Jennifer MacDonald


couple witting on a bench he is kissing her cheek.

Why do you need an engagement session?

My Journal

black and white photo of a couple having an engagement session. Walking up a road with an arm around each other.
Mat and Sarah engagement session in Mt Dandenong ranges

I get asked so many times do I need an engagement session? Can we skip it for extra time on the wedding day, I’m so awkward in front of the camera, or I don’t have time. I’m going to give you my 8 top reasons why you should do an engagement session, and why it’s so important. BUT let me be straight with you, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do! I won’t force you. This list is simply a few reasons why I love engagement sessions and why so many of my couples love them!

Black and white photo of a couple embracing in the gardens in Mt Dandenong. The couple are having an engagement session in order for them to feel more relaxed on their wedding day. He is kissing her forehead.
Gorgeous engagement session in Mt Dandenong Ranges

1. Let me prove you’re not awkward in front of the camera!

So many times people have told me they hate having their photo taken. 99% of people feel awkward and they don’t know what to do. I have years of training and experience to help you! I’m a photographer and even I get awkward in front of the camera. The sign of a good photographer is someone who can make you feel relaxed, guides you throughout the shoot so that you don’t feel awkward. I prioritise how you feel over how you look but you will also look amazing haha!

black and white image of a couple in Melbourne cuddling on a stairwell at an engagement session.
Engagement photo in Melbourne.
Dancing and laughing photo.
Dancing and laughing in an empty stairwell in Melbourne

2. An engagement session is great practice for the wedding day.

Let me tell you, you will feel so much more comfortable after an engagement session. On your wedding day you will be relaxed with me, and know where I’ll be, what I’ll say and you’ll be able to ignore the camera at times. Your engagement session is more like a relaxed version of your wedding day.

A transgender couple having an engagement session in-front of Dunnotter Castle in Scotland. The couple are wearing woollen sweaters, dancing and laughing in the wind.
Engagement shoot at Dunnotter Castle

3. We get to know each other at an engagement session.

Unless we’re friends, or we’ve hung out before, we don’t know each other. You won’t know how hilarious I am. And who would want to miss out on my jokes haha! In all seriousness this is a great time for us to have a chat, I find out your favourite things, what makes you guys laugh, so I can use this on your wedding day and guess what….. makes you more relaxed! ( You guys are catching on! This is all about YOU and making you both relaxed!)

On your wedding day I’m the third wheel, it’s you, your partner and ME! I will know all the ins and out of where you’ll be, where you’ll stand, what time everything happens, and when you think you’re having a sneaky intimate moment…. Heloooo there I am (but in a non creepy way). So maybe you want an engagement session now….? well keep reading I still have some more tips.

a couple hugging, partner is kissing her on the forehead as she giggles.
Engagement session in Melbourne.
Engagement session in the streets of Melbourne

4. Your wedding day isn’t your whole story.

What do I mean by this? One of the more fun 8 reasons to have an engagement session is the chance to take some relaxed photos of the two of you. On your wedding day you’ll be all glam and fabulous ,but what about who you are the other 99% of the time? Do you like playing boardgames at home? Cooking together? Going for walks with your dog? Is there a favourite spot where you both met? Maybe your wedding is in the city and you want to have some shots on the beach, or is your wedding on the beach but you live in the city? The options are endless and I love working with my couples to figure out what works best for them.

couple holding hands walking in a park in Mt Dandenong at an engagement session.
Laughing and giggling on your engagement session is important to help you relax.

5. We can be more creative and more relaxed than on your wedding day.

For an engagement photoshoot there’s no schedule, there’s no wedding party. There’s no sunset we are racing against. We can take things slower or shoot for longer. You want to drive somewhere unusual? Let’s do it! You want to go exploring in the mountains? Sign me up! Engagement sessions also often give me a chance to challenge myself creatively too. I’m not stressing out over the photographs, if it rains we can dance in the puddles.

Transgender couple sitting in a field outside Dunnoter Castle. The couple are sitting in the grass, laughing and cuddling on their engagement session.
Get warm and cosy and have some snuggles during your engagement shoot.

6. An engagement session makes you less nervous.

As someone who has been married, and photographed weddings I know how nervous you can be on your day. I thought because I’m wedding photographer I’ll know the drill! …. well I’m glad my photographer twisted my arm to do an engagement session. He picked up his camera and I was like ummmmmm what do I do (as I awkwardly waved my hands around)! I was so used to using my hands for taking pictures that I suddenly was very aware of my hands! Well he made me feel relaxed, my partner and I had so much fun and I wasn’t nervous on the day. 

groom kissing bride on the cheek as they sit side by side in a park, feeling relaxed and more confident. 
Black and white photo of a couple having an engagement session in Mt Dandenong.
She's wearing an off the shoulder floral dress.
Whisper something funny in each others ears during your engagement session.

