Prepping For Your Engagement Session
You could say I'm an OVER communicator... probably to the point of annoyance with my couples. But I have found that the more I can communicate the better prepared and confident my couples are when it comes to their wedding day. And this is incredibly true of their engagement session.
To help my couples prep for their session, I send a very long and detailed email that explains my goals for the shoot, what to wear, how to pick a location and more. When I first started shooting engagement sessions, I expected my clients to show up to their shoot knowing exactly how to plan and what to do. And guess what, that never happened! After I got over my over-communication fear I decided that emailing my clients BEFORE the session does wonders to help them prepare, know what to expect and allows them to relax and have fun because they know that everything has been taken care of!
So to all those Bride and Grooms out there planning for their engagement session (especially my lovely couples!) here are some of the tips that I have found most helpful when planning!Location:
Location is very important when thinking about your session. I often advise couples to think about a place that has special meaning to them, whether it be a park that they visit every weekend or the downtown Bistro where they first met. Your location doesn't HAVE to be special but it will make your images more personable and meaningful! Don't worry if you think a place or an idea seems completely out of reach. The more we can make the engagement session about your uniqueness as a couple the more connection you will have to your images!
Finally don't be afraid to check out locations ahead of time. And remember that locations don't have to be perfect or "pretty", so don't be afraid to think outside the box. Please make sure that the location you have chosen allows photography and does not have any visiting restrictions.
Often your attire will be dictated by two things: your personality and the location of your session. Choose clothing attire that you feel confident and comfortable in, whether that be a black cocktail dress and heels or a tailored pair of jeans and flats. When dressing each other, choose colors, patterns and styles that are not matchy-matchy. Your goal is to compliment your fiancé's clothing choice. Select colors, fabrics and textures that are complimentary to your hair and skin type as well. Finally, remember your location when dressing for the session. High heels and a cocktail dress may look out of place at the beach, but would be perfect for an urban environment.
Makeup and Hair Styling:
Brides will ask if they should have their hair and makeup professionally done for the session and I often give an enthusiastic "YES!" in response! Professional hair and make up artists know how to make you look your best and will help you photograph well. They will enhance your best features helping you to feel beautiful and confident in front of the camera! You truly cannot beat the results from a professional hair and make up team! Many of my Brides will use the engagement session as a way to have a trial run of their Wedding Day hair and makeup! This is a great way to get a trial in, see how it translates on camera and make any changes you need before the Wedding Day!
If you choose to do your own hair and your make up keep these things in mind. Simple makeup can be hard to register in camera. Don't be afraid to apply your makeup more heavily than you normally would. While you don't want to go overboard, you do want to make sure that your makeup stands out and enhances your best features on camera. Typically this requires more makeup than you might be used too.
Also, for all the ladies, bring extra bobby pins or other styling products such as hairspray to help fly away hair and help your hair stay in place. Often couples will bring an extra bag with them to carry outfit changes, hair accessories, shoes and more.
An engagement session can be a great opportunity to add in personal touches that are meaningful to you. Examples could be your favorite sports jersey or hat, a sign with your wedding date, musical instruments, your favorite books, a pet and more! Again, I want to make sure that the engagement session highlights your uniqueness as a couple and is personalized to you!
Prepping Your Groom:
Let's face it, most men don't like to be in front of the camera! For many couples this will be the first time that they've spent in front of the camera in such a substantial way! Help your Groom feel more relaxed by sharing with him engagement sessions that I've photographed before. He'll see other Grooms looking good, having fun and enjoying the afternoon with their fiancé! This is a great way to ease expectations and calm any nerves!
It's important to remember to make sure to be on time! I'm a natural light photographer so the sun will dictate how long I can photograph you! Please take into consideration traffic, transportation, hair or makeup delays, and fashion emergencies! On average an engagement shoot will last between 1.5-2 hours so if you show up late, the shoot does not get extended but rather ends at the scheduled time. I want you to have the best experience and photographs possible and being on time helps to achieve this!!
Getting The Most From Your Session:
Come to your engagement session ready to relax and have fun! This is a carefree time that you should look forward to! It's an excuse to spend the afternoon with your fiancé celebrating your future together. Often couples will make a day of it, going out to dinner or a movie afterwards! Come ready to be affectionate, laugh, and play!
So there you have it, my best advice to help couple's plan and prepare for their engagement session! If you're a Bride, is there anything else you'd like to know on how to make the most of your session? If you're a photographer how have you helped your client's prepare for their session? I'd love to hear!! Happy Wednesday everyone, stay warm! It's COLD out there!