So you are engaged!
Congratulations on one of the most exciting times in your life! No matter Whether you are still deciding if you would like to have your engagement photos taken or you already booked your session and are ready to meet and shoot, I made this guide for you! This article will guide you step by step through the whole process of understanding what to expect, what to wear and how to behave! Let's jump into it.
BUT FIRST... WHAT IS AN ENGAGEMENT SESSION?
Engagement session, to put it simply, is a photo session of you, as a couple, few months before your wedding day. It is meant to capture the authentic display of who you are as a madly in love engaged couple. I know that it might be tempting to dismiss photographing this beautiful time in your lives and opt only for wedding photography. In the end, you have been engaged for awhile and it is the marriage that excites you most. But believe me, if you prepare for your engagement session right, your engagement photography album will forever remind you of your love and journey before you become one.
WHY WOULD YOU HAVE AN ENGAGEMENT SESSION?
The most obvious benefit of having an Engagement session is that it will provide you with variety of photographs for your beautiful Save the Dates and Invitations. I can help you with the process of designing your invitations here on minted. Minted makes the design of your invitations, save the dates and other stationary decor, easier with beautiful designs that will make your wedding yours.
You may also display your printed photographs, or your beautiful heirloom engagement photography album, on your wedding day for everyone to enjoy and get to know how much you celebrate and cherish your relationship.
But lastly, and most importantly, engagement session is a great opportunity to find out your photographer's (me!) photography workflow. It is crucial that you and me establish a relationship before the wedding day. It will help you feel comfortable around me during your big day. In the end, I will be the only vendor at your wedding that will follow you nearly everywhere. And I do not want you to feel in any way awkward! I want you to feel silly and emotional around me, just like you would be around an old and good friend. Hence, I greatly encourage considering having your engagement photographs taken. And if you already decided, that I am so incredibly happy we are planning it out!
WHAT TO EXPECT AT YOUR ENGAGEMENT SESSION?
My typical engagement session is more laid back than formal. I like to meet about 15 minutes before the scheduled session to get to know each other. This extra time will help you unwind before your session and relieve some stress by chatting with me a little bit. I will guide you to our first location where I will most likely play a slow song so you can slow dance a little bit. You may close your eyes, or sing to each other twirling or moving slowly in a circle. Just be genuine and have fun! I love providing this type of experience to my couples so there is no need to feel anything else than joy of having your relationship captured with a camera!
Generally, throughout your session we will move onto many activities depending on the dynamic of your relationship and type of your personality. If you are an outgoing extrovert, you will probably be cuddling, walking, running, singing, or just goofing around! But if you are a quiet romantic soul, then probably cuddling, having a sightseeing walk, slow dancing, and being intimate with your partner at a distance from me will be the best choice. The point of it is that I want your experience to be genuine , so that your photographs will feel as such as well.
Shortly before your session I will send you an engagement session questionnaire to find out what approach and activities would suit you best. And If you desire to have any formal photographs taken, no worries! I will take them for you as I do enjoy occasional fine art photography, too. Just let me know ahead of time and we will incorporate them into your session!
WHEN AND WHERE SHOULD YOU HAVE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN?
Typically I have the engagement session done shortly after the booking so that you may use your photographs for invitations right away or use them to announce to your friends and family your engagement whether through social media or mail.
If you would like your engagement photographs match your wedding's time of the year, we may further plan the timing of it, by having them taken exactly year in advance to your big day. For example, if your wedding is in June 2021, then we will have your photographs taken either May or June 2020 to match the juicy green season of Spring and early Summer!
We can take your engagement photographs anywhere where professional photography is allowed. Any place that has special meaning to you or your relationship may be considered, but if you struggle with choosing a location I will email you my favorite location list to help you out. Personally, I do prefer remote outdoor locations, although greenhouses and charming architectural structures are some of my favorite, too.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR SESSION?
Now, let's talk about your wardrobe. My first advice is to make sure to wear clothes that you feel comfortable and confident wearing. Pieces that are too loose or clingy may make you pick or cover them up during the session. Likewise any new clothes that you never wore before may make you wonder how you look in them. Hence, wear any new clothes at least once in advance to make sure you feel great in them. And don't forget to iron or steam them beforehand!
Choose Theme A stylish hat for fall, long romantic dress for spring, a scarf that you can playfully use for winter, or a cozy blanket to sit on while romantically embracing each other every time of the year... Be creative! You may also wear sentimental jewelry, pop a bottle of champagne or share a cup of hot coco. The benefit of adding accessories is that they provide diversity to your photographs and can be easily added or removed. They establish the overall theme of your photographs and help you relate to the season to make them more personal. Be creative and think of the style and mood you want your photographs to reflect. I am open to your ideas and suggestions!
Choose Style Ladies, I generally advise to opt for long flowing dress, especially if we are photographing outdoors, unless the day is windy or too cold. The reason behind it is that flow dress or skirt will add additional dynamic to your photographs.
