What a great way to get back into engagement sessions again! Natalie and Chris were just so sweet together and couldn’t have been more in love. I always warn my couples that the first 15 minutes or so can feel awkward for them since most people haven’t ever done professional pictures together and to just stick with it. These two nailed it! It took all of two minutes for them to just fall into each other’s eyes and let me slip into the background. And that, my friends, is when the magic can happen. When the organic moments unfold and I just get to snap away. I was really excited to shoot at Chambers Bay in Tacoma since I’d seen some beautiful photos there from other shoots. It did not disappoint! We scheduled our shoot for a golden hour/sunset session and the light was just gorgeous on them. It was a great night chatting and getting to know them better. Here are some of my favorites!
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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 ;-)
Every professional photographer out there I'm sure has heard the term "ideal client" at some point or another. I've thought about it a lot and wondered, who really is my ideal client and what does that look like in real life? It's easy to jump to the idea that it's the person who spends lots of money on your services by getting your highest package and it doesn't really matter who they are as long as they are paying you! For me, that's definitely not it! For me, it's a person who is genuine, down-to-earth, loves my art and craft and then is a continued cheerleader for my work long after our time together. When I met Jenna, we simply clicked and I knew walking away from our consultation meeting that she was exactly the kind of "ideal client" I always look for! After shooting an awesome engagement session with her and Brad this past weekend, I'm more sure than ever. These two were naturals together! Their love and affection for each other was so evident and I love having the opportunity to capture that in photos. I'd say we all had a great afternoon walking the trails at Natural Bridges State Park in Santa Cruz and ending at the beach for the beautiful sunset. It was a perfect ending to our already amazing shoot! I'm so flattered I get to photograph their wedding next year at Saratoga Springs. It's going to be a good one, I just know it!
What a pretty day for a beach engagement shoot! Madison and David had the brilliant idea to head out to Carmel River State Beach for their session and it was just perfect! Even with the breezy wind, Madison's wind-blown, beachy blonde helped set the tone. The clouds in the sky created such cool patterns and added a nice texture as the sun slowly faded. David and Madison were naturals. I love how they could just laugh with each other, hold one another or lean in for a kiss without me even saying a word. It was so sweet! An added element to their shoot was their two pups, Harley and Finely.... complete with mint bow ties and matching leashes. It's always an adventure with doggies on a shoot, but they came prepared with hot dog treats to help them cooperate! I'd say the future ring-bearers did a good job. Always a good practice to be in front of the camera for them too, haha!
With the love Madison and David share, it was easy to capture it in their photos. I know it's going to be a beautiful wedding next fall at Retzlaff Vineyards. I'm happy I get to create some more romantic and meaningful photos for these two that will last them a lifetime!
I just had thee best Labor Day weekend! Normally my husband goes out of town for a guys trip and I'm home, by myself, being bored. But this year we changed it up and I got to see ALL my family and celebrate my sister Marissa's engagement!! She flew out from New Jersey with her new fiancè Tony and the rest of us drove down to LA to meet up at my other sister's house! There is no place I'd rather be than with my whole family and that's just what I got :-D It was just perfect.
With a newly engaged sister, I couldn't let the weekend slip by without doing some engagement photos! Marissa really just wanted one good picture for their Save the Dates, but I couldn't take just ONE photo! We headed down to the beach just in time to catch that California golden hour settling upon the ocean. With only 40 minutes on the parking meter, we hustled! I have to say, these two were naturals. It was so heartwarming to see Marissa light up with him and watch them laugh together. I'm so grateful my sister found the man she's been looking for all these years. He's someone I know will take care of her and love her through thick and thin and a guy who makes her happier than I've ever seen her before. I literally couldn't be more excited for them and I'm counting the days till the wedding next year!!
When Brenda told me she wanted to have a romantic beach setting for her engagement shoot, I immediately was game! With the weather we've been having, it's been hit or miss with the sunshine so I definitely had my worries approaching the shoot.Read More
I'm so lucky that I have a job that takes me to so many cool places! I especially love the opportunity to shoot at new places because it's always a chance for me to explore and find new favorite spots to suggest to my couples. Cat and Josh now reside in Rhode Island, but have family in the Berkeley area, which worked great for a winter break engagement shoot! These two were in the Bay Area for the holiday season and I jumped on the opportunity to conveniently schedule their engagement photos. Being that they are from out of state, this was actually the first time meeting them and what a joy it was! They are such a cute couple and so down-to-earth. We had a great time walking around the botanical gardens and finding unique places to shoot, all the while getting to know each other better. I love how much joy and laughter they exuded during the whole shoot. They were so natural with each other and made photographing them a breeze...always a plus in my book! I'm really looking forward to their wedding this June at the beautiful Monterey Plaza Hotel.
Such a beautiful and rare engagement ring! It's actually a cherished family heirloom, which makes it all the more special!