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choosing the perfect time, location, outfit & More!
A NOTE ABOUT THIS GUIDE
I'm so excited to be working with you, and I can't wait for our time together during your engagement session!
Engagement sessions are wonderful because they give you a zero pressure environment where you can become comfortable in front of the camera. (The last thing you want to think about on your wedding day is having an unfamiliar photographer around!) In my 10 years as a photographer, I’ve noticed that couples who are photographed together before their wedding day feel so much more at ease with cameras around on their big day and allows for me to capture genuine moments as they unfold without any awkwardness.
Below, you’ll find my guide to all things engagement photos. From locations to outfits and everything in between, I’m here for you in every step of the planning process.
- Tayler enerle
Engagement session galleries are delivered within two weeks from your session date.
You’ll receive an online gallery with edited, high resolution photographs ready to print. You can print anywhere you’d like and share away on social media! I also offer fade resistant, professional grade prints and albums if you’d like to invest in heirloom quality products that will last for generations.
When it comes to the time of day, the time just after sunrise and just before sunset provide soft, glowing light for portraits and I recommend that we schedule around that so you can experience the beauty of golden hour! Unless you’d prefer a morning time for scheduling purposes, I recommend that we start our session two hours before sunset.
“Is There a Preferred Time of Year for Photos?”
Engagement sessions can be planned anywhere from immediately following a proposal to just a few days before the wedding. The choice is yours! The Central Coast gives us such beautiful weather year round, here’s the setting you can expect with each season.
Winter sessions are the perfect reason to dress in cozy layers and bring along mugs of cider! For winter sessions, keep in mind that sunset happens much earlier and we may be beginning our session as early as 2:30 pm. Depending on how much rain we’ve received, we may have lush green hills or golden grass. While the weather is mostly mild, it can be windy and a bit chilly at the beach or in areas of the county like Paso Robles.
Crisp Air with Hints of Greenery
Rolling green hills and wildflowers
Spring is such a lovely season on the Central Coast. Expect greenery in your background if you choose a location other than the beach! Spring is an excellent time of year to take photos but it can also be quite windy.
Long evenings, and warm weather
Summer gives us late sunsets and balmy weather! . Most of the vineyards are green and beautiful in the summer, too. Keep in mind that, in the northern part of the county, it can be quite hot. At times, when it is crazy hot in Paso, it can be a lot cooler or even foggy at the beach. It’s quite a mix!
Because of the later sunset, sessions sometimes begin as late as 6 pm.
Golden fields and long sunsets
Fall is one of the prettiest times of the year on the Central Coast, and because of the perfect weather, my schedule typically books up quickly! The heat of summer leaves us with golden fields and tall grass, which look really romantic in photos.
If your wedding is local, it is recommended to send "save the dates" between 6 and 8 months before the wedding. For a destination wedding, it is often recommended to send them out 6 to 10 months before the wedding.
If you're hoping to use your engagement photos for your save the dates, we recommend scheduling your session at least two months before you plan to send out your save-the-dates. Between inclement weather, editing, designing your save-the-dates and printing, two months is generally a safe amount of time to make sure your images and cards are ready.
Our pet is a huge part of our family which is why I love when couples choose to incorporate pets into their session! Keep in mind that bringing a pet along often means that we’ll need to choose a pet-friendly location, there are some state parks in the area that do not allow pets.
I recommend planning for your pet to be at the first part of your session and then either dropping them off or having a friend take them home. We won’t use your pet in every single photo, so it’s also nice to have a friend available to hold them in between shots.
If you’re going to bring a pet, I recommend exercising your pet before the session and bringing your pet's favorite toy or treats! Depending on your pet’s fur type, it might also be a good idea to groom them before the shoot. We want everyone looking their best!
TIPS FOR LOOKING YOUR BEST
Overall, you can’t go wrong wearing attire that makes you feel good, is flattering for your body type and skin tone. When picking outfits, aim to complement one another, not match! The best way to do this is pick a color grouping and keep your clothing options within that range. Some flattering examples of color groupings are Neutrals, earth tones, or jewel toned clothing. I truly recommend avoiding bright colors in photos, they can distract from your face and occasionally reflect onto your skin which isn’t flattering. I also recommend steering away from any clothing with bold wording, logos, or large patterns because it draws attention away from your personalities!
