We tend to get several recurring questions before engagement sessions, so we decided this week to make a blog post on important things you should know before your engagement session! We tried to be specific but if you have any questions or comments please feel free to write them below!
Probably about the most important part about your shoot will be the location you choose. If you guys have a spot that’s significant to both of you, whether it be where you met or where he proposed, or a place that you frequent together, that can be a great choice for your engagement session. When we shot Marlana and Max’s engagement session (seen here), we shot at the lounge where Max approached Marlana for the very first time. We asked prior to showing up with all our equipment. Luckily the owner of the lounge was very nice and allowed us to use the venue before it opened. Most of the time people are very accommodating but it’s always a good idea to check beforehand if you need permits and what-not for other locations.
For Melissa and Etienne’s engagement session (seen here) we wanted an all-American look. They’re originally from France but met after moving to Little Rock, Arkansas so they wanted to incorporate that American look/vibe for their friends and family back home.
We think that for us that grew up and live here, we take it for granted how beautiful it can be seen with fresh eyes. The week before our shoot we scouted for a barn/field. Luckily we found this amazing barn venue where they hold weddings and receptions. We spoke with the owner and asked them about permits and if it was available the following week. We sent Melissa and Etienne photos of the location, which they loved! We booked the times and walked in with no problem.
The worst thing you can do is have your hair/make-up professionally done, be all prepared for that location and then get turned away the day of. Although you always have a back-up plan, it’s so much easier and stress-free when you’re prepared. So do your research and everything will run perfectly smooth!
2. What should we wear?
Probably one of the most common questions we get is, “what should we wear?”. This really goes back to the original point of picking the correct location. If we’re doing a beach session, for example, a suit and tie wouldn’t be first choice.
If we’re doing a downtown city shoot, then something more dressy would work. Basically what you want is something that you could see yourself wearing that also matches the look of the location. Don’t go overboard either, because you’ll feel uncomfortable and you’ll feel like it’s not really you. We still want your personalities to show. Bring options. You want to be able to change in case you change your mind, or in cases where we change locations, we always suggest bringing a second look so you essentially get two different photo shoots in one day.
Pretend you’re going on a date, and you’ll look great! And if you decide to go on a date after the engagement session, then you’re ready to go!
3. What about my hair and make-up?
Although you can get away with doing your hair and make-up yourself, we always suggest either getting it professionally done at a salon or a friend can help you out so it’s one less thing to worry about.
Additionally we always suggest bringing something with you to the shoot to touch up, and definitely hair spray to tame any stray hairs if it gets windy/humid. Knowing that with time and with all the running around we could potentially do, we try to get the close-ups out of the way earlier on so it’s not as crucial that every strand is in place in the shots later on.
4. What time should we plan the engagement session?
Photography is all about having great light. You can manipulate a photo in photoshop as much as you want, but if you have hard unflattering light, there’s not much you’re going to be able to do. We always schedule our engagement sessions about an hour to an hour and a half before the sun sets. That way you get that amazing afternoon light, an awesome sunset shot, and some night shots as well.
Scheduling it too early means you don’t get the changes in light and your entire engagement session looks like one long shoot. Whereas doing it near sunset you get two or three different looks as far as light goes.
5. Should we bring props?
We encourage you to bring something that will add to the shoot and you guys find personal to you as well. Keep in mind that you can potentially use these photos for your “save the dates” so having something with the date or your initials is a good start.
From there, it’s basically free reign. You can always bring props and not use them, but it’s fun to play around with the idea. Be creative and have fun!
6.Trust Your Photographer
Ok, so maybe this one is a little biased! However, sometimes we’ll see a scene completely different than what you’ll be seeing. So if your photographer suggest something, just trust them and go along with it.
At the end of Marlana and Max’s shoot which took place mostly indoors because of the rain, we asked them, “Hey guys, since we’re done, are you cool with getting soaked?!” They were on board immediately, so we set up our lighting before bringing them out. Once it was all ready, we had them run into the rain and they pretty much just had fun with it. After about 45 seconds in the rain we had exactly what we wanted and we had them run back.
It turned out to be our favorite photo of the day, and all because they were willing to try something and trust that we had a good idea in our head.
Conclusion: Have Fun!
Your engagement session should be fun! Remember these are the photos that basically announce to the world that you’re getting married. Unlike the wedding, you’re not rushing, there’s no deadline, you don’t need to keep track of 50 different things going on.
So enjoy, have fun, and remember why the two of you are there. A lot of the times, we tell our couples to “ignore me” or “pretend you’re on a date” and I just shoot with a zoom lens from far away so they can get playful. We tend to get a lot of natural photos that way.
We hope this helps and as always if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below and we will get back to you as soon as we can!
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