We love a good engagement session here at United With Love.  We’ve featured many different styles so far, each one more unique than the next.  Today, we have Tara Parekh, a Washington, DC area photographer, with some great tips on engagement sessions from when to schedule them to what to bring.  If you are interested in having an engagement session of your own in DC, MD or VA, you’ll definitely find some great advice in this post.  Take it away Tara:


Engagement photography sessions are getting more and more popular among my wedding clients.  I find that couples are using their engagement photos for announcements in the local paper, save-the-date cards, thank you cards, and of course to show off their engagement to their friends on Facebook.

But…Why should you choose to take engagement photos if you don’t plan on publishing your announcement, using the photos on cards, or displaying them at your wedding?  The answer is quite simple.  Taking engagement photos gives you and your photographer the opportunity to get to know one another.  When you are comfortable around your photographer, you are comfortable in front of the camera.  Be yourself and the pictures will be fantastic!


Below are some answers to common engagement photography questions.

Scheduling your engagement session depends on you, your schedule, and how you plan on using the photos (announcements, save-the-date cards, wedding day displays, etc.).  Have the photos taken before you become too busy with your other wedding plans.  I recommend that engagement sessions are scheduled a short time after you become
engaged, or at least 2-3 months before your wedding date.  If you run into scheduling conflicts talk to your photographer.  Last minute requests can still happen.

Picking a location can be a lot of fun!  There are so many options in the Washington, DC area.  Pick a location that has some meaning to you.  Perhaps this is the location where you got engaged or where you first met, your favorite park, the restaurant where you went on your first date, the trail where you both go jogging, etc.  Remember that a familiar place will help you be comfortable and more at ease when it comes to posing for the camera.


The Washington DC area has an abundance of cool locations for your engagement photographs.  Some of the more popular settings include:  Old Town Alexandria, VA; the Georgetown waterfront; National Harbor; the National Mall; Smithsonian gardens; Southwest DC waterfront; Haines Point; Meridian Hill Park; Meadowlark Botanic Gardens; Brookside Gardens; Union Station; any of the Smithsonian Museums; the U.S. Botanic Gardens, and the list
goes on.

What to wear!
Choosing what to wear for your engagement session can be a tough decision.  If you can’t make up your mind, bring a few outfits with you. You might want to start the photo shoot off in formal attire (if that’s your style) and end in casual attire.  Remember to wear something that is comfortable, compliments each other’s outfits (without overly matching), and is not too tight or too loose.  Wear something that is reflective of your personality and something that portrays a timeless style.  When you look at your photos years from now your images should still feel modern and unique.  Stick with plain colors and avoid patterns, stripes, anything too dark (solid black) and anything too light (solid white).  Make sure your shoes are clean and shiny, and avoid wrinkles by ironing your clothes. [Editor’s note:  For more on what to wear, be sure to read this great post from Lora Elaine.]


Bring props?
Yes!  Props can add a lot to your engagement photos, so try and bring along something that reflects who you are as a couple.  If your engagement session is in a park, maybe you want to bring a picnic basket and blanket.  If your best friend is your dog, bring him/her along too.  Try and find props that go with your environment.  If you are thinking about using your photos for announcements, save-the-date, or thank you cards, many couples bring signs that show the date of their wedding, or say “thank you.”  If you have any special objects or decorations that will be incorporated into your wedding day, bring those along as well.  But, just remember that your engagement photos are about you, so don’t go overboard on the props.  [Editor’s note:  For great signs and fun props, we love local Maryland-based Say Cheese! Paper Props.]


More tips!

  • Wear comfortable shoes.
  • Think about the details. If you wear light colored pants, think about wearing bright-colored shoes and accent them with a purse or tie in the same bright color.
  • Avoid solid white and solid black colors, anything with stripes.
  • Your photographer is going to walk you all around your location and you don’t want to be thirsty.  Bring along some water bottles.
  • Ladies, bring a small bag of make-up for reapplication.
  • Don’t be late!

Last but not least…Be yourself and have fun!


Thank you so much, Tara!  Great advice and great ideas for different, but fun, locations for engagement sessions in the DC-area.  If you are looking for a photographer for your DC-area wedding, be sure to check out Tara’s website.

You can find more local engagement sessions here or browse our galleries.

Photo Credits: Tara Parekh Photography


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