Hot Shots: 6 Tips to Define Your Engagement Photo Session Style


Kate Ignatowski

If there’s one thing me and my handsome man love, it’s photos!  Our filter-happy, cropping, Instagram-lovin’ selves adore snapping our special moments.  That’s why we were all the more pleased that we got a bonus engagement session included with our professional wedding photo package.  We already had awesome Save the Date pictures taken in my favorite Chicago neighborhood, so we had to decide what to focus on during our session. Our excitement built as our shoot day got closer but dang, we faced some big dilemmas along the way.  Thus, I reach out to you with style tips to ensure you get those hot Pinterest-worthy engagement shots you’re looking for!

1. Pamper yourself in Preparation

This is your time to shine!  With all the wedding planning and prep, don’t you deserve whatever you need to feel beautiful? I called the week before the shots “my week of transformation”.  I got my hair systems did, nails did, eyebrows tinted and eyelashes extended….fancy huh?

Ready for our shots!

Ready for our shots!

2. What to Wear

This was the thorn in my lion paw.  I had no idea what to wear.  Internet to the rescue!  Many photographers (including my own) have fashion guides for your photo session.  Reoccurring themes include adding a pop of color, coordinating (not matchy-matching) your outfits, wearing clothes that model your personal style and wearing clothes that are close to the body.  Think fitted, not 80’s aerobic spandex. I somehow managed to put together a cute blue dress, discounted Target cardigan, yellow belt AND a sweet pair of mint green Converse that my fiance kept trying to steal.


3. Hit um’ with your best shot!

Yes, I scrolled through Pinterest.  Yes, I pinned tons of engagement shots.  However, I only chose 2 things that were “must haves”.  1) Us holding pictures of our parents when they were young couples, and 2) us sharing a cupcake and swinging on the counter swings at my fave dessert spot, Molly’s. Get your licks in while still allowing the photographer to have creative control.  That’s what you paid for, right?

My wedding role models! My mom/dad, grandma/grandpa and sister-in-law/brother

My wedding role models! My mom & dad, grandma & grandpa, and sweet note from my sister-in-law & brother

4. Props to your Props

Bringing some personalized props can make your session more relaxing and displays the unique aspects of your relationship.  We had Mustache and Kiss-themed invitations, so I wrangled some party mustaches for us for our poses. Live meaningful props (think dogs, hamsters, your large iguana) are also encouraged.


5. Remember to Reminisce

Bring Throw Back Thursday to your session!  We picked our engagement locale for our pics to further embed our history into our shots.  Since Jay didn’t hire a CIA photo bomber to get our proposal shots, this was a perfect opportunity to recapture some of those undocumented moments.  Take your photography to spots that chronicle your coupledom!

6. Watch the weather (for the non Californians)

So just an extra bonus tip, Midwest weather seems to be unfriendly. Perhaps it’s global warming?!  I had been an anxious Weather Channel App watcher for the whole week before the shoot.  Rain, snow, sleet, hail…we aren’t the postal service so make sure you have some indoor options in case your outdoor locations get flooded. 🙂 We are desperately waiting for sneak peeks of our session from our beautiful and bubbly photographer, Megan Saul.  Check out her sweet narrative style here and you’ll get the full story of why we chose her soon.


biopicKate Swem is a recently married lady living in Chicago. Her husband, Raja, is her blogging coach, fellow Netflixia sufferer (The Strain is now in rotation) and adventure twin. Tune in to hear about her wedding reflections and advice! You can follow her on Twitter, or read more on her and her best friend’s blog, Chi Organic Girls.