Engagement Session

Planning Guide


Engagement Session Planning Guide

Congratulations on your engagement! This is such an exciting season in your lives, and you may be wondering whether you should hire a Juneau wedding photographer to capture your engagement photos. The short answer is yes! Not only will you cherish these photos for years to come, but engagement photos are also a great way to get comfortable in front of the camera before your big day. In this engagement session planning guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about engagement photography.

Juneau is a seriously beautiful place with stunning scenery, so there are many great locations to choose from for your engagement photos. I recommend taking photos at a place that is special to you two. It could be the place where you got engaged, where you first met, or your favorite place to hang out. This could even be in your own home!

Where to take engagement photos

The best time to take engagement photos is typically around 6 months before your wedding day, but no less than 3 months before. This gives you plenty of time to use your photos for save the dates and ensures that you have them in time for your wedding.

When to take engagement photos

There are many reasons to take engagement photos.
  • Capturing a special moment: Your engagement is a significant milestone in your lives, and is a small fleeting season in your relationship that deserves to be documented.
  • Getting to know your photographer: Engagement photos are a great opportunity to get  comfortable with your wedding photographer before your wedding day.
  • Creating save the dates: You can use your engagement photos to create unique and personalized save the dates and invitations for your wedding, as well as custom wedding decor

Why take engagement photos?




Preparing for your session

  • Schedule your wedding hair and makeup trial run for the day of your engagement session! This way you an see how it will look in pictures and not have to do your own makeup for your engagement session. It's a win-win!
  • I usually say no fake tanning, but if you’re whiter than toothpaste like me and want a spray tan, be sure to get a suuuuper natural airbrushed spray tan, and for the love of god don't use any at home tanning lotions. We don’t want you looking like an oompa loompa! If you end up spending time in the sun, be sure to wear that sunscreen so you don't end up bright red and in pain.
  • Get your nails done! Because we'll be focusing on that ring, your fingers will be in most of the photos.
  • Iron your clothes before your engagement session. Even if you're wearing ripped jeans and a band shirt, wrinkles are never a good look.
  • Bring your favorite snacks and drinks. Maybe you'll have a food fight, or sip on something while lying in the grass. If nothing else, you can simply hang out and have a picnic after your session is over.
  • I love it when my couples bring their kids or pets to their engagement session. After all, they're a huge part of your story together! If you want to do this, bring a friend to be a kid or pet wrangler so we can get shots of just the two of you too!


Most importatly, I want you to look like yourselves. Don’t feel like if you don’t follow these guidelines that your photos are gonna suck. You can shop for new stuff if you want, but I recommend you bring stuff you normally wear, stuff that’s already in your closet that you love and feel yourselves in. An old band t shirt and ripped jeans, your go-to summer dress, your trusty xtratuffs, etc.

A lot of my clients will go shopping for fancier clothes which is totally fine, but sometimes they regret not just wearing what they feel like themselves in. Who cares if you look back at the photos in 20 years and laugh about what you’re wearing? As long as it represented what you guys are like right now, that's all that really matters.

Plus, guys are usually not all that excited about putting on a collared button up if that's not what they normally wear. He'll be a lot more fun during your shoot if you don’t force him into an outfit he thinks is stupid, I promise.

In-Home Sessions

I freaking love in-home sessions. All of the above still applies, but for in home sessions I say the more skin showing the better! You don't have to go full steamy, but the photos will look a lot more comfortable and intimate if you turn up the heat and snuggle in shorts than if you're wearing sweaters inside. Cause real talk, most of us walk around without pants on at home anyways. I recommend bringing options of tank tops, shorts, sweaters, and jeans to mix and match! Or if you wanna get a little steamy and just wear a sweater with undies or get a little more intimate and we can get a mix between snuggly, playful, and spicy.

Before your session begins, tidy up clutter, clean your windows, do your dishes, and turn the heat up a smidge. Lay your outfits out on the bed and put your drinks of choice in the fridge to chill. And RELAX!

