Engagement Session Guide

Getting Started

Congratulations on your engagement!

We’re so excited for your engagement session! Your engagement session is a chance to pause, take a deep breath and relish in this season together. You’ll be married for fifty-plus years, but you only get to be fiancés for a short little window of your life! With your engagement session, we want to help you slow down long enough to remember this short, sweet season of life for years to come.

In Your Best Light

Scheduling Your Session

We photograph engagement sessions the way we like to be photographed ourselves. Outdoors, in natural light, because we love images that are clean, bright, fresh and timeless. Images that look and feel like you. That’s why we begin all of our sessions 1-2 hours before the scheduled sunset –– during the magical “golden hour” –– when the light in the sky is the softest, dreamiest and most flattering.  Our weekends fill up fast and far in advance, but our weekdays are much more flexible. So if you’d like to do your session sooner rather than later, scheduling mid-week is the way to go!


One Outfit

Photograph Outfit 1
You Made It! Got On A Hot Date!

5:30 P.M.
5:45 P.M.
6:45 P.M.


Two Outfits

Photograph Outfit 1
Photograph Outfit 2 
You Made It! Got On A Hot Date!

5:30 P.M.
5:45 P.M.
6:30 P.M.
7:30 P.M.






To avoid unnecessary stress, give yourself more time than you think you’ll need to get ready. Make sure to take account of things like traffic, parking, and time for hair and make-up. Arrive a few minutes early so we can take advantage of every minute we have together before the sunsets.

As you’ll see throughout this guide, most of our couples love showcasing a location that is meaningful to them and matches their unique personality. As natural light photographers, we love outdoor, wide-open natural spaces because they are the most flattering. There are great options all around the state and we’re always up for exploring a new spot together!


Picking The


Your Time

Think Outside The Box

We encourage you to brainstorm unique places that you might have special access to that most people don’t. For example, maybe you (or someone you know) have access to an amazing location that would otherwise be off-limits, like a beautiful private estate, family ranch, exclusive winery, or luxury resort. Spend a few minutes thinking about it and checking around with people in your personal and professional network. 

If you need some location ideas and inspiration, we have plenty! We suggest checking out our Instagram and our West Michigan Engagement Session Locations blog post. If there’s a certain session you really love, just let us know which one, and we can go to that location!

When it comes to choosing a location for your engagement session, consider a location that represents you!

Engagement Session Locations

Grand Rapids, Chicago, West Michigan

We love when couples choose a location for their session that complements their wedding. If you’re planning an elegant wedding, it may be fitting to take your engagement portraits among the classic architecture in downtown Chicago, while a local park or flower-filled fields may be more fitting for a couple planning a more rustic affair. The best location is the one that means something to you both as a couple. 

Classic & Elegant

Grand Rapids Art Museum

Greencrest Manor Estate 

Belle Isle Fountain Detroit

Historic Mansion at Venue3Two

Downtown Market Greenhouse

Edsel and Eleanor Ford House Detroit

Urban Cosmopolitan

Garden Romance

Beaches & Lakeshore

Aurora Cellars Estate & Winery

University of Michigan Nichols Arboretum

Millennium Park Chicago

Planterra Conservatory & Botanical Garden

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Rosa Park Downtown Grand Rapids

Chicago Board of Trade Building

Michigan State Capitol Lansing

Detroit Institute of Arts

Wrigley Building & Riverwalk Chicago

North Avenue Beach Chicago

Oval Beach Saugatuck

Jean Klock Park Benton Harbor

Silverlake Sand Dunes

Bay Harbor Petoskey Michigan



Domestic and International

We believe our couples should pick an engagement session location that is unique and meaningful to them regardless of zip code. Our engagement sessions includes our travel time anywhere in the Greater Grand Rapids area. But, if you’d like to go somewhere else in Michigan or outside of the state, we’re up for the adventure!

For certain locations a travel fee may apply to account for the extra hours of drive, plane ride, hotel accommodations or car rental.


Your Session 

Consider incorporating a special element into your session. It can be as simple as a picnic or a larger prop that have a real “wow” factor, like a boat, classic car, vintage bicycle, or hot air balloon. This is the time to dream a little bit and decide what really feels like you!

