How to take most out of your Candid photoshoot?

engagement session guide for couples

this short guide will walk you through:

  • What is a purpose of doing the candid engagement session?
  • How to choose location for your engagement photos?
  • What is the best time to book your shoot?
  • How to pick your outfits to look like million dollars?
  • Can posing be fun?
  • Should you incorporate you your pets and props during your engagement session?
  • What is the turnaround time and outcome product of the photos?
I will also provide you with fast tips in the form of comprehension of what are the best practices and what are the things you rather should avoid. Read it and be confident on your candid engagement photoshoot.

Remember this engagement session guid for couples is not a must or the only right things to do or follow. Those are the tips and tricks that proved working over time!

I love spending time with my couples and take the photos of them during their engagement photoshoot. It is the longest time – besides wedding day – that we will be spending together. The goal for me is to get to know you better and capture naturally looking and fun photographs. Throughout the session I will provide you with a backdrop and some suggestions on what to do. I would like to see what makes you comfortable in front of the camera. So, if there is something that does not feel like that let me know right away. I want you to have a great memories form that experience as well.

I have been asked if I “pose” couples for the photos. My goal is that you forget that you are in front of the camera and to keep it natural, smooth and candid. Remember, I am more of a photojournalist photographer. I want to capture real moments when you are in “your zone” playing around with each other. If I gone see that something does not work or makes you feel or look uncomfortable or awkward you can rest assured that I will make adjustments. I will tell you exactly what to do in order to change that for better. Other than that, I gone ask you to play along with my suggestions and hints. I would like to see your affection, love, and how you make each other laugh.

I have prepared a quick guide with great tips you might want to consider before we meet for the photoshoot. These very simple and intuitive suggestions will help both – you and me to accomplish great photos that you will love.


The engagement photo session is not only for you and me to get to know each other. It is a great way and sometimes the only way to start getting confident in front of the camera. My experience is that couples who had engagement session with me, not only have – most of the time – first professional photos with each other – but also, at the day of wedding they exactly know what to expect and they are more self-assured. The result is just often times better then the one we got from previous photoshoot. Specially taken into the account that on the wedding day we won’t have two hours to spend to take photos.

Candid Photos

I want to capture genuine candid moments of love and laughter. The best and easiest way for me to do that Is for you to have a fun, playful time. Sometimes, it means to practice your best dancing moves in the middle of busy street. Sometimes, I will take you to your first memories with each other. Come along with it! Make an effort and I can promise, you will love the images. It is not my point and certainly not my goal to make you models.


You might have a location for your engagement photos in your mind for a long time now. Please share it with me, I will be happy to hear it. If you would like me to suggest some locations, there are endless possibilities. Let me share some of these ideas in this engagement session guide. You might want to choose Manhattan and have a vivid picture of city live. You might to choose the place you live in or the place of your first date – favorite restaurant or café. On the other hand, you might want to spend some time of just two of you in a quiet nature with a lot of greenery around. There are some great areas we could go. I love hiking and spending time outdoors, so I have few places I can recommend for engagement session. 

I always ask my couples to think of personal experiences that joined them together. It gives great results. I ended-up doing photoshoot in Ikea, rooftop and laundry room of the building the couple live in. I made photos in the middle of a jammed intersection in East Village and in the middle of beautiful nature like Pelham bay park. The choice is yours. I can cover up to 30-mile radius from the city with no additional charge.

Good Ideas:

  • Pick the location that you know and feel comfortable with
  •    If you pick any restaurant or privately-owned public space, ask ahead if you don’t need any permit to do photos there
  •  Think of location that has many background possibilities. From my experience having 50 images with trees or street art work behind might not be as exciting..



Not so good ideas:

  • I don’t recommend picking more then two locations. They also should be close to each other. We want to spend as much time having fun and taking photos. Traveling in the city might take a long time.

100 minutes of light

The best time for taking great photos is during golden hour. Although there are two golden hours throughout the day, most of engagement photoshoots take place in the afternoon. The specific time depends on the time of year and location you choose. In summer it is different than in winter. Also, in the city the light will be gone faster because of the tall buildings. Generally speaking I check the sunset time and subtract 100 minutes form that. This the best time to start. Let’s be in touch and coordinate few days before. 

I do engagement sessions through the week days. The weekends get busy fast with the weddings. The best time to book the date for your engagement photos is 6-9 months before you wedding date. It will be enough time to print save the date cards or your engagement signing book.

Good Ideas:

  •       Please be on time, sun-set won’t wait for us,
  • Rescheduling the session if there is more than 50% chance of rain at the day of the shoot.

