One of the best parts about booking your wedding photographer for your upcoming wedding is the Engagement Session! What better way to get to know this person that you will be spending at least 8 hours with on the most important day of your life? There are many reasons to book an Engagement Session - Your photographer gets to know how best to pose/direct you, you feel more comfortable and understand what to expect on your wedding day and get beautiful photos to put on your wedding website, Save The Dates or guest book - just to name a few.
Being a photographer for 20 years and a Calgary, Canmore, Banff, Lake Louise wedding photographer for 10 years, I have worked with many different couples at their Engagement Sessions and I have compiled these 8 tips for planning the perfect Engagement Session. This article was originally written for Dote Magazine a few years ago and has been updated a smidge. Enjoy!
1. Book the date. The first step in planning your engagement session is to decide on a date. The date you choose will dictate the look of your engagement session. For instance, if your date is January 30th you will be having a winter session and will most likely have snow and be cold. Look through your photographer's portfolio to see what his/her photos look like at that time of year so that you have an idea of what your session will look like.
2. Pick a location. Now that you know what season your session is booked in you can pick a location that suits the season. For instance if your session is in May you might want to pick a location with cherry blossom trees. Or a winter session in the mountains.
3. Ladies, book your hair and makeup appointments! You are having a professional photo shoot, so why not do everything you can to look your absolute best?! Some brides like to do their bridal hair and/or makeup trial for their engagement session (killing two birds with one stone so-to-speak). This is a great idea, but only if you want the same hairstyle in your engagement photos.
4. Get a manicure! Your hands (and that gorgeous ring!) will be showing in your photos.
5. Outfits. Pick outfits that best represent who you are and take it up a few notches. Layering and accessories are your friends! If you both work downtown and consider yourselves a more “urban” couple then wear dressier clothes. If you are an outdoorsy couple, then dress a bit more casual. Think chinos for him and a long flower-print dress for her. Also, make sure to coordinate. For instance, if you are having a fall session then you will both want to wear fall colours and be seasonally appropriate. I’m talking a burnt orange sweater and nice dark denim with a check shirt underneath and a burgandy dress or a camel coloured dress coat. COORDINATE, BUT DON'T MATCH! Lets leave the days of everyone wearing jeans and a white t-shirt back in the early 00’s mmmkay.
6. Pets. People LOVE their pets and I definitely recommend bringing him or her along for a few photos! I really enjoy capturing the happiness that a pet can bring a couple! Just keep in mind a few things… it is definitely more time consuming and challenging photographing animals. I suggest doing the pet photos either at the beginning or at the end of the session and only for about a quarter of the time you have allotted. And if you have a high energy pet, then make sure you have someone that will come along to take care of him/her. And definitely don't let it stress you out! Your photographer will work very hard to try to capture a connection between the two of you and that can be difficult if you are worried about your dog barking to get out of the car!
7. Trust your photographer! You have booked an amazing photographer because you love their photos, so give them the freedom to decide on the time of day and suggest locations. If you have a very specific look in mind for your photos then make sure you talk to him/her about this. Point out certain sessions of theirs that you love and he/she will be able to tell you how those looks were achieved.
8. Enjoy it. This is such a special time in your life and it should be cherished. A newly engaged couple has a certain glow that photographers love to capture, so don't stress about how your hair looks or if you chose the right outfit. Let your photographer take the lead and have some fun!
Thank you for taking the time to ready this! Comment below if you have anything to add or suggestions for future articles.