Updated: Apr 23, 2021
It's no secret that getting engaged is uncharted territory for most couples -- it's this weird limbo between being more than a significant other and less than spouses - it's being Fiancés!
Now with this new and exciting transition comes a few fun and exciting to-do items - the next biggest one next to planning the wedding is getting your Engagement Photos taken! This is a monumental time that you'll want to remember forever!
"Take a lot of pictures. You'll only regret the ones that you didn't take.” - Cobie Smulders as Jo in Safe Haven
We can most certainly help with getting some romantic and joyful images taken, and many of our packages include a complimentary Engagement Session - so win win! But we're here to tell you what you can expect and how to prepare for this (more than likely) first professional photo session together!
What to Expect for Your Session
Our Engagement Photography services start with a one-hour session (but more time can be added if you're feeling adventurous!) and typically only requires one Photographer. Sometimes an assistant is required if there are special lighting/timing or other circumstances.
We will pick a location -- whether outdoors in a field, atop a mountain or in a more industrial, Urban setting, it's entirely up to you! A good thing to keep in mind when picking a location (as well as scheduling your session) is how long does it take to get to THE spot for photos and will the time spent walking, hiking, parking, etc. eat away at your photo taking time? You'll want to keep this in mind for the time of day and season as well - don't want to be stuck on top of a mountain when it gets dark or cold! But don't worry too much about that -- when you pick your location, we will help determine a time during the day that will have the best lighting and is safe for everyone!
Tip: You can bet that any session with Mountains in the background are going to be held in the evening to get a nice sunset (and so we don't blind you!)
On the day of your session, you can expect a fully-prepared, on-time, and borderline giddy Photographer waiting for you! If you're a little camera shy -- don't worry we'll make super awkward jokes or pop culture references to crack a smile out of you and break that ice real quick. If you're a little more confident in front of the lens -- you can expect the same thing to be honest.
As far as posing goes, we will basically follow your lead -- we prefer genuine, in-the-moment expressions and poses because then we know we're capturing what we like to call the "Couple's Essence" or in other words their true personalities. Of course, if you're a little timid or aren't quite sure what you want to do, we will always step in and give direction as needed. We won't leave you hangin'!
Regardless of location, you can expect to do a fair bit of walking to find unique spots. So if you plan to make a statement with your footware -- definitely bring some comfortable walking shoes, slip-ons, or in some locations hiking boots in addition to the fancy ones to keep your feet (and your smile) happy!
You can also expect to smooch -- a lot. If you and your partner aren't really into the PDA kind of stuff, definitely let us know otherwise prepare to pucker up!
We're pretty all over the place with the kinds of emotions we want to portray through our imagery -- we love it when couples crack themselves up and are quirky, but we also love tenderness, and passion -- so be prepared for some serious dopamine, serotonin, endorphins, and oxytocin and know that it's ok to do whatever feels right in that moment - we won't mind one bit!
And to prove it, we had images taken of us with our Renaissance Fair costumes on because it just felt right and was a portrayal of a huge part of what made us - us. *Check out our instagram for those lovelies.
How to Prepare for Your Session
There a couple of items you'll want to think about and prepare before Session day:
What to Wear
This is super important and we want you to read this carefully -- It does not matter so long as you feel like yourself!
Let us elaborate a little on what we mean here. When it comes to taking engagement photos, all your doing is capturing memories with your soon-to-be spouse; stealing moments in time using photographs so you can relive them until you're old and gray. When you look at these images you want to see yourself looking back, not what you think others want you to look like. So if you're a shorts and t-shirt guy, a button up may feel a little uncomfortable and it will show through your images.
With all that being said, you are paying for professional photos, so we don't necessarily recommend rolling straight out of bed and coming to your session either. It also depends on your location - having a color scheme to match is great but we also don't want you blending in with your surroundings like a chameleon.
You also do not have to match your partner - while outfit coordination is ok, it's matchy matchy, and flashy patterns that you want to steer clear of -- we want the attention on your faces, not your clothes!
If you plan on changing outfits during your session (keep in mind where you'll be able to change at your location!) consider wearing layered items rather than having to completely change out of one into another in case there is little to no privacy.