Not so good ideas:

  • Booking your session very close to your wedding date makes almost impossible for me to deliver them before the wedding.
  • Booking the time of photoshoot in the middle of the day. In Summer it is not only very hot but also the sun casts hard and unflattering light. It is very important for me that you love your photos and the way you look at them.
  • Taking photos on weekend. Unless it is private, closed-off location – taking photos on weekend is means a lot of people everywhere. It is not ideal for the outcome of the photos.

choice of outfits

It might be first time for you to have a photoshoot together. I get it. Following some of suggestions below might help you both feel comfortable a chic. There are some general guidelines to what to wear but first of all let me tell you this. You have to be comfortable in that you wear. It is better to have one outfit that you love for the photoshoot then two or three that you are not sure about. It is really up to you if you bring one or two changes. If you decide to go with two keep your favorite outfit for the last part of the photoshoot. What if you don’t have or want to buy a new dress to the occasion? What if your fiancé doesn’t have a jacket or suite? No worries. In New York there are plenty of options to rent a dress or a suit without braking the bank.

Matching your partner and the environment

Generally, try to match the outfit to the environment. In the middle of Manhattan cocktail dress, high heels for her and well-tailored suit for him might work best. In East Village or Brooklyn, the elegant casual style works great. Blouse and skirt for her and denim pants, untucked but ironed shirt for him will do the job. if you pick to go with idea of hiking you might want to pic good walking shoes and the outfits that will look fine even if they get wrinkled.

Matching the styles to each other is also something to think about. High hills and snickers of one photo don’t go well. Coordinating your outfits ahead of time will avoid miscommunication and stress.

Colors and patterns

The best rule to follow is to wear solid colors. The patterns, and strips bring to much attention and might distract viewers’ from seeing your faces. It is a great idea to use complimentary or primary colors of your outfits for you to look fabulous on the photos. I would recommend for the ladies to wear dresses with longer sleeves. The strapless outfits might drug to much attention to your arms and might sometimes show your bra straps, which we want to avoid.

Hair and Make-up for you engagement photos

It is a great Idea to do your trail wedding make-up for that day. You gone be able to see how it comes out on the photos. I can also arrange that for you. I know make-up artists  who are on the top of their game. If you want do the make-up yourself -great! You can find some good tips here.  Also remember that if you decide to wear toeless shoes you should have your nails done. For him – visit in a barbershop is a must short before your engagement session.


Good Ideas:

  • Try your outfits before the shoot. Your confidence will shine through the photos and it is one of the most important elements of the whole process,
  • Bring the outfits changes and all you need in one bag. I it is much more convenient to move around without worrying that we left something behind,
  •  Ladies bring a pair of flats to move between the locations. Your feet will thank you,
  • Gentlemen – talk to your ladies – it is important to them, that you have an active role in the preparation process and during the photoshoot,
  • Ladies take your time to get ready: make your nails look great and clean the ring,
  • Think of details: keep the accessories and jewelry to the minimum. One statement piece looks just great on the photos,
  • Gentlemen- fun colorful socks, matching your fiancé tie, cufflinks, belt or a tie clip is a great idea. 



Not so good ideas:

  •     Baggy, oversized clothes. Too many outfit changes.
  •           Running- gym shoes
  •     White socks
  •     Clothes that show logos or big brand tags
  •     All black outfits
  •     Don’t rush picking your outfits – again it is very important that you fell confidant in what you wear and look great.






I love dogs and I’m am happy to take some photos with yours. My suggestion is that we take some photos and after 20-30 minutes let your trusted friend take him/her over. It would be very hard to divide your attention between your partner and a pet.


The same role I would suggest with the props. If you want to take photo for save the date or you always dreamed about having photos with this vintage frame that you grandma has. Great! I’m all for it! Let’s make those photos as a starting part of your session and put props away for the rest of time. I would like to capture your interactions and love and multiple props easily take attention away from that.


What else you should Know Or bring for your Engagement session?

It might be a good idea to grab a drink before – just what you might need to loosen up and have fun during the shoot (Please drink responsibly!). Make your evening even more memorable – book a table in your favorite restaurant and go there right after  the engagement session. You gone be looking great already! Why not use this opportunity to spend some time together.

Ladies bring some of your make up appliances with you. Your lipstick, small pocket mirror and a blush is a good idea.

 Most important is that you come in a great open mindset and ready to have fun.

Turnaround time for your photos

I will show the first photos on my blog and social media after 5-7 days. The full gallery for you will be ready with in 3-4 weeks. I will let you know as soon as it is ready. You will receive the link to the gallery where you can download photos form your engagement session

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