Engagement Session Guide

Welcome! Below are some resources to help make your engagement session the best it can be! If you have any questions on items that are not addressed below, feel free to email us at michelle@michellechangphotography.com

Engagement Session

What to Wear

We recommend one casual outfit and one dressy outfit so that you have two completely different looks for your session

The following is a link to a Pinterest board we have curated to show you the different colors and styles that tend to photograph best. {Make sure to read the comments as it explains why we have chosen the images}

Makeup and Hair

We HIGHLY recommend getting your hair and makeup done for your session. One, it takes the pressure off of you when wanting to look your best! Two, if you are not doing bridals (or even if you are!) it gives you an opportunity to try out hairstyles or perfect one prior to your wedding day. Lastly, hair and makeup artists know how to apply makeup so that it photographs well, which can sometimes be different than how we do our own makeup. An example is that they will apply more blush than you might for day to day, but it is so that it shows up in images better than a typical application will. :)

If you haven't chosen your hair and makeup artist, you can find our list of preferred companies that we highly recommend as well as other favorite vendors below.




We typically suggest limiting props to just one of your choice. When choosing a prop to bring to your session, we believe it should be something sentimental or meaningful to you both and your relationship together. In fact, one of our favorite things that couples bring is their dogs! :) The reason why we aren’t huge proponents of props is because if there are too many, it can take away from more fun and genuine moments between you two.

If you really want to bring a prop and can’t quite think of anything that is sentimental, some of our favorites that clients have brought in the past were balloons, florals, blankets or a picnic setup!

 photo by: Michelle Chang (www.michellechangphotography.com)

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Take some time to think about your story and what would reflect you best as a couple. So many of my brides and grooms already know exactly where they want to shoot and it turns out to be an absolutely perfect location because it means so much to them and tells their story in a beautiful way. While light is important, we can make any location beautiful!! What matters most is having fun, feeling comfortable, and being excited about where you’re being photographed together!

Some of our couples San Francisco favorite locations are:

  1. San Francisco City Hall

  2. Sutro Bath

  3. Palace of Fine Arts

  4. Presidio Lovers Lane

  5. Legion of Honor Museum

  6. Golden Gate Park

  7. Baker Beach

  8. Crissy Field

  9. Pier | Ferry building




 photo by: Michelle Chang (www.michellechangphotography.com)

Timing is an important part of your photoshoot. The ideal time is the Golden Hour, which is 2-3 hours before the sunset. For winter & fall, starting time would be around 3-4 pm. For Spring & Summer, it would be from 6-8 pm.  Depending on how long is your engagement session, if you have a 3 hours session, we can start 2 hours before the sunset and go into an hour after the sunset. If the weather forecast shows that it’s going to be an overcast or cloudy day, we can start earlier than the Golden Hour. With your best interest in mind, we want to make sure that the weather is ideal for your session. We will reschedule if the weather forecasts to rain.

Most of the engagement sessions are done on the weekdays as most of our weekends are reserved for weddings. We do have a few Sundays available. But Sundays are not recommended as most public places are over-crowded on weekends. Fridays have the most heavy traffic and we usually prepare ourselves for Saturday’s weddings. Therefore, most engagement sessions are scheduled from Monday through Thursday.

Engagement Session Checklist


  1. Set date, time and location with Michelle

  2. Review guide for style tips

  3. Schedule hair and makeup appointments

  4. Choose your outfits

  5. Get your nails done

  6. Clean your ring

  7. Pick a fun post-session date night spot

  8. Pack a bag with:

  • Flats or flip-flops for walking between photo spots

  • (Optional) Outfit two (including shoes and accessories)

  • Touch-up makeup

  • Water bottle (for warmer sessions)

  • Coat or cover-up (for colder sessions)

I can’t wait to see you soon!