Making the Most of Your Engagement Shoot
By Isabel Gomes
He popped the question, and you said, “Yes!” And so begins the giddy, rollercoaster ride of planning a wedding. There will be countless decisions to be made, and (let’s be honest) some stressful times ahead as well. That is why it is so important to do something fun together as a couple.
Photo: Isabel Lawrence Photographers
Taking part in the long-standing tradition of an engagement photo session will not only please your parents (and trust me, they will be pleased), but you and your honey can spend the afternoon wrapped in each other’s arms being reminded of how lucky you are to have each other. However, many couples fail to see the potential that an entire photo shoot devoted to them can have. The days of the stilted, overly posed engagement session are long gone, and the options for showcasing your style and personalities are limitless. Before you book your photography appointment, consider these tips on getting the most out of your session.
Choose the Right Setting
Being photographed with the one you love in a relaxed setting will dispel any pre-wedding photo jitters. Why not consider your home for the shoot? You will be surrounded by all of the things that you love. Or perhaps a stroll around your neighborhood with a stop at your favorite café is more your style? Locations with interesting backdrops such as museums, zoos, historical landmarks, etc., make for interesting photos, and will help you avoid clichés. White t-shirts at the beach be banned! Gardens and arboretums, too, if you ask me! Some of our favorite shoots have taken place in spots that didn’t seem all that pretty at first glance. An overgrown farm or abandoned railroad tracks can yield photos that are rich in texture and very unique. Once you and your photographer have decided on the perfect location, he or she will suggest the ideal time of day to make use of the best light. By shooting midweek, you’ll have fewer crowds around and less chance of having unwanted people in your background.
Incorporate Your Interests
Why not focus on activities you enjoy as a couple? If you are into cycling, a bike ride on a vintage Schwinn will not only be more meaningful to you, but in the right hands will yield photographs that are timeless and artful. If your beloved pet won’t be allowed at your reception, include him in your photo session. To ensure that your pet enjoys the shoot as well, have his favorite treats and toys at the ready. If your pet is shy, schedule a little extra time for your photographer to come by and just be in the room with him. Dogs especially can become nervous when long lenses are pointed at them, but if they have a chance to acclimate to this new person and the camera equipment, they will relax and add so much to the photographs.
Get a Feel for Your Photographer
The engagement shoot is also the perfect opportunity for you to get to know your photographer better and vice versa. Some couples can be a little apprehensive about having their pictures taken by a professional. Speaking personally, the last time I’d had my photo taken before my wedding was for my high school yearbook, not an experience I was eager to relive. It will also give your photographer a chance to explore your best angles, and the more he knows you, the more invested he will be in capturing every wonderful moment on your wedding day.
Display Your Photos at the Wedding
The resulting engagement images can now be used in many fun and unique ways. A sign-in book doesn’t have to be run of the mill. Have your photographer create a handmade masterpiece incorporating your favorite shots. Your guests will love looking at all of the photos, and you will have a guest book that will become a family heirloom. A digital frame loaded with the photographs makes a fun accent at your bridal shower or rehearsal dinner. A bride of ours recently had us design a custom wine label incorporating her favorite shot. It made for a one-of-a-kind parting gift at her reception. Another client incorporated the photos into her invitations, setting the scene for a wedding that was filled with personal touches. The months leading up to your wedding can be a whirlwind. Stop the clock, grab your sweetheart’s hand, and have some fun. This time will never come around again, so be sure to capture it forever.