Tag Archives: Engagement session

Engagement Session Ideas by This is it Photography

The Importance of Engagement Sessions

An Engagement Session is a pre-wedding photo shoot of the soon-to-be Bride and Groom together.  This experience is yours to remember, and you will thank yourselves 5, 10, 50 years after for having a professional photographer take artistic images of you at this point in your lives – when you are at your best, full of love, and looking most fabulous. The importance of engagement sessions does not stop here. You can use your engagement photos for your save-the-date cards, wedding announcements, invitations, wedding website, slideshows, on your customized guest book, display photos on your wedding reception, and brag about them on your facebook accounts.

If you are hesitant or uncomfortable to do an engagement session because you are camera-shy, guess what? You are not alone! Some people with the biggest personality can even still feel shy on camera, that’s normal. Our photographer will help you bring out the best in you if you let us.  Here at This is it Photography, we just want you to be very comfortable with us, very open, and we want you to enjoy your engagement session “date” with your most loved one, and we’ll take it from there. The best photos can come from the spontaneous reactions between you two.

An engagement session can last from 2- 3 hours at 3 nearby locations.

Tips for preparing for your Engagement Session

Here are some tips to make the most out of your outdoor engagement session:

  1. Ask yourself what do you really want.
  2. Be creative, have a theme. It can be something dear to you. It can be something that you are not associated with but have always wanted to do. It can be a sport or activity you enjoy. It’s your engagement session, and you can have whatever theme you want.  Here are quick ideas,  that might sparkle your fancy.
Motorbikes Airplanes Rugged
Vintage Rock Star Formal
Gothic Simple Casual Body Paint
Anime Romantic Fashion Shoot
Fantasy Old school Movie-themed
Chic Pimp Daddy Sports
Urban Retro, 70’s Brangelina
Sexy Music/Instruments Adventure
Whimsical Eccentric Dancing
Pillow Fight Amusement Rides

And the list goes on and on… Note that if you have a theme in mind, do dress the part, accessorize, bring props.

3. Pick location(s) that you like. It can be at our studio or we can go outdoors. Pick a location that you want or that’s appropriate to your theme. Note that some locations look best at specific times of day. If it’s a public park, or a private venue, please ask the venue in advance if specific permissions are required. Here are some popular locations for engagement sessions in Northern California

San Francisco
Legion of Honor
Palace of Fine Arts
Crissy Fields
San Jose History Museum
Stanford University

Some locations, you might say, are overused, most popular everybody goes there for engagement sessions and such. We always find something new on these locations. Other locations might be ordinary to the untrained eye but with your photographer’s imaginarium, it can be the goldmine of out-of-this-world pictures.

4. Look good and feel good. Dress to impress. Put on the clothes that look best on you. If you have a theme in mind, dress the part. Most importantly, dress as how you want to be photographed. Accessorize. Feel free to wear colors that you like,  mostly bold solid colors look great outdoors. Like for ladies – hot pink, aquamarine, red, sapphire, something that makes you stand out from the background. For the guys, dress cool match your fiancée’s. Be as flashy, after all this is all about you too. Guys, if you want to be on the safe side, wear a neutral color (black or white or other not so loud tones) with one remarkable prop (let’s say a hat or jacket, that necklace that she gave you), you can also wear a coordinating color with your fiancée –  pick a shade from your fiancée’s outfit, or vice versa. We suggest that you bring 2 or 3 outfits to change into. Different ones for each location. The more looks you create, the more varying photos you have.

5. Feel free to bring props. They can enhance, and change your looks. Some popular props that are easy to bring are:

  • Sunglasses – they make you look cool, and if the location has harsh direct sunlight, wear the sunglasses and you’ll avoid squinting.
  • Hats –Hats are not just for ladies, guys wear them as well – Painter’s hat, Usher’s hat, and yes, even cowboy hats…
  • Accessories – Necklace, bangles, earrings, shawl,
  • Musical Instruments – guitar, violin, saxophone, microphone with stand, a triangle, rock band guitar/drums
  • Parasols
  • Vehicle – motor bike, vintage car, your sports car, bicycles, unicycle, skateboards, surfboards, motorcycles,  your bumblebee, your bug, go cart.
  • Sports Equipment – tennis racket, baseball bat, football, etc…
  • Dogs – yes, aren’t they cute? Bring your dogs to join you in the fun. Plan beforehand if you are bringing your beloved pet, some locations are not dog friendly
  • Other things you want to be in your photograph – balloons, cigar, your favorite chair, etc…

6. Hair and Make up. Ladies, you can schedule your trial hair and makeup, on the same day as your engagement session.  A trial hair and makeup is a session with your makeup artist (MUA) to test the styles best for you. Some MUA, try on the bridal hairstyle and makeup on you first, and if you request your awesome MUA, they can slightly change the look for you for your engagement session. That is if you want different hair/makeup on your wedding, engagement. Bring a facial tissue, blush or lipstick for touch-ups on location.

