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To help you better understand the do's & do not's of engagement photo sessions, we've compiled the answers to the most frequently asked questions we have received from couples just like you. These will help you get the absolutely best photos should you decided on having an engagement photo session done by a professional NJ, NY or PA photographer.

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Do you want to capture the perfect photos of your NJ, NY or PA engagement photo session? Abella Studios' engagement sessions are a great way to get comfortable in front of the camera before your big day, as one of our professional photographers capture the true love & happiness in your photos..

 

We are professional photographers who work hard so that each client feels comfortable during their shoot. Whether it's in New York, Pennsylvania, Northern or Central New Jersey we'll guide you through every step of the journey.

 

Over the last 28 years in the Wedding industry, many of the couples we work with have questions and/or ask for helpful tips on what to do, or not to do, when it comes time for their engagement photo session.

 

So, we decided to provide helpful advice and share some best practices for planning and having an engagement photo session done by a professional photographer. We've compiled answers from questions asked most frequently about how it should all go down! These will help with all those crucial details that can make or break one's photo session experience.

 

Read on, and don't be shy about asking questions. We're always here to help! If it's something new that we didn't cover, we’ll be happy to add it to Abella Studios' list of Engagement Photo Session FAQs.

Engagement Session FAQ LIST

Frequently asked questions

Engagement Photo Sessions

What is an engagement photo session and should I have one?


Engagement sessions are your chance to be in front of the camera, with no pressure: no wedding dress, no guests or family, absolutely nobody else around, except for that one special person (and maybe your pet). We promise not to steal your soul - just a few nice pictures that you can both enjoy for years to come. Engagement sessions are informal photographs of you and your fiancé any time of the year; a leisurely stroll on the beach as the sun begins to drop giving you a warm Summer glow, taking a walk in a local park amongst the cherry blossoms in the Spring, all the amazing Fall changing leaf colors creating a picturesque backdrop of a Fall session, or a playful snowball fight or making snow angels during your Winter photo session; no matter the season, engagement session photos are simply an absolute MUST!




We don't have time for an engagement photo session before the wedding; should we just forget about getting any pictures done until then?


Getting great pictures is part art and part craft, requiring specialized knowledge that can be earned only through years of experience by working with people just like you and your fiancé, every day. A pro photographer will know how to create real moments in emotional settings, all while be able to anticipate photo opportunities that most people would never see. Even if you only have a little time, giving us an hour or so is THE BEST way to ensure that you'll get the engagement pictures you want. The engagement session gives you an opportunity to freely pose in front of the camera and build that ever so important comfort level working with one of our pro photographers. Most of our clients adore their engagement photographer, love their images and oftentimes request him/her to photograph their wedding.




What is a good outfit for my engagement session?


Wear something that makes you feel good, but not too casual. We're taking pictures of memories that will last - go ahead and pick your favorite clothes! Solid colors with lots of texture, layers and accessories that showcase each individual’s personality are the best. If you are comfortable in your clothes, it will be easier for you to relax in front of the camera. If you love what you wear, you can feel confident that you’ll look fantastic! We recommend staying away from a matching color theme (i.e. all white shirts and jeans). Instead, coordinate. Find up to three colors and coordinate outfits using those three colors. You can add in whites and grays to ground the colors. When in doubt, ask your fashionable friend to help you raid or add to your closets. Also, think about where we are taking photos. If we’re going to a park, you probably want to coordinate with the colors of your surroundings. If we’re doing an urban shoot, find a color that may pop against a brick wall or other architecture. Lastly, where are you going to hang your photos? Does it matter what colors are in the picture? Would you like it to match your sofa or wall color? We know it's a lot to think about. However, the most important thing on the day of the shoot is to – be comfortable, feel great and have lots of fun!




What time do photo sessions usually take place and how long should my session be?


Your engagement photo session should last about an hour or so. Session are typically scheduled on Tuesdays & Thursdays, between 4 pm - 7 pm, depending on season and sunset time. Occasionally weekend sessions may be possible if we are not covering weddings, so feel free to ask. Your session will last about an hour. We reserve the right to push back or shorten these times depending upon weather conditions (i.e., if we're trying for a sunset shot at 7:00 and it starts raining, we'll probably need to reschedule).




Do we get all of the images from our photo session?


