Kentucky Engagement Photo Session Guide

How to Plan for Your Engagement Photos

Take care of all the details & get photos you'll love

Hello there, I'm Cassie Lopez, wedding and portrait photographer based in Lexington. I specialize in natural light photography. I love engagement sessions because we get to really focus on your connection as a couple, and the whole thing can take place during the most gorgeous light of the day.

Many couples ask for my advice in planning their engagement session, so I've compiled this guide for those who want great engagement photos but aren't sure where to start. My style is very much inspired by the energy of my subjects, so these tips might not be for everyone but I hope you'll get some ideas anyway!

What to Wear

waterfall engagement session

stylish couple engagement shootcouple in fall outfits engagement shoot

It is so hard to choose just one perfect outfit for your photos! My favorite engagement shoot outfits are classic with bold colors. You want to stand out from the background without any distracting elements like logos or messy patterns. Keep away from colors close to your skin tone, and bring personality to your outfits with accessories.

Many couples like to do two different outfits, which I am all for. Just make sure you have a plan for where and when you will change outfits– whether you’re comfortable changing in the car, or if there’s a place to change at your shoot location.

Check out my engagement outfit inspiration board on Pinterest to see some outfit ideas I would use! These are my personal style, maybe you’ll create your own board and go from there!

engagement session on bridge


downtown lexington engagement photocouple in love in car

For your shoot location, choose somewhere that reflects who you are as a couple. I have done amazing photoshoots in the backseat of a car, at home by a nice window, on mountain hikes and by waterfalls. One of my favorite shoots ever took place outside a gas station! Any location is beautiful as long as it’s meaningful to you.

When looking into places you aren’t familiar with, internet research can be super helpful, especially when it comes to spots that require a hike. I always look into potential hikes on for hike time and tips.

I have an entire page dedicated to locations at Red River Gorge. If you’re looking for something particularly scenic, check it out!

couple at sunset rock overlook

Time of Day

couple at red river gorge sun flare circle

The light is best right at sunrise or 2 hours before the sun sets. Depending on the time of year, this can vary quite a lot! Since most wedding portraits will take place during sunset, I often recommend sunrise for engagement shoots just to do something different.

At sunrise or sunset, the light is dreamy and soft with bright beams of light. Sunset is usually the warmest time of day, so I recommend sunrise for really hot days and sunset on cooler days. To get silhouette images, we’ll need the very beginning of sunrise or the very end of sunset.

If the middle of the day is your only option, I would recommend somewhere very shaded or indoors. We could also go totally unconventional and shoot in the bright sun, or I can use prisms, colorful lens filters, glitter. The possibilities… are endless. Dreamy light is not the only way to go!

couple at sunset light leakcouple at sunset silhouette

What to Carry

smiling couple at opryland hotelcouple outside gas station

For photo sessions, you don’t need to bring or carry anything! It’s best not to have any backpacks, purses or garment bags so I can take candid photos as we move through the space. Many of my favorite photos on shoots happen while we are walking around, and it doesn’t quite work if I have to ask you to put your bag down every time I want to take a photo.

Blankets, props and outfit changes can be awesome, they just take a little extra consideration. I can carry small things, or we can plan for a pit stop at the car at some point.

couple in doorway downtown lexington

Can We Bring our Dog?

Of course! I love all the pups, but you may want to get some photos without them. If possible, have someone pick up or bring your dog halfway through the shoot, or plan for how to keep your dog safe and comfortable while we leave them behind for an hour.

couple with dog shakertown ky

Yahoo! Thanks so much for checking out my engagement planning guide. I hope you’ve gotten some good ideas and food for thought for your session. Please reach out to me if you’d like help planning, styling, or brainstorming ideas for your shoot. I am inspired by unique concepts, quirkiness, meaningful locations… So whatever you have in mind, let’s create something beautiful together.

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red river gorge engagement photos

Are you planning a wedding and looking for advice?

I created a guide for you, too