I meet many of my awesome couples for the first time when shooting our engagement session. HAH! I said “our engagement session”. And thinking about it, I guess it is sort of “ours”…. My couples receive some great images and I get to create them. That makes them “ours” doesn’t it??? Anyway, I’m not going to give you a 5 best tips, or my 10 things that will make your engagement session awesome. Instead, I’m going to just type, I’m going to run through a session in my head from start to finish and just let it all come out and hopefully it will help all the wonderful couples out there get a good idea of what can help make their engagement session the best thing it can be. (I think I’ll number them anyway just to see how many I come up with here)
1) First and foremost, is the engagement session itself. Some couples just believe they don’t want it or need it. Maybe they’ve been a couple for 17 years already and it’s no big deal. Maybe they’re trying to save money or maybe they just don’t want it done. Here’s the thing though, it’s important. One of the biggest reasons, it gives me as the photographer a chance to work with my couple before the big day. I can see how they are in front of the camera, and they can get a feel for how I work behind the lens. How easy it is to create beautiful images with a fun flow, laughs, hugs, maybe some tears….. Not to mention, some wedding days, there’s just not as much time as the photographer deserves, so this is a chance to get some added photos for the two of you showing how great your love is for the world around you to enjoy. No matter the reasons, an engagement session really is a wonderful piece of your connection and a great lead in for your day. (especially if you need a cool idea for a guest book, like image post cards using photos from your session, or a photo book using your images for guests to sign)….
Now that we’ve come to the decision that yes indeed, an engagement session will be great, it’s time for the session itself.
2) Location location location…. Hang on… How about location. Maybe there’s a place that means something to you. Maybe you just want a certain feel. Nature, industrial, small town feel etc. Location is surely something to discuss and be open to. One of the keys is having a bit of variety and with in a short distance, a handful of options. For instance, there are parks that offer gardens, fields and ocean. There’s places like DUMBO in Brooklyn that have everything from the skyline to street art to parks. The options are endless and if we work together we will find the location that’s perfect for you.
3) One of the most important pieces of your engagement session, and where you become key, is timing. Obviously, your session will be at a great location which we will touch on in a minute, but first, no matter your location, timing is key. Natural light is just that, natural. Meaning it literally changes by the minute. So it’s key for you as a couple, to show up on time. Showing up late could mean that we lose key lighting which in turn means that you lose some key photos. The perfect lighting truly can make for some of the most beautiful images so it’s key that we use the golden hour of the day and by showing up late, those crucial minutes slide away. Not to mention, arriving on time sets us up to have a relaxed session with out the need to “run” from spot to spot or rush through shots. And that’s exactly what happens when we start the shoot late. And don’t worry, I make sure I’m there on time too. I mean, how fair would it be for me to show up late. 😉 (That and I really hate being late for anything, even dentist appointments. Go figure)
4) Bring yourself, and your fiancé too. But……… If there are props that may represent who you are, bring some of them along too. I’ve had couples bring signs, books, wine and the likes. That doesn’t mean you have to bring something. About 70% of the engagement sessions I shoot it’s me and the couple and that’s it. And while we’re talking about what to bring, an outfit change is always great. Go formal go casual. Mix it up. Just about any clothes will do the trick. (try to stay away from red (it tends to take over the shot) and if you want you can stay away from pure white). Don’t be afraid to push the boundary and get a little edgy. Layer it up, layers always look good (check out any magazine or gap ad etc…), bring in some patterns. Guys, check your accessories. Belts, shoes, a watch. Go the extra steps to work your wardrobe just as much as the ladies. Or better yet, ladies, help your man out. I’m not saying you can’t rock a pair of sneakers, I LOVE my pumas, but don’t wear a pair that are a year old. And ladies, if you really want to shine, take things a step further, get your hair done, have your make up done too if you can. (I’m not saying you need it, you’re beautiful, but it will bring out a confidence in your shots. 😉 But most of all, be you. Bring your happy face, bring your love. You WILL have an awesome time and you’ll want to do it all over again the following week. haha….
5) A little PDA…. Or maybe a lot. Be comfortable, holding hands. The hugs. If you work with me I’ll work with you and give you direction so that not only you’re comfortable with a little (a lot) PDA but it will look and feel easy, effortless and will create some awesome images. Even just the art of holding hands, classy, timeless and artistic all in time.
6) Posers….. That’s what you are. Or what you will be. haha…. Okay, maybe not, but direction is good. And I, as well as any good photographer, will help you not only feel comfortable in front of the camera but you’ll look great too. Don’t be afraid to let your photographer know if you’re feeling uncomfortable. And I know for my couples, trust is huge and they trust me. I’ve had each and everyone of my engagement sessions shot in a way that always has a solid and magical outcome. Together, magic can happen.
7) The box, the comfort zone…. Let’s break it. This could mean being someone you’re not used to being. Maybe a piggyback is called for. Maybe being goofy, making faces. Joking around… We’ll break that comfort zone in a way that you won’t even know you broke out of it. 😉
8) And I think I’m coming to the end of said tips, but inspiration can be a little assistance at times. If there are shots you think you may like, share away. Obviously we all pretty much know what pinterest.com is and I, yes, even I have my “boards”… And yes, I did even have a blog post about my love hate relationship with that site. However, you can always feel free to share your thoughts but do so, knowing that a photograph is a moment captured in time and generally, the lighting has to be a certain way or a location a certain spot. But an idea may lead to a shot with a piece of that inspiration all of your own……
9) OH OH! One more, FUN! Let’s have fun! Laugh, smile, joke around, trip, fall, jump, skip…. But the fun, that’s going to be the easiest piece of it all. So what do you say, are you ready for some fun?
WWW.TABPHOTOGRAPHIC.COM – I will shoot your wedding no matter what in the world it is, currently, the only location I’m not sure I could get to would be the North Pole. (and that’s because I just don’t love the cold that much and if it’s -50 degrees, my camera gear may not like it either. But TAB Photographic will rock it out and work magic where ever your day goes down. Just reach out and let’s work together to create magic.