Outdoor Sessions

Options. I suggest bringing a few outfit options that we can mix and match and change into to switch things up. In general, 4-5 outfits for her and 3-4 for him. This way I can make sure you clothes match the environment that we'll be in and the emotions we're going for in each spot. Just bring all your favorite things and let me help you put it together! Don't forget to pack a few jackets, accessories and props, these will help me tell your story. Also, please be aware that you may be changing in the back of your car or public bathrooms.

I also like to plan for bad weather, just in case. So think about whether you'd like to plan for a backup location or a backup date. If you're dead-set on your location, and the weather acts up, we'll reschedule for a later date. If you're flexible on your location, we will plan for a backup location in case the weather turns. This can be in your home, at your favorite coffee shop, or somewhere else of your choosing!

Hair and Makeup

A lot of people ask me whether or not they should get their hair and makeup done by a pro. My answer is always “whatever will make you feel best, do that.” I don’t think it’s necessary, but if you are less than amazing at makeup and think you would feel a confidence boost by having yours done, then do it! I want you to feel as hot as you look! Just be sure to ask them for a more natural look if you're not used to wearing heavy makeup. If you decide to do it yourself, put it on a little heavier than you are used to.

If you’re getting hair and makeup done, I recommend you schedule to be finished at least an hour before you have to leave for the shoot so you aren’t late. 

Vendors I recommend in Juneau:

Hair and Makeup - Bri Artistry
Hair and Makeup - Styled by Sammy


What To Bring

So you have a photo session coming up, but you have absolutely no idea what to wear. You create a pinterest board with super cute inspiration, but none of it feels exactly like you and it requires you go buy a whole new wardrobe. If you WANT to go shopping, you can totally do that. However, I find that the best items are some of your favorites that you already have. I hope this guide helps you pick an outfit that you love for photos you love even more.


Pets & Kids

Avoid Shiny Object Syndrome. If you've ever browsed pinterest for photoshoot inspiration, I'm sure you've seen all the props: chalkboards, balloons, banners, smoke bombs, etc. These are what I like to call 'shiny object' props. They're cute and shiny the first time you see it, and then they start to feel tacky over time (like those 80s glamour shots where everyone seemed to be holding a rotary phone for some reason. Who you calling, Barbara?). 

Keep it meaningful. I like to encourage meaningful and fun props, like a pizza picnic, an old truck, your favorite beer, a boombox, a campfire, your dog, anything that helps represent the phase of life you're in or that gives little nods to your inside jokes and the life you've built.


Ok, so they're not 'props' but I love it when my couples bring their kids or pets to their engagement session. After all, they're a huge part of your story together! If you want to do this, bring a friend to be a kid or pet wrangler so we can get shots of just the two of you too!


What To Wear

So you have a photo session coming up, but you have absolutely no idea what to wear. You create a pinterest board with super cute inspiration, but none of it feels exactly like you and it requires you go buy a whole new wardrobe. If you WANT to go shopping, you can totally do that. However, I find that the best items are some of your favorites that you already have. I hope this guide helps you pick an outfit that you love for photos you love even more.

Colors & Color Matching

Less is more. When it comes to colors in photos, in general, less is more. The brighter your outfits are, the more they will distract from the emotions in the image. 

Colors to consider:
  • whites, beiges, tans, and browns
  • rust, burgundy, and mustard
  • plums and muted pinks and purples
  • sage, olive, and emerald green
  • navy, denim, and ocean blue
  • grays and blacks (in moderation)

Colors  to avoid:
  • primary colors
  • bright colors, especially pinks, reds, oranges, yellows and greens (can cast colors onto your partner or your neck)
  • teals and pinks (these can mess with camera settings)
  • most shades of pink and red

Color matching. Think about the location of your session. Are there fall colors? Lots of greenery? Blue water and sky? Either match your colors to your surroundings, or contrast it completely!


Consider your location. If you're going to be outside in a forest with lots of textures and shapes, you'll want to wear something simple so you don't get lost in the background. Whereas if you're going to an open space like a sandy beach, adding textures and playing with different materials like knits, linen, tulle, leather,  can add visual interest.

