Lukas & Suzy International Wedding Photographers » Lukas & Suzy VanDyke Photography Blog

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    Welcome to the blog! If the banner doesn't make it obvious enough I'll just spill the beans and let you know that we are a full time husband and wife wedding photography team. We love life, God, weddings, and if you slide over our names to the left you'll note a few other things we love.

    We are based out of Los Angeles, and when I say that, I mean our studio is right in the smack dab center of downtown. However, if you start browsing through the blog history you will soon note that we shoot weddings all over the country and world. We put a lot into making our images so I hope you enjoy checking some of them out!

    If you're up for having a great time at your wedding, and our photos have the look you are going for, then feel free to shoot us a note and we would love to chat some more!

    - Lukas and Suzy VanDyke

Tricks to a Great Engagement Session {Email Template}

Happy Thursday everyone! Over the years, I have learned a lot of things about how to prep couples for engagement sessions. All of that information eventually came together into an email template I send out before the session. At the beginning of this year I also purchased an email template kit from The Youngrens through the ShootQ studio management software. I combined my email with some of their structure and concepts to come up with the below. I send this out to every couple who I do engagement sessions for, and it has proven super helpful for everyone involved! Feel free to pass a link to my blog on to all your clients, or if you are one of those adorable engaged couples, enjoy the read. If you are a photographer, and do happen to use SHOOTQ, I would highly recommend purchasing the Youngrens email and workflow templates. They are a great starting point for becoming extremely productive!

Dear Client!

Now that we have a date, the next step is to decide on location. The location kind of depends on the feel you want to go for. We can do urban, beach, fields, forest, desert, a backyard, or just something with a lot of really cool walls or architecture. Feel free to check out some of the engagement sessions on my site, and my blog if you need some inspiration!

If you’re interested in a stylized session let me know, and I can send you some information on that process. For a DIY session, it will usually take you about 20 hours to  plan, or I can put you in contact with a stylist.

Below are some basic tips for the day :

What to Bring
The first thing you need to bring is some excitement! I don’t expect you to know how to model or how to smile or even how to engage the camera. All of that is pretty easy, and I can explain once you arrive. The best thing you can do is to come ready and excited so we can work together to create some amazing images!


1. Bring something trendy, fun, comfortable and you. If you don’t feel comfortable in the clothes, you won’t look comfortable in them. Bring clothes you feel GREAT wearing, because if you feel great you will look GREAT. So be happy, be trendy, be dressy, but most importantly be YOU, and remember the more epic the clothes the more epic the photos.

2.  Embrace lots of fun colors, fun designs, and fun sayings on your clothes. These photos will reflect one of the best times of your life, so bring something that will represent that, and you!  I would avoid any kind of pastel or khaki, and stick with primary and secondary colors.

3. I usually shoot each couple in two outfits for some variety. Look at your outfits together to make sure they don’t clash. If you’re not sure what to bring or what will look good with your location, I recommend bringing 6-7 sets of clothes to choose from. We will then narrow it down to the two outfits which will best fit our locations. Some ideas: jeans and Ts, Anthropology type clothes for both, or a summer dress for girls for the first outfit. For the second outfit, possibly something more formal like a cocktail dress or evening gown for the ladies, and suit, vest, sports jacket or whatever your version of “dressy” is for the guys. Remember the accessories for both looks- jewelry, scarves, hats, vests, or anything to tie the outfits together nicely.

4. Make sure to bring shoes, boots, and flip flops! The more colorful and fun the outfit the better! Whenever Suzy and I get photos of us, the back of our car ends up looking like a shoe store, and we usually end up going to the shoe store just for one more option!

5. Bring a prop. A baseball bat, a surfboard, a bike, tennis rackets, your dog (not your cat unless it’s a tiger), your purple couch…anything that tells the story of who you are. It’s not required, but its tons of fun, and helps make your images you!


You only get to do engagement photos once, so if you are doing makeup yourself make sure to plan enough time to make it perfect! Alternatively, this could be the ideal opportunity to get to know your makeup artist before the wedding day and hold a little practice session. Great makeup is essential.

Some tips: pay attention to your eyes!  Your eyes will be the a huge factor in many of your images, so spend extra time making them look perfect! Eyeliner and good mascara are a must – you don’t want clumpy eyelashes. Natural color with a little pop on the eyes is often the key. You don’t want to overdo it, but keep in mind that the camera minimizes the appearance of makeup, so don’t be afraid of “full coverage” and covering blemishes.

Day Of

1. We will probably want to leave your purse or any bags in the car. I can carry your car keys, cell phone,  lip gloss, or other such things in my camera bag during the session. That leaves you free to be adorable together.

2. Go to the restroom right before you leave. A lot of the places we shoot might not have easily accesible restrooms, and it could end up using a lot of your session time finding one.

3. Kissing photos aren’t required for engagement session, but there’s just something about the romance, the intimacy, and the beauty of a great kissing shot that somehow makes a collection of photos complete. So if that will be a part of your session be sure to check out the article I wrote on “How to look good in kissing photos” 

Feel free to let me know if you have any other questions, and I can’t wait for your session!

– Lukas

Finally, remember that link love to a good article brings lots of smiles, but copy pasting it as your own doesn’t.

November 10, 2011 - 9:30 am

Brian Powell - Hi Lukas! This is an awesome post and I’ll probably be borrowing it from you;) thanks for doing helpful post like this!

November 10, 2011 - 11:00 am

Lucy - This seems really helpful! Though I loved my engagement photos, if I had to do it over again I would definitely change a few things- including my choice of clothing! This definitely looks informative and I know it would help people come better prepared!!

November 26, 2011 - 9:20 am

Haley - This is great!

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