Yes! Our photographers capture 150-200 (oftentimes more!) images at your engagement session, from which you get to choose your favorites. You will need to check your photography package and see which options you have included. Although, high-resolution images may be included in some combination packages, typically those packages that were either discounted or came with a FREE Engagement photo shoot do not come with all the high-resolution images included. Instead, the photos are posted to an online gallery, from which you will be able to download watermarked images for social media sharing and online print ordering options.




When is the best time of day for engagement photo sessions?


An engagement photo session should most often be photographed in the late afternoon through early evening. The best time for your shoot would be about an hour before sunset, as those magical shadows and soft glow of light make the photos more beautiful than ever! Too much sunlight can produce harsh highlights if not planned properly so keep that in mind when shooting your engagement portraits outdoors; open shade works beautifully with this type scenario because there isn't any direct sun light beating down from above but rather diffused rays peeking through trees or hedges which produce lovely effects while still preserving shadow details under low contrast lighting conditions. Can't say it enough! Soft sunlight is the best way to get that warm, golden glow. But it only lasts for an hour or two before sun disappears and you don't want your engagement photo session in the shadows! Shoot during those magical 1-2 hours just before sunset, when shadows are short but the sun still softly shines from behind buildings/trees (think about how amazing these photos would look on your Instagram page).




How far in advance should we book an engagement photo session? Can we do it last minute?


Typically all engagement photo session reservations are booked at least 2 weeks ahead of time, however we are always willing to work with our clients to schedule photo sessions even on short notice, depending on our schedule.




How much does a typical engagement photo session cost? What's included?


The cost of photo sessions vary depending shoot location and how much time is required for the session, especially if there are multiple locations and/or a number of outfit changes. There are generally four engagement session package options; Comprehensive, Simplicity, Deluxe and Masterpiece. Each of our engagement photo session packages includes a 45-60 minute one location photo session with with one of our professionals photographers, an online gallery showcasing all original images and edited images ("specials"), for image proofing, low-resolution watermarked downloads for social media sharing and a la carte ordering of prints & high resolution image files, plus a portrait print package. How cool is that? The base package cost is $395. Feel free to contact us on 973-575-6633 click here, for complete package options and pricing details.




How far in advance should we purchase photo prints? Can I get them anytime?


Most photo sessions include a photo print package, which make great wedding gifts or holiday presents! You can purchase photo prints anytime after your photo session. In general it is best to order photos at least 2 weeks in advance of when you need them! When possible, I do offer my clients the option to receive digital files and then download whenever they want since receiving these images is immediate!




Do you give discounts for multiple photo sessions?


Yes, without a doubt! If you book additional shoots during the same year, you'll get a 30% off discount on each subsequent session. This is an excellent way for couples looking to have great pictures of themselves in all four seasons.




What forms of payment do you accept?


We accept cash, checks and credit cards (Visa, Mastercard & American Express).




What is your photo session cancellation policy?


We require a 24 hour notice for photo session cancellations or changes to any photo sessions including photo package upgrades or address changes. If we do not receive a photo session cancelation within the required time frame, we will make every effort to collect payment for photo packages regardless of circumstances. In other words if you fail to cancel a photo shoot with us at least one day in advance you'll be responsible for the full session fee regardless of whether you show up that day or not. At this point you won't owe us anything but your payment won't be refunded either.




Do you have a package that includes photo prints? Can we purchase photo prints separately from our engagement package?


We do sell photographs through your online photo gallery, and they're of excellent quality! There are a variety of engagement session packages to choose from, each with a different print size combination. We also produce beautiful "wall art" in the form of acrylic, metallic, canvas, wood prints, as well as many framing choices. These photo prints make excellent wall decorations and wonderful holiday gifts!




What type of photographs will be included in my session?


The most important thing to know is that the images from our photo shoots are taken in a journalistic style; they are captured casually, candidly with an emphasis on natural light which ensures authenticity. Your engagement photo session should feel like the two of you just hanging out taking pictures…just without all the awkwardness! We believe this approach gives us amazing results - it's what sets us apart!




What locations do you most frequently shoot engagement photos?