Less is more. Similar to with color, less is more. The busier your outfits are, the more they will distract from the emotions in the image. Typically one patterned item per couple (or person if it's a solo shoot) is enough. Make sure your patterns don't clash with your environment (like a shirt with big tulips on it if you're in a dainty forget-me-not patch). Some patterns can even mess with camera settings!

Patterns that photograph well:
  • medium to large plaids
  • Small floral patterns

Patterns to avoid:
  • small plaids, houndstooth, or gingham
  • large floral patterns
  • Stripes or chevron patterns
  • Oh, and NO LOGOS!



Cardio, baby! If you've chosen me as your photographer, you may have noticed that I love movement. My couples will run, frolic, spin, twirl, chase, dance, piggyback, and motorboat. Maybe you won't be doing cardio, but you're gonna want to wear something you're comfortable in.

Dress for the weather. This probably goes without saying, but dress for the weather. I cannot tell you how many times somebody has shown up wearing a summer dress on a cold, windy day saying "it's ok I'll push through" and then 15 minutes later they're shivering and obviously uncomfortable. Which leads me to my next point...

If you're uncomfortable, you're going to look uncomfortable. If you're cold, you're going to look stiff. If you're heels are too high, you're going to look awkward. If your jeans are too tight, you're not going to want to do the things that make for the epic photos.

Choose comfort over looks. It's tempting to want to look extra classy or trendy, but I really feel like your photos should be an authentic representation of who you are.

Wear comfortable shoes. Are you sensing a pattern here? Heels are a bad idea 99% of the time unless you're really comfortable in there. Basically, if you wear vans, rock your vans. If you wear boots, rock your boots. But maybe don't rock your crocs. That's where I draw the line.


Yes, please. I love when couples bring accessories. Sometimes we use them, sometimes we don't but they give us more options. Adding jewelry, hats, sunglasses. The only thing I ask you to leave is watches, fit-bits, and hair-ties. These can be extremely distracting, especially when couples hold each other's faces.


What to do with your photos

Why spend hundreds of dollars on photos that only live on your desktop? These are your memories, and your memories are meant to last. Don’t let them die on a screen. Oof, sorry to drop that on ya. But seriously, I can’t stress enough the importance of printing your photos so you can feel them. It’s like listening to music from a record player rather than out of your phone. When photos are printed they have a soul and you’ll be so much more attached to those memories than you ever thought you would. Love those little memories of yours the way they're meant to be loved.


  • Save the Dates. One of the most popular reasons to have engagement photos done is to use them for save the date cards. Save the date cards announce your engagement but are not formal invitations.
  • Invitations. Use your photos to send formal invitations to your guests.
  • Wedding website. Create a wedding website so that guests can easily find information about your wedding and registry and use your photos there.
  • Guest Book. Print your photos in a custom guest book for your guests to sign when they arrive at your wedding.
  • Photos for your walls. Print your favorite photos and hang them where you can relive them every day.
  • Photos for your desk. One popular option is to print smaller prints of your favorite photos of each other so you can swoon over your partner during your work day.
  • Photos for your wedding. Display some of your photos near your guest book, cake, or gift table at your wedding. Or find fun other ways to display them.
  • Photos for mom. Moms can never have too many photos of you, trust me. 
  • Slideshow or montage. Use them for a slideshow or montage played during your reception or rehearsal dinner.
  • Gifts. Gift your guests or bridal party little momentos like magnets or bottle openers.
  • Party Favors. Create custom party favors for your guests, such as cookies or candy bars with your photo on them.
  • Thank you cards. You could wait until your wedding photos are back, but it is not uncommon for it to take 2-3 months for your full wedding gallery to be delivered (editing thousands of photos takes time). If you want to send your thank you cards right away, you can use your engagement photos.
  • Christmas cards. Use your photos on your yearly Christmas cards.
  • Share on social media. These days this is a given, but sharing your photos with the world is a great way to keep everyone updated on your life.

What can you do with your engagement photos?

