Our favorite locations, timing suggestions, outfit advice, & more!



In this guide we'll go over choosing the perfect time. location, outfit(s) and more! 
I'm so excited to be working with you during this time of your lives. It's totally normal to feel a little (or a lotta) nervous before having your photos taken.

Fun fact, I'm also incredibly camera shy, and I do this for a living!
It's because of this mutual understanding that I'll make sure all your concerns melt away by the end of the session. This is the fun, zero stress practice round for the wedding day portraits!

I get it. Having your picture taken for 1-2 hours might now be in your top 10 favorite things to do during your downtime. At first, you might feel a little awkward being in front of the camera, or the experience might just seem "silly" overall. I get it. Photography IS kind of weird! But I think you'll find that by the end of the session, getting a little silly on camera was totally worth it to make your future wife happy (and you may have actually had a little more fun than you thought you would).


The Guys

Is there a "good" time to take photos?

Time & Light

Your engagement session can take place anywhere from immediately following your engagement to just a few days before your wedding. With that timeline in mind, we'll normally plan your session based on the look you'd like to go for, a particular location you've had in mind or just simply based on your schedule!

When possible, I like to plan engagement sessions around 2 hours prior to sunset. The sun is our main source of light for sessions. When it's lower in the sky we're avoiding harsh, unflattering shadows, given prettier skies, and depending on the season, beating the mid-day heat!

Alternatively, shooting at sunrise, and up to 2 hours post sunrise, can also give us the opportunity for amazing low-in-the-sky light.

the portfolio

The most popular months for my engagement sessions are April, May, October and November, but we can schedule sessions for any point in the year. Most of the time, the desired location of the shoot will dictate the season we go with. In the case where it's "now or never," we'll shoot without fear! There are things that make every season unique and beautiful, and I will recommend locations based on your desires for the shoot, as well as where I think will look the best given the current climate.

Things to keep in mind during each season:



The obvious: It's probably going to be cold. It might be VERY cold. I highly recommend bringing a nice warm jacket to wear in between shots, or dressing in cute layers to stay warm and keep a cuddly vibe.
The days are much shorter, and we have less time with sunlight. Catching the sunset could mean starting our session between 2:30-3pm. The holiday months give the extra bonus of Christmas lights, which can help create magical portraits during the twilight and evening hours!

holiday lights, cozy coats


One of the best times of the year- watching the dormant trees blossom into clouds of pink and white flowers. Locations with blossoming trees are highly recommended as this phase happens only once a year and is incredibly short lived.
If you plan on dressing up for your session (we'll touch more on wardrobe in a bit), it's a great idea to bring an extra pair of walking shoes or rainboots that you don't mind getting dirty. It's safe to assume, the ground will always be wet.
Along with your preferred session date, I'll also have you reserve a rain date! 

fresh flowers, dewy grass


Even though we experience very warm summers here in Maryland, summer is my absolute favorite season! Not only do outdoor locations look great in full bloom, there's opportunities to plan fun "activities" during your session. Share a snowball or ice cream cone from a local shop, hike to a waterfall, enjoy a stroll at the harbor.
I recommend dressing lightly and bringing a hot weather kit that includes water, extra makeup for touchups, a sweat towel or two, and even an extra shirt (there's no shame in sweat, we all do it, it just doesn't photograph well). 

long days, fun activities


Easily the most popular season for sessions and weddings alike. Weekend slots book up quickly and are highly limited. If you have your heart set on a fall session, let me know ASAP, and please understand it may need to be a weekday.
The trees usually start to show color in late October and if we're lucky, stick around well into November. With daylight savings time and earlier sunsets, we will move up our session times to assure the best light.
Fun fact: I recommend doing beach sessions in the fall to avoid heavy crowds and high temps!

colorful leaves, fall breeze

I love when couples choose a location that is sentimental or important to them. For example, the spot you had your first date, the campus you met on, where he proposed... However, I'm always happy to provide recommendations. Adding a new place to your story is no less meaningful. When couples do not have a specific location in mind, I'll start the location planning process by having you choose a "type" of location. The goal here is to start broad, and more easily narrow down the choices to find the perfect place. 



beach / coastal

Who doesn't love  a trip to the beach? These super versatile locations can be "dressed up" or more casual, or a combination of the two between your outfits. You'll get bonus points if you go in the water with me- I'll probably ask. 
I know the beach is synonymous with Summer, but I highly recommend planning a beach session for the late spring or early fall, when the weather is still warm, but the family crowds are way down. We have several great beachside locations locally, but when schedule align I may also be available at the Outer Banks, where we have a family home.

