Tips, tricks, and my best recommendations.

Engagement & Photo Session Guide

What to wear?

Outfit ideas, recommendations, colors, and what NOT to wear!

Clothing, Accessories, Colors, patterns, etc.

I'll keep this easy for tips, tricks, and recommendations! Following will be some photos of outfits that range from casual to all dressed up for photo sessions, including fun colors, patterns that look good, simple attire, and suits!

  1. You don't need to wear the same outfit/colors. Coordination is fine, wearing colors that go with each other is fine... wearing the same color tops/bottoms/dress can make you blend together.
  2. What colors shouldn't you wear? Think highlighter or neon, but that's it! Bright colors are fine, white is fine, black is fine, pastels and muted are fine, it's all okay! Colors that look like they match your highlighters are not fun to work with because they can reflect sunlight and cast that color onto the other person.
  3. What patterns and designs should you avoid? T-shirts with large logos, distracting contrasting patterns (think 2010 zigzag stripes in coral/bright blue vibes)... other than that everything is generally okay!
  4. What accessories should be avoided? Hats... if you're not going to wear them for all the photos. Especially common for guys that wear hats daily to take them off right before the session and have indents on their forehead from the stitching! I don't recommend baseball caps because of this and the fact the brim might cast a very dark shadow on your face.
  5. What else should be avoided? Uncomfortable shoes, clothing that needs to be constantly adjusted, something you don't feel confident in. Wear something you like, something you can move in, and something you don't need to think about during your session!
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All about timing and lighting...

Does the time of day and light really matter? The short answer on this is... yes! The long answer is more complicated. Let's break it down!


The seasons... if you're reading this there is a good chance you're having your engagement session in or near New England, that means you're familiar with all 4 (more depending on what state and who you talk to...) seasons. Each season offers different lighting for a lot of different reasons, below we will break it down into 3 different sections with photo examples of each! To start, here is a fun visual to give you a better idea of the sun's paths in summer vs. winter.


  1. Day length and harsh lighting - we know the daylight time is much longer in the summer, and we also know the sun peaks a lot higher in the sky during the summer months. What does this mean for photos, though? If we are stuck between the timing of 2 hours after sunrise and 2 hours before sunset in summer the lighting can be very bright and harsh. This can cause squinting and closed eyes, unflattering or very contrasting shadows that are hard to even out in editing, as well as blow out (make look very white/hazy/colorless) the sky and background. Depending on the location we might have an unlucky time finding shade, or a place to put you in where I can have the sun behind you and also have a background that has the sun behind it (this creates even lighting on you and your background, even if the sun is in the middle of you/background).
  2. When to do photos? This can be hard, sunrise is generally around 5:30 and if you're not a morning person I know it can be hard to get up early to drive somewhere for photos, and sunset is sometime around 9 and I know a lot of people generally don't want to drive home that late if it's a long drive (I know I don't always prefer that!). The best times to do photos ARE unfortunately between that sunrise to an hour after, and an hour before sunset. Which of the two can depend on the location and where the sun is coming from.
  3. Can you not take photos in the sun? Of course I can. The main point is that I want your photos to capture you feeling comfortable, and I want to be able to capture the location you chose in it's entirety. Let's say you choose to have your session at a lake, but it's 3pm and there is not a cloud in view, that lake is going to look either stark white behind you, you're going to look like a shadow, or you're going to have the same exposure but not have your eyes open.

Below are 6 photos taken in direct sun light (most are wedding photos because we don't have an option for lighting/location/time once those invites go out! Are they bad? No! But I don't want all of your portraits to look like that! Following those 6 are 6 more photos taken in the summer during a recommended time, at a recommended location, or with even lighting due to the weather - and yes, some of them definitely still have sunlight!

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Winter (November - February)

  1. Winter lighting is MUCH easier to deal with than summer, even if there are zero clouds! Why? Because the Sun peaks much lower in the sky during these months so it's always like shooting in the morning or afternoon! We can be much more flexible on timing in the winter because of this. I still wouldn't recommend the couple peak hours if it's super sunny, but we can lean more towards later morning or early afternoon than we can in the summer with those shorter days the winter offers.
  2. Winter also offers more clouds, less rain, and the possibility of cute snow flakes in your photos!
  3. But there might be snow! Snow helps the winter lighting even more by acting like a huge reflector (think about driving on a sunny day with snow on the sides of the road) and helps bounce the light back up onto you creating more even lighting no matter what direction you're facing.

Below are all photos taken during the winter (snow or not!) in the sunny times of day and in the nice even cloudy lighting we get a lot during the cold months.

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spring (march - April) & fall (September - October)

  1. I love both of these seasons for quite a few reasons... the first, it's not too hot or too cold!
  2. In Fall we might get the opportunity for some foliage, but be warned that it does not last very long in Northern New England!
  3. With a much later sunrise and an earlier sunset than in the summer months we have the opportunity to capture those stunning moments without waking up at 3AM or getting home at 11PM! (will put some photos of a sunrise session below!) I HIGHLY recommend sunrise sessions!
  4. In VT we generally have a little bit of a cloud cover that helps diffuse the light during these months.
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