Shooting Star : Engagement Shoot Tips


There was a point not too long ago when I came to the realization that I’d lost control of what I wanted. Heck, who am I kidding? I wasn’t even control to begin with. It got to a point where I almost dreaded shooting an engagement session because I didn’t know what to expect. Once, during my first year of business, a client showed up an hour and a half late to an engagement session. Hold on…lemme pause for dramatic effect…AN HOUR AND A HALF!!!

But I soon realized it wasn’t my clients’ fault…it was mine. How could I expect clients to know just how important arriving on time was if I didn’t explain to them in advance? How were they supposed to know the intricacies of shooting with natural light? How could they know what I needed if I didn’t tell them in advance?

Through the years, I’ve grown to lovelovelove engagement sessions and part of why I enjoy them is because I work with the clients in advance to ensure we’re on the same page. This installment of Shooting Star, I’ll be discussing Engagement Shoot Tips given to clients before their session for an optimal experience. They’re as follows, but I go into depth in the video…
1. Send Links to Past Engagement Sessions to Ensure Clients Know What to Expect
2. Explanation of Natural Light and the Importance of Arriving on Time
3. What to Wear on an Engagement Shoot
4. How to Choose and Personalize the Engagement Session Location
5. Explain the Goals for the Engagement Shoot

Happy Wednesday!

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  1. Brooke Schultz

    April 25th, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    How do you deal with travel fees if clients choose a location for an engagement session that they love but is far away? Do you charge travel fees for engagement sessions?

  2. Sandra Fazzino Photography

    April 25th, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    That was tight, yo! : ) Thank you for your generous and detailed tips! They’re SO helpful.

  3. Dana Laymon

    April 25th, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    this helps so much! we forget that we really can control our shoots and help them have the best outcome- that’s our job! great advice as always!

  4. natasha

    April 25th, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    Love this. Needed this. Going to apply me some of this! 😉

  5. Emily Heizer Photography

    April 25th, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    I always do all of these things!And let me tell you this… I had a client show up THREE HOURS late once. They had been stuck in traffic, then lost, and I was in an area with no cell service and was afraid to leave in case they showed up! We banged out their entire session in 10 minutes before it got dark.

    It was… impressive. For many reasons!!

  6. Thom

    April 25th, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    1st poster!

    Good info.

  7. molly

    April 25th, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    i love these!

  8. Sandra

    April 25th, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    Jasmine! Thank you so much for this! I’m shooting my third engagement session next weekend and this is so helpful…as always!

  9. megan

    April 25th, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    You hope a few of these tips help?! ALL of these tips help! Thanks for being f’n awesome J*

  10. Gabby / En Route Photography

    April 25th, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    FAB tips… I have 2 engagement sessions coming up this weekend… I think I´ll send them a mail right away! ;D

  11. Wedding Photographer Colchester

    April 25th, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Great video Jasmine, I once had a bride- to- be turn up for a pre wedding photo shoot (engagement shoot) on her own. She said the groom to be couldn’t make it. So we carried on without him. It was actually a great shoot, she was a little nervous at the begining but soon relaxed and was brilliant. She told me he was a natural so would be fine without the experience. Turns out at the actual wedding she was fantastic, relaxed and very natural, he on the other hand was not so!

  12. Your Fashionista

    April 25th, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    No stripes, poka dots, and plaid?? Didn’t you read the latest Vogue?? "This season’s MVP of trends, going against mother’s rule of never mixing your patterns…. Diverting from head-to-toe patterns found on the runway, break up your prints like pairing a floral skirt with a striped top and a leopard print shoe." Now Jassie pants…what are you going to wear on Friday? I’ll be watching 😉

  13. amelia

    April 25th, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    subtitles please!!! 🙂

  14. Juls

    April 25th, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    Good lord. As someone who dabbles in photography as a hobby, it would seem that you shouldn’t have to tell them to be on time. Isn’t that common courtesy? I like the list though.

  15. Amelia Renee

    April 25th, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    oh this is perfect. Thank you Jasmine! I’m wanting to shoot more couples & engagements, and to start moving my business more in that direction, so this is quite helpful! You’re a rockstar!

  16. Vania

    April 25th, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    Always love your tips…and super cute hand gestures..;)

  17. Jennifer Hudspeth

    April 25th, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    Thanks for this. I try to send out a little email, but I never thought of sharing links of past sessions!

    This would be so beneficial! Thanks!

  18. Jennifer Rice

    April 25th, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    Fabulous reminders! Thanks Jasmine 🙂

  19. Melbourne Wedding Photographers

    April 26th, 2012 at 3:49 am

    Great tips, thanks Jasmine. Engagement sessions can be a little unstructured so this is useful info.