recommended seasons: spring, fall

garden / park

This category includes a huge range of locations that work for so many of my couples. If you're thinking blooming trees in the spring, bright foliage in the summer, or even the changing leaves in the fall, many local gardens and parks can fit the vibe.
When choosing a garden or park location, I'll given my couples a few follow up questions to really nail down the best choice, as many of our location favorites have the added benefits of interesting architecture, waterfronts and historic mansions!

recommended seasons: spring, summer, fall

downtown / urban

You can forget all your troubles, forget all you cares, and go... DOWNTOWNNNNN!
*ahem* Sorry about that. Urban locations are perfect for couples wanting something a little different than "the norm." Baltimore and Annapolis both offer incredibly city atmospheres where we can create colorful portraits, take advantage of the proximity to the water, and be close to some of the best restaurants. I love scheduling downtown sessions later in the day, so we can capture sunset and a few unique night portraits.

recommended seasons: spring, winter


Let's go on a hike, or visit a farm! Rustic locations shine in the spring and fall, where we can capture the trees at peak color. Hitting these locations in the summer are also fun, but the heat can make things a little sticky and draw denser crowds.
Similar to gardens and parks, I'll usually dig a little deeper with my couples to choose the perfect location, especially if you're wanting to incorporate an activity like hiking or picnicking. 

recommended seasons: spring, fall

*Requires Permit: Rawling's and Cylburn require a permit application 21 days in advance of your session. Rawlings and Brookside Gardens require a $100 / $50 permit fee respectfully. 

Quiet Waters Park
Ferry Point Park
Terrapin Park
Fort Smallwood
Brighton Dam
Concord Point Lighthouse

*Rawling's Conservatory
*Cylburn Arboretum
Sherwood Gardens
*Brookside Gardens
Patterson Park
Centennial Park

Downtown Annapolis
Fells Point
Federal Hill
Locust Point
Graffiti Alley
Mt. Vernon

Jerusalem Mill
Patapsco Valley
Old Ellicott City
The Liriodendron Mansion
Loch Raven Reservoir
Your Wedding Venue 

favorite locations


Tips for looking and feeling your best

What do we wear? Now that's probably at the very top on my engagement session FAQs. I give the same set of advice to all of my couples- dress in what makes YOU feel like a 10/10. When you feel great, you'll look your best on camera. This vague piece of advice goes deeper than you'd think. All of my couples are unique, as you should be! So naturally, your outfit choice that's completely perfect for you, isn't going to be perfect for everyone. Think "Date Night." 
Generally, Couples pick two outfits: a more formal outfit and a more casual outfit. I recommend saving your favorite outfit for later in the session, when you've had a chance to warm up to the camera. I encourage you to "over accessorize." Not everything needs to fit on your body at once, but bring that hat and scarf, a few necklace options, maybe another set of heels, and a watch for my guys. It doesn't hurt to have extra options.

wardrobe tips

- Heels lengthen your legs, but if your shoes aren't comfortable to walk in, or we've chosen a location that's difficult to traverse, bring an extra pair of shoes to slip into between shots.

- Flowy skirts and dresses go a long way to add movement to your images and give a romantic flair. They are great options for a more formal outfit.

- Softer colors tend to photograph better than bright colors. White is actually one of my absolute favorite colors for my girls! While I love bright colors, they tend to reflect onto skin (particularly lighter completions). I think we can all agree that we don't love neon green 5 o'clock shadow.

- Reds, yellows and oranges are usually outliers to our color rule, because those tones are naturally present in many completions.

- MYTH: Black is not magically "slimming," the cut and fit of your clothing can be though. 

for the ladies

accessories & fit

- Statement jewelry is a great way to add color or pattern to a simple dress or outfit. You can always bring multiple options to your session, and we can pick out the favorites on site!

- Lace and tulle photograph exceptionally well. While they may not be a part of your everyday wardrobe, if you're wanting to "go big" for your session, these fabrics are great options.

- I highly recommend trying on your different outfits before arriving at your session. This way you know how you feel in it, and you'll have a chance to iron or steam out any creases from shipping.

