How to Prepare for an Engagement Session

What to Expect at an Engagement Session


We get so many emails from couples who don’t quite know how to prepare for an engagement session and it’s absolutely normal. We don’t photograph professional models, so I truly hope this blog post will help you how to prepare for an engagement session!

The goal of an engagement session

  1. It’s a great time for you to get to know your photographer.

  2. You also get to see what it means to be in front of a camera.

  3. To have beautiful photographs together

For future wedding couples, it’s the perfect way for us to learn a bit about your personalities: some couples prefer less kissing photos, sometimes the sessions lead people to finding their “good side” although we firmly believe each individual is perfectly beautiful and unique! Whatever the case may be, it’s a great practice for the wedding day portrait session – it goes so much smoother if we’re all comfortable with each other and know what to expect from one another.

Our photo shoots are laid back but stylish and we love getting couples in nature where they feel much more relaxed and natural.

broadway tower cotswolds engagement portraits

Broadway Tower engagement portrait session

London engagement session

Location is King

The location of your photos will help define the mood of the pictures.

Busy locations look busy.

Want a bunch of tourists in the background? Shoot during the weekend in any park in a city on a warm afternoon! Especially in a city like London! It makes things extremely hard for your photographer as well.

An all time favourite location we used to shoot at a lot while living in London is Richmond park. It’s a great place for engagement sessions while still in the big city.

prepare for an engagement session
Richmond park engagement session

Now that we moved to the Cotswolds, we constantly discover stunning locations for couple shoots and our list is constantly growing.

fun couple laughing during a portrait session in the Cotswolds countryside

Cotswolds engagement shoot 

This beach engagement session is the perfect example how you can use vast landscape for an epic photo session.


If you absolutely love spending time outdoors, why not go to a beautiful forest rather than an over-crowded park for the engagement session?

Wyre Forest engagementWyre Forest Engagement Shoot

What about somewhere on the coast? We’d suggest these places anytime over the busy city. You will be so much more relaxed in front of such a view than having people staring at you every second.

A Market Place?

If you’re both foodies, a colourful outdoor market or even a picnic may be an option.

At Home?

One place that you’re already very familiar with, is your home and also says a lot about you two!
It can be a great place for fun, intimate and natural looking portraits and there is something truly special about it.

prepare for an engagement session


If you simply like to go out for long walks and drink coffee together, why not consider having the engagement session in an area with quirky coffee places or by the river bank, while the tide is low?
There’s beautiful locations in big cities as well, just need to go there bright and early when there aren’t many people around still.

Oxford city photo shootOxford engagement shoot

Time + Light

Morning Light

Mornings are magical! The beautiful soft light, the city half asleep and the peacefulness. Not the easiest thing looking your best at 6am, but totally worth it!

Golden Hour

The most flattering light is two hours before Sunset or within one hour of Sunrise. The light is so soft and golden, which enhances skin tones. Most certainly one of our favourite times of the day for an engagement session!

black and white image of couple during their portrait session at broadway tower

Cotswolds countryside engagement shoot

Singing in the rain

Rain on the day?! Don’t panic. If you’re game for crazy creative portraits, let’s embrace it! Rain can be incredibly romantic (in the right season).
Cloudy days cast even, soft light, which is much better than sunny ones. Or, we can always take a rain check if you prefer a different time for your photo shoot.

Outfit Selection

Matching clothing to locations

We would never suggest wearing your football fan clothes to an engagement session ( you’ll be shocked but it has happened to us!) so try considering the location of the session and put a bit of effort into it, please.

Simple is better

Try avoiding clothes with crazy graphics, too many patterns or anything that distracts from your face.

A very practical tip- if you have an outdoor engagement shoot, wear earthy tones outfits! IT BRINGS MAGIC to the shoot with everything working together so perfectly! 

prepare for an engagement session

Be comfortable

If you can’t wear stilettos without falling over, please bring flats or trainers to substitute. Don’t wear clothes that are too tight, too loose or too uncomfortable. It’s easier to be natural if you aren’t constantly pulling your clothes.

Avoid matchy-matchy

Instead of looking like twins, wear complementary colours or shades of the same hue. You can go from wrong to stylish in a beat.

Less is more

During the engagement session, you’ll most likely be hugging, walking, holding hands, which means having something to carry, like a bag full of stuff, would be completely unnecessary and in your way (and ours). So try to come as hands-free as possible, not having to worry about extra stuff to carry (which we’d most likely need to take away from you).

Bringing props

While we prefer couples being focused on one another and not tired from caring extra bags, should you have a dog or maybe something that’s important to you and you’d like some photos with, feel free to bring to the shoot and let’s have some fun!


One important thing, though: rules are made to be broken!
So if anything I wrote here doesn’t apply to you, great! As long as you feel like your best self on the day, nothing else matters!

If you’re planning a visit to the Cotswolds and also thought that a photo shoot would be a fun way to document this trip, get in touch! We also shoot lots of families and couples who are already married and we’d love to know you, as well! 

To help you even more, we made a list of some of our favourite places to shoot in the Cotswolds that we visited so far! Want any professional photos in some of these locations? Let’s get this in the diary!

If you look good, you feel good, you shoot good.
As simple as that!


documentary cotswolds wedding photographer

We are a husband and wife team based in the beautiful Cotswolds area. We love the outdoors and shoot primarily non – traditional barn weddings and elopements for laid back couples.
We help remove the stress and pressure from your wedding day and do our best to make you feel at ease and extremely relaxed in front of the camera, so you will dearly remember your experience.
We are also founders of Mad Hat Photo Booth, a wedding and events photo booth hire in the Cotswolds, Birmingham, Gloucestershire and beyond!