Every proposal begins with a question and ends in an answer. Every engagement begins with an answer and ends in “I Do”. Of course the wedding will be photographed, but what about the engagement. Engagement photos are a wonderful way of celebrating the journey into marriage. I am a huge fan of capturing the excitement of a couple recently engaged. After many years, I have come up with three main criteria for foolproof engagement sessions.
As a fashionista myself (NOT, lol) I am always asked by couples as to how to properly dress for an engagement session. One of the main reasons for an engagement shoot is to capture the moments of when you both became engaged. Keeping this in mind, you definitely do not want the engagement photos to overshadow your wedding photos, especially when it comes to the groom-to-be’s attire (I highly doubt the bride would ever be overshadowed, lol). Wearing a suit is a great option if you both are going for that classic, old school feel. But make sure that the bride-to-be shows up in an evening gown. From a professional viewpoint, I find by dressing casual and more fitted to each other’s personality and day to day ventures, the engagement shoot becomes an extension of the proposal. Colours and patterns should always be muted down and not the focus. Soft neutral shades and simple black and white attire are best for capturing the moment and allows for true emotion to shine thru instead of bold colours and patterns.
Location, location, location! As a seasoned photographer I have been to so many places within the confines of Ontario that after meeting a couple and discussing some of their interests, I am usually pretty good at pinpointing a fabulous location to suit the couple’s personalities. I definitely would recommend choosing a location very different from where you are or think you will be having your wedding photos taken. Again it goes back to not wanting to overshadow your wedding photos. The only time I ever suggest similar locations, is if the couple have a specific themed wedding and want it carried out for their engagement shoot. Perfect example is a ‘50s themed wedding, maybe for the engagement shoot try an old school diner. Mmmmmm diner food, Hahahaha!
There is a special time of day when everyone looks like they should be put on a magazine cover, and that is called “The Golden Hour”. It is basically early in the morning for the first hour of sunlight or in the early evening for the last hour of sunlight. I encourage couples to choose an evening with “The Golden Hour” for their engagement shoot. This allows us to capture this perfect outside timeframe. And to enhance “The Golden Hour” many brides like to take advantage of their hair and makeup trials. Great idea, but remember, have them apply the full make-up and create the hair style. Once finished and approved by you, ask your hair and makeup artist to tone it down a bit as you do not want the same look for your wedding day. They are usually more than happy to oblige!
My excitement comes when the session is complete and the photos are ready for my couples to view. I always encourage my clients to really observe these photos and clearly state what they liked and maybe didn’t like so that on the wedding day they are beyond perfect pictures. This way the couples get to choose their favourite angles, or the way they exchange glances, etc. I love shooting engagement sessions as it gives me a chance to work with the couple prior to the wedding, and allows the bride and groom to reach a comfort level with myself and the camera. The most important thing to remember is let loose and have fun!