You’re engaged! Congratulations:) You’ve booked your dream wedding photographer (maybe us?) and are just knocking things off your to-do list like crazy. When you feel stressed, you just look down at your bling and say out loud: “fiancee” and it makes things a bit better. Maybe it’s time to get some pictures done!
The engagement session can bring different thoughts/emotions to mind for different people. Here’s a few:
- All people: I need to practice my smile in the mirror.
- The planner: What am I even gonna wear? Where are we going? What time? What if it rains on Saturday *looks at app* OMG 20% chance! *spirals*
- The one who feels awkward: What will I even do with my hands?
- The one who feels awkward: *sees an engagement photo on Instagram* Well, there is no way that we will look like that.
- The free spirit: I am very excited…*sees fedora in closet* YEP.
- When you have a good hair day: I was born for this.
- The ones who lost their fiancees in a battle with football/sports: I’m nervous but at least hubs will be forced to look at me for a couple hours.
- The wild ones: Hm. ***plans the pregame***
- The guy: …where are we eating after tho.
- The guy: …UK plays at 6 tho.
- All guys: …I love her and I will do it if it makes her happy:)
- Some guys: …*practices the smolder in the mirror* YEP.
- The cynic: What is the engagement session even for? Photographers probably got together in Insta group chats and in coffee shops and were like: WHAT IF we took pics of people making out in parks and charged more. GENIUS.
- The considerate: He’s going to hate it! I really care about these and I know that he will put on a smile for me but what if he is miserable?
- The inconsiderate: If you don’t smile like you mean it I literally might make you do it again and make you pay for it.
So, let’s talk about it.
What is an engagement session?
This will be different for different photographers, but it’s a lot like a double date. Of course, there are cameras and light meters and multiple outfits involved, but we like to make the engagement session as close to a date as possible. We will talk, laugh, cry (maybe), drink (please), and have a ton of fun. We will not force you to smile at the camera for two hours. We will not take the same picture in front of a million backgrounds. We will pose you. The poses will evolve into natural and genuine smiles/laughs/moments. We’ll ask you to whisper into each others ears. To stare into each other’s eyes. You’ll grow in confidence. At times, you’ll forget that the cameras are even there.
And then—the gallery. A bunch (honestly—too many) of pictures that take you back to real moments. You’ll be able to hear his laugh. See your real smile. Feel the way that he holds you tight.
Why do an engagement session?
I legitimately cannot stress how important the engagement session is to a photographer’s creative process in connecting with you and in preparing for the wedding day. Most of you will not need much convincing that the final product will be nice to have. A collection of photos of you and your fiancee in plain clothes, relaxed and having fun. A capture in time of your love unmitigated by the stresses that the future will bring. Maybe there’ll be a sunset involved. Maybe you’ll use your favorites on social media or for the save the dates. We love the final product too! And we love to see how you use them.
What we love more is the momentum that we can carry into the wedding day. Your engagement session is crucial for two reasons:
- Your photographer will be able to see the methods, poses, or prompts that make you light up. That bring out the REAL you. When the goal is to capture you in a real and genuine way and tell the truth of your relationship, this is the first glimpse that the photographer has into who you are individually and as a couple and how to make you feel more comfortable. The wedding day process becomes more concise and purposeful.
- You will get some practice. Let’s start with the obvious: unless you’ve modeled before, this will not be a natural process. It’s not a knock on you, just the truth. Don’t worry! Your photographer will not tell you to go stand in a field and “be cute.” You will learn to lean on the photographer’s lead. They will pose you and prompt you—some of it might feel extremely awkward, but that’s ok! Part of the process is figuring out what doesn’t work for you. By the end, you’ll likely need little direction and either will be enjoying yourself or forgetting there’s even a camera present. Think about how much easier your sunset portrait time will be on your wedding day with this experience!
Couple things I want to note:
- You will be spending A LOT of time on your big day with your photographers, so it’s very important to enjoy them as people or as a couple. The engagement session is one of the major opportunities to learn more about them on a deeper level.
- For reasons stated above, unless it cannot be avoided for whatever reason, you will not want to do your engagement session with a photographer that will not be capturing your wedding.
Where do I go?
Like I mentioned above, we like to treat the engagement session like a date. We do take couples to our favorite spots where the sun falls over the treelike perfectly or where we know that we’ll be able to have some private moments, but we always ask for you to take us to places that are special to you. The more that you can link yourself to the location, the more natural and authentic the session will look/feel. Maybe it’s where he asked you to marry him, your favorite bar, the coffee shop where you used to study together in college, where you guys go on runs together…it really can be anywhere.
What do I wear?
One of the first couples that we worked with did not ask this question. They had seen some examples of engagement sessions and thought that theirs should look the same. Dressed in clothes that they might not normally wear and hanging out in places that they wouldn’t normally be, the pictures turned out great, but she came to us a couple weeks later and asked if she could book us for another session. “It just doesn’t look like us,” she said. Since then, we’ve tried to help clients understand that they should dress comfortably. Not in sweatpants (maybe? If that’s your thing haha), but in clothes that aren’t completely out of the norm for you. Think about the location, too. If you want greenery and woods in the background, maybe trade in the dress and heels for jeans and boots. If we’re around large buildings in a downtown setting or at a bar, the heels could make more sense.
We usually like to end the session at sunset during “golden hour.” This is when we’ll have some of that creamy, soft light that often looks beautiful. As far as the time of year, this will obviously depend on your availability, how soon your wedding will be, and your preference. We’re down with whatever. We love fall—it’s produced some of our more picturesque scenes. Spring is bright and colorful. Summer—really can’t go wrong. Winter—we’d love to hold out for some snow, if that’s your thing.