Engagement Session Guide

You've got the date set and you're ready for the engagement photos! Now what? You don't jump in front of a professional camera everyday so it's natural to be a bit nervous. But rest easy! Here is our simple guide to cover everything you need to know to prepare for an engagement session with Cynthia Rose Photography. engagement session guide


We really like to schedule engagement sessions between September - November and April - June. In other words, when you'll be least likely to pass out of heat exhaustion in the middle of the session. :) We know this isn't always possible and we schedule portrait sessions all year long, but if you can make it happen in the least sweltering months, I promise you'll thank us later!


Because of our hectic weekends throughout wedding season, we try to schedule engagement sessions for a weekday if at all possible. If your work schedule doesn't allow for a weekday session, no worries, we will find a convenient date that will work best for you!


Shopping for your engagement session outfit should be fun and not stressful! We recommend coordinating your outfits but not necessarily matching. Outfits that complement one another are ideal. Make your oufit location-and-time-of-year appropriate. Dressy date night outfits are perfect for an urban downtown session while a casual coastal style is best for the beach or the waterfront and sweaters and boots are perfect for fall sessions.  No matter what, be sure it reflects your personal style and makes you feel confident. We encourage multiple outfits; variety is the spice of life! Tip: for parts of the session we may have you in seated poses. I love love dresses for engagement photos but you may feel comfortable with a second outfit that includes pants or jeans.

engagement session guide


Makeup is a personal thing, some of us love it and some of us just aren't a fan. While I would never expect someone to wear makeup if it's truly not her style, if you do like makeup, absolutely pay special attention to your makeup for a photo session. I'm a makeup lover myself; I love playing with different techniques and learning to accentuate features. I have learned little makeup tricks after having my own photo taken and seeing the difference it makes! I'll let you in on some of my favorite essential tips for photo session makeup:

  • Highlighter & concealer. Using a light highlighter (I use a WHITE highlighter, but I'm very fair skinned!) and concealer underneath your eye as well as in the corner of your eye make you look bright and awake! I never ever forego this step when applying makeup.
  • High quality foundation. Finding a high quality foundation you love is a wonderful thing. I have loved NARS and Lorac and prefer the foundations that are more matted than luminous, especially for photos. Which leads me to a very important point: shimmery, glittery makeup is no bueno for photography. It can lead to a "shiny" or "oily" look!
  • Contouring. If you have not discovered the wonders of contouring using bronzer, google it! Your life will change. In a good way.
  • Lipstick. Do not underestimate the power of lip color. It completes your look!
  • Eyebrows. Accentuating your eyebrows by using a brow pencil or other brow kit is essential (if you don't already have naturally dark, lovely eyebrows, that is!). Your eyebrows frame your face!
  • Not sure about doing all this yourself but want the benefits of great makeup? Hire a professional. If you need referrals I will be happy to send them your way!

engagement session guide


A themed engagement session can be really fun and we are all for it. To give you an example, one couple we worked with - Nick & Amy - scheduled their session for just before 4th of July. And with Nick being a United States Marine, a patriotic themed session was perfect for them. They coordinated their outfit colors and we used sparklers as evening fell. They even brought an American flag towel that we draped over them for one photo as well. If you have a theme idea just let us know and let's run with it!

engagement session guide


We know traditional, classic portraits are essential for an engagement session. Showing off your newly acquired bling, smiling beautifully at the camera - we've totally got you covered. An engagement session with us, however, is more than that. It truly isn't everyday you get to dress up and be professionally photographed with your stud muffin, so come ready to get romantic and sweet and playful, and a little bit sassy too.

engagement session guide


Our approach to every session is to be laidback and go with the flow. Because we always work on location in outdoor settings, there are times when you just don't know what mother nature has in store for you. For that reason, we prefer to make it work for us rather than trying to work against it. And embrace the imperfection - our engagement sessions are not meant to produce stuffy, stiff portraits. We will produce beautiful portraits for you but we will also grab the in between moments when everything may not be quite perfect, but the expression of emotion - whether it be sweet or silly - is more perfect than ever. When we hung out with Julianne & Craig for their session in Swansboro, it was windier than you could possibly imagine! And ladies, you know what that does to the hair. But Julianne was a trooper and she rolled with the punches. Yes, the photo on the left is a little crazy but I absolutely gave it to them. It gave context to the day and personally I think photos like it are awesome to have; it makes me smile and I hope it's the imperfection that makes them smile and remember how much we all laughed that day and ultimately how much fun they had during their engagement photos. And the wind worked in our favor later on in the session. With the photo on the right, Julianne's hair is caught beautifully by the wind and it gives the whole photo a sense of movement you just wouldn't get had the air been perfectly still.

engagement session guide


Not totally sure of a location for your engagement session? Be inspired! Whether it's where you first met or where he proposed, a meaningful location makes for sweet engagement photos. Heather & Ryan chose to use a pool hall for part of their engagement session because it's what they were doing when they met: playing pool.

engagement session guide


Don't hesitate for one second to be yourself! And don't take the session too seriously! Laughter is beautiful.

engagement session guide


If we have what seems like an odd or over the top request during your session, please trust us! It means we have an awesome photo in mind and we may just have to go a little further than usual to get it! We promise it will be worth it.

engagement session guide

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