energy will just add to the fun.

Plan to include your pet during the first or last 10-15 minutes of your session

02

If your friend isn’t able to bring your pet to the session themselves, have them take your puppy for an extended walk while you enjoy your session!

It’s much easier to focus on each other and on everything we’re teaching you when you’re not trying to keep an eye on that cute little (or big!) puppy dog! Amber is a pro when it comes to snapping pictures while hanging onto the leash, but we love to allow you both to focus on each other during your session with no distractions!

Ask a friend to be in charge of bringing your pet to the session at the appropriate time

01

The secret life of Joel and Amber: we love kittens and puppies, and we send each other pictures of adorable animals on Facebook. We call them our virtual pets! So are we fans of bringing out your sweet puppy to the engagement session? Most definitely. :)

Here are 4 tips to make your puppy’s debut into the engagement session smooth and easy for everyone!

4 Tips For Including A Pet In Your Engagement Session

Contact Joel & Amber!

Do you want a photographer who is going to take care of all the little details along the way? From flattering poses to guiding you through location options, we equip our J&A Couples to have the experience of a lifetime! 
If that's exactly what you're looking for, let's talk. Click below to get in touch and get the inside scoop on all the details!

We'd love to meet you!

We hope this ultimate engagement session guide brought you from I-don't-know-where-to-start to I'm-going-to-rock-this!

If you weren't quite ready to shoot us an inquiry for your wedding date or download the wedding roadmap checklist, that's totally okay!

We've still got all kinds of amazing things just like this in store for you! Pop in your name and email below, and you'll get the exclusive scoop on all the best stuff. We'll see you there!

Not quite ready?

We'd love to have you join us on this journey! Not only do we share tips and inspiration for brides, but we also share encouragement and insight from our own marriage!

the Roadmap Checklist

We'd love to have you join us on this journey! Not only do we share tips and inspiration for brides, but we also share encouragement and insight from our own marriage!

the Bridal Details Checklist