• Kim Villa

Planning Tips: Engagement Session

If there is anything you take from this post it is:

Book your engagement session with your wedding photographer.

This is so, SO important! Having your engagement photos taken by YOUR wedding photographer gives you the opportunity to connect with them. You get to work out some of those photoshoot jitters, it happens. Get used to kissing in front of someone while they photograph it, sounds a little weird right? This is one reason this matters so much. But more importantly it allows you to become more comfortable with your photographer. This is a relationship and learning how you work together is huge.


Having a hard time choosing where to have your engagement photos taken? I can help!

Where you like to spend time together? Where was your first date?

Where did the proposal happen? Is there anywhere you find inspiring?

Where do you like to spend time? What's your favorite season?


Most engagement session take place between 7-12 months BEFORE their wedding. If you are sending out “Save the Date” cards, schedule your session 1-2 months before you need to mail those out. This will give yourself plenty of time to design them after your images are delivered.


The best lighting for photos is early morning and early evening, closer to sunset. Not a morning person? I get it. Schedule it two hours before sunset to ensure you're ready and rested. Something to keep in mind is Daylight Savings Time for us Californians. Visit www.sunrisesunset.com to check when the Sunsets during different times of the year.



I always tell my couples, dress like you would for Date Night but also makes sense for your setting. If you wear heels and a gown on date night then maybe the beach might not make the most sense. You get what i'm saying? You want to coordinat but not match. Pick a color from your Fiancé's outfit and use a similar color in your accessories or as a layer. Avoid bold prints or logos, they distract from the overall image and the focus should be on you two.


I'm totally okay with props! They will make your session unique but please don’t go overboard! Again, it's about you two not the extra stuff.


So many of my couples schedule their make-up trial on the day of their session. You can see how it’ll look in pictures AND it’ll take away the stress of doing your own make-up that day. A hair trial might not make as much sense unless you are having a casual hair style. If you're doing an up do but wearing jeans, maaaybbbe not the right time to do a hair trial. Lastly, don’t forget to clean up those nails, we want to see that ring!


I always encourage couples to check out engagement photos from your photographer. This will give you an idea of what to expect and what you’ll be doing. I personally use prompts to help get genuine expressions and laughter from my couples. If you are a fan of romantic poses practice dips and lifts before the session. I have had a couple fall before because they didn't practice, seriously do it.


My sessions are usually like baby adventures, you’ll be walking around a lot. Bring some comfy shoes that are easy to take on/ off to change into while we walk between locations. If you like heels, bring a tote that you can store them in while we walk.


Purses and wallets are usually bulky and get in the way. If possible leave them behind or put them in your bag with your extra shoes.


You're Friends and Family will be SO excited to see these photos. You can use them as Thank You Cards, Save The Dates, Wedding Website, Custom Stamps, Guest Book, Table Markers, Calendars, Backgrounds for your Devices, on Social Media, all the things!


I promise this is going to be fun! You’ll be all done up, so go on a date after the session. Then get ready to see some serious cuteness in your Inbox. FYI: It's you, you two are the cuteness.

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Frequently Asked Questions


How much coverage do I need?

This can vary but I have found the following timeframes to be pretty consistent. Pre-Ceremony: 1 hour + 30 minutes (Prep + First Look)
Ceremony + Formal Photos: 2-3 hours (Varies with Traditions) Reception: 3 hours (Entrance, Special Dances, Cake, Tosses, Toasts + Partial Party Time) Buffer: 30 minutes A full day like this would be most comfortable around 8 hours of coverage. That way your not being rushed through things. PRO TIP: If you are working with a shorter timeline/ budget try ommiting a few things. Such as the grand exit, shorter reception coverage and having the reception events back to back.

Do you work with a 2nd Photographer?

I do! The minimum coverage time is 2 hours. Weddings beyond the 8 freeway have a 4 hour minimum. PRO TIP: Having a 2nd photographer is great! Still over 98% of my weddings are solo. Its nice but can be done without a 2nd Photographer.

Do you have insurance?

Yes, I do! PRO TIP: Ask your venue if they require Vendor Liability Insurance. Most do, so its good to know ahead of time when hiring your vendors.


What is your turnaround time?

For both Photo I deliver within 6 weeks. I also provide Sneak Peaks within 48-72 hours. PRO TIP: If you are going to send out thank you cards, let me know and I can prioritize the photos you want for those cards. That way you can have them printed and mailed in time.

Do you provide RAW images?

The short answer is no. A donut without the glaze isn't complete right? Same goes for photos. They take some finess in post processing to make them special. I edit every photo and personalize it to be as I envisioned when capturing it. PRO TIP: Don't go for the unglazed donut, it's not as good.

How do you deliver the images?

I will deliver the images through an online gallery. It is password protected, so no randoms can find it. You can download the images right from there! PRO TIP: It does expire after a month, so be sure to download them to your computer and back them up to a cloud/ hardrive. Back up, back up, back up. Seriously. DO IT.

Are the images print ready?

Yes, all aimges are in High Resolution and ready for print. PRO TIP: Send the gallery link to your family so they can order prints right from there, one less thing for you to worry about.


How long should I book the booth?

Most events range from 2-4 hours. PRO TIP: Plan for the booth either during cocktail hour or after dinner. The coverage time is consecutive. No one will be using it during dinner, don't spend money you don't have to.

Do I need to hire an attendant?

No, but we will have someone from our team there regardless. To help set up and keep the line moving.

How do I get my content?

If WIFI is available, instantly! Using Email, Text, Airdrop + Gallery. No wifi? No problem! I have a hotspot n my phone the booth can connect to. No service? No worries! All the content will queue and send once the photobooth is connected to the internet again. The full event gallery is usually ready within 24-48 hrs.

Do we get prints?

Sadly no, since the Digital Features are so popular we can send you a high res. file for you print if you'd like.