Preparing for an Engagement Shoot
Ahh, love is in the air! Did you know that Valentine's Day is the 2nd most popular day to get engaged? And the 6th most popular day is actually the day before Valentine's Day (ya know, for those guys who want more of the surprise element)! With V-Day just behind us, I can imagine there are a lot more engaged couples now than there were at the beginning of the week! With that said, lots of brides-to-be I know are already getting down to research for wedding planning. I figured in the midst of engagement season, this post would be helpful for those couples as they prep for not only the big day, but their engagement shoot as well!
Engagement shoots have become more and more popular as the years go by. And there's good reason for it...they are fun and super helpful for the wedding day! Plus, it's such a great way for all of us to get to know each other better! Your wedding is a monumental day and I'm going to be with you for a huge part of it, which is why building a relationship with you is important to me. I like to be seen as more than just a transactional photographer and more like someone who feels like a friend! Engagement shoots give us the opportunity to chat, connect and build on that friendship.
Furthermore, they are great practice for you! Time after time, I hear couples tell me they are bad at taking pictures or they feel awkward in front of the camera. One, that's totally normal to feel that way since none of my couples are professional models! But two, it's even more of a reason for us to work on it and break down those walls. No one wants to be uncomfortable and camera shy on their wedding day, so the engagement is the perfect way to get out those jitters. You get to see how I work, practice some poses and by the end, you'll really see it's not half as bad as you may have thought. You spend the majority of the shoot looking into the eyes of your soon to be spouse and stealing some kisses and hugs throughout... pretty easy, right? When all is said and done, I hope the photos you get from the shoot bring you that much more confidence in hiring me as your wedding photographer and make you look forward to the wedding day even more!
Ok, now that I've convinced you that you should do an engagement session, let's talk logistics. One of the first things I ask my couples is for input on where they'd like to do their shoot. Many need some help figuring it out, and that's totally fine! I can bring some suggestions to the table to get the conversation rolling. But even if it's just a specific look you want (i.e. golden fields, beach, forest) please let me know so I can help research. I do always love when a couple chooses a spot that is particularly sentimental to them. Maybe it's a place you love to take walks or it's where you had your first date. Even better, the spot that he proposed! Like Katie and Joey, they decided to take photos at the park where Joey popped the question and I must say, it was a beautiful spot overlooking the ocean. Or Christy and Vinay, who often took walks along the beach and wanted to include that in their engagement pictures!
If there's not a super sentimental location for you, no worries. A beautiful or iconic backdrop would be the next go to. Maybe you've never even been there before, but the photos will be gorgeous nevertheless!
The next step is usually figuring out what to wear. I suggest wearing something that gets you a little dressy, but not too far from your own style. Who doesn't love to get gussied up? Ladies, definitely consider getting your hair and makeup done for the shoot. If you have a makeup artist in mind for the wedding day, this is a perfect day to do a trial run with them. As for outfits, some couples like to get dressed up for part and then have a more casual look as well. Totally fine by me! We'll try to split the photo time half and half for each look. I suggest no more than two outfits though, as it does eat into the session every time you need to change. Now a word on prints and patterns... if you or your fiancè wears one, the other should be in a solid. Also, stay away from shirts with logos or words. This avoids distracting images and creates a simpler look overall. As for colors, go with the season or choose ones that show off your personality. Pinterest is always a fun place to go when needing some inspiration!
What to Expect
I love to schedule your session about 2 hours before the sun is supposed to set. If you know anything about my work, you may have noticed I'm a sucker for the soft, golden light that comes at the end of the day. So I always try to plan your shoot for that ideal window of time. Having said that, timing does still depend on location since some spots won't have access to the true sunset. If we are shooting somewhere with tall trees or buildings or even close to the bottom of a mountain, all these factors could block the sunset. This means we'll need to get started earlier in the day to make sure we can still catch those rays! Expect to be shooting about an hour and a half to 2 hours. If you have two spots in mind, make sure they are close enough to each other that traveling during the session won't take up too much of the shooting time. I want to give you as many images as possible! Some couples like to incorporate things they enjoy doing together, like Joanna and Ljay who brought along a cruiser bike as a fun prop. Others have included their dog, which is sweet, but keep in mind you may not want the pup in every picture. I always suggest bringing a friend to help watch the dog so you can get some alone shots together. A dog wrangler is also helpful for grabbing the dog's attention so they look at the camera when needed.
Lastly, remember to relax, laugh and have FUN! This is the time when we aren't held to a rigid schedule or need to get you to your reception pronto! When the two of you can let the camera fall into the background and just smile, giggle, and snuggle with each other, the shoot really can be a piece of cake. These are the best moments to capture...when I'm not overly directing or posing you and you can just enjoy each other's presence. Let your personalities shine through and enjoy the session. If you have any questions, always feel free to ask me before the shoot! You can also leave a comment below ;-)