-Don't forget your best accessory: the ring! Your engagement ring will be photographed on and off of your hand. I recommend cleaning it prior to your session, so it's at peak sparkle!

for the ladies

favorite shops

Rent the Runway
Morning Lavender
Baltic Born
J. Crew
Free People
Urban Outfitters
Nordstorm / Rack
T.J. Maxx
American Eagle

Nordstorm / Rack
T.J. Maxx
American Eagle

for the ladies

hair & makeup

Engagement sessions are the perfect time for a hair and makeup trial! Professionally done hair and makeup typically lasts longer and will hold up to wind and humidity better than your everyday routine.
Not to mention it goes a long way in photos! It may feel a little heavier, but professionally done makeup will photograph well while not looking overdone. 
I want you to look and feel your best for your engagement photos. If you're already planning to do a hair and makeup trial, it's a great time to combine those two occasion!
Other options include scheduling an appointment with your local Sephora or Ulta to have your makeup done!
There are going to be times during your session that I'm photographing your hands, especially for those ring shots! This means it's a good idea to clean up your nails prior to the session (guys too), and maybe pamper yourself with a manicure.

for the ladies

wardrobe tips

- You can't go wrong with a suit and tie (or a modified version). Consider pairing your button-down with nice jeans for a casual look, and switching pants and adding in your blazer to dress up the look.

- Be careful when choosing a patterned shirt. Shirts with a small contrasting pattern (for example: thin stripes, checks, heavily textured/heathered fabrics), cause a distortion in camera that is very distracting. It's called "moire" if you're curious!

- Iron the shirt. Heck, iron your boxers. Iron it. Trust me.

- Layering is a great way to get a lot of variety without having to change often! Add a sweater or jacket over a button down and jeans. This is also a great way to stay warm and look stylish in the colder months.

for the gents

favorite shops

Rent the Runway
Suit SupplyBaltic Born
J. Crew
Jack Threads
Urban Outfitters
Nordstorm / Rack
T.J. Maxx
American Eagle
Frank & Oak
Leather & Cotton
Baltimore Clothier

Nordstorm / Rack
T.J. Maxx
American Eagle

for the gents

for the ladies

for the gents

Can we bring our dog(s)?


To that question, the answer will always be yes! If you're wanting to include your pup at your engagement session, we just need to choose a dog friendly location! I also highly recommend bringing a doggy helper to the session to either hold/entertain your fur-baby while we take shots without them, or to take your pup home after we've completed a decent round of photos including them!
The better question is "Should we bring our dog?" and that's a question that only you will know the answer to. Does your dog get stressed out easily? Are they super reactive towards other people or animals? Will their behavior stress YOU out during the session? You know your pet best! 

What to bring when you bring your dog: Lint roller, treats, squeaky toy, proper harness/lead, poop bags, wipes for muddy paws or messy butts, water.

I never want to discourage you from having the engagement session you're dreaming up! It's just part of my job to help guide you to the best solutions! If your concerned about your dog not being able to handle the experience well, ask me about our "front-porch session" add-ons.

During this session (either the day of our regularly scheduled session. or on a separate day), I will come to your home, to take photos of you with your pets in your yard or on your porch! This experience is less stressful for your pet and has been a great solution for many of my couples with anxious dogs.

Can we bring our kid(s)?


Same rules apply- of course you can bring your kids! They're a big part of your story. Depending on their age, I usually recommend bringing a helper along to either take the kids home after we've gotten their pictures, or to keep them entertained between shots.
You know your child best, so bring whomever or whatever you need to help keep them happy and safe.

With all this being said, if you have kids, you absolutely do not have to include them in your engagement session. It's an experience for YOU. If you want a date night to yourselves- call that baby sitter! Either way, I'm happy to accommodate what you're wanting to do.


have questions?

When can we expect our photos?

Engagement sessions are typically delivered within a two week timeframe from your session; however, up to 4 weeks is stated within your contract. Popular engagement session months, and popular wedding months overlap. meaning I can go from having nothing in the editing queue to several thousand just in the course of a weekend. 

What if it rains?

We'll almost always reschedule for rain or other inclimate weather. If the forecast is looking sketchy, I'll have you schedule a rain date ahead of time as a precautionary measure.

Can we add additional time or locations?

Engagement sessions will last anywhere from 60-90 minutes on average. I'm more than happy to accommodate multiple locations in the same day if it fits within our schedule, but sometimes a separate session would be required. Additional sessions are offered at a discounted rate to RDP wedding clients.

Can we use the images for save the dates?

Of course! And if you remember, let me know you're wanting images for save the dates, and I will shoot a few with extra negative space that you can overlay text onto more easily.

Can we bring family members?

No, our engagement sessions only cover the couple, their children and pets. If your wanting a session that includes additional family members, like parents and grandparents, we'd need to schedule a separate family session. The engagement session is a time for me and the couple to connect prior to the wedding day to ensure the best possible experience!

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