Our coverage area for engagement photo sessions is pretty vast throughout North & Central New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Following is the current list of locations that we make available to our clients: Lambert's Castle, Garret Mountain, Morristown Green, Fairleigh Dickinson, Jockey Hollow Park, Branch Brook Park, Verona Park, Frelinghuysen Arboretum, Speedwell Park, Ringwood Botanical Gardens, Watchung Reservation, Hoboken Waterfront, Weehawken Waterfront, Liberty State Park, Belmar, Spring Lake, Asbury Park, Turkey Swamp, Allaire State Park, Deep Cut Gardens (Permit Required), Sayen Gardens, Red Bank Downtown, Area, Shore areas between Seaside & Belmar, Willowwood Arboretum in Far Hills, Rutgers Gardens, Monmouth University, Princeton Campus, Trenton Area, New York City, Philadelphia. This list does change from time to time, so please be sure to check with the studio when you are ready to schedule your engagement session. If you prefer, we will happily shoot your engagement session at your home or special place of choice for an additional fee (fee varies by location). When you're ready to book your engagement photo session date, just let us know what location works best for YOU!




How long does it usually take to receive my photos?


All gallery photos are available online approximately 3-5 weeks after the engagement session. This timeframe, however, is based on our seasonal workload and does fluctuate. So, there are times throughout the year when the images are posted as quickly as 2 weeks after the day of the session and there are other times, during the busy season, when the images may be posted closer to the 5 week timeframe. Once your images are ready, you will receive an email with a link to your personalized online gallery where you will be able to order prints, save the date cards, or download your high resolution images (if included in your package). If your package includes high resolution images you will be able to download them immediately upon receiving your access code. Sometimes gallery upload and/or print delivery may take longer depending on photo lab production time, photo printing timeframes and photo gallery photo proofing. Obviously, we'd love to get these images out to our clients as quickly as possible and do our absolute best to make that happen. If you are in need of your images within 1-2 weeks after your engagement session date please let us know at the time of booking so we arrange expedited post-production and do our best to make sure all images are posted, printed, packaged and ready to go!




Will I need to obtain a permit for having my engagement photos taken?


If you would like to take your photo session at a location that requires a photo permit (a location where we do not already have written permission to shoot) we will gladly secure the photo permit for you. If you choose to go through the permitting process yourself and secure your own photo permit, there is no refund offered if we cannot get you onto the property.




Do you offer engagement photo sessions on Weekends?


On weekends, our photographers are generally occupied shooting weddings/events, which makes it difficult to reserve one for your engagement session. However, if a weekend shoot is the only option, we will do everything possible to accommodate you for a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday engagement photo session (a $150 weekend premium fee applies).




Can an engagement shoot take place in my home?


Absolutely! We are proud to offer engagement photo sessions that take place in the comfort of your home, or wherever location you prefer! We can bring all of our own photo equipment for this photo session (lighting included!). There may, however, be an extra charge as the shoot may require additional lighting, backdrops, etc. Please email us at admin@abellastudios.com with all the details related to your engagement photo session if you wish to have it done at your home, and one of our staff will provide you with a quote for any applicable charges.




Should we bring props to the Engagement Photo Session?


Sure! Although we do not provide them, you can certainly bring your own props if you like. Your props will be much more meaningful in the finished photos than anything we could bring and your photographer will try to work them into the photo session. If you do want to bring some props, it would be best to narrow them down to a few, and it's always a good idea to incorporate your own personal twist to make the photos uniquely yours. For engagement sessions, bring a few flowers or a bouquet. A squeaky toy or a treat can help direct the attention of your puppy towards the camera. If you have a favorite blanket, bring that along to sit on. If you do, definitely remember to bring a bottle of bubbly and two flutes. With all that said, please do keep in mind that we only have about 45-60 minutes for the engagement shoot, and your photographer already has a vision for which photos they would like to capture based on your location and the time he/she has available to work with you. Props can be incorporated into some photos, but please be sure to allow your photographer to "do their thing" as well and you'll be thrilled in the end.




Could we, or should we do an outfit change at our engagement session?


If you would like, you can change outfits during an engagement shoot, there some things you should keep in mind though. An engagement shoot is up to one hour long and any time spent changing outfits would take time away from photographs. Also consider the location, some public parks do not have a place to change, which can make it time consuming and difficult to pull off. As long as it's quick and easy it should not be a problem.




Will my photographer contact me before my engagement photo session?


Absolutely! The photographer scheduled for your engagement shoot will reach out to you on the day of your session to confirm the time and meeting location. If you would like to confirm your session prior to the scheduled date feel free to contact the studio a day or two before the shoot.




