“Here’s the most important thing you’ll need to know about wedding photos: book the best photographer you can afford as soon as you set the date. The wedding music will fade, the flowers will die and you won’t remember if you ate, let alone what you ate, at the reception. But the wedding pictures will last forever.”
-Leslie Milk (Author) It’s her wedding but I’ll cry if I want to
When was the last time you hired a professional to take your photo? It was probably your senior year of high school? Or perhaps more recently for a company directory. In any case, you may have not looked for a professional photographer in some time, especially not for something as exciting as your engagement. When you select your photographer, they should be able to help guide you through some of the choices that need to be made when picking the time and location, but many parts of your engagement session should be tailored to you and your fiancée.
Time of Day: Every photographer knows that light is the most important aspect of photography. No light means no photos. They may have a preference as to when the session is held, more than likely when the light is soft early in the morning or nearing the end of the day when “the golden hour” approaches as the shadows are long, and the atmosphere is moody. But, perhaps your shoot would be best held in bright sun light. Or maybe you’d prefer a shoot at dusk when you can play with the dramatic, staged lighting. Tell your photographer how you want your photos to turn out and they can help pick the best time.
Location: The location of your engagement session can be tied to somewhere special. Perhaps where the proposal happened, maybe your first date, or even a significant memory that the two of you share, even if others are not familiar with it. If you both enjoy movies, you can set up a “movie” in a field, with a projector and screen, blankets, ticket stubs, popcorn and drinks. You can add so many details to a stylized engagement shoot that will bring out the personality in your relationship to share with others. Choosing a location or theme that represents your relationship will help you both to feel more comfortable during the shoot and will leave you with photographs with more meaning than if taken at a random location. If you need help finding a location, talk with your photographer. They should be able to suggest locations to set up a stylized shoot or lead you in the right direction as to how to customize your engagement session.
Wardrobe: Your wardrobe can create a feeling in your photos. It’s best to be comfortable in your clothing; don’t feel that you have to match or coordinate too much. Try to dress within the same season and style; such as glamor, urban, country, vintage, causal, or formal. I would suggest looking in catalogs, magazines, fashion blogs or even in your favorite stores for inspiration. Maybe there’s a particular color or pattern that you both love or that has meaning for you that you can incorporate. If you have a significant piece of jewelry that you’d like to wear, that can also be used as inspiration to help you choose your wardrobe. Make sure you keep your location in mind. You don’t want to blend into the background, you want to stand out! If your engagement session is in a forest, I’d suggest staying away from green and brown colors. If you plan on jumping in a pool, I wouldn’t wear white and also suggest bringing a change of clothes. Depending on the photographer you work with, you may want to have more than one outfit, especially if you have more than one location planned.
In your shoot, trust your photographer. It may take some time for them to get adjusted to the location as they will be paying attention to all the surrounding elements and trying to find the best way to showcase your love. Your engagement shoot is like a practice run with your photographer before your wedding day. After the shoot, it’s gives you the opportunity to provide honest feedback about what you loved and what you’d change.
The most important part is that your engagement shoot is that it is all about you! When you first meet with your photographer tell them about who you are. I suggest that you tell them how you met, how the proposal happened and any fun stories you have about each other. The better they get to know you, the more comfortable you will be in your engagement session, and the more they will be able to bring out the personality in your photos. Talking to one another during your shoot will help keep you relaxed. Tell each other why you love one another, kiss each other’s foreheads, and give a piggy back ride! The more fun you have, the more moments you will have captured conveying the story of your love for one another. Relax and have fun in your shoot. Flirt. Kiss. Be sexy. Just have as much fun as you can! This is the beginning of the celebration of your upcoming marriage, so let it show!