the blog

The Styled Engagement Session: Taking Your Engagement Session To the Next Level

The Styled Engagement Session

First things first: Do I need an engagement session?

Sometimes I have couples ask me if they really “need” an engagement session. The answer you’re going to hear from me – of course! – is a big fat YES! Taking engagement photos taken together serves so many different wonderful purposes! First, it gives us a chance to get to know each other before your wedding day! Second, it also allows me to learn your best poses together. I get to see first hand how you two interact and what your “good sides” are. Lastly, they are just PLAIN. FUN! My couples are usually surprised to discover how much they loved their engagement session with me! Well, today I’m here to chat about how to take your engagement session to the next level with a STYLED engagement session!

Taking your engagement session to the NEXT LEVEL

To my clients: You are only engaged once!! Let’s seriously make the most of it! Most likely, the two of you have never had professional photos taken together. Am I right? Your engagement session will usually be the first time! Here are some fun ideas for taking your engagement session to the next level!

Get your hair and makeup done

This is the perfect opportunity for you to make sure you know how you want your wedding day makeup! It also ensures that you love your makeup artist and hair stylist. This doesn’t mean you have to do your hair and makeup EXACTLY how you want it for your wedding day! Instead, it will just give you a great idea of how your makeup will photograph. The camera tends to “flatten” makeup and make it less dramatic than it feels or looks in person. You’ll be able to see that with your engagement session as your practice round!

Incorporate calligraphy decor

This can be such a sweet, romantic touch to your session. You can include your Save Dates, or have something written up that is special to your relationship. Think outside the box like, Your Story written up, or lyrics to your favorite song. For Brynne and Tyler’s shoot, we had a giant backdrop with calligraphy that was such a beautiful prop to play and shoot with! Then, you can keep the calligraphy in a frame, shadowbox, or keepsake box!

Wear a fancy dress

I always encourage my couples to bring two outfits: one casual and everyday, and one fancy! There are just not enough excuses in life to get fancy and dress up so make this one of them! (Then you two can go out on a hot date afterwards!). You don’t have to spend a ton of money, either. There are amazing places to rent beautiful dresses like Rent the Runway!

Work with a florist

Of all the tips I am sharing today, this one is probably my favorite! There is just nothing quite like adding fresh flowers to any occasion! Not only does it make your photos POP with life and color, but then you get to take the bouquet home and enjoy it all week long. You can incorporate flowers into a traditional bouquet and boutonniere, or you can do something funky like floral jewelry or flowers in your hair.

Rent vintage furniture

Sometimes furniture can be the last thing people think of for a photo shoot. But it allows for SO much more variety in your posing and backgrounds! For Brynne and Tyler’s shoot, we not only had a beautiful chair, but we also had a small bar installation! This added such a fun, unique aspect to play with! There are so many more things we can do with furniture in a unique setting. Beautiful, ornate couches, small tablescapes, the possibilities are endless!


Extra, EXTRA

If you REALLY want to make a statement with your engagement photos you can hire a musician, like Brynne and Tyler. Having live music playing was so special. Amanda and Brandon even rented a fancy car for their transportation for the day. There are so many fun extra elements you can add to your engagement session.

The bottom line is this. I am not suggesting a styled engagement session simply for extra pretty photos (though those are fun and wonderful!). I’m suggesting it because I want you guys to make this time of your life an experience to remember! Make it fun and exciting. Make it something you’ll never forget and you’ll love telling your kids about later. Taking the time to make special things special is important! It adds zing to your relationship!! I can’t wait to see what we come up with to make YOUR engagement session everything you dreamed of!


Many thanks to the amazing vendors involved in these shoots!

Amanda & Brandon – Rainy Downtown View

Photography – Danielle Durbin Film & Photo

Floral- Community Flower Shop 

Hair & Makeup – Glam to Go
Calligraphy – The Soul Typewriter
Transportation provided by A Pittsburgh Plumber, LLC

Brynne & Tyler – Woodland Romance

Photography – Danielle Durbin Film & Photo
Vintage Rentals – Old Souls Vintage Rentals
Hair & Makeup – Glam to Go 
Location – Raccoon State Park
Violinist – Lisa Music Studio
Floral – Lindsay Macavoy
For more great tips on preparing for your engagement session, be sure to check out
Then, follow Danielle on Instagram or Facebook!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *