TIPS FOR PLANNING YOUR IDEAL ENGAGEMENT SESSION | FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS | METRO DETROIT, MI

You may be planning your engagement session and I want to help you out and give you some inspiration! Sometimes it can be hard to decide where to have your session or what to wear! I've created a list of frequently asked questions along with tips and inspiration to help you plan your engagement photographs!


Thinking about not getting engagement photographs taken? Keep reading for my top reasons for why you should plan an engagement session before your wedding! It's more than just pretty pictures and Save-the-Date content!


Five reasons as to why you should have an engagement session with your wedding photographer


You may be having an intimate wedding without Save-the-Date invitations, you may not want “extra” photographs of you and your fiancé, or you may honestly think that “just” taking photographs would not be a fun experience. Even if you are not printing your engagement photographs on cards to send to your friends and family, they matter!


1. An engagement session allows you to become more comfortable with your wedding photographer and their shooting style, before or after you book your wedding.


2. An engagement session helps you know the photographer’s style, demeanor, and personality. It gives you time to get to know each other. It's important that your photographs know who you are before your wedding and what you're all about so that they can document you more authentically.


3. An engagement session is the perfect opportunity to incorporate your individuality, interests, or hobbies into your photographs if you are unable to on your wedding day.

Shinola Hotel | The Brakeman


4. Engagement photographs are beautiful to display at a bridal party or wedding (especially at the gift or place card table)


5. Engagement photographs provide you with beautiful, timeless images of you and your fiancé in a more casual environment, where you can wear whatever you’d like and be flexible with your location choice!

Stony Creek Metro Park


Alright, so I’ve convinced you, right? If not, reach out and we can talk about it more! I never pressure my couples into engagement sessions. Sometimes couples are out of state and it just isn’t possible, or they only have a few months to plan their wedding and it doesn’t fit into their schedule. Whatever your reason is, I’d love to know!


Frequently asked questions with tips and inspiration


Do you have any location suggestions?

If you can, choose a location that has significance to you OR a location that fits your interests. Remember, you can choose an indoor location, such as your home, favorite coffee shop downtown, or that brewery where you had your first date. If you choose an indoor location, you do not have to worry about a rain out plan, and we can always go outside and photograph around your location. Maybe you want to rock your engagement session downtown with the cityscape surround you. Or, maybe you feel more comfortable out in nature! Maybe you’ve always dreamed of having your photographs taken under a willow tree. Remember, we can try to fit in two locations if they are nearby. For example, in Downtown Detroit, there are many locations within walking distance so we can get a good variety! I’m here to guide you, but I do not want to make you feel like you have to choose a specific spot.

You can check out my blogs for location inspiration or if you need further recommendations, just let me know!

At home

The Brakeman

Troy Farm Park

The Z Lot, Detroit


What should I wear?

Again, it’s completely up to you. I want you to show up and be YOU, not some cute couple you are trying to imitate on Pinterest. I want you to feel comfortable and confident in whatever you choose to wear! You can be casual or more dressy. You can also choose to change outfits halfway through our session if you desire different looks!

Focus on complimenting each other without matching; no one wants to relive the white shirts and khakis look. I love neutrals and jewel tones as they compliment skin tones best and are not distracting in photographs. And do not be afraid of patterns, it can be a great accent! I would recommend if you choose to wear patterns, make sure your partner is wearing something more neutral without conflicting patterns. Think about the environment you will be taking your photographs in too and try to fit that vibe. And, you will be MOVING around for your engagement photographs, so make sure that you can move in whatever outfit(s) you choose. You will want to be comfortable walking, sitting, maybe even dancing! And if you still feel unsure, here is my pinterest board for inspiration.

Downtown Rochester

Brys Estate, Traverse City

What should I bring to an engagement session?

While you don’t want to be carrying around a huge bag of extra “stuff”, bringing some items to your engagement session that represent you, your interests, or your hobbies is a great idea! It infuses your individuality and who you are as a couple into the photographs. I want your session to represent YOU, so if that means bringing your four legged friend along or items that tell your story, please do! We can incorporate them into your photos in an authentic and fun way! Maybe it’s something from your proposal, a hobby you both love and share, a food you love, or a bottle of wine that is special.

