When I shot my first engagement session, I knew that my life had changed. After I shot my first wedding, my heart burst and I realized that I had finally found the type of photography that I was to pursue forever.
There is nothing more fun that giving two people free rein to just enjoy being with each other, to be silly and romantic, all while capturing the moments to treasure forever. That is why I adore engagement sessions. However, my brides-to-be are usually a little nervous about the session. There are questions about what to wear, what will happen and what to expect. In order to relax my couples, I give them some advice. Keep reading to learn more about an engagement session and how you can prepare for yours:
1. Theme: I first tell my couples to take some time and search the Internet. I ask them to come back to me with images that they find interesting, that they would want to try or just pick out parts of an image that appeals to them. With these images I can start to create a game plan for the engagement session to ensure that they get everything they were hoping for, and more. I admit it, I am a little more than obsessed with Pinterest, which is why I you should turn to my Pinterest board to get ideas. In fact, I’ve even had a couple create a Pinterest board and add me as an admin so that we could share ideas.
2. Outfits: With a theme in mind, it is easier to help couples choose an outfit (or two or three!) to wear on the day of the engagement shoot. If you research this theme, most websites will direct the couple to wear simple outfits that have similar or matching elements. While I do agree with this to a certain extent, this is your day and you should wear whatever you want. If that means a big sombrero or tie-dye shirts, so be it. The only thing I would definitely recommend is to be comfortable. If you are not at ease in your clothes, it will show in your pictures.
3. Hair/Makeup: Some brides use the engagement session as a chance to test out their wedding day hair and makeup. If you don’t want to give away your style for the big day, you should still visit the salon and get a fresh blowout or cut. Not only will you look great, you will feel confident and beautiful for your pictures. One pet peeve I have is when people come to a shoot with chipped nail polish. Make sure you either get a fresh coat or remove it entirely! Pampering isn’t limited to the ladies, however: have your guy get a fresh shave at the barbershop and he will feel just as good as you do.
4. Props: I always ask my couple if they have something tangible that is meaningful to them. Props are a great way to give idle hands something to hold during a session, but also give even more meaning to the final image. If you both love ice cream, go to a cute ice cream shop and share a cone. Can’t get enough of board games? Bring one along and the smiles will naturally follow.
5. Location: Picking a spot to shoot your engagement session can be difficult. Some people choose to leave it up to their photographer while others take control and choose a location for themselves. I love shooting outdoor locations but it is best to pick a spot that is meaningful to you and your significant other. If you have the time, try to pick at least two places, preferably not too far from one another. I think it is nice when couples change locations and outfits to bring variety to a shoot.
6. Have Fun: Seriously, this is important! This may be one of the last chances you get before your wedding to just enjoy being with one another without worrying about choosing flowers, picking a cake and wondering where to seat Aunt Mildred. Allow yourself to just let go for a few hours and relax. Make sure that you find a photographer who you feel comfortable with and will bring out the best in you. Remember, this person will most likely be shooting your wedding as well, so you want to build a comfortable rapport with him/her during the engagement session.