You’re welcome to bring 1-2 outfits for your session, many couples bring a casual outfit and a formal outfit. This is entirely up to you, as you consider it, make sure you keep our location in mind. (Heels on the beach really don't work out well!)
Finally, don’t forget to accessorize! Hats, jackets, jewelry, scarves, classic watches, and great shoes all add so much to your general look and feel.
As you select outfits, if you ever want a second opinion, feel free to email me a few iPhone snapshots! I’m always happy to weigh in and guide your decision.
What to bring
If you’re wondering about bringing along anything fun to your engagement session, I recommend including anything meaningful to your relationship or something you love doing together! Some couples bring along a favorite board game, beach cruisers, or a bottle of wine from a local vintner.
There’s truly no need to bring anything if it doesn’t feel right for you, most of my clients choose to keep it sweet and simple. If you’re wondering about a particular idea, feel free to email me and we can chat about it!
It's normal to be a little nervous about your session, we all get jitters in front of the camera at first! I always tell people that I still get nervous before having my photo taken - and I do this for a living.
When it comes to posing for your engagement session, you don’t need to worry about a thing! I’ll guide you through the entire process, giving you plenty of direction on what looks natural and feels good. I know how to help you feel at ease and laugh together, too. Rest assured, you’re in great hands. Throughout your session, I’ll keep an eye on your hair, makeup and outfits to make sure things stay in place. I want you to feel as relaxed as possible and enjoy your time together!
Engagement sessions are the perfect time for your hair and makeup trial! Professionally done hair & makeup last longer than typical hair & makeup and holds up better if we encounter humidity or wind.
In general, I recommend bringing a little extra make up, a comb or brush, and tissues to your session so you can easily touch up on the go.
Because we’ll want to capture a few photos of your lovely engagement ring, a DIY or professional manicure will make sure that your fingers look their best! (This applies to both men and women.) Along this note, I also recommend giving your jewelry and engagement ring a good cleaning so they truly sparkle.
While most of my engagement sessions are taken in SLO county, I've photographed sessions everywhere from Monterey to Manhattan. If you have a location in mind that is significant to the two of you, let me know and we may be able to schedule a destination session.
Travel fees may apply depending on location and availability.
what to do if it rains
While the weather here on the Central Coast is typically mild, we occasionally experience rain, strong wind, or dense fog. I'll check in the week of your engagement session to confirm the time & location we are meeting and the weather. I know it takes a lot of time to get ready for an engagement session and it's the worst to get dressed up and drive out to your session only to have it rain! If the weather looks like it won't work well for photos, I typically try to make the call at least 8 hours in advance. I am always willing to reschedule because the weather is truly out of our hands and I never want you to feel stuck with a less than ideal situation for photos.
San Luis Obispo County
From beaches to vineyards and everything in between, we have so much to choose from. Here are some location recommendations below, click to explore!
This is truly up to you and which locations feel appealing. If you choose two locations, I generally recommend keeping them within a 20 minute drive of one another to maximize your session time.
FIRST LOCATION SPOTS
Los Osos Oaks Reserve
Sweet Springs, Los Osos
1 Location spots:
SECOND LOCATION SPOTS
Morro Rock, Morro Bay Beach
Montana De Oro State Beach, Los Osos
Perfumo Canyon, San Luis Obispo
Los Osos, Bay
Los Osos Sand Dunes (This has a long stroll to the location so if you’d like to add in a second one, it pairs well with Sweet Springs or The Oaks Reserve which are also nearby.)
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Oaks Reserve and Montana De Oro
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Oaks Reserve and Perfumo Canyon
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Oaks Reserve and Morro Rock
Due to the shade from trees, the Oaks reserve is best about 1-2 hours before sunset, making it ideal for a first location.
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San Simeon Beach and Bluff trail
San Simeon has both the beach and a beautiful tree lined trail along the bluff. Due to the time consuming nature of this location, it is best if we plan for this to be our only location.
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Oaks Reserve and Los Osos Sand Dunes
The walk to this location is time consuming. if you want a separate first location, I suggest sweet springs or the oaks reserve which are also in Los Osos. This way we are maximizing our time with less travel.
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Oaks Reserve and Perfumo Cayon
Due to the open nature of perfumo canyon this location is best as your second location at sunset
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The Bay in Los Osos, California
This spot is best in the winter at sunset
If you have any questions or I can help with any part of the planning process, just send me an email at email@example.com. I’m always available for planning advice and I truly can’t wait to work together.