He asked and you said yes! Now what?
Amidst all the wedding planning that is about to take place one of the first things you should do is schedule your engagement session. Check out THIS post for 5 reasons you should book an engagement session.
Not all engagement photos are created equal. Back in 2010 I was planning my own wedding (prior to starting my photography business) and decided to ask a friend to take our engagement photo for us. While I was pleased with them at the time – looking back I cringe a little.
There is nothing about the photos that show our personality or that makes these photos stand out.
Your engagement session is a time to celebrate who you are as a couple. Do you like to spend your days hiking around the lake, cooking together or enjoying a sunset date at a local winery? Whatever makes your relationship special is what you should aim to capture in your engagement session. Here are a few tips to help ensure that your photos are creative and stand out from the rest!
(Disclaimer – some of these photos are not mine but I tried to give credit when possible)
This is by far the easiest way to ensure that your photos are unique. Choosing a location that is meaningful or special to you and your fiance can set your images apart from the norm. Some locations may require additional fees so check with the location or your photographer first. Here are a couple of suggestions to get you going:
(p.s. – several of these locations are on my photography bucket list so if they peak your interest shoot me an email to book your session!)
Coffee House – Do you and your fiancé spend your weekends searching for the best coffee in town? Do you love eclectic decor, cozy couches and foam designs in your latte? Then a coffee house photo shoot might be perfect for you! In the Dallas/Ft Worth area alone there are tons of amazing options to choose from.
Bookstore – Do you love a good book? Maybe you just like the cozy seating and magazine section. If you and your fiancé are bookstore junkies then it can create the perfect backdrop for your engagement session.
Unique/Creative Location– Wineries,breweries or food parks can be a really different and creative option for your engagement session. They tend to be well decorated, situated on stunning landscapes and may even double as a wedding venue. You can keep it casual or dress it up to add a little something extra!
Park/Garden – Parks, botanic gardens and greenbelts are the most commonly used locations, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make these locations stand out. Mix it up with creative styling, wardrobe and props. Set-up a picnic or bring your pets to add some character.
Your wedding venue – Most wedding venues will let you use the venue once or twice prior to the wedding day free of charge. Take advantage of the venue and use it for your engagement session. This is also a great way for your photographer to scout out the best photo spots prior to your wedding day.
The spot where you met/got engaged – Did you meet in college? Did he propose at your favorite resturant? Whatever the location, use it to help create unique and personal engagement photos that are truly YOU!
In your home – Does your idea of the perfect date night include cooking dinner together, watching movies by the fire or hanging out on the patio? Capture those quiet moments with an intimate session in your own home.
Downtown: If you and your fiance love getting dressed up for a night on the town or drinks at the hottest new bar then a downtown session might be perfect for you. There are tons of great options from historic old buildings to rooftop skyline views. Dress up and make a whole night of it!
After you have the venue selected it’s time to start thinking about what you are going to wear. Wardrobe can play a key role in setting the tone for your images as well as helping them stand out. Your photographer will gladly make suggestions for you or even offer to meet with you ahead and time to look at options. The key is making sure that you and your fiancé coordinate – but that DOESN’T mean you have to wear matching jeans and white shirts!!
Casual: Just because you want to keep things casual doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Jeans with boots and a sweater are perfect for a cozy fall/winter session while printed shorts and a tank top can look great in the spring/summer. Don’t forget to add some accessories to spice it up a little. Adding scarf, hat or jacket can add variety to your images.
Trendy: Take advantage of this time and really use it to express who you are individually and as a couple. If your idea of comfort involves cute shoes and the latest runway trends then show that off in your engagement session. Just make sure you don’t go overboard with too many patterns or colors. You want to be the ones to stand out in the photos, not your outfit.
Dressy: Even if your typical Saturday night involves yoga pants and Netflix that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of this time to show off your dressier side. I love it when couples think outside the box and come dressed to impress. This can mean something as simple as a flowing maxi dress or as dressy as formal attire. If you don’t want to spend a fortune on something glam then check out Rent The Runway for amazing dresses you can rent while paying a fraction of the name brand cost. Get creative and have fun with it!
Typically I shy away from using props during a photo session. They can come across as cheesy and awkward at times and I prefer for the focus of my images to be on the couple rather than all the other “stuff” in the picture. HOWEVER, certain props can actually help make an image better. Just be careful not to go overboard.
Furniture: This is a popular trend and one that I can easily get on board with. Bringing along a vintage chair or couch can really add some variety and character to your images, especially if your location isn’t all that unique. The most common way furniture is used is in a field or wooded area, but why not get a little more creative and use it in an urban setting. A vintage couch in front of an old warehouse or historic building would definitely set you apart from the norm.
Save the Date: Many couples choose to use their engagement photos as a way to personalize their Save the Date cards. If you are opting to do this then find a fun a creative way to display your date in your images.
Personal Items: If you and your fiancé have an item that is special to you – a book, favorite blanket, bottle of wine or coffee mugs – incorporate it into your photos, but do it in a way that makes sense. If you have a favorite book then bring it along and take photos of your fiancé reading to you under a tree. Lay out your favorite blanket and make a picnic with your favorite food and wine or bring along your favorite coffee mugs to your coffee house session. Props can be a fun way to tie in items that are special to you as long as they are used properly.
Have fun with your photos and let your personality shine. Don’t be afraid to make a suggestion or ask your photographer for help when creating the perfect session. In the end you want to have pictures that you love, are a reflection of you and your fiancé and that you are excited to share with other
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