Congratulations, you are officially betrothed! This is such an exciting time for my pre-newlyweds, and most love to document their new milestone with photos. For many couples, setting up an engagement shoot proves to be a fun and meaningful journey into their upcoming wedding planning. Of course, some may worry they can’t handle the stress of arranging for the perfect engagement shoot, what with the larger task of ‘The Wedding’ looming in the future. Undoubtedly, it can seem like a lot to take on, but with the right tools and a committed photographer (ahem!) to help you along, the planning and shoot can be both simple and fun! To get you started, here are a few of my personal tips on how to ensure your engagement session is absolutely awesome:
1. Location, Location, Location
One of the very first questions I get asked when preparing for an engagement session is, “Where should we go?” Quite honestly, the answer to that inquiry is unique to each and every couple. Usually I probe a couple’s history by asking leading questions; i.e., “Where was your first date?,” “Where was your first kiss?,” “Where was the proposal?” I typically advise my couples that it is important to consider places that are meaningful to them. And not to worry - most photographers are more than willing to work with you regarding location choice… for instance, one couple I know had their photos taken in front of the Eiffel Tower at King’s Dominion!
2. Wardrobe Considerations
Ladies, here’s your chance to tell the men, “Yes, clothes are important!” Of course, this depends on your own sense of style, but my suggestions always include the following:
· Nothing too busy that will take attention away from you - here we’re talking crazy florals, bold prints, zigzags, etc.
· If it looks like it belongs under a black light, it’s generally a bad idea - no neon pinks or highlighter yellows. Sticking to neutral and subtle tones will bring out your natural skin tone and eye color.
· Playing Matchy-Matchy can be cute when done properly, BUT you probably don’t want to show up in perfectly matching plaid flannel shirts… unless you have a lumberjack theme, in which case we could make that work!
· Variety is the spice of life! Always bring a few extra tops and/or bottoms. In this aspect, you can easily change your outfit, which will provide us with a larger variety of photos.
· For the love of Pete, be comfortable. If you don’t typically wear it in ‘real life,’ it’s probably not something you’ll want to go with here. Comfy couples make happy couples and happy couples have fun on their engagement shoots - I promise.
With the use of props becoming more and more popular, I suggest that if you like and want to use props that you bring items that, again, have meaning to both of you. Will you be using these photos for your Save-the-Dates? A cute heart shaped chalk board or a hand-made sign with your wedding date on it would be a great idea. Other cute ideas include picnic set-ups, balloons, kites, bicycles, pets (yes, it’s totally OK to bring your furry loved ones along!), etc.
If you are like me (hair and make-up challenged), I highly recommend having a professional do your hair and make-up before your engagement shoot. Not only is it a great way to test a salon for your Big Day, this will also take the stress off of you having to do it yourself! If you have budget issues, perhaps a friend or family member that does great hair will help you out. Take the opportunity to have fun and experiment with different styles; my only further advice would be to keep things relatively natural. The focus should be on you and not your make-up; too much make-up can sometimes be distracting.
This is a ‘no-brainer’! It may take a couple of minutes to get warmed up, but once you get comfortable, photo shoots can be a very enjoyable experience. Be yourselves. Kiss each other when the time feels right, hold hands, jump up and down, crack jokes! If you’re silly, be silly. A good photographer will want to capture you in that pure state of being head-over-heels in love, so pretend like we’re not even there! Ignoring the camera and being relaxed is the best way to handle these shoots, you’ll have a lot more fun if you’re not constantly worried about what we’re doing. Just have a good time, we’ll make sure you look awesome :).