We LOVE engagement sessions for many, many reasons and we always recommend them to our clients. There are so many benefits for clients AND photographers; some that you may never have considered. In this blog post you’ll learn why we love them (and you should, too!), where and when they should take place and tips for how to make them a great experience.
WHY do we love engagement sessions? Let us count the ways…
Getting the most out of your wedding photography involves working with photographers that you trust and an engagement session can be one of the first building blocks in that relationship. It’s important to us that we develop a working friendship with all of our clients. When you think about it, you will have as much or more interaction with your photographer as with any other wedding vendor you hire. Engagement sessions are a great way for us to get to know more about you and what’s important to you so that we can translate your unique love story into images you will cherish.
Engagement sessions by design are relaxed and fun! You will be able to get a sense of how we work and we will be able to help you feel comfortable in front of the camera. We get it: aside from models and celebrities, most people aren’t naturally comfortable in front of a camera. It can be daunting – especially if you’re being told to “hold one hand here, place your feet there, look this way, tilt your head and by all means make sure your smile is natural.” Because that feels normal, right? Your comfort is key to great photos so we will be there to put you at ease and give you some amazingly simple tips for looking your best in front of the camera. We love it when, at the end of their engagement session, clients tell us, “Wow, I was nervous before we started but that was really FUN!” It really is a great warm-up for the wedding day. Having had the experience of a great engagement session with us, you will be relaxed and confident on your wedding day when it’s time for photos because you know exactly what to expect.
In addition to those benefits, your engagement session will also give you amazing images to hang in your home, display at your reception or use for save-the-date cards and guest books.
WHERE & WHEN should your engagement session take place?
Being New Orleans wedding photographers, we know that we are blessed with an abundance of amazing venues for photography. While this is great, it can make the task of choosing between them very difficult. We suggest couples choose to have the engagement session in a place that is meaningful to them – where they met, the proposal site, etc. This is another great way we can learn more about your story. Choosing places that are special to you can provide a wonderful setting and mood for your engagement session. Other options are the ceremony/reception venue, a relative’s home, an architecturally significant or beautiful building, a spot you like to frequent or a beautiful landscape/greenspace. Depending on your style as a couple, you may even want to consider a stylized shoot with a fun theme such as “date night” or “dinner and a movie” where we come into your home and shoot images of you interacting naturally together. The options with stylized shoots are only limited by your imagination. We love helping you plan the perfect session, specialized for you so don’t be shy in asking for suggestions or collaboration.
Engagement sessions typically take place about 6-8 months prior to your wedding. This allows time to plan the session, shoot the session and deliver your images so that save-the-dates, guest books and reception portraits can be designed/ordered.
As for the time of day, this will be dependent upon the location of your session. If you choose an outdoor location, we will work within their hours of operation but we normally like to shoot a few hours before sunset for the best light. If your location is indoors this will be less of a factor.
HOW can I make the most of my engagement session?
A common question about engagement sessions is, “What should we wear?” First, consider your chosen location. If you are taking photos in a field or on the beach, you will want to dress more casually. If you are taking photos downtown in a glamorous hotel lobby, you could dress more formally.
As a general rule, avoid HUGE patterns which can be distracting or TINY patterns that won’t be visible in your photos. Don’t be afraid of color and strive to coordinate, not match exactly. Most importantly, you want to be comfortable. Even if your new outfit is the cutest thing you’ve ever seen, if it’s uncomfortable that will show in the photos. You want clothing that’s not so flowy that it’s unflattering but not so tight that it’s constricting. Also, don’t underestimate the power of accessories! A nice scarf, belt, or jewelry can add interest to your outfit and let your personality shine. (And don’t forget to polish your engagement ring prior to the session – we’ll want some great shots of it, too!) Cute shoes (for guys and girls!) can add interest as well. We do encourage ladies to wear heels if possible, but to bring flats for comfort in between shots.
Also, consider having your hair and/or make-up done professionally the day of your session. Unless you’re planning a stylized shoot requiring it, an intricate up-do is probably unnecessary, but a nice blow-out and fresh face of makeup will make you look and FEEL amazing. On the day of the session, bring a small bag with touch-up items which could include lipgloss/balm (you’ll be doing some kissing!), powder or blotting papers, a brush, hairspray, bobby pins, mirrored compact, mints, and bottled water, etc.
Now that you’ve got your location and your look nailed down, there’s one final touch that we encourage clients to bring…props! These don’t have to be elaborate but should be something that is significant to the two of you or fitting with your style. As with a stylized shoot, the only limit with props is your imagination. Props we’ve seen in the past include wooden letters (to spell out initials, the wedding date, the word “love”), chalkboard signs, paper/fabric banners, flowers, balloons, picnic baskets, cute/coordinating blankets, pets, college memorabilia, cars, books, etc. Don’t hesitate to ask us for help with this…odds are we might have an item you’re considering or be able to help you find it. We love helping you design the session of your dreams!
For more tips, check out fellow wedding photographer Katelyn James’s blog article about prepping for your engagement session. Do you have any tips or tricks for engagement sessions? Please let us know in the comments below! If you would like more information about scheduling an engagement session with us, please use our contact page to send us a message.