choosing the perfect time, location, outfit & more!

Engagement Session

planning your


I'm so excited to be working with you and I can’t wait for our time together during your engagement session! 

I'm a big fan of engagement sessions for a few reasons. First, they allow you to get comfortable in front of the camera. It takes time for most couples to warm up to being photographed. Timelines can be pretty tight on weddings days and 15 minutes may be all we have for portraits - which is why I’ve found that wedding day portraits turn out so much better when couples do engagement sessions ahead of time. Second, you can showcase your personalities in a more casual setting that is significant to the two of you.

I get asked the same things over and over again, I thought it would be the most beneficial if I put together a guide that walks you through everything you need to know. 


Engagement sessions can take place anywhere from immediately following a proposal to just a few days before the wedding. I’ve found that there isn’t a “good” or “bad” time to take your photos.  

Sessions typically last about an hour and usually an hour or so before sunset (depending on location). I prefer to shoot when the sun is lower in the sky to avoid harsh shadows and bright sun patches. The first hour after sunrise is also an ideal time to shoot.

I schedule sessions based on lighting - which means that it’s super important to be on time. If you’re late to an evening session, we could run out of light before we’ve finished shooting and if your session takes place in the morning, the sun gets more harsh as it rises. 


Time & Light: is there a

If your wedding is local, save the dates should be sent between 6 and 8 months before the wedding. For a destination wedding, 8 to 10 months before the wedding. 

If you’re hoping to use your engagement photos for your save the dates, I recommend scheduling your session at least two months before you plan to send out your save-the-dates. Between inclement weather, editing, designing your save-the-dates and printing, two months is generally a safe amount of time.


The above locations are all beautiful, but I also love exploring meaningful locations with my couples!

Berkeley Botanical Gardens
Sonoma Botanical Gardens
Gamble Gardens
Filoli Gardens


Old Mill Park
Tilden Regional Park
Chabot Regional Park
Mount Tam


Sutro Baths
Baker Beach
Muir Beach
Goat Rock Beach


San Francisco City Hall
Legion of Honor
Berkeley City Club


The best session locations are often meaningful places to you; however, I'm also happy to make recommendations. From forests to beaches to beautiful architecture, the options for engagement session locations are endless! 

Napa, Sonoma, San FranCisco Bay Area


While I do most engagement sessions in Napa, Sonoma, or San Francisco Bay Area. If you have a location in mind that is significant to the two of you, let me know because if our schedules align, I might be able to take your engagement photos outside of my normal area.

Travel fees may apply depending on the location and our availability.

Engagement sessions


I love when couples choose to incorporate pets into their session. Keep in mind that bringing a pet along often means that we’ll need to choose a pet friendly location. 

I won’t use the pet in every single photo so it’s also nice to have a friend available to hold him or her in between shots. If you’re going to bring a pet, I recommend exercising your pet before the session and bringing your pets favorite toy or treats! Depending on your pet’s fur type, it might also be a good idea to groom them before the shoot. 


When picking outfits, I recommend keeping in mind the word “complement” rather than “match.” You don't want to completely blend into each other. 

If I had my way, everyone would show up in a red dress. It's kind of a photographer's dream! But wear whatever makes you happy, just remember this could be your chance to wear that fancy outfit that hasn't been worn enough in your closet! Also avoid plaid and stripes. 

If you are unsure, feel free to bring multiple outfits and I can help you decide. Many people add an additional hour so you can do an alternate location and different outfits. 



When I can, I always try to take a photo of your engagement ring. If possible, try to have your engagement ring cleaned or clean it yourself.

To clean at home, soak your ring in warm water with dishwashing soap for 20 to 40 minutes. Then gently brush the stone with a soft toothbrush, rinse and repeat if needed.

The Rings

I’ll check in the week of your engagement session to confirm the time & location we’re meeting and the weather. We know it takes a lot of time to get ready for engagement session and it’s the worst to get dressed up and drive out to your session only to have it rain. Let us know what works best for the two of you - but if the weather looks like it won’t be great, we typically try to make the call at least 12 hours in advance. 

what to do if it rains

Inclement Weather

When it comes to posing for your engagement session, you don’t need to worry about a thing! I’ll guide you through the entire process beginning with “poses” that are super easy and natural. If I tell you to do something that feels a little funny, it’s probably because I know it’s going to make the two of you laugh - and that’s the photo I'm actually looking for. 

Throughout your session, I’ll keep an eye on your hair, makeup and outfits to make sure things stay in place. We want you to feel as relaxed as possible and enjoy your time together! 

"what do I do with my hands?"


A note on

If you’re anything like me, you probably don’t get dressed up all that often. Which means that the day of your engagement session is the perfect occasion for a date night (or brunch if your session is in the morning!). It's also the perfect time to do your makeup trial with your hair/makeup artist! 

The engagement session is another part of celebrating your love and heading off to dinner is a great way to end the session! 

Date Night

As soon as possible after your session is complete, I will work on editing your photographs. It normally takes 2-4 weeks to receive your engagement photos. 


When to Expect Your




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