What to Bring to the Session
We recommend bringing some sort of backpack or tote bag with additional items, especially if shooting somewhere where you won't have easy access to your car. That way you also have something to put your phones, keys, etc. so they aren't stickin' out of your pockets in your photos.
As we already mentioned, bringing an extra set of comfortable/protective footwear is the biggest ticket item and your feet with thank you! Bring either those layered clothing items or outfits to change into, along with any jewelry or accessories you want switched out throughout the session.
Of course, don't forget your beautiful engagement ring! Polish that sucker up the morning of with a little toothpaste and let it shine!
Practice your Smile
No really - if you are not used to having your photo taken or are a little nervous about how to smile - practice! The week before your session stand in front of a mirror at least once a day and practice your most genuine smile. This will create a muscle memory in your facial muscles and make it easier to smile naturally during your session -- if it feels silly, you're probably doing it right!
Can We Bring Props or Dogs to the Session?
We absolutely adore having dogs in our sessions, however their involvement should be minimal. Even the most well trained dogs get distracted and it can eat away at our time together faster than you might think. If you do want to include your furry friends, we do ask that you also bring a friend or family member to handle them while we take other portraits on our own. Keep in mind your location -- many trails and parks do not allow animals, so we'll want to make sure we follow all the rules! *Don't forget some doggy bags for any waste your pet may leave!*
As far as props go - we ask to keep them to a minimum. The goal of an Engagement session is to focus on you as a couple - not something you're holding. If you have signs for Save the Dates or Thank you cards, by all means bring them, but we'll want to shoot those first thing and then keep them out away. Of course if there is a theme you're going for and you need props to achieve it, let's do it! Just remember it needs to be about you!
When to Schedule Your Session
Ideally we want to get you on our calendar as soon as possible so our schedule doesn't fill up and leave you hangin', but there are a few things to consider when picking your session date:
If you are planning to use your Engagement images for Save the Dates (which should be sent out six-eight months prior to your wedding date) you'll want to make sure you book your session 3-4 weeks before you absolutely have to send them out. This makes sure we have a session time available, inclement weather causing a rescheduling and it gives us plenty of time to edit without having to expedite the process (trust me- you can tell when photos are rushed in post-processing!)
If you don't plan to use them for anything that requires a deadline, we just recommend scheduling your session about 4-6 months prior to your wedding date. That way you can make all your family members swoon over your engagement and really enjoy them before you get the end-all-be-all Wedding Images that will steal the show!
We've already talked about picking your location and what to remember for that, but you also want to consider the time of year you want your Engagement photos taken. If at all possible, we recommend having them taken in a different season than when your wedding will be held. It helps separate them and give them their own unique look and feel. Most commonly, couples like to have their engagement photos taken in Autumn/Winter while their Wedding will take place in Spring or Summer. Any combination works, but make it your own! Just keep in mind the weather, your location (especially in the Mountains where roads can be closed for the winter!), any time sensitivities and the overall feel you're looking for.
An Engagement Session isn't necessary if you're eloping.
WRONG. Frankly there is no reason not to have an Engagement Session. Your Fiancé is still your Fiancé whether you get married at a venue with family and friends or in the woods somewhere by yourself. Don't cut yourselves short; enjoy this special time in your life together and do it however you want! We'll be here to capture it all. We offer stand alone Engagement Sessions AND we offer Elopement Packages that include an Engagement Session! Every couple is different and we are here to accommodate your uniqueness!
It is our mission for your Engagement Session to be one of the best pre-marital experiences you have - better than your bridal shower, better than your bachelor/bachelorette party (tough one but we'll try!) We promise to help you plan and prepare so it's a low stress and mega fun day spent with your sweetie, because you've got enough to worry about! If you have questions, we will be here for you every step of the way so you can feel confident in us as your Photographers and in yourself to have a great time! Mike and I, while married now, experienced the Engagement stage, so we know how daunting it can truly be (and we were engaged during the beginning of COVID!) Here's our Engagement photo as a treat.
Call or email us for availability and package information for your upcoming Engagement Session (and hopefully your Wedding/Elopement!) And of course, we are an open book- reach out to us for more information on Wedding/Elopement tips and tricks anytime!
As always, thank you so much for reading! Until next time!
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