If you want your engagement session images to look and feel a little more editorial, we recommend bringing a few small, simple props with you, like fresh flowers to hold or champagne.

Style Tips

For Her

Dress It Up

Have you been eyeing a gorgeous dress, but never have an occasion for it?

This is your chance to do it up! Remember, there’s no such thing as “too dressed up” when it comes to your engagement session. Whether you decide to add a permanent piece (or two!) to your wardrobe or use a service like Rent the Runway, this is your excuse to look and feel like a million bucks!

Say Yes

To the dress

Dresses and skirts tend to look most stunning on camera because they really flatter the female body. We recommend choosing long, flowy dresses or skirts because they’re flattering on all body types, look amazing on camera and bring extra movement and dimension to your photos. Maxi (or floor length) skirts and dresses will give us the best “twirl factor,” add more romance to your walking photos. Cute, shorter cocktail-length dresses or midi skirts photograph beautifully as well. Our brides who choose to bring two dresses will sometimes choose one of each! We recommend avoiding pants and shorts for your session, and saying yes to a dress.

There is nothing more romantic than a long, flowing dress.

Number of Outfits

One or two?

Most of our brides choose to bring one “wow” outfit and forgo the stress of planning two looks. We believe that one look that you love will be so much better than one outfit you love and another you’re not very excited about. Two outfits work really well for a session with multiple locations. If you’re having a hard time making up your mind, feel free to shoot us an email with pictures. We’d be happy to help you narrow down your options or give you our opinion about what will look best on camera!

Colors that Flatter 

Choosing colors

When choosing colors for your outfits, we recommend selecting lighter, neutral tones and more muted shades. These tones are flattering with all skin tones and eye colors. The best colors are shades of soft pinks and muted blues, mixed with sophisticated light-colored neutrals such as cream, taupe, or camel. And for men, we cannot recommend a black tux or suite enough. It's the perfect pair for the soft colors and best way to add contrast and make your images pop. 


Your Outfits

Avoid matching or wearing the same colors. You should each wear a different dominant color, while staying in a similar color palette family. For example, if you’re wearing a blush dress and nude heels (blush being your dominant color), then he could wear a black suite with a blush tie. Now he has his own dominant color (back) while still incorporating a few touches of your color palette. Most of our brides choose their dress first, and then put together their fiance’s outfit based on that. That’s why we have a section for each of you!

As you’re coordinating your outfit with your fiancé, keep in mind that your outfits will look the most cohesive on camera when the color palette and wardrobe pieces coordinate, but don’t actually “match”.


The Best Shoes

In our experience, every woman (regardless of her size or shape) has an area of her body that she’s self conscious about. Choosing flattering silhouettes and colors that complement your natural features is the best way to ensure you’ll love the way you look in your photos.

Flattering your arms: Three-quarter length sleeves create a slimming effect on all arms. Skinny straps or strapless dresses have the opposite effect on arms on camera.

Flattering your waist: Choose a dress or skirt that cinches at the waist or wear a belt to accentuate your waist. Avoid pants, boxy dresses or short cropped tops.

Flattering your neck/chin: Choose to wear your hair down and dangling earnings. Choose a simple long necklace rather than a heavy necklace. Choose a dress with an open neck line to elongate your neck. 

We all have our best pair of shoes, but there is nothing the camera loves more than a pair of heels. Heels elongate women’s legs and force constant tension in the calves –– which makes them look more toned. Closed-toes heels, in particular, look great on camera because they carry out the line of your leg all the way down to your toe. You can never go wrong with a pair of neutral pumps!

If your toes are showing in a peep-toe heel, we recommend scheduling a pedicure before your session so you don’t regret letting your toes show.

If heels are not for you, our next go to shoes are wedges. They also elongate legs and flatter your curves.

Lastly, make sure to bring a pair of flats to wear when moving from place to place. Your feet will thank you later!

Your Features

Make A


Pairing an accessory or two with your outfit can really help bring some extra dimension to your images.

