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Prepping For Your Engagement Session

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really hard to believe that I have NEVER posted a blog post about how to prep for your engagement session. To be honest, I think the reason I have never posted about this is because I have never needed to. My brides are really good about picking out outfits and letting their groom know what to expect. However, I have received several emails from other photographers asking how I prep my couples for engagements and so I thought a blog post may be helpful for not only photographers but for brides as well!

When you’re prepping for your engagement session, there are a few things to keep in mind. This is supposed to be FUN! This is the shoot with no pressure. On the wedding day we’ll be crunched for time, your dress won’t be able to get dirty and there won’t be time to chat and get to know one another.  Your engagement session is your chance to get to know me, get comfortable with how I work and have FUN in front of the camera. Now don’t get me wrong, your wedding day will be a BLAST! But it’s so helpful to have a great engagement session before the big day so that you know what to expect! My couples that have an engagement session are PROS by the wedding day and it shows!

After you book with your photographer, whether it’s me or someone else, you’ll need to start thinking about when you want your engagement session to be done. Some couples prefer to have their portraits done in the season opposite of the season of their wedding. So if you’re having a spring wedding, it may be nice to have a fall engagement session. Now, you also have to take your photographer’s availability into consideration. We book sessions about 2 months in advance and we only shoot engagements on weekday evenings. This will vary with every photographer and every season.

Ok, so here are some steps to take to make sure that you’re 100% prepared for your engagement session! :

1. Outfits : Most couples have two outfits, one casual and one that is dressier. The BEST advice I can give about outfit selection would be to try to COORDINATE instead of matching. Try to stay away from really tiny patterns, they won’t show up in your images.  Also, bold jewelry, scarves, and colored shoes photograph really well! Make sure you look like YOU and feel comfortable!

2. Preparing your Groom: This is the part that all of you brides need to pay attention to! You know your groom better than anyone else and so only you can help prepare him for this shoot. If your fiance’ is completely unaware of this style of photography, he is going to think it’s really strange when I tell you two to “Nuzzle” or get “Nose to nose”.  He’s expecting a few pictures smiling at the camera, showing off the ring and that’s it! So it’s your job to explain to him why you love this style of photography and help him know what to expect! I suggest sitting down with him and showing him 3 of your favorite engagement sessions that I’ve shot to give him an idea of what he’s about to experience! :)

3. Relax & Trust Your Photographer : As you’re preparing for your engagement session,  remember that your photographer doesn’t expect you to be a pro at this. I work with normal, everyday couples ALL the time. I hardly ever work with models! I can’t speak for all photographers but I tell my couples that it takes a good 20 minutes to warm up at the beginning of their shoot. So relax and don’t be nervous! You’re going to be great at this! Trust your photographer, allow them to be creative and you’ll have an amazing shoot!

4. Be on Time: This is really important. What most couples don’t realize is that natural light photographers are 100% dependent on the sun and if their couples show up late, they will lose that amount of time during their session due to the lack of light. Now I realize that things happen beyond out control like massive amounts of traffic and accidents.  If at all possible, try to be on time so that you don’t lose any of your shooting time and pretty sunlight!

5. Location and Time: The best time to shoot any portraits is normally 2 hours after sunrise or 2 hours before sunset. This rule of thumb can be applied to any time of the year. When it comes to picking the location for your portraits, I love shooting engagements in locations that mean something to my clients! I understand that this isn’t always possible but I like to throw it out there just in case!

 

6. Hair, Makeup & Ring Cleaner: Some brides opt to have their makeup trial done right before their engagement session so that they can see what their makeup will look like in pictures before the wedding day! I highly recommend this! It’s always fun when a bride gets her hair and makeup done for her shoot! If you want to do your own makeup, make sure you apply your eye makeup a little heavier than normal for your pictures. Last but not least, I will be taking a ring shot! So if your diamond could use a little cleaning, that would make it really SHINE!

I hope those tips were helpful! And now, just because it’s super fun to look at, here are some of my amazing couples showing off their posing skills during both their engagement session and their wedding day!!

 

Thanks for reading!

— Katelyn

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