  20. Shari Hanson

    April 26th, 2012 at 5:36 am

    Jasmine, this was wonderful advice! THANK YOU! I have an engagement shoot coming up next weekend, and I am planning on writing up a letter for my clients tomorrow! xoxo

  21. Nissin Flash

    April 26th, 2012 at 7:49 am

    Nice tips. Thank you.

  22. ola

    April 26th, 2012 at 8:42 am

    i usually do not comment on blogs or websites, but i am very impressed by your post that i have to say thank you. simple but very insightful.

  23. Pamela

    April 26th, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Love the tips. This is reflective of your choice to be a writer, photographer and be happy.

  24. Lindsey Laughlin

    April 26th, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    This video was so helpful!
    Sadly, I wouldn’t have thought to check on permits and city happenings. You save my professional life every week! Love you!

  25. Kristin Nicole

    April 26th, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    Fabulous tips

  26. Klaire

    April 27th, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Great tips, thanks!

  27. Weddings21

    April 28th, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Great tips. I just wanted to comment on the layout of your website – it is so awesome and inviting. I wish I had something similar for mine. Capital J – lol.

  28. Indian Wedding Photographer

    April 28th, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Jamine, You have got everything, great looks, good narrative skills and great photography skills. Thanks for sharing the lovely tips.

  29. Agi Magyar

    May 1st, 2012 at 8:59 am

    Best video yet!

  30. Julian Marinov

    May 1st, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Because of you, I am where I am right now.

    Trying to start a wedding photography business is hard, but because of you, it`s possible!

  31. DC Wedding Photographer

    May 1st, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Great tips Jasmine! Always a blast watching your videos.

  32. Crystal Brown Photography

    May 4th, 2012 at 1:32 am

    Thanks for your lovely post!

  33. Paula Franco FOTOGRAFÍA

    May 6th, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Thanks a lot Jasmine!!! I have the same errors you pass, the nails, the light…. so thank you to remind us how important is to plan each session and guide our clients to have the best results!!

  34. Amelia Rhea

    May 8th, 2012 at 6:17 am

    I really need to make it a point to read your blog regularly. I am amazed at how much you are willing and open to help people out. You are amazing!

  35. Long Island photographer

    May 8th, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Wow, I am glad I stumbled on your website. I mostly do newborn photography but a friend recently asked if I could do their engagement photos. Great tips in the video and site in general, favorited your site!

  36. Mery

    May 9th, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    Thank you! Very much for the tips!

  37. Tammy Heavner

    May 12th, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Love the post. I do most of these, however, I have never thought of putting the responsibility on my clients to find the location for the shoot. Right now, I try to work together with my client to come up with something that will work. I try to really suggest they come up with the place, but I like the idea of just making it a known part of the session. I’m going to work on this. I think as a natural light photographer, this is one the hardest things I face All the time.. Coming up with new locations is tough. But also I find that clients don’t have the "eye" to what is a good location. I’ve got a bride right now that had no idea where we could do their engagement sessions, then meanwhile I find out she lets another local photographer shoot on her parents farm all the time. The farm is amazing and they spend lots of time there yet she never thought of it for the location for her own session! That is frustrating!
    Hey thanks so much for sharing the tips! I love it and it help me know that I’m on the right path. 🙂

  38. Alissa

    May 14th, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    You’re just so cute I could eat your face. And…you’re brilliant. You put things in such "duh, why didn’t I think of that" terms I love it 🙂

  39. April Cenora

    May 16th, 2012 at 4:32 am

    Hi Jasmine! I love your Shooting Star Video tips. I have a question I would hope you could answer. How many photos should you post in a blog? I don’t want to go over board.

  40. Ashley Christine

    May 17th, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing these tips, Jasmine!! Such an amazing help!

  41. Michael Ralph

    June 10th, 2012 at 12:39 am

    you have a great way of telling a story

  42. Stegela Photography

    October 19th, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    I love your insight and am learning so much. Thank you so much!

    Is there anyway I could get an email template of what you send to your clients?

  43. PH by PH

    December 16th, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Great tips! But I found the one on checking whats going on in the location and permits particularly helpful! Thanxxx PH

  44. Christie Murphy

    December 6th, 2015 at 11:03 am

    Thank you so much for the tips. wonderful advice! THANK YOU! I have an engagement shoot coming up next weekend, and I am planning to use your tips.
    I love the way you capture all your photos. You are a stortyteller.