Choose Colors When you will start the process of choosing your palette, consider similar colors but don't copy each other's outfit. Think of your location and try to mimic it's color palette with one additional accent color. Try to find the balance of fitting in with the surroundings while still standing out without blending in! For example, if you have engagement session in fall with colorful foliage in the background, opt for earthy tones with an accent of crimson red. Likewise if you engagement session is in spring, opt for light pastel colors of blue, green, pink or white with an accent of gold. Remember that too much white might be too distracting and too much black might make you disappear into the background!
Think: Heirloom Quality If you want yor engagement photoshoot album to feel timeless opt for solid prints and complementary colors. Distrascting logos, and busy prints tend to get outdated every few years. Shiny fabrics and bulky clothes might not be the best choice. Enhance your features and make sure the focus is on you and not your clothing!
Choose Props/Accessories Are you or your partner a musician? Are you both connected with the love for books or poetry? Well, consider taking a few photographs with something that connects you two!
While planning your engagement shoot, every now and then try to take a step back and think how all of your choices come together: location, time of the year, time of the day, wardrobe choice. If you need help, reach out to me and I will help you out!
MAKE THE WHOLE DAY SPECIAL
Make this day special and plan to do something meaningful before and after the session. You might want to start the day at your favorite coffee shop and enjoy your company for the rest of the day while doing an activity you both enjoy. By keeping yourself in this romantic mindset the session will become an organic part of your day. It will make it feel more natural.
Create a Playlist I will play your favorite music throughout the session to get you a little distracted from the camera and help you concentrate on your partner. Please send me an email with at least 10 songs you would like to listen to during your session. Include some slow and upbeat songs, whatever both of you enjoy listening to together!
Create a Moodboard I am pretty sure you might have Pinterest, and if you don't then we can work around it. I stress out the importance of sharing your vision with me. And since words cannot really describe the mood and atmosphere you are envisioning, seeing what you like and hearing you explain WHY you like it helps me a lot to know what your expectations might be. Although sometimes it might be impossible to recreate other photographer's photograph due to location, light situation, and overall setup (a lot of beautiful engagement and wedding photography out on Pinterest are from Styled Shoots where a whole team of vendors gathered together to create a certain look to use in there advertisements).
Be Yourself! It might sound a little cliche but it is true. This session is about you and your spouse-to-be, not about me or my camera. I want you to feel as if I wasn't there, so don't be nervous and listen to my direction but act as if you were all alone.
*Consider having your ring professionally cleaned just to get that extra spark in your close-up photos. ;)
*Don't be afraid to get closer! If you need to, close your eyes and imagine you are all alone. Sing or hum a song to establish connection with your partner. Look into each other's eyes and have your love shine with gentle and playful smiles.
*If you need to, gently tickle each other! Fiancee: embrace him closely and give him a tiny tickle on his waist. Fiance: gently move her hair to the back and give her a raspberry on her neck to make her giggle!
*Move around, laugh, tease each other, be playful! I love movement, it is crucial in capturing your authentic interactions.
*When kissing, do it like in a movie. In a slow motion! Open your mouth slightly and avoid pouting your lips. To make it feel more natural, tease each other in the process.
*Practice at home. Keep the right posture. Maybe slow dance a little. Try spinning, and dips. Imagine someone is photographing you. Flirt as you did at the beginning!
*Don't forget to bring a cardigan or light jacket in case if the weather ends up not being as nice as you predicted it to be.
*Whenever I guide you into a pose don't lock into it. Make it comfortable, move a little bit or change your position entirely if you need to. Be natural. Move your hands around, tease each other, give pecks on cheeks, rub your noses, flirt, laugh and have fun! I will try to facilitate experiences to capture the true essence of your relationship as it is.
*Ladies, consider having your hair and makeup done professionally before the session. It is a great opportunity to try out the makeup artist you hired for your wedding day!
What if it rains or the weather is just overall terrible?
I tend to follow weather forecast with a great obsession one week before the session! If it looks like the weather might get ugly, I will contact you to work something out. Mostly I just reschedule the session as soon as you decide to do so.
Can we bring our dog or our kids?
Definitely yes! If you would like to include your dog or kids we could take pictures with them at the beginning of the session. For the remaining of the session, though, have someone trusted take care of them as we proceed with your photographs. I want this beautiful time to be about your intimate love for each other. I am completely on board to take pictures with your dog or kids, but let's concentrate in the remaining portion of the session on the two of you!
What day and time should we have our photographs taken?
During my off season, from December to April I offer Engagement Sessions on the weekends, preferably before the sunset. But during my wedding season, I mostly offer engagement sessions Monday to Friday from morning until noon. Occasionally I might have an open spots on the weekends.
If I have an opening for the whole day I will typically prefer to take your outdoor engagement sessions hour to two hours before sunset but in certain locations where the sun can hide behind mountains or trees we might have your session done earlier in the day.