Engagement Session

Nicole & Ed | Industrial Engagement Session at Bethlehem Steel Stacks | Bethlehem, Pennsylvania




One of my favorite parts of getting to know my clients comes when we are planning their engagement session. The location of the engagement session really tells a lot about my client’s personality, style and preferences. As we were working together to select a spot, Ed shared with me that Nicole really loves industrial buildings and historic sites. They are both engineers, so the Bethlehem Steel Stacks was a great fit and checked off all the boxes of their Lehigh Valley engagement session wish list!

I’ve actually known Ed for a long time. Over the course of the past 10 years that my husband and I have been married, Ed has been my husband’s boss TWICE! But, this was actually the first time I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Nicole. I knew the moment that we met in person, that we were the right match.

My favorite part of our time with Ed and Nicole was just getting to know them as a couple. They are so fun and easy to be around. I can see how they are made for each other. Nicole is so much fun, so beautiful, and has the most amazing laugh. Ed is so calm, easy to talk to, and looks at Nicole in a way that will make you melt. I honestly don’t think that these two could take a bad picture! I love how they just cozied into one another and just soaked up our time together.

I am so excited to see these two in their wedding attire and capture their day! I hope you enjoy getting to know them through their Bethlehem Steel Stacks Engagement Portraits!

Hope & Stay serves the Lehigh Valley, Philadelphia, and surrounding areas. Contact Alyssa to inquire about your upcoming Lehigh Valley wedding or engagement session.

What to Wear for Your Engagement Session | Lehigh Valley Wedding Photographer

Alright, ladies, we know it can be pretty agonizing to decide what to wear for your engagement session.  One of the awesome perks of being a Hope & Stay Couple is exclusive access to my super-detailed Engagement Session Style Guide, but this post is for everyone; we all need a little help, right? ;)

I always suggest my couples bring two outfits to their engagement session: one casual and the other a little more formal.  This helps create two different looks and a lot of variety in your engagement portraits!  

One suggestion I make in my exclusive client Engagement Session Style Guide is to consider renting something to wear.  Yep, you read that right, you can rent high end straight-off-the-runway dresses to elevate your engagement session style.  Imagine how amazing you'll feel in a super gorgeous outfit, cuddled up with your honey during your engagement session!  One of the keys to having great portraits is feeling ultra confident and comfortable in what you're wearing.  

I've put together a list of my TOP TEN FAVORITE rentals from Rent the Runway's 2018 collection that are around $100 OR LESS to rent for your engagement session.  

Rose Petal Alicia Dress by Dress the Population

Why It Works:  Soft colors photograph more romantically, which is just perfect for your engagement session!  The lace detail gives the dress texture and character while the sheer hem can let some light peek through.  


Kiera Wrap Dress by Hutch


Why It Works:  Wrap dresses are super flattering for many body types. The color is just beautiful and will work with most skin tones.  Also, it reminds me of Kate Middleton's engagement dress, which is a win in my book! 



East Side Jumpsuit by Jill Jill Stuart 

Why It Works:  The soft color is super feminine and can be dressed up or down depending on how it's accessorized.  It's tailored but not stiff and is a fun alternative to a dress if you're not a dress-wearing kinda gal.


Windswept Skirt by Badgley Mishka

Why It Works:  Any type of skirt or dress that offers movement is a great option for portraits.  This skirt can take on a more casual or formal vibe depending on what top it's paired with and how it's accessorized.


Red Contrast Top Ballerina Dress by ML Monique Lhuillier

Why It Works: The textured top gives interest to the dress and the ballerina skirt will allow for playfulness and movement.  I usually suggest staying away from bold colors like this, but it has a great downtown vibe and would look  amazing against a neutral backdrop.


Black Balletic Dress by RED Valentino

Why It Works:  What's better than a LBD? It's classic, it's fun and neutral! 


Lace Albany Top by A.L.C

Why It Works:  Neutrals are great!  The pop of black will offer nice contrast in your images.  The lace neckline adds a feminine touch and visual interest.


Ketu Dress by Catherine Deane

Why It Works:  The fit-and-flare style of this dress allows for great movement.  I love how this says "bride" without being too much.  I generally tell my clients to steer clear of white on top, but the gold lace overlay on this dress adds enough contrast that it gets my stamp of approval!  


Ashby Romper by TULAROSA

Why It Works:  The larger floral print is a great option for clients who prefer a little pattern.  The lavender color is soft and romantic and the wrap top will flatter the natural waist.


Winona Gown by Catherine Deane

Why It Works:  For those who want a truly elegant style for their engagement portraits, the Winona Gown by Catherine Deane is an excellent choice. The gorgeous dark purple color is rich and romantic while the lace insert back brings a delicate and interesting element.  


No matter what you decide to wear for your engagement session, the bottom line is that you should feel comfortable and confident.  Listen to your photographer's tips about what photographs well and use them as a guide to make a great selection for you, your body type, and your style.  

My final tip is to start shopping early! My engagement sessions are typically scheduled about two months from your booking date.  Don't wait until the last minute to start trying things on and finding what you like. Give yourself time to find what suits you and your style. Low stress is the name of the game, gals!

Are you looking for a Lehigh Valley, Philadelphia or Bucks County engagement photographer?  Contact Alyssa here!




Photos courtesy of Rent the Runway.

Theresa + Dave | Engaged! | A South Jersey Engagement Session

Theresa and Dave are two of the sweetest people you could ever meet.  I knew the moment I met them and their sweet Goldendoodle puppy, Cruz, that were going to have an amazing engagement session despite the pouring rain!  

Dave and Theresa are planning a New Jersey wedding this summer, so it was only fitting that I make the trip to my home state to meet them for their engagement session.  

The historic feel and incredible architecture of the public library was the perfect backdrop for their South Jersey engagement session.  I knew it would photograph beautifully!  I am so glad they trusted me because the end result is incredible!

I cannot wait to photograph their South Jersey wedding at Clark's Landing Yacht Club this summer!    Enjoy some of my favorites of Theresa, Dave and little Cruz! 



Hope & Stay Photography LOVES Philadelphia weddings and engagements!  To book your South Jersey or Philadelphia engagement session or wedding, contact Alyssa here!