I serve couples & families who desire a stress-free, streamlined & joyful photoshoot by providing an experience that allows my clients to fully enjoy this special season & receive jaw-dropping, joy-filled photos they'll pass down for generations to come. Welcome!

Hey, friend! I'm Caitlin.

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The Caitlin & Luke Blog has been retired for now! Feel free to browse the blog's archives to view lovely weddings, sweet families, and personal posts dating all the way back to 2011. Xoxo! 

Engagement Session Tips


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March 7, 2018

how to prepare for your engagement sessionEngagement sessions… oh, are they fun! You already know we are huge fans of engagement sessions, and today we want to chat with you guys about how to make the most of your engagement session experience with your wedding photographer! If you’re nervous at all for your engagement session, we want to put some of those fears to rest today… and if you just need a little help selecting outfits or knowing what to expect, you’re in the right spot!

There are a few key things that contribute to having an incredible engagement shoot experience. We cover ALL of these with our sweet C&L couples before their engagement sessions with us, but we wanted to highlight a few of the most important tips we are share! So, here we go… how can you have an amazing engagement shoot experience? Let’s jump in!


Choosing outfits can be such a stressful part of preparing, right? It’s so much harder than it looks! We encourage our brides and grooms to choose 2-3 separate outfits for their session. Usually, it’s best to start off the session in the dressiest outfit, then change into one or two other more comfortable, casual looks as the shoot goes on! When selecting colors, always try to coordinate, rather than match. For example, at our engagement shoot, for one outfit I chose a lace top and dark denim for myself and Luke wore a bright red plaid top with dark denim as well. We wore neutral shoes in a similar shade of tan, I accessorized with a few of my favorite gold pieces of jewelry, and we even added a plaid blanket scarf for a few photos! Balance is the way to go… but you can also never go wrong with a good blanket scarf, right ladies? ????

Remember… this is your engagement shoot, and now is the time to go all out with outfits!! Utilize Rent the Runway to borrow the dress of your dreams and take full advantage of that fancy first outfit! Don’t be afraid to have fun with what you’re wearing and try something you wouldn’t normally wear.

Engagement Session Tips

Engagement Session Tips


Regardless of if she is a big “makeup girl” or not, we ask our EACH of our brides to schedule a quick makeup appointment on the day of their engagement session! This is SO important. 🙂 Professional makeup makes a WORLD of a difference in your photos, and a professional makeup artist knows exactly how to ensure your makeup will show up well in pictures! Brides, totally feel free to reach out and email us if you need help with some makeup artist recommendations… we’d LOVE to pass along some names! (Hint: If makeup REALLY isn’t your thing, simply ask a friend to help you apply lipstick, foundation (that perfectly matches your skin tone!), a neutral smoky eye, some blush, bronzer & highlighter, some lip gloss or tinted lip balm, and help you fill in your brows! We promise you will NOT regret it… even if you opt for a more natural look.

You might also consider having your hair and makeup done for your engagement shoot! We know our confidence shouldn’t come from appearance, but we feel better when we LOOK better, right? Your engagement session day is the perfect day to schedule hair and makeup trials for your wedding.

Bonus!! Also, don’t neglect those nails… we’ll be showcasing your brand new bling throughout your shoot, so treat yourself to a manicure or a new bottle of nail polish before your engagement session and clean that ring, too! For more beauty tips for your engagement session, click here!

engagement ring


Opt for one primary engagement shoot location that has lots of options! (Bonus points if the location is meaningful to your relationship story!) By choosing one diverse location, you save time driving to multiple locations… which leaves more time for pictures. #winning! If you need help picking a location for your session, don’t hesitate to ask… we have a few favorite spots we’d love to share! Generally, we love spots with beautiful views, plenty of big trees, fields, and classic architecture.

Sunset engagement session at kankakee river state park

Engagement Session Tips

What To Bring

Here is a little checklist of what to bring with you to your engagement session!

  • Hair or makeup products for a few touch-ups here and there
  • Any props you want to incorporate (such as picnic supplies, blankets, big scarves, cute coffee mugs, etc.)
  • Snacks and waters for the trip there and the way back home
  • Shoe and jewelry options if you haven’t run your outfits by your photographer in advance 🙂

Engagement Session Tips


Trust the timing we suggest for your shoot! Ideally, you can expect to begin the shoot approximately 1.5 hours after sunrise or 1.5 hours before sunset. This provides the prettiest, most amazing light; and gorgeous light is necessary for those stunning engagement photos! Please note that due to the session start time, hair and makeup appointments and travel to the engagement session location, it is common for couples to have to take a half day off from work to make the shoot happen. 🙂 Pretty please, arrive on time, too! Once the good light goes away (or it gets dark completely!), we simply can’t extend your shoot any longer!


In our experience, most guys are not fans of having their photos taken. And that is totally okay! Some of our brides show their guys pictures of past engagement shoots we’ve done so that they know what to expect. Other couples practice dips and piggy-back rides in their apartments or backyards before their shoot! Help your guy relax and have fun by preparing him a little! It works- we promise! For more tips on preparing your guy for your engagement session, click right here. We’ve got you covered!

Sunset engagement session at washington park botanical gardens

Bringing Your Dog

If you have a fur baby that you absolutely HAVE to include in your engagement session, by all means, let’s make it happen! We absolutely love it when our couples bring their dog to their engagement session!! However, this choice does require a bit of extra planning… but no worries, we walk you through all of that right here. 🙂 Plus, it’s totally worth it!!

Engagement Session Tips

The Shoot Day

The biggest advice we can give you guys on your engagement session day is to relax and have fun! Think of your engagement session as a super fun date where you get to cuddle for at least an hour. 😉 So many of our couples share adorable stories about how they turn their engagement shoot evening into a date night, which is what Luke and I did, too! ???? (I’m pretty sure ours consisted of a spontaneous stop at McDonald’s for some McChicken’s… don’t judge!) Remember to relax and just enjoy it and let your photographer tell you what you need to do… they know what they’re talking about, and it’s their job to make you look good!!

Sunset Engagement Session at Evergreen Lake

We’re gearing up for a super full fall with LOTS of engagement sessions, and we hope these tips help you sweet brides as you gear up for yours!

Caitlin and Luke

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Caitlin is now a full-time mama & a part-time photographer. All messages will be responded to asap; thank you for your patience!

Please Note:

Cue the confetti! I've officially received your inquiry, and I couldn't be more excited to start this journey with you.

I check email once daily during my office hours of M-TH, 9-4 CST. I promise to respond as soon as I am able! Messages received after 4:00 pm Thursday → Sunday evening will be responded to when I'm back in the office on Monday. In the meantime, please enjoy resources I've created just for you on our blog by clicking right here. I cannot wait to start this journey with you soon!!

Get in Touch

full name*

Email address*

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Session type*

message to caitlin*


Cue the confetti! I've officially received your inquiry, and we couldn't be more excited to start this journey with you.

I check email once daily during my office hours: M-TH, 9-4 CST.

I promise to respond as soon as I am able! ♡

Messages received after 4:00 pm Thursday → Sunday evening will be responded to when I'm back in the office on Monday. 

Chat soon!