Before all the bustle and the crazy loveliness and wonderful celebration of your marriage begins there is a perfect opportunity to do something for just the two of you. The Engagement Shoot is a time for intimate moments and personal investment; a time for you to cherish the 'now' before moving on to the next stage of your relationship. It can be practical as well; a way to get to know your photographer and for them to get to know you; building trust and a good rapport. The better you know your photographer the more relaxed and natural you will be when it comes to your big day. We have put our heads together and come up with some advice and some things to consider when you're planning your session.
Location, Location, Location:
When choosing the settings for your engagement session there are many things to consider. What are you choosing about your relationship to immortalize for years to come? Do you have a special place where you first met? Is there a certain activity or hobby that brought you together and enriches your relationship? Do you have a special connection to the outdoors or to a certain way of life that translates into great architectural spaces? The possibilities are endless but it is well advised to start in advance. Planning ahead, especially if you have more than one location in mind, is a must. Always have an in depth chat with your photographer as well. An experienced photographer will have a good knowledge of the area they photograph in and access to contacts that make researching specific ideas much easier. Tap into their wisdom!
What to Wear:
The best advice is be yourself. That being said, be your best self and remember your location. When tramping adorably through a wet autumn day perhaps a pair of wellies with decorative inners are what is needed, or, when strolling towards your favorite cafe, a classic day dress for her and trousers and collared shirt for him are what's called for. The more natural and comfortable you are the better it will translate in the photographs. Much of this responsibility falls onto the relationship between clients and photographer but when you are both feeling good in your own skin half the work is accomplished. A few good ideas are:
-Keep the color palette consistent. You will compliment each other without looking too matched. Unless that's what you are going for, then do it with intent.
-Bring several outfits. If you are planning on several locations, an outfit change might be something to consider. You will get more out of your session design wise and it will give you a chance to play around with more aspects of your personal styles.
-Layer up. If you are planning a shoot in an unpredictable time of year, moving from the sunshine to the shade or from a lake to a downtown centre it can make a big difference in temperatures and climate. This can also double as having several outfits!
-Now is probably not the time to experiment too much with makeup, hairstyles, or drastic style changes; you want to be natural and intimate and have all your attention on your partner. This translates best when you are feeling confident and most like yourself. Having a professional do your hair and makeup can be a good idea and can take some of the pressure off the day.
You probably did a bit of research before choosing your photographer and love their unique style. If so, trust them to guide you through the session. An experienced photographer that is given free rein to direct and to create will be at their best which will, in turn, take the pressure off you. There is nothing wrong with wishing your vision for your session realized however you should have confidence in your professional photographer to achieve great results while keeping your wants in mind. Then you can spend your time together, enjoying each other and the day, and the result will be everything you wanted it to be. Sticking to certain outlined poses can be stiff and confining, especially when you are researching another photographer's work and ideas. This also can limit the possibility of spontaneity which makes for great moments; candid photographs capture the real you and candid is a strong influence on our specific style of photography!
Most Photographers have Engagement Signing Books as an add-on or part of their Wedding Packages and we advise you take full advantage of it! Engagement Photo Books are a lasting, beautiful way to preserve all the notes, advice, and well wishes that your friends and family would like to tell you on your wedding day; as well as the odd doodle, and best friend's inside joke... We all know how difficult it is to put aside time to do something creative with your beloved photos and the days leading up to your big day are packed enough. Request the final say on layout, picture choice, and over all design and let your photographer create something beautiful!
One more thing. All this is happening because you and your partner have made the decision to take the next big step in your relationship. Delegate to the people around you, ESPECIALLY the professionals you hire. Everyone in the wedding industry that we know work hard because they love what they do, and are dedicated to being there for their couples in the best ways they can. Don't let the bustle, and time frames, and deadlines distract you from the basic truth; that you're in love and everything will be perfect!