Short answer: so many things. Below are a list of just some of the ways you can use your photos beyond keeping them on your phone.





What can you do with your engagement photos?

Final Thoughts

There you have it my friends.
All that's left at this point is just to make it happen! Whether we're having a morning or evening session, I suggest making a day of it. Relax together, sip coffee and read your favorite books. Go on a hike together or watch a movie at home, or go out and grab drinks with friends. Do something together that brings you both closer,  If you have any lingering questions, please don't hesitate to ask! If it helps, you can definitely create a Pinterest board and send it my way or text me some ideas you had. I'm here to help every step of the way! 

Hey There, I'm Sierra

I'm a mother, wife, creator, and dream-chaser. You can often find me with my head in the clouds, feet in the mud, and a third (or fourth) cup of coffee in my cup. I call everyone dude, I randomly break out into song, and I will wade in freezing water to get THE shot for you.

When you work with me, you can expect to dance, run, piggyback, motorboat, swear, laugh, get vulnerable, and get messy. So basically what I'm saying is: wear comfortable shoes, throw the rulebook away, and don't take life too seriously (none of us get out alive).



I'm about capturing who you are together, not just posing you in front of a pretty backdrop; anyone can do that. I want to photograph you honestly by creating a space that you two feel like you can really be yourselves. Sure, the first 15-20 minutes will feel a little awkward, but I promise you'll soon feel comfortable and be more focused on your person and present in the moment before you know it. 

My style is a combination of real & raw moments, with a little bit of an editorial flare. You'll get a combination of magazine-worthy photos to frame, as well as those that ooze emotion and make you say "that is so us".

I do my best to get to know you really well to avoid those cheesy moments that feel forced. I'll give you plenty of direction and make it feel authentic to who you are. I want every part of this to feel like yours. Your love story, regardless of how "messy" or "imperfect" it may be, deserves to be documented - beautifully and fiercely.

Things that inspire me

Rolling Fog
Mountain Layers
That feeling you get when you spin in circles
When the wind catches your hair

My approach is a little different

Things I believe in

Breaking Rules
Investing in Memories
Trust & Connection
Love is Love

Sierra is amazing! Her lighting style immediately drew us to her when looking for wedding photographers as we wanted to capture the vibrance and joy of our big day. She met those expectations with her beautiful photos and was also such a pleasure to work with. She is calm, organized, very approachable, and a great communicator, which allowed us to relax and just have fun. Thank you, Sierra!

- Leanora S. and Alex B.


We Hired Sierra Wilson's photography services, for our wedding on the Mendenhall glacier in Juneau AK As it is on glacier we had short wedding ceremony but we really appreciated Sierra Wilson work when we saw final pictures! We don’t know how she could capture those amazing pictures in 40 mins on glaciers! Sierra is a professional and understanding person, she spoke to us for 30 min while booking about our expectations and delivered them 100% Great quality of work! We are happy that we hired her for our special day! Sierra made it beautiful with her creative skills. Strongly suggest her service.

- Sarahbeth and Sandeep H.J.


WOW!!! We are absolutely thrilled with all of our amazing photos! Sierra is such an awesome person and was able to capture every special moment throughout our day! She knew exactly what to do and say to make us feel 100% comfortable. Looking at our photos brings us right back to that moment! Thank you Sierra for being such an amazing piece of our wedding day! We can’t wait to come back to Alaska for our next adventure! For sure Sierra will be a part of it!

- Maggie B.


We booked Sierra for our Juneau wedding photos and WOW! are we ever happy we did!! Not only is she an amazing photographer (that’s clear from her website!), but she managed to make us feel relaxed and comfortable, and we had fun!! (and that’s saying a lot because we do not usually enjoy having our photo taken lol). Thank you so much Sierra for making the whole process simple, for going over and above, and for perfectly capturing us!!!

- Chelsea and Dan G.


