There’s a lot to be said for a couple intnetionally putting some thought and planning into their engagement session. A lot of people rely completely on their photographer for capturing that epic style of engagement photography they see on Pinterest and all over Instagram. There’s nothing wrong with that, to be sure. We, your photographers, have a lot of experience and countless hours honing our ability to see our subjects and their backgrounds in a creative and asthetically pleasing way. We’ve learned to push the limits and are ALWAYS trying new things (a subject which may spin off into another post :). We are definitely able and happy to take the reigns and design the shoot 100% autonimously. BUT…. there are a few great things that happy when a couple is mentally and emotionally invested in the both the preparation for and the outcome of the shoot.
You’re better prepared, mentally :: Most of us don’t spend a lot of time in front of a camera, and when we jump right into something that we don’t have consistent experience with, we tend to be reserved and overly self-aware. That can tend to come off as awkwardness and it often shows in the final photographs. We have a lot of practice at making people feel less awkard when having a camera pointed at them while they’re supposed to be acting intimate with their partner and pretent that we’re not there… and I like to think that we are generally fun-loving people and quite easy to be around, thus making the whole experience more natural and enjoyable. But, the fact remains that putting some serious thought into the shoot, and even practicing beforehand can definitely make you feel more comfortable and at ease during the shoot. Yes, I said practicing… together, in front of a mirror. It will feel stupid, but you get to see how your bodies and faces and apendages look together, and I guarantee you that you won’t be nearly as worried about how you look when you’re in front of a camera. Practice poses from those afroementioned photos that you love from Pinterest and Instagram… It makes a HUGE difference!
You make better, more well thoughtout decisions because you know what result you want :: This applies mostly to your wardrobe and location choices. When you take time to research and look (really look and study) the images that you love, your wardrobe choices become more refined and better wardrobe makes better photographs… all. the. time. This is one of the reasons that we pay wardrobe stylises thousands of dollars on commercial shoots (well, that and the fact that their actually doing the shopping and purchasing all of the wardrobe choices). It’s an entire profession, because it’s so important when it comes to how you want the photograph to speak and the emotions and the feelings that you want it to convey… well, that and you want to look killer in the photos that you’re going to share with your closest friends and family :). We’ve had couples even rent dresses and suits and jewelry online just for the engagement shoot and I will tell you that those shoots are some of the most stunning we’ve done and I think that it’s because so much thought and preparation was put into the planning by the couple. (btw I’m not saying that you have to spend any more money that you already have by renting clothes… just underlining the importance of thought and planning :)
You have more fun! :: This usually goes without saying, but the shoot doesn’t have to, and probably shouldn’t, be all serious and “artistic”. Some of our absolute favorite photos of our couples come from those spontaneous moments that we weren’t even planning for. Wether it’s taking photos in your college tee shirts or shotgunning Natty Lites in a city park (yes, that actually happened and it made me very happy), do things that are YOU! The big landscape-backed or architecturally inspired creatively framed photographs with pensive looks spatial separation are stunning and great to frame as large format wall art for your home, but make sure that you’re ready to loosen up and enjoy yourselves by just being you. This is our favorite part of the shoot because we can all be real with each other. We can hang out, joke, laugh, and all be together for a few hours in an atmosphere that has no pressure. Yes, you want to get those big, epic shots, but the most important thing when documenting this specific time in your lives is to be yourselves, laugh a lot, and have fun… it’s then when we, as your story tellers, get to be on your journey and to tell your real life story!
Okay… enough rambling on. I need to get home and have dinner with my family! Here are some more images from Chloe and Eric’s engagement session. They did all of the above, and it was truly a fantastic shoot. They practiced, they thought through locations, made great decisions on their wardrobe, brought their sweet pup (which we always recommend :), and they, and I, had a great time!!