As spring approaches, many of you will be looking forward to getting engagement pictures done. Engagement sessions (or e-sessions for short) are a great way for you and your groom to get used to being in front of the camera. Let's face it: very few of us are used to being in front of that big 77 milimeter eye, and it can be intimidating. Having an e-session helps you settle down, build confidence, and eventually let your guard down more on your wedding day.
Here are some things that I've found help you be at your best at your session:
- Have your hair and makeup done professionally that day. It's amazing how often this gets overlooked. Also, it's a great way to start solidifying a relationship with makeup artists you're looking at for your big day.
- Block out lots of time. I never book anything else on the same day as an e-session, because I want my attention to be solely on you. If you're rushing straight from work, it's hard to refocus and get into a mood for romantic scenes. In addition, try and start early enough that we get good light, but not so late that we have to rush to beat the sunset. Also, arrive well-rested from the night before, and well-fed-- the less stress on your body, the better looking the expressions, and the happier you'll be with the way you look.
- Have multiple locations in mind. I always prefer to have you choose locations that mean something to you-- maybe it's where you first met, or where he proposed, or a place that you spent tons of time together. Put a few of those places together, plus a spot or two that fits your style, and you have a short list to start from. Keep in mind that not all of them are necessarily at their peak when you're getting your portraits done, however-- last year, one bride picked the Arboretum in March and the flowers hadn't started to bloom at all yet! Oh, and I get asked all the time for the same place. Triangle Park. Or Keeneland. Nothing against them, but if you pick them, add something else with a different feel altogether as well. It'll add some energy to your shoot.
- In addition to multiple locations, I recommend multiple outfits for both of you. I'm not going to rush you--I've had one or two e-sessions that went 4 hours-- so go for it with extra outfits. I tell people to wear clothes that make them feel comfortable but confident. Talk about the clothes beforehand with your fiance so that you wear things that go together at the right times in the shoot. You don't have to dress like twins (hey, I'm a twinparent and I don't dress my twins like twins!) but try and think on the same lines.
- Try something different: Most of my shoots are late afternoon. It's when the light's prettiest. But it's just as pretty in the morning, and it has a peaceful feeling, especially around things like ponds and other water effects. I'm dying to do a romantic night shoot downtown this year. If you're up for it, I might even be persuaded to do one with you even if you booked a coverage that includes an e-session.
By the way, don't forget that a guestbook of your engagement photos (20 pages, 8x10 size, $125) is a great way to use these photos beyond the usual gifts. Ask me how we can customize a book for your wedding to get the best responses from your guests.