“I had a lot of confidence in Sierra as a photographer but I was still pretty sure I would hate the pictures because I hate all pictures of me. I totally had a panic attack about it before arriving. And I LOVE these pictures so so so much. I adore them all, it actually made me cry” 

- Melanie


“Taking photos with Sierra is fun and easy going. The experience was really special and intimate. No pressure to be perfect, and just capturing the moment in its most natural state. The final product turned out beautifully too! I would recommend any couple to schedule a session with Wild Iris Photography!” 

- Kayla T.


“Working with Sierra was very easy. She was so sweet and very receptive to my ideas and added ideas of her own. When we got to the site she brought chocolate for my daughter as a special treat which was so thoughtful. She made beautiful maternity photos for my family to look back on for years to come. I would highly recommend her for your family photos.”
- Samantha


“Sierra is such a great person to work with! She has a great eye and always has such a positive attitude!” 

- Brandi


“Sierra is a very patient and caring Photographer, always going the extra mile to make sure you get exactly what you want.” 

- Kayla R.


“After a lifetime of feeling uncomfortable in my own skin I was nervous and excited about my boudoir shoot. My partner and I were immediately at ease with the professionalism and direction that Wild Iris photography continuously gave throughout the shoot. A lifetime of uncertainty was turned into confidence! Seeing just a glimpse of our photos has us so excited to see the rest - we know without a doubt that not only photos will be something we cherish but the experience as well. Highly recommend!” 

- Chloey


 “We loved our experience with Sierra. She was so easy to work with and we had fun during the session. Our photos turned out fabulous!” 

- Liz


“If you have ever been on the fence about booking a shoot, I’ll tell you right now you absolutely won’t regret doing so with Sierra. She is so great at making you feel comfortable and working with extra awkward people like me” 

- Kerstin K.


“Sierra is an AMAZING photographer and really catches the beauty in a photo. She is kind, sweet, honest and really cares about her clients. I cannot recommend her enough. I would give her way more than 5 stars. She makes you feel so comfortable, confident and gorgeous during the shoot. I’ve done 2 shoots with her so far and I CANNOT wait to do another one with her again. Sierra is a serious blessing! You will not regret getting your photos done by this gorgeous lady!”
- Ambree


Sierra took my daughters Senior photos. She is an amazing photographer! Sierra is fun, honest, easy to work with and really cares about her client needs. She had a lot of great ideas. We really loved the final product and highly recommend Wild Iris Studios. 

- Lecia K.


I cannot recommend Sierra enough. We used Wild Iris for Senior Pictures. Our whole experience was about so much more than just pictures. My daughter has never been a fan of having her picture taken. Sierra really took the time to get to know her and what she wanted before the photo session. Sierra arranged for hair and makeup before the shoot which was so convenient and turned out amazing. She has an excellent eye for perfect photo spots and made sure my daughter was comfortable and enjoying the shoot the entire time. When we received the final photos I was speechless. They are so beautiful. They really reflect my daughter’s personality. Everything went above and beyond my expectations and I look forward to using Wild Iris Photography again in the future.

- Sonja P.


It has been an honor to work with Sierra. She works magic with her camera lens. I'm super excited to start sharing her creations from our branding photoshoot together last week. She made me feel at ease right away. And her images reflect me as an artist; fun, messy, colorful. I highly recommend her work!

- Christine K.


I had a great time on my branding photoshoot. Sierra put me at ease, captured my essence beautifully, and her work has made my business better. Thank you, Sierra! I can’t recommend her enough.

- Christine C.


Sierra knocked it out of the park! I'm incredibly happy with how my images turned out.

- Hollis K.


Working with Sierra from Wild Iris Studios was amazing. She is an absolutely phenomenal photographer and she is easy and quick to communicate with, has an awesome eye for photos and overall just a super fun session. I highly recommend her!

- Dylan N.


Sierra photographed our styled elopement and the whole day was just amazing! She is so easy to work with & gives the perfect amount of instructions and freedom to have as much fun as you want to with it. Her pictures turned out better than i could have imagined & really captures the love and joy from that day. We will cherish her work forever. EVERYONE should have Sierra photograph the big & little moments in their lives

- Paige & Xavier W.








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