Should we bring our dog to our engagement photo session? If we do, how much does it cost?


Good news! We don't charge anything extra for you to bring your four-legged-friend along to your engagement photo session - we love dogs! However, in order to stay on schedule and to avoid any unnecessary overtime charges, there are a couple of things to keep in mind if you would like to bring your pet to your shoot. First it would be important to check with the location you plan to have your shoot, to see if pets are allowed or if a permit is required. If you do need a permit, you will need to secure one prior to the date of your session and bring it along on the day of. Second, we will most likely not be taking pictures with your dog the entire time, so it's best to bring along a friend or family member who can look after your pet while we work with the two of you. Third, bring some treats. Not for us! For your pet. To help get his/her attention during the session. If your pet has a favorite squeaky toy, that would be great as well, as it will get his/her attention on the camera and your photographer doesn't have to resort to making weird noises.




What happens if there is going to be bad weather / rain on the day of my engagement photo session? Do we reschedule the shoot? Cancel?


We hope that you can understand that although we can work all kinds of miracles with engagement photography, unfortunately, we're not as talented when it comes to working the weather! So, when the weather forecast calls for rain, we don't have a choice but to reschedule all engagement photo sessions, as our photographers cannot take any chances of damaging their equipment. Besides, who wants engagement photos where the couple looks like they just drove through a car wash with their windows rolled down! In case of an inclement weather forecast for the day of your engagement shoot, we do ask that you contact us 48 hours prior to the engagement shoot and either confirm or reschedule your session time. This will allow us enough time to cancel your photographer and reschedule your photo shoot for another mutually convenient date. Do keep in mind that our studios are closed on Sundays & Mondays, so for a session scheduled for a Tuesday a voicemail or an email would be perfectly fine and one of our event coordinators will be back in touch with you to reschedule your session upon their return to the studio. Should you insist on keeping the engagement shoot on the calendar as previously scheduled (come rain or shine) even though the forecast may be calling for rain, against our recommendation of rescheduling the shoot, we will accommodate your request. However, please understand that your photographer will not shoot if there is any rainfall, even a light drizzle, as they cannot get their equipment wet. If that happens, unfortunately, you will lose your session and will need to purchase another one if you wish to reschedule.




I have some photo ideas for my Engagement Photo Session. How can I share them with my photographer, prior to the date of the shoot?


The best approach would be to take a look at various examples of images we have shared online and then to gather some of the favorite images you may have seen, pinning them to a "Favorite Engagement Images" board on Pinterest.com and sharing that board with us. We would be happy to have your Engagement Shoot photographer review those images so that he/she has a better understanding of your preferences. (IMPORTANT: Please do not share images by attaching them to email and be sure that any shared images are those that were in fact captured by Abella Studios' photographers and not by any other studio/photographer). So, how to find examples you may ask... It's very simple. We have nearly 18,000 Engagement Session images shared via our Flickr account, all of which have been captured by Abella Studios' photographers. If you are unsure as to the location for your Engagement Session, we suggest that you access the entire gallery and after seeing the various images & locations, pick the spot that is perfect for you. You can find the Flickr photostream of all the Engagement Sessions by clicking here. If you have already decided on your engagement photo shoot location, you can view images captured by Abella Studios' photographers by selecting the appropriate link below. Engagement Sessions By Abella Studios: North Jersey Engagement Photo Session Locations: Verona Park, Verona Liberty State Park, Jersey City Jockey Hollow, Morristown Weehawken (Hamilton Park & more) The Botanical Gardens, Ringwood Frank Sinatra Park, Hoboken Branch Brook Park, Belleville Lambert's Castle, Paterson Speedwell Park, Morristown Garret Mountain, Paterson Frelinghuysen Arboretum, Morristown Watchung Reservation, Watchung Tourne County Park, Boonton Fairleigh Dickinson, Madison Central Jersey Engagement Photo Session Locations: Asbury Park, Asbury Allaire State Park, Farmingdale Spring Lake Park, Spring Lake Pier Village, Long Branch Princeton University, Princeton Deep Cut Gardens, Holmdel Red Bank Town, Red Bank Holmdel Park, Holmdel Laurita Winery, New Egypt Rutgers Gardens, New Brunswick Monmouth University, West Long Branch Pennsylvania Engagement Photo Session Locations: Philadelphia, PA New York Engagement Photo Session Locations: Central Park, New York




Do you offer save-the-date cards or magnets, sign-in boards, or sign-in books using the photos from my engagement photo session?


