Tips for the Perfect Engagement Session
Woooohooo! You’ve booked your wedding photographer and you couldn’t be more excited for the big day!
Now it’s on to plan your engagement session.. But where do you even begin?!
“What do I need to do for my engagement session?”
This is probably one of the most frequently asked questions of a wedding photographer. Today, I am here to help you plan your perfect engagement session! A professional engagement session can be so much fun and they’re a great way for your photographer to get to know you better (and for you to get to know your photographer). Not only are you going to get some gorgeous images out of it, but you will also leave feeling excited for your wedding photos! Engagement sessions are basically a practice round for the real thing: wedding day.
I know that some photographers choose not to include engagement photos in all of their wedding packages, but for me, it’s a must have. Not only do I get to know my couples sense of humor, but I also learn how my couples look when they hug at certain angles, or if they are masters at the infomous Emily Reedstrom Photography “Teeth Kiss,” but, I also pick up on their insecurities, which help me to insure that both bride and groom feel like their best, most confident self on their wedding day. You have no idea how many times I hear my brides say “Don’t get my double chin in this photo,” or, “Am I doing the skinny arm right?”
LADIES: You are beautiful. Inside and out! I will be the first person to admit that there are things that I don’t like about myself, and if there are certain traits about yourself that you don’t like, it’s *so* important for your photographer to know about them before they show up to your wedding day. Personally, I HATE how my forehead looks from the right. I part my hair to the left and I swear I look bald if you photograph me from the right. That reason right there, is why I offer free engagement sessions to all of my couples who book me as their wedding photographer.
So if you want to have a perfect engagement session, here are a few insider tricks to help you plan for a fun afternoon with your wedding photographer.
Pick your location
First things first: You need to pick a date, location and time to for your engagement session. I’m a natural light kinda gal, so all of my engagement sessions are either done in the first two hours after sunrise, or the last two hours before sunset. This time is coined “golden hour” because the sun is low in the sky and it creates a beautiful warm glow to your photos. Also keep in mind that depending on the time of year, you might not be able to book your wedding photographer for a Friday, Saturday or Sunday. I know that my weekends typically fill up super quickly with weddings, races and the elusive “family time,” so if you want to skip the line of weekend-waiters, consider booking a weekday session.
Being a wedding professional, I have photographed at hundreds of different locations. I have lists and links that I can share with you if you need inspiration, or maybe you and your honey have a spot in mind already. Like your favorite bar to get a fancy after-work cocktail at, or maybe you have a running route that you two go on every Saturday with the prettiest view of the city. Maybe you guys are outdoorsy and love going on hikes together, maybe you had your first date in Savannah and want to take a road trip.
There is no location that is too far. I love traveling for my couples and I can guarantee you won’t be the first couple that I’ve had the opportunity to travel with. In my day dreams, I am photographing an engagement session in front of the Eiffel Tower or on a gondola in Venice. Maybe in your day dreams your engagement photos are at the top of a mountain at a ski resort, or strolling the streets of Charleston at sunset. Whatever your dreams are, share them with me so that I can help you have the most gorgeous engagement photos ever! I mean seriously - who doesn’t want to make all of their friends jealous by having professional pictures of you and your fiancé looking like America’s Next Top Model (London take-over addition).
Plan. Your. Outfits.
Second on the agenda! I know this can seem really obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people don’t plan ahead. You want your outfits to be coordinated with your honey, but not so matchy-matchy. I typically recommend a minimum of two outfits for my couples: you definitely want something that is more dressy for one outfit (floor length dress for her, and a jacket for him), and then your second outfit can be something more casual if you want (or you can bring two dressy outfits!).
-Dress it up! If you’ve ever wanted to wear a sequined dress but you’re like WHEN would I ever wear this (I do this all the time) … THIS IS YOUR MOMENT! Girl, you rock that ballet skirt and heels, go for the floor length dress, or get yourself a beautiful flower crown!
-Pamper yourself! Yep, go get your hair and make up professionally done. Not only will you *feel* super glam, but your features will pop in the photos. Don’t forget to get your nails done too!
-Help your man. We all know guys need help with their outfits. Chances are, 2 hours of smiling for a camera is not his idea of fun. But tell him why it’s so important to you and help him with his outfit choices. Also, I’m not above bribing him with beers…
-Wearing the same colored shirts is a big no-no! White next to white will *never* photograph in the same tone. Either somebody has washed their shirt too many times, or it’s been thrown in with a pink sock once, regardless, don’t do it. Same goes for blacks.
-Wear clashing patterns. If you’re going to wear a striped sweater, have your honey go with a solid button down and jacket. You don’t want to overload what could be a beautiful engagement photo with too many busy patterns.
-Wear something that is uncomfortable. There’s nothing worse than feeling uncomfortable in your outfit choice. It will show through to your pictures. Pick something you know you look great in from all angles and you will feel like a super model.
Bring on the Props!
Okay, so we’ve planned your location, and you’ve got your outfits ready and waiting, but maybe you want to really make the engagement pictures extra special. You want them to scream YOU. The idea list is endless. Are you all about coffee dates? Bring your coffee cups. Do you have a whole crew of dogs that are literally your children? BRING THEM PLEASE. Maybe you’re obsessed with flower crowns - I have two that I can bring. If you feel super nervous you can bring a cooler with an adult beverage; if you’re hungry, let’s plan a picnic! Whatever kind of fun hobby you and your hubby love to do together, bring it to your session to help create a very unique and YOU photographs.
I am literally the most flexible and easy-going photographer, and I live to make my clients happy and to bring beautiful photos into the world, so if you think you have a crazy idea in your head that you just can’t get rid of, tell me about it! I want you to be comfortable and relaxed in front of the camera, and sometimes having the security of familiarity is just what you might need to be your truest self in front of me and my camera!