Since we’re nearing the end of wedding season (about a month and a half left, if you’re curious) and we’re going into booking season, I figured I’d chat about things you’d do towards the beginning of your planning process, questions you may have and work our way through some great tips over the course of the winter as you really get into the planning process! First up…Engagement sessions! To do or not to do? Why? When do I do them? What should I wear? I know these are all questions that have probably crossed your mind…because they’re questions I get all the time. Let’s get into it!
Why should you take Engagement Photos?
- Getting to know your photographer – you’re going to be spending A LOT of time with your photographer, which goes back to what I talked about in my “How to Choose a Wedding Photographer” post, and is more than just the camera! They’ll be photographing a bunch of intimate, emotional and important moments and you want to feel comfortable with that person. This is a great opportunity to get to know them!
- Get comfortable in front of the camera – You probably haven’t been in front of a camera since you’re high school senior portraits and you’ve never really been photographed for a longer length of time..and that’s ok! You and every one of my past clients. My job is to make you feel comfortable and understand how the process works. It’s really fun, a time for us to hang out, and take some flippin’ awesome pictures of you and your new fiancé! There should be no pressure and you’ll quickly realize how fun it is.
- Capture a fleeting period of time – Engagements can be long or short, but in relation to maybe how long you’ve dated or how long you’ll be married, it’s usually one of the shorter periods of time in your relationship. It’s also a super fun one and engagement sessions are a great way to capture that. This is an awesome chance to get some unique and beautiful portraits together in plain clothes and also to use on the wedding day for Save the Dates, invitations, your wedding website, decor at the wedding or a guestbook.
When should you do your Engagement Session?
- What will you be using them for? Are you using your photos for your save the dates? These are usually sent out 6 to 9 months in advance of the wedding date. Keep in mind your photographers turnaround time and plan accordingly. If you’re using them for your guestbook or wedding decor, give yourself a couple months so that you have enough time to get them back from your photographer and make all the orders that are necessary without adding extra stress to your plate.
- What season of the year is best? In California, the hardest season to do your engagement photos is December-January or February. It’s dreary, the light is usually dull from the rain clouds, and it’s colder than we Californians are used to :) Consider doing them in the fall before the rainy season or early spring when things start turning green and the sunshine is warmer!
- Your availability and your photographers – Is work busier for you during a certain time of year? What about your photographers? It’s really hard for me to schedule engagement sessions in the late summer because of wedding season, as it is for most wedding photographers, unless your weekdays are flexible. Consider having this conversation with your photographer and get it on the calendar sooner than later.
Where should you take your Engagement Photos?
This really deserves it’s own blog post so I’m going to create a post for specific location recommendations, however, these 3 things should help you start thinking about what kind of location you’d like to have. Email me if you have an idea but are not sure where to look!
- Choosing a theme or “look” – Are you getting married at a winery? The forest? The beach? If you think your wedding photos will have a certain look because your getting married in the forest (think: Nestldown) then maybe consider taking your engagement pictures at the beach! Give yourself variety. If prefer your engagement photos to be cohesive with your wedding photos, then choose something that’s similar to your wedding venue. I’d suggest the Forest of Nisene Marks in Aptos for that particular example above.
- A special place for you two – Consider somewhere that you guys have created memories. Maybe where you got engaged, your getaway spot, a place you guys like spending time at, or the place you live! There are so many options and you can’t go wrong with choosing a place that has special meaning.
- Consider an iconic location – Think: Golden Gate Bridge, Big Sur coastline, the Carmel Mission. Landmarks are a fun place to start!
What should you wear to your Engagement Session?!
- Coordinate your outfits – This doesn’t mean to matchy-match, but they should compliment each other. Choosing a color palette and choosing pieces of clothing based on that is a great place to start. But also consider the level of formality that you’re dressing in and the location that you’ll be taking your pictures at.
- Color & Pattern – I mentioned using a color palette which is a great place to start and patterns can be a great place to find those colors! Choose a pattern and use those colors from that pattern to create your color palette. I’ve found that engagement photos look so much more fun and appealing when some pattern is incorporated! Of course, don’t over do it with the patterns because it can start clashing. That’s why starting with a pattern, pulling a color palette and then picking items that match that palette is a great game plan.
- Accessorize and layer – Ever worn a plain t-shirt and thrown a chunky necklace or scarf on top, paired with some cute booties or heels? It’s amazing how much impact the right accessories can add to your outfit! Wear that same t-shirt with jeans and flip-flops and you have a completely different, casual look that might be great for the beach. Sweaters, necklaces, earrings, shoes, scarves, and/or belts can create more dimension and interest to your outfits. It’s also a great way to show your sense of style!
My last points on What to Wear is just make sure you’re comfortable. If you guys don’t normally dress up, don’t go super formal! Consider dressing up a casual outfit like I mentioned above, vs. putting your man in a button down and tie. If it is your thing to get fancy, let’s get fancy and splurge on a Rent the Runway or Anthropologie dress! Dress to your style, find clothing that you feel confident and comfortable in so you don’t even have to think twice about how your outfit might look in the photos.
I hope this post is helpful while you’re thinking about your engagement session! And of course, if you have any questions, let me know in a comment or email!