So you finally found your photographer, and you’re so excited to start working with them and getting some stellar images, but you’re thinking: Engagement photos? Yet another thing I have to figure out! Fear not, this everything E-shoot guide will have you feeling excited and relaxed. This whole process is meant to be fun, remember?
Engagement shoots have evolved into an integral art of the wedding photography. They are important because they allow you and your photographer to get to know each other better and maybe meet face to face if you haven’t already.
You will get to know their shooting style, see how you jive together in the field, and help you and your beau feel at ease in front of the camera. Consider it practice before the finale. It will develop trust with your photographer and in yourself – because you’re going to look like a rock star.
Most importantly, this is a special time in your life together as a couple, which can be overlooked in the hustle and bustle, and often stressful, whirlwind of event planning. Take this photo shoot time to set aside your venue worries, bridesmaids concerns and TLC addiction to just have fun with each other, and refocus on your connection.
Some guys are even getting a photographer to hide and take snapshots while he proposes – a pre engagement shoot, shoot. This is a new thing that could become more popular, as emotions are high and the photos are magic.
Now on to the Nitty Gritty
Think about locations that mean something to your relationship – nothing is too boring or bizarre. How about that coffee shop where you noticed each other for the first time? How about that park where he proposed or that beach where you had your first kiss? Or just somewhere where you both like to venture together.
If you would rather, you can ask your photographer to pick out a location for you, they will throw out a few suggestions and you can brainstorm together. Either Way, there are a couple of things to consider. The first query I present my brides is whether they would like the shoot to be a Rural or Urban setting.
Rural is a more rustic look – open fields, beaches, forests, anything country.
Urban is something modern and upscale, often including interesting architecture, lighting and cityscapes.
Think about what would suit you both more – some couples are diehard urbanites and some love the rustic look. I really like both, they each lend themselves to a unique look and if I could only save one from a burning building, it would be a sad day.
Sometimes you can do both looks in one shoot, depending on how far away the commute is among the different locations. Be sure that the commute time doesn’t eat up the playtime. If you have a considerable commute in mind, get your photographer’s opinion on timing, and maybe talk about a longer shoot. The city park is the happy medium.
Sometimes it helps to keep it congruent with your wedding theme: If you are getting married under a giant arbutus tree, you might want to have some vintage engagement images to adorn your barn-turned-reception atmosphere. If your reception is at a modern hotel, it might lend itself better to have some photos of you smooching in a subway tunnel as the metro lights stream behind you.
The Rural vs. Urban rule is just a basic guideline though; I personally love out of the box settings and quirky ideas. When I have a couple that is up for anything, we tend to end up with some very unique and often humorous imagery.
Be sure to check the weather when booking a date. It if calls for slight showers, I don’t worry about it too much as it often just ends up being overcast in my area (which is my personal preferred lighting). Bring an umbrella just in case. Even if you do get a little drizzle, that can look spectacular when lit from behind with a strobe and overall can really add a fairytale element to your shoot. Stormy clouds can look dramatic as well.
It’s not preferred, but there is, ahem, a silver lining if it does happen.
Same goes for the wedding day, but I hear you get a little extra luck for that one. Talk to your photographer about whether they feel comfortable shooting in a little rain. It’s always good to have an indoor location in mind as a fall back in case it gets torrential.
Time of day is important.
If the weather calls for bright sunshine, and we don’t want that look for your particular shoot, you can do the photos earlier in the morning before the sun is too high and hot. Dusk is referred to as “The Golden Hour” and is popular for stunning sunset photos along the beach, and the increasingly popular evening photography, lit by an external flash or ambient city light.
That’s just dandy but what do we wear?
You’ve been stressing about this one even before you booked the photographer. Here are some tips:
–Don’t wear the same thing (unless it’s intentional humor).
–Do wear something comfortable (you won’t be able to relax if you’re worried about your strapless falling down).
–Don’t brandish large logos (or they’ll think that Nikey sponsored the wedding)
–Do dress to match the location (those stilettos are for the city mouse)
–Do bring more than one outfit (I tell my brides to bring a casual dress for movement, and skinny jeans for later) (talk to your photographer about their outfit policy).
–Do bring accessories (funky hair pieces, jewelry, seasonal winter wear).
–Don’t let your man wear a ball cap (hat hair is better than no face).
–Do put a little oomph into your makeup if that’s how you normally roll (many of my brides go for the professional hair and makeup discount as part of my photo package – it really enhances the experience and may help you nail down a stylist for your walk down the aisle).
–Don’t stress about it at all, these are just guidelines – ultimately you should be yourself and wear what represents you (from ripped jeans to a mascot costume-anything goes).
Are fun. Bring anything that you think would look cool. Popular ones include:
I have seen crazier things and honestly the sky is the limit! Tell your photographer if you are bringing any props and they can brainstorm some prop-associated ideas ahead of time, or ask them if they have a prop idea in mind for the location you’re going to.
This is a trendy new take on the engagement shoot. You have your basic themes: Rural and Urban, but you can take it to the next level. If you are a big fan of a certain romantic movie or novel, you could recreate some scenes or use elements.
I saw an amazing one that is themed around “The Notebook” it seriously looks like scenes from the movie!
A photographer friend of mine, Eunice Montenegro, did an awesome job with a “Twilight” theme.
If you fancy the theme notion, you can honestly re-create any famous romance, especially if you have the right location for it: The Waldorf for Serendipity, Sleepless in Seattle etc.
I haven’t personally done a themed shoot yet, but I would love to do Pride and Prejudice or Princess Bride.
Your only job is to have fun
You are not un-photogenic. Period. If you are having fun then you will look good. Smiles and laughter are amazing like that. For the most part, you will be cuddling up, as natural as you do on the couch :)
You’ve chosen your photographer based on whether or not you get along with them, and whether or not you like their photography style. Which means that you trust them. He or she will give you ample direction.
So just kick back, run around, goof off and have fun with your other. Because you’ll be surprised at how fun it is and how comfortable you will actually feel.