Whether it’s a necklace, belt, bracelet, earrings, hat, or scarf, bringing an accessory or two can bring great visual interest to your photos, so choose one or two that don’t compete for attention when paired together. Fresh florals in a crown or bouquet can be a really romantic touch as well!

Hair + Makeup

Go Pro

Professional hair and makeup is on the top of most of our bride’s engagement session checklists.

Whether it’s just lash extensions or a complete makeover, professional hair and makeup will give you an extra boost of confidence in front of the camera. Your engagement pictures will last forever so don't be afraid to pamper yourself! This is the perfect time to do your make-up trial for the BIG day! Reach out to your make-up artist and hair stylist.

Clean Your Ring

Your ring hand will be featured in a lot of the photos, so if you have time before your session, we recommend getting your ring cleaned. Also, don't forget your nails. Treat yourself to a manicure.

Skip The Spray Tan

We are known for our beautiful creamy skin tones so trust us on this. Skip the spray tan! Even when applied subtly and by a professional days prior to your session, spray tans tend to photograph orange. Nothing photographs better than your natural skin. 

When selecting a suit for photos, the most important part isn’t the price. It’s the fit. For men, it’s critical to have a suit jacket that fits snugly (but not too tight), and pants that are the correct length and don’t have too many breaks. Just like high heels make women look taller than they are, bunched up fabric stacked on top of a man’s shoes makes him look physically shorter than he really is.

If you don't have a suit, now’s the perfect time to invest in something you’ll wear for the rest of your life! The best part? It’s a lot less expensive than you might think! While custom suits can cost thousands of dollars, some of the most well-known brands sell really nice off-the-rack suits for a fraction of the price that, with a few alterations from a good tailor, can be made to fit like a glove.

The most classy and masculine color for a men is black. Black also compliments your bride’s look, no matter what color she chooses to wear. Other solid shades, such as gray or navy are also a strong complement to most women’s outfits. 

When mix-matching we recommend choosing a different “weight” for the pants and coat. For example, navy pants (darker) and a heather gray coat (lighter). Or gray pants (darker) with a soft powder blue shirt (lighter).

Avoid pinstripes or plaid patterns as they tend to distract the eye, so stay away from too strong of prints, and opt for solids instead.

The same way that a dress is the most flattering silhouette for the female body, a blazer, sport coat or suit jacket has the same flattering effect for men. You can’t go wrong with a dress shirt, slacks and a blazer, or a well-tailored suit.




Fashion tips

for Him

Long pants and closed-toed shoes are the most sophisticated and masculine looks for men. They draw attention away from his legs and feet, and place it where you want it: on the face you fell in love with.  So even at the beach,  leave the shorts and sandals at home. Suit pants, dress pants or colored pants work best.
Brown leather dress shoes complement almost every look, whether he’s wearing a full suit, or a blazer and colored pants.
Ties, bowties, pocket squares, colored socks, belts, tie clips, suspenders, vests, and watches are sharp complements to any suit.



Layers on men look great on camera, so even when it’s cold outside, we recommend this look. Adding extra layers will add dimension and visual interest to your photos. An example of how to rock this look would be adding a v-neck sweater with a pop of color from a long-sleeved collared shirt and tie underneath.
Don’t be afraid to get a little creative with layers!



How To prepare

Most men aren’t overly excited to take photos for two hours, mostly because they don’t have an expectation of what’s to come and why it’s so important to you, which is why we recommend sitting down together for fifteen minutes to educate and empower your man. Tell him why you chose us and our style of photography. Show him your three favorite sessions that we’ve done, explain why you love the photos and express to him how much this session means to you. Trust us, once he knows how much this means to you, he’ll bring his A-game and light up the camera for you!
The most common thing we hear from guys before engagement sessions is this: because of a bad experience in the past, they don’t like taking photos or don’t think they’ll be good at it. By the time we’re done, though, they can’t believe how fast it went and just how much fun they had!


Your Man


Our Grooms

"This was my first ever professional photography session, and Leidy and Josh set the bar incredibly high. Having never been in front of a camera, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Not only did Leidy and Josh make me feel extremely comfortable and at ease, they made sure to walk you through every pose and make it clear that they are there not only for you, but to also take great pictures of you! I couldn’t be happier with the results, and I couldn’t be more excited to work with them for my wedding!" 

