How to Plan the Perfect Engagement Session in Toronto or Hamilton

January 8, 2020

An engagement session is a really great way to meet your photographer, build a gallery of images that reflects this incredibly meaningful time in your life, and give you a little art for your wedding website, save the dates, and any media or screen spaces in your wedding reception (the Arlington Estate has gorgeous screens behind their coffee and cocktail bar to showcase your special images). Although engagement photos can be a really stunning way to remember this special time, the question of how to plan the perfect engagement session in Toronto or Hamilton is what will make or break whether this is a great, fun experience for you. Here are some tips to help make sure your engagement shoot is fun and gorgeous!

Choose a location that means something to you.

Location is absolutely everything. It’s not simply about picking a spot that looks beautiful because honestly, the world is beautiful – everywhere is beautiful. What we suggest is picking a location that means something to you, whether a favourite date night spot, the place you got engaged, or an experience you love to do together.

Couple sits at Amigos Taco Shop in Hamilton, Ontario drinking margaritas in the summertime

R and J chose a popular taco shop in Hess Village to begin their engagement shoot, and between tasting tacos and sipping margaritas they went for a walk, danced in the street, and turned their engagement photoshoot into a fun date.

Couple dances in the street in Hess Village in Hamilton, Ontario

As soon as you feel comfortable with your location, your photographer, and feel safe to just be yourself, your photos will begin to reflect your personality and your vibe together.

Bring your pets!

We’re all about reflecting who you really are, and if you’re a little family made complete by a pile of furry animals, feel free to bring them along. When we take this direction, we recommend splitting the engagement shoot into two parts within your one hour session: the first 20 minutes or so are for the pets, and then ask for someone to take them for the remaining 40 minutes of the session.

Couple stands kissing in a green forested area with two greyhounds at their sides

S and O went to a Greyhound sanctuary to split their engagement session into two parts; the first part, they played with their rescued pups in a space that was safe where they could roam, and it was a lovely, relaxed time for 20 minutes and then their friend took the kids to play for the rest of the session.

Couple in summer dress stands in a forested area in summertime laughing at the camera

The rest of the session was treated more like a traditional engagement shoot, focused on getting the shots that reflect the vibe of the couple, their own personalities, and creating a gallery of images for them to use for their wedding.

Choosing the right outfit.

This sounds more superficial than I’d love to admit, but choosing the right outfit is key to getting really great engagement photos. Make sure that if you’re going for a particular vibe, that the outfits for each part of the couple match both each other and the vibe you’re going for. Pick clothes that are comfortable, easy to move in, and look excellent with the environment for the shoot. Put some thought into your outfit choice, just don’t wear something outside of your comfort zone. If she’s dressing up, he needs to match the vibe and dress up a little, too. Here are some of our favourite outfits from recent sessions:

Couple wearing vintage autumn colours sits together holding hands and leaning forehead to forehead

D and D had an autumnal engagement shoot at an apple picking farm and chose outfits that reflected the glow of the evening sun in the fall. They went with oranges and reds and the vintage style of their outfits paired with the location and made the shoot more stylized.

Couple wearing olive dress and grey sweatshirt sit on grass at West Avenue Cider laughing

E and A chose earthy tones for their engagement session at West Avenue Cider, so when they strolled through the fields of the orchard, snuggled on the grass, and sipped cider, their outfits reflected the atmosphere of the earthy venue.

Couple at The Cotton Factory in Hamilton Ontario stands laughing

J and D chose creamy colours which matched the rustic style of The Cotton Factory in Hamilton, Ontario and made their session – walking around the old brick buildings in a popular Hamilton photoshoot venue – look stunning and stylized.

Make it Fun

An engagement shoot is a totally optional experience in the lead up to your wedding, so it should never add to your stress level. As a photographer, I love engagement sessions as a great way to get to know my clients and learn about what styles they want to see reflected on their wedding day – it’s a great chance to hang out and have fun in a low pressure environment, and should always have you looking back on your engagement with a warm fuzzy feel inside.

If you’re looking for a Toronto Wedding Photographer or Hamilton Wedding Photographer to capture your wedding day in a way that is honest, stunning, candid and natural, we would love to chat. Contact us at hello@johnandsamantha.ca to learn more.

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PHOTOS AND VIDEOS & WORD CONTENT BY JOHN AND SAMANTHA BUTLER | 647.339.6755 | HELLO@JOHNANDSAMANTHA.CA

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