Planning for weddings is stressful. So many details, budgeting, you don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, etc. I've never even been a bride, but I've been a maid of honor, bridesmaid, and a personal attendant. I've seen the process of it all and it amazes me every time.
However, don't let the engagement shoot add to that stress. Let it be the fun part! I tell my brides-to-be that this is all about capturing the love and even the unique little quirks between them and their fiances, plus getting some fancy looking shots for the parents and grandparents to swoon over.
I often get the same questions, so I compiled a bunch of answers for the most common questions I get from clients.
1. Who is your wedding photographer?
Many wedding photographers, including myself, include an engagement shoot in the wedding packages. I believe its a great opportunity to get to know the couple and learn how to best work with them. Its also a chance for you to see the photographer in action. Either you can get to know your wedding photographer, or kind of audition a photographer to see if their style is right for your wedding.
2. What represents you?
As you're planning and making decisions on anything, from clothes to timing, one thing should stick on your mind- think about what best represents you as a couple. If you're a couple who spends your summers boating, maybe think about a photo shoot on a beach with water in the background, during the summer. If you're both avid sports fans, think about incorporating your teams into the shoot. (In a shoot I have coming up, the couple mentioned bringing jerseys and swinging past a ball diamond!) Its okay to be creative, and its also okay to stick to simplicity. In the end, these pictures are for you to look back on.
3. What to wear.
First off, wear something you and your partner feel good in. You'll want to be relaxed and feel confident. Think about your personal style and consider both the season and location. However, if you're like me and need extra help when it comes to fashion, these tips might help you.
It helps to choose outfits ahead of time, so you're not scrambling the day of. Solid colors are a safe go-to, whether they're pastel or deeper colors. Lace and flowy dresses or skirts always look good on camera. Be careful with stripes or big blocky prints. They sometimes add weight on camera. Of course, try to coordinate colors with your partner, or at least make sure they don't wear a color that clashes with you. I also tell my clients don't be afraid to experiment! Throw in a pair of bright heels or a big necklace to add some creativity to an outfit.
4. Where to go.
Think of a place that means something to you and your partner. Some couples love going to the place they got engaged at, if possible. Recently, I went to the bride-to-be's parents' farm for some sweet country themed pictures. Location can add so much meaning to the shoot.
For a more generic background, my go-to is always a local park, like Palisades-Kepler State Park. There are trees, water, trails, roads, and plenty of options to choose from for backgrounds. Before the shoot, do some exploring and searching around. You'd be surprised what you can find around the area you live in!
5. When to schedule them.
In my opinion, it doesn't matter when the pictures are scheduled. I've had brides schedule them a week after being engaged to two years after being engaged. Some people prefer to have them in a season opposite of their wedding. For example- Summer engagement pictures before a Winter wedding. Just remember that the season will determine what you can wear and where you can go. As for time of day, do your best to avoid the harsh sunlight that usually comes around noon. The best pictures always happen in the hour before sunset due to lighting. I always schedule engagement shoots no earlier than 4:00, depending on the season.
6. Communication is key!
Communication is key to a good marriage, right? Well its also a big help in a good photo shoot! Talk to your photographer. Let them know what you're nervous about. Tell them what you have in mind. See something on a social media site that caught your eye? Show them! They might not be able to recreate the exact shot, but they'll get a better feel for what you want. Most photographers have been through this many times and could be a big help. I have not met a photographer yet who doesn't want to establish a good relationship with their clients. Being comfortable with each other will help the whole process go smoothly.
Most importantly, remember to have fun with it!