“Leidy and Josh are the BEST! Very professional but also treat you like a friend and are easy to talk to. Our engagement pictures were so much fun! They went above and beyond throughout the entire wedding process to make sure we were satisfied. We cannot thank/recommend them enough!" 

“It’s really like getting together with friends you haven’t seen in awhile. You pick up right where you left off and seem to have not missed a beat. An engagement session with Leidy and Josh is just like that! You’re with your favorite girl and it feels like two of your best friends are just taking a few pictures.”

- J A M E S

- R I C K Y

- B E N



Don’t forget to plan a dinner date for after your session! You’re already going to be all dolled-up! Why not take advantage of it?! We know the wedding planning process can feel all-consuming, so take some time after the session to relax, have some fun together and celebrate this season of your life!

Even though we’re so excited about your wedding, the thing we are MOST excited about is your marriage! One of the best pieces of advice we can give you is this: never stop dating each other. So if you ask us, your engagement session is a great excuse to plan a date night!


Photo Delivery 

In the week following your session, we’ll post a sneak peek of a few of our favorite photos from our time together on our Facebook page and Instagram account –– so keep an eye out for that! We’re so excited for you to see how beautiful you look through our eyes.

About three weeks after your session, we’ll reach out and discuss blogging your session, if the aesthetics matches our website.

You will receive an online gallery with all of your final, retouched, high-resolution images. You can share the link with your family and friends, post to social media and more!  Your gallery comes with unlimited downloads for you and anyone you share the link with, as well as the option to purchase prints from our professional lab and have them drop-shipped straight to your door. If you prefer, you can also upload the digital files to the retail lab of your choice (we recommend Costco for that!) and print them there.

week - sneak peek

week - blog post

week - Full






We know we just gave you A LOT to think about! Don’t panic. Just take it one step at a time. We provided an Engagement Session Checklist for you to help you stay organized and on top of things! But if you have any questions at any point, please know we’re here for you! If you’re deciding between two dresses and can’t commit, no problem! We’re here. If you love two locations but can’t make up your mind, no worries! We can help with that, too. If you need a recommendation of any kind, we’re on it! Remember, we’re just one email away.

At the end of the day, though, the location you choose and the outfits you wear won’t matter nearly as much as the fun we have together and the memories you make as a couple. The style choices you make will definitely enhance your photos, but the most important accessory to bring with you is joyfulness –– which is the one that makes the biggest difference in your photos anyways. You don’t need to have prior experience in front of the camera. Just show up with a smile and we’ll take care of the rest!

Lastly, above all else, we want you to know that you (as people) are the most important thing to us. Your marriage matters most. So if there’s ever anything we can do to serve your relationship today, tomorrow, before the wedding or years down the road, please know that we’re here for you and our door is always open. Our marriage is one of the biggest blessings of our entire life, and even though we don’t know everything, we’ve learned a lot in the past few years that has helped us have a healthy, intimate, thriving, fulfilling, adventurous, on-fire marriage –– and we’re passionate about helping other couples have that, too. Because marriage isn’t the ball and chain or handcuffs our current culture parodies it to be. It’s the best thing you’ll ever do... because it causes you to be the best you you’ll ever be.

We can’t wait to see you soon! - L&J

From Us

One final Note

☐ Email Leidy and Josh to schedule a date, time and location
☐ Schedule hair and makeup appointments
☐ Review Style Guide for outfit inspiration
☐ Choose your outfits (drop off at dry cleaner if needed!)
☐ Get your nails done
☐ Clean your ring
☐ Pack a bag with:
     ☐ Flats or flip-flops for walking between photo spots
     ☐ Outfit two (including shoes and accessories)
     ☐ Touch-up makeup
     ☐ Props
     ☐ Water bottle
     ☐ Coat or cover-up (for colder sessions)
☐ Pick a fun post-session date night spot and make a reservation


Engagement Session

Come Prepared

Fine art photography for ADVENTUROUS couples who are madly in love