7. You can use your engagement photos for invites, social media, guest book etc…

We’re almost at the end of the list on 8 reasons why you need an engagement session. Depending on when you schedule your engagement session you may have enough time to get them out to include them in your wedding invitations. Maybe you have a wedding website or you can print them off for your guestbook. The options are endless what you can do with engagement photos. It’s really up to you. An engagement session isn’t something that you absolutely have to have. It’s an option – but a lovely one at that. I’ve been so lucky to have done some really wonderful engagement sessions all over the world and all over Melbourne, and I can’t wait to hear what you’re thinking for yours! So how do you feel about having an engagement session now? Ready to jump in?

My top locations for engagement photos

Mt Dandenong Ranges This spot here R J Hammer Arboretum is beautiful.

Gorgeous part of Melbourne with an abundance of gardens, walking and hiking paths, just even some shots at the side of the road are incredible! Mt Dandenong can be weather tempremental so do check the weather before you go. Use this site to check out the historical weather data you can plan which day should be best. But also don’t stress about rain, sometimes it’s fun to get totally soaked and have your notebook moment haha.

Melbourne CBD for your engagement session?

I love wandering the streets of Melbourne, the hidden alleys and bars, the grafitti laneways. In Melbourne there’s always something going on and always some cool spots to get some cute snuggly engagement photos. The photos with Flo and Gary we had a wander around some older buildings. We found a elevator that looked cool in a building so sneakily went up a few floors haha, you gotta live on the edge to make some fun pics!!

Flinders Mornington Peninsula

I would put a link but it’s a secret so you’ll just have to book a shoot to find it 😉

There’s a hidden cliff top tucked away in Flinders, at golden hour it is incredible!! I highly suggest if you book an engagement session this is the place to go, it’s a 1.5 hr drive from Melbourne CBD but worth it! If you go during the week there a few gorgeous little pubs to have dinner at, some wineries in the area maybe closed mid week but during high season most are open.

Here’s a list of my fav restaurants in the area after your windswept shoot Montalto Winery- gorgeous wine food and views! Flinders hotel – Relaxed pub but a bit more upmarket Donna Maria – Gorgeous little Italian restaurant

There are tonnes of gorgeous wineries in the area!


So as you know I shoot ever year as well in Scotland. I’m origionally from Aberdeen and my whole family still live there, shooting weddings in Scotland allows me to see my family every year, plus i get to avoid the Melbourne winters it’s great!

Dunnotter Castle

Oh my goodness is this place gorgeous!! Ahhhhhh I love it, the whole area surrounding Dunnotter you just can’t go wrong, whether you are looking for engagement or wedding photos it won’t dissapoint you. Your images will look like you walked out of movie!

Balmedie Beach

This is where I had my engagement photos the photos below are courtesy of Sam Brill. The place feels like mars, the sky high sand dunes, the long grass it certainly is impressive!

Aviemore, the Highlands

This place holds a special place in my heart. My family and I have been going to Aviemore every year at the same time since I was 3 years old. I never get tired of it, there’s something about being way up north in the highlands. The air is so fresh, the water is so clean. I sometimes just turn off my phone and sit, I listen to the wind sweeping through the heather and the valleys, the landscape just takes your breath away.

I recently wrote a blog all about the best castles in Scotland have a read here

Jennifer MacDonald at Liminal Wonderland profile picture
Jennifer MacDonald of Liminal Wonderland Wedding Photography

About the Author:

Jennifer MacDonald at Liminal Wonderland loves anything sci-fi and a guilty pleasure of Gilmore girls re run, has a love of baking and gin, and spends her free time hanging out with her husband and toddler that keeps her active. Jennifer is a wedding photographer based in Melbourne, Vic specialising in capturing artistic portraits paired with unique storytelling moments to produce natural, emotional wedding photography for fearless lovers. I also travel globally to photograph couples wherever they may be.

Want to read more check out some of my other helpful blog posts or send me a message, can’t wait to chat!

Contact –

Check my other post on how to plan your perfect wedding timeline

: Why do you need an engagement session?
man kissing woman on forehead as they stand in a lift having an engagement photoshoot.
Couple photo shoot in Melbourne in a lift.
Fun in an elevator in Melbourne for an engagement session.

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