It's a question I am repeatedly asked- "What should we do for our engagement session?" It's true there are SO MANY options, it can be very hard to determine the best choice as to location, outfit choices and props.
So let's start from the beginning and go over the origin of engagement sessions. Originally, an engagement photo was used to announce your engagement. My parent's still have their photo framed on the piano (Did I just date my parents a bit? Whoops, sorry Mom and Dad!) and it was that exact same photograph that was put in their local paper to announce their engagement. This was back when most people married someone from their local town so they would put it in that paper. Do people still do that? I'm pretty sure it's a no, so what's with the engagement photos now?!
Engagement photos now are used for save the dates, thank you notes, prints to frame around your new home, as an opportunity to work with your photographer ahead of time (check out my blog post with more about that) and (I hate to say it) Facebook! That means a lottt of people will see these portraits (probably even more than when everyone read the newspaper) and it's important to get them right! So it's completely understandable that this causes some angst for the new soon-to-be bride. As you read along, remember that rules are meant to be broken, so if you decide you want to do something completely different, got for it! My one request is that you are c
What to Wear There's a lot to keep in mind on this topic. Everything from being comfortable in your own skin to wondering how it will portray you as a couple. I don't think there's one exact answer I can give you, so I ask my couples to consider the following when deciding on outfit choices.-Be comfortable -This is first because it's number 1 in my book. You might NOT want to buy something new, as much as you want to showcase your new skinny jeans. If it's not something (or similar to something) you would normally wear, I would avoid it. The last thing you need is to be adjusting a misfitted shirt that's digging into you at an unwelcome spot. It'll make you look nervous and uncomfortable in the photos. I like to shoot natural fun reactions and if you're in pain, I won't get those! Lose-lose. -Footwear - heels are GREAT and dress up a photo nicely, but be sure to bring a comfortable pair to walk from spot to spot!-If you get something new, wearit a few times! -Layer, layer, layer - layers photograph well and make your outfit more interesting!-Stay away from fads - yes I know you love that neon retro 80's T that is back in style, but I can almost assure you, it won't be in style in 10 years and you'll regret it.-Coordinate - coordinating is different than matching. You want to have a similar color palette that doesn't clash, but you also don't want to be wearing the exact same colors. The same goes for dressiness. Make sure if you are wearing a nice sundress that your soon-to-be groom steps it up on his outfit choice as well. If you're going to be in jeans, flats and a cardigan, make sure your gentleman has a similar level of style.-That being said - dress it up! A sundress or cocktail dress can be exactly what you need to add that extra flare to your photos.-Consider your body type - Make sure what you choose is flattering to your body type, whatever that may be.-Stay away from baggy - Photos, whether we like it or not, are 2D. Loose or baggy clothing has the tendency to flatten out and make you look slightly larger than you are. Try to stick to fitted clothing.-Accessorize - This one is tough for me because ANY of my friends will tell you, I'm terrible at it. In this department I would say, keep it timeless.-Patterns- Too many patterns can be distracting, but one is a great way to add a little diversity to your shoot-Keep it to TWO outfits! - I'm a natural light photographer, so if we are changing too many times, you might miss out on the best light!
Hair and Makeup I tell ALL of my brides to consider a practice run for their makeup on the big day. Most professional makeup artists know exactly what to do to have you photograph nicely, and you'll feel extra beautiful and confident, which is exactly what will make your photos shine. As for hair, if I could have my hairdresser do my hair every day.. I would. If you DO decide to do your own makeup and hair, consider the following when putting your look together. -Matte, matte, matte - Shine is your worst enemy unless you happen to be a professional makeup artist yourself. Although shine can look stunning in person, it can reflect light badly and make it look like you have ghost eyes. -Fake eyelashes - I know in person these can look... well... fake, but in photos they are that perfect extra pop you need to make your eyes even more WOW! -Go a little heavier than you would - I'm not talking clown style... just a little extra to add that color that can often go missing in photos. -HAIRSPRAY - those curls look amazing! But they won't be there in an hour and a half (about how long an engagement session is) if you don't seal them in a little. ;)
PROPS!!! I love props. They give you something to do if front of the camera and can be a great detail to help show who you are as a couple. I have an endless list of examples, so if you need help in this area, shoot me an email and I'd be happy to help!
Location, Location, Location Much like the props, this should be some place that means something to you as a couple. Of course, if you just LOVE that gorgeous dock and you want to shoot there, that'll be amazing too. Consider a place that has a few varying options near by so that your engagement photos can get that diversity you're looking for.
When to Schedule This is almost completely up to you as long as I am available. If you are using the photos for your save the dates, then you'll want to make sure you schedule early enough to allow for the photos to be sent to you. I've had couples want to do it immediately after getting engaged, in time for their Christmas card and so that it would be the same time of year as their wedding. This really is completely up to you. Often I am booked on the weekends for weddings such as yours, so please be open to week day shoots! To consider what might be obvious... -If you want to be in a sundress - it should probably be Spring or Summer -If you want fall foliage - it should probably be in the fall. -If you want snow - Plan to get them done in the winter!
All in all, this should be a fun time for you and your fiancé. I'm just there to capture that for you and give you photos you will cherish for a lifetime. If you have any follow up questions, I encourage you to post them below!