February 15, 2018


Creating beautiful and romantic engagement photography sessions. 

Spring is just around the corner and that means it’s engagement session once again. I absolutely adore these sessions with our couples because it’s allows us to spend time together and this is the perfect opportunity to address any posing (…like “what do I do with my hands?”) issues prior to your big day. Think of this as our very own dress rehearsal for your wedding and when your day finally arrives you’re both excited, relaxed and confident for your wedding photos.

Honestly, you two will be pro’s by the wedding day… truly the envy of all your friends!

So let’s get started and dive right into all the pretty details about creating your dream engagement session.

Firstly, we will want to set a date and time for your engagement photos, ideally look to months that are warm (but not hot + humid, I don’t want you both to be uncomfortable or sweaty for your close ups!) March – June and September – November are the best months in Virginia for outdoor portraits. If you would like that soft, warm and beautiful golden light, I would recommend dawn or dusk for photos, ideally the first two hours after sunrise and the last two hours prior to sunset provide the most beautiful soft light, aka golden hour lighting. This lighting is every photographer’s dream.  This soft, pretty lighting creates the most dreamy and romantic engagement photography portraits.


Allow at least 6-8 months prior to your wedding date for your engagement photos, especially if you plan on featuring your images in your save the dates. This gives you ample time to select your favorite images and create beautiful stationary that will be sent to your guests. If you plan on having many out of town, state or country guests, I would recommend scheduling your session within 8 months prior to your wedding date.

Once you have set your date and time for your engagement photos, you may want to schedule a styling appointment and have your makeup + hair professionally styled.  I highly suggest you book your session at least three hours prior to your engagement session time, expect to spend approximately 2 hours with your makeup + styling team and enough time to travel to your venue and change into your engagement outfits.


This is one of my favorite parts of planning the engagement session, the location. Choosing your location(s) for your session sets the tone for your portraits, do you prefer a romantic, outdoor garden inspired venue or perhaps you may want to have a modern venue that is both sophisticated and offers beautiful architecture. Finding the perfect balance for you both is ideal for choosing your engagement session location. *Scroll down for a list of all of our favorite venues!)


Now that you have chosen your engagement venue, you can now decide on how to style your engagement session. Feel free to bring two unique outfits with you, a more chic, casual outfit (think brunch date) and more elegant, romantic attire. Soft, neutral tones look beautiful as well as bold, textured prints. Bold colors like burgundy, merlot, forest green and deep blues look beautiful for natural settings like the beach or during a fall engagement session. Blushes, peach, lavender, purple, cream, ivory, camel or soft blues are beautiful for spring and summer engagement sessions. Bold floral prints are perfect for every season.


We want your outfits to compliment and contrast with each other, so once you have selected your outfits, it will be easy to select an outfit or two for him to wear. Khakis, slacks or denim jeans look great on camera, a crisp button up, his favorite blazer or suit would look wonderful. Feel free to browse our carefully curated Pinterest Engagement Style Board for more inspiration on how to dress for your upcoming engagement photography session.

Click here: https://www.pinterest.com/marieviolet/what-to-wear-engagements/

Here are just a few of my go to favorites stores that offer beautiful dresses that would look beautiful for your engagement photos!

Rent the Runway  Rent your favorite designers and wear something that makes you feel beautiful for your engagement photography!

For Love and Lemons Beautiful, modern and playful clothing for the joyful and romantic bride to be.

BHLDN One of our favorite stores for romantic and dreamy gowns, shoes and jewelry…

Shop Gossamer Rent or buy your favorite vintage inspired romantic dresses and gowns. Dreamy and elegant gowns that are utterly unique and beautifully detailed.

Anthropologie and H&M are my other go to places for inspiring outfits.

Shannon + Zach, Private family estate, Charlottesville, Virginia. 

Ahsan + Rahath, The Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Washington, D.C. 

Marla + Jon,  James Monroe Highlands, Charlottesville, Virginia 

Sue + Kye, Strathmore Mansion, Baltimore, Maryland. 


For quick and easy touch ups in between photos, please bring your hairbrush, your favorite lipstick and makeup powder, in case of shine.  A favorite soft blanket, a beautiful bouquet of flowers, a hat, sunglasses or your favorite clutch or hand bag could be fun accessories to add to your engagement photos.

Here are a few of our favorite venues for engagement sessions!

Hampton Roads

The Hermitage Museum & Gardens, Norfolk 

Anderson Wright Room & Gardens, Portsmouth

Slover Library, Norfolk

The Norfolk Botanical Gardens, Norfolk 

Richmond + Northern Virginia area

The Old Metropolitian Hall, Charlottesville, VA 

James Monroe Highlands, (Ash-lawn), Charlottesville, VA 

Trump Winery, Charlottesville, VA

King Family Vineyard, Afton, VA

The Virginia House, Richmond, VA

Maymont Estate, Richmond, VA

The Foundry, Powhatan, VA

Inn at Warner Hall, Gloucester, VA

Keswick Vineyard, Keswick, VA

Pippin Hills Farm & Vineyard. ( *Pippin Hills Farm only allows engagement sessions for couples who have booked their wedding at the venue) 

The Market at Grelen 

Early Mountain Vineyards, Madison, VA 

Dover Hall, Manakin- Sabot, VA

Clifton Inn, Charlottesville, VA 

Maryland, Baltimore

The Strathmore Mansion

The Baltimore Museum of Art

The George Peabody Library

Marla is wearing a beautiful full length lace dress from Anthropologie.  

I hope this post helps you with your engagement photography planning and if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out and contact us at the studio.

Happy Valentine’s Day!













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Adores long weekends with the family poolside, dog lover, and famous Mojito maker. Barefoot gardener, skincare junkie.

As a wedding photographer with over a decade of experience, I love to create beautiful, timeless imagery that captures all the emotions and feelings of the day. From the joyful to the sentimental, and the spontaneous once-in-a-lifetime moments that happen. I pour my heart and soul into each couple to ensure their wedding day is everything they dreamed and more.

I'm originally from Southeastern Canada and have settled in Virginia with my hsuband and three children. When I'm not behind the camera, you will happily find me in my garden or hosting an intimate dinner party. My friends will tell you I make the best mojito. And I've fallen in love with the art of sourdough. I'm a Libra-a hopeless romantic, and I believe that family is everything. And I will always think that retiring to Tuscany, Italy, and restoring an old villa in the countryside is a good idea.

my Top 5 locations for  engagements.

We designed this engagement guide to help you with selecting the most beautiful place to photograph your couple's session. Here are our top 5 locations to photograph in Virgina and the DMV. 

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