With “engagement season” here (one of my favorite times of the year), I thought I would take the time to answer some frequently asked questions regarding engagement sessions. Hope this information is helpful!
“Why do couples do engagement sessions?”
Engagement sessions have become very popular in the wedding process as couples are using these photos as a way to announce their special engagement. I personally LOVE shooting engagement sessions. It is a great way for me to get to know my couples and for them to get to know me. Most people don’t have professional photos taken often so it’s also a wonderful opportunity for them to get comfortable with the camera and the way I work. Most sessions last 2 hours so it allows time for creative freedom and for us to just have some good ole’ fun. Plus you get to hang out with me – j/k =).
“So what do we wear?”
This is probably one of the most frequently asked questions. Honestly, there’s no right answer. Every couple is different with their own unique story, personalities and style. I like couples to be comfortable in their clothes because when they are uncomfortable it shows on camera. Having said that though, a high pair of heels will make a women’s legs look longer and give her better posture for photos. So sometimes the pain is definitely worth it =). Being five feet tall myself, I know I definitely need a good pair of heels =).
To make it a little easier, here are some clothing do’s and don’ts based on my experience:
DO think about the setting and atmosphere where we are shooting. For example, avoid wearing really dark colors if we are going to the beach where everything is bright, light and natural.
DON’T wear something that will match the background exactly. If we are shooting at a park, I’d probably avoid wearing green.
DON’T try to be TOO matchy-matchy. I know the other person completes you, but you don’t have to both wear white shirts with khakis and brown sandals.
DO try to come complimentary with your partner though. If you are dressed up, make sure he or she is also dressed up. It doesn’t work when you are wearing a ball gown and he is wearing a basketball jersey and sneakers.
DON’T wear too many prints. YOU want to be the one that stands out, not your shirt.
DON’T wear something you might regret seeing in a few months. Try to stay away from a look that is too trendy.
DON’T wear something that you might not want your parents to see. Avoid the I’m-going-to-a-club-after look or I-can’t-sit-down-because-my-skirt-is-too-short look.
DON’T think that Photoshop is the solution to all. If your skirt is too short, I can’t make it longer in Photoshop. If your dress is white but you wished it were blue, I won’t change it in Photoshop.
Here are some of my favorite clothing looks over the years:
DO bring props if you feel it contributes to the style of your shoot or showcases your personalities. DON’T bring tennis rackets if you DON’T play tennis and DON’T bring them to a museum. Think about activities you enjoy doing together. Or maybe incorporate the theme/look of your wedding into the session (i.e. vintage save the date numbers).
“How soon do we take engagement photos?”
Some couples take it as soon as year before because they want to use the photos for Save the Date Cards, etc… Most couples usually have their session a few months prior to their wedding date.
“Where do we shoot?”
With 2 hours, usually it is enough time for 1-2 locations if the places aren’t too far from each other. I tell my couples to choose places that are meaningful to them – i.e. their first date spot, their favorite beach, their alma mater or places they always wanted to shoot at and probably never will for any other reason (i.e. Mission San Juan Capistrano, SLS Hotel). Some of these locations do require permits or fees so it’s always a good idea to check beforehand.
“When do we eat?”
Um whenever we want lol. Modeling is tiring so I understand if you want to stop for a quick snack or some Korean BBQ. I never say no to food =).
“Are you available for a destination engagement shoot?”
YES!!!!! I love to travel so anytime I can combine it with my love for photography, I am all yours! Applicable travel fees do apply. Destination engagement sessions have become very popular in recent years as couples have gotten more and more involved in making their sessions more personal and unique. Here are some of my favorite places I have traveled to for engagement photos:
Auckland, New Zealand
New York, New York
“We are not models. Will you pose us?”
Absolutely! It is my job to direct you and make you feel comfortable with the camera and more importantly, look G-O-O-D. Most people are not models and being intimate in front of the camera might feel awkward. I like to have my couples naturally interact with each other and help show them where to look, put their hands, where to stand, etc… Here are some of my favorite poses. You can try them at home lol.
“Can we bring our super cute puppy, mom, uncle and sister along?”
It’s ok to bring someone along to help as long as he or she is not distracting to the shoot. When you hire me, you putting your trust in me as a professional. Although suggestions are encouraged and sometimes helpful, it may disrupt the flow of my work and change the dynamic of the shoot. You can also bring your puppy but keep in mind that if you want shots without the puppy, it will be hard for to hold a camera in one hand and a puppy in the other. So in that case I would recommend bringing someone to help!
“Can we make suggestions?”
Definitely! Remember this is YOUR shoot and like anything, you get I want it to reflect YOU and YOUR relationship. If there’s a particular pose you want to do or something you don’t want to do, feel free to let me know. And believe me, some couples REALLY let me know =).
“What kind of shots do you take?”
Believe it or not I get this question pretty often too. I usually respond with, “good ones?” lol. I take a mix of photographs – some posey, some couples just laughing and being themselves, some close up, some super far away, some serious, some super cheesy, some silhouette, some in dark places, some standing, some sitting and the list goes on and on. There’s no real method to my madness. It all depends on how you look together, what you are wearing, what you are holding, where are we located, how’s the light, how’s the weather, etc… I take all of the conditions into consideration to execute a beautiful shot. I find inspiration in EVERYTHING. I am inspired by my amazing couples, their incredible love stories, the gorgeous light, surreal architecture, dreamy scenery and my couples’ energy. So trust me and just have a good time =).