7. Bring comfortable shoes or slippers. This is helpful if a short hike or a long walk is inevitable in between locations, and if you are wearing your stilettos, then comfy shoes are the answer. Change into these comfy gems while walking, and change back to your power stilettos upon commencing the photo shoot.

8. Bring water and snack in your car. As enjoyable as they are, an engagement session can be tiring for you, if you require many outfit changes or hikes to your desired location an energy bar can give you a boost.

9. Enjoy! Just have fun.

Fanny + Shang = A Funny Engagement Session

Fanny and Shang both studied at UC Berkeley, and it is just right to have their engagement session done in the campus to relive the old school days, where they first met and fell in love… and it all started when Shang borrowed an eraser from Fanny =).
We had a lot of laughs during the photoshoot, we surely had a great time with this fun and easy-going couple.
Here are some of their photos and don’t forget to watch their cute slideshow at the end.


Engagement Photo Session in SF Downtown with Yvone and Daniel

SF downtown is a wonderful place to do engagement photoshoots, urban background, nice architectures, need I say the Golden Gate, one of my favorite subjects. Thanks to Yvonne and Daniel for packing enough energy and charm for this engagement photoshoot. I am happy with the photos we took. The only drawback is I lost Phoebe’s new tripod. See, I bought her a new lightweight tripod for our trip to Yosemite and Death Valley just recently, and she was so in love with the new tripod and couldn’t stop using it for long exposures in bubbling streams, star trails, reflections, etc. I borrowed her tripod for my engagement photoshoot with Yvonne & Daniel, and well, I lost the tripod in Union Square. Goodbye $$. I had a feeling I might get in trouble when I went home to tell her the news, she was sad for a minute and when I showed her my photos, she was wide-eyed smiling again. whew! 🙂

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engagement photo in San Francisco City Hall

I had my spare tripod in the trunk thank goodness to get this long exposure shot. Yvonne & Daniel had to be still for a few seconds for this shot, and kudos to them they were still as a rock even if the waves splashed. It was also not easy going to this place, so a big thanks to you guys!
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Palo Alto Engagement Session of Jen + Mark

>palo alto nolas engagement photospalo alto weddings at nolasNola’s at downtown Palo Alto, was where Mark and Jen had their first date, and what could be more perfect venue for their e-photoshoot than Nola’s, an artsy party place bar & resto with red walls, fancy paintings and whimsical artifacts. I can stay there all day shooting…here are some of the photos…
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Another casual spot to swing by during first dates is Michael’s Gelato and Cafe.
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It has a 2nd floor patio overlooking University Ave, it’s a nice place to cool down and relax.
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Bistro 412 was one of the memorable dates for Jen & Mark, and so here we are.
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with pretty daughter Gina…
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and of course, a stop by our studio for a few more studio shots. *wink* 🙂
studio photos of jen and mark in santa clara
engagement photo in santa  clara photography studio
Thanks to Jen, Mark, and Gina for a refreshing afternoon photoshoot!

Contact us if you are looking for a wedding photographer in Palo Alto California.

Jackie & Tosh’s San Francisco Engagement Session

>I have photographed the Golden Gate Bridge for various assignments, one of which is for an in-flight travel magazine cover; on some early mornings I hope to catch the fog right below the bridge, however I never saw it happen yet; and on most cases, I photograph it for engagement sessions.

One of which is Jackie & Tosh’s engagement photoshoot. It was a cloudy afternoon, with the cool SF breeze with overcast sky. Here is one of the pictures, I thought of adding texture to the photo to match the overcast mood.

Since our groom is Japanese, we thought of taking a photo at the Japanese Garden, and here’s my interpretation.

And here’s a classic shot of Jackie & Tosh. I like this photo, because Jackie’s beauty and simplicity is blooming, they look so happy, and I’m very happy with this classic shot.

Jackie & Tosh, thank you so much for a smooth afternoon.