Rochester Park

Royal Oak


What’s the best season for engagement photographs? And what happens if the weather isn’t right?


Again, the season is up to you! If you are taking your engagement photographs for your Save the Dates, which is recommended from 6-8 months before your wedding, I would suggest taking them 8-10 months prior to your wedding date, if possible! If you’re not planning on using them for Save the Dates or your wedding website, you can take them whenever you’d like!


If you love warm tones and sweaters, fall is your best bet! Fall can be a great time for dark, moody photos and colorful, fun photographs. If you prefer a lighter scene, spring and summer are great options. In Michigan, spring blossoms around May while summer starts to get hot around July. If you are worried about rain, I would not recommend a spring session and if you are worried about sweating, I would not recommend a summer session. Winter engagement sessions are possible, but Michigan weather is unreliable as you know, so there may be snow or it may just be grey. Likewise, the cold weather often makes your hands and faces red, which will be in almost every photograph. So something to think about! If you’re a go with the flow kind of person, any season will do!

The Z Lot, Detroit (Winter)

Downtown Rochester (Spring)

Brys Estate, Traverse City (Summer)

Troy Farm Park (Fall)


And, let’s talk about the weather! If there is a major rain/snow storm, we can reschedule! The rescheduling process is simple and painless. We both decide, preferably 24 hours prior to your session, that the weather isn’t going to be suitable for photographs and then we pick a new date! There is no rescheduling fee or hassle. If it’s a light drizzle and you don’t mind, I’m down to photograph. My cameras are weather proofed so I’m not afraid of rain. A rainy/overcast day can be great for moody, fun photographs. And I have the perfect clear umbrella for your photographs.


I feel awkward getting my photograph taken, will you pose me?


Trust me, the last thing I want for you is to feel uncomfortable! I do not expect you to show up as a professional model, confident in posing yourself. I do expect you to show up as you and be willing to have a little fun! I will not prom pose you, I will not make you stare directly into my camera for every photograph, I will not make you smile until your face hurts, I will not make you do anything that is uncomfortable.


Instead of posing you in every photograph, I take an “unposed” approach. So, what does that even mean? You either love that word, knowing that you enjoy photographs that are purely candid. Or you fear that word, knowing that you need direction when your photograph is taken. Don’t worry, I will guide you through the photographs. I will curate your session. I will give you actions to keep you moving, distracting you from my camera. I will give you topics, or prompts as photographers say, that allow you to interact authentically with each other. I will help you feel comfortable by guiding you through different interactions. I will document you as you are, beautiful and imperfect, loving and true. If you’d like to see more of what this looks like at your session and know more about the prompts that I use, check out this blog.

Royal Oak


What is included in an engagement session?

When you invest in an engagement session, I will help you plan out your session and be there to answer any questions that you may have. Your session will be 45-90 minutes depending on location(s) or multiple outfits. After your session has been photographed, you will receive some sneak peeks, a blog post that highlights you and your story, and an online gallery with your photographs artistically edited and fine-tuned, approximately 50-100 photographs. The online gallery includes your high-resolution photographs, rights to download and print, and a print shop to order directly from if you choose. If you plan on ordering Save the Dates, check out Basic Invite! They offer a beautiful selection and are affordable! If you’d like 20% off, check out this blog post and scroll to the bottom for the code!

The Z Lot, Detroit


Alright, that’s it! Those are the questions that I get asked the most in regards to an engagement session, but if you have a different question, don’t hesitate to ask! If you’re considering an engagement session before you book your wedding or are ready to find out more about booking your wedding, you can reach out here. I hope that this blog has given you some clarity and confidence with your upcoming engagement session.

All my love,


NOT JUST ANOTHER "PHOTOGRAPHER"

Nicole is a wedding and portrait photographer based out of the Metro Detroit area. Residing in Royal Oak, she photographs in Michigan and abroad. She began her career in 2012 and is now a published artist and professional photographer. Nicole started documenting weddings in 2014 and passionately pursues photography daily, teaching film and digital photography to high school students, and documenting life and love on the weekends. Specializing in Weddings, Portraiture, and Lifestyle photography, she is a diverse and creative artist. Does this sound like the photographer for you?

Heck yes, say hello!

© NICOLE LEANNE PHOTOGRAPHY 2020