Yes we do! Our save-the-date options range from one or two sided postcards in a variety of sizes, folded cards, or the ever-popular magnets. We offer a variety of templates for our save-the-date cards and magnets! If you decide to use one of our templates for your save-the-date cards or magnets, you will select your favorite image(s) from your Abella Studios Engagement Photo Session. Then, our Creative Design team will add the selected image(s) and personalize the template with your information. If you're looking for something a little bit different, our Creative Design Team can create a customized save-the-date card or magnet from scratch! Please see the link below to view our Save-the-Date templates: Save The Date If you're looking to WOW your guests, we also offer custom designed flush mount sign-in boards and books using images from your Engagement Photo Session. Our custom flush mount sign-in boards can be framed or unframed and they come in a variety of sizes and styles. Flush mount sign-in books are available in sizes 8x8, 10x10 & 12x12, as single image design or "collage" design using images from your engagement session, giving you another way to show off your images from your engagement shoot! Never heard of a flush mount sign-in book? In technical terms, a flush mount sign-in book is a book in which each page is a single photographic print that runs over the edges -- the photos "flush” with the borders of each page. The sign-in book spreads are printed as one photo, and then mounted on to cardboard pages. Essentially, flush mount is the term coined to describe the highest-quality, most durable sign-in books on the market. Flush mount sign-in books are hand mounted on thick inner substrate with real silver halide photo paper, which gives the book many desirable characteristics, such as durability, stain- and water- resistance, higher quality, stronger bindings, rigid pages, and more! Fresh and modern, our flush mount sign-in books do double-duty by sharing your love story and making guestbook signing so much fun. And unlike any other, our flush mount sign-in books are durable enough to last for generations to come!




Do you have samples of engagement shoot photos from the various locations that you cover in NJ, NY & PA?


Yes, we sure do! Please use the links below to view sample galleries of the various engagement shoot locations that we cover... Engagement Sessions By Abella Studios: North Jersey Engagement Photo Session Locations: Verona Park, Verona Liberty State Park, Jersey City Jockey Hollow, Morristown Weehawken (Hamilton Park & more) The Botanical Gardens, Ringwood Frank Sinatra Park, Hoboken Branch Brook Park, Belleville Lambert's Castle, Paterson Speedwell Park, Morristown Garret Mountain, Paterson Frelinghuysen Arboretum, Morristown Watchung Reservation, Watchung Tourne County Park, Boonton Fairleigh Dickinson, Madison Central Jersey Engagement Photo Session Locations: Asbury Park, Asbury Allaire State Park, Farmingdale Spring Lake Park, Spring Lake Pier Village, Long Branch Princeton University, Princeton Deep Cut Gardens, Holmdel Red Bank Town, Red Bank Holmdel Park, Holmdel Laurita Winery, New Egypt Rutgers Gardens, New Brunswick Monmouth University, West Long Branch Pennsylvania Engagement Photo Session Locations: Philadelphia, PA New York Engagement Photo Session Locations: Central Park, New York





TESTIMONIALS

We chose to work with Abella Studios for our photography and cinematography for our wedding...We are so happy with every single aspect of working with them! Our pictures are absolutely amazing, and our same day edit that was played the day of our wedding was PERFECT! Everyone kept coming up to us saying that it was the best that they had ever seen! From the pre-planning to the day of, and afterwards, Abella Studios were so pleasant and easy to work with...sure to answer any and all of our questions...I recommend Abella Studios to anyone looking for photography and cinematography services. You will not regret it and you will have beautiful memories to last a lifetime!!!

- Maria, Woodland Park, NJ

​Visiting their studio made me confident that I was choosing a great photography studio. There are so many options to choose from and they were very flexible...they worked with us to determine the best package for our wedding day, and that was something we appreciated very much. They wanted to make sure that I got everything I wanted for my wedding day, and more. Anything I needed, they would have the answer for me almost immediately. They were very flexible and accommodating! Choosing my pictures was the hard part! Thanks Abella Studios!

- Emily, Atlantic Highlands, NJ

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