There are many benefits to an engagement session, you can review them in an earlier post. Here I will tell more about how the session will go.
What will you do with the photos? – Do you have any specific needs for the photos? Are you making prints, a book, save the date? Share what you plan to do with them. It will help you photographer with the way they shoot.
Where do we shoot? – The possibilities are almost endless. If the weather and season allow, outdoors is alway nice, if not you will need to go indoors. I like to give couples a few things to think about when choosing a location. Is there a favorite place you have, where did you first meet, where was your first date, are you fond of city and urban, do you prefer open country or water, is there a favorite or shared activity, how about shooting at the ceremony or reception venue? These are all things to think about and discuss with your photographer. The photographer should listen to your concerns and desires and help you choose the location(s)that best suit you and will work well for lighting. I think the photos are more about the couple and less about the location. The location can act as a graphic backdrop for the loving couple or help set the mood for the images. Watch out for locations were you might not be able to get permission. I know Meadowbrook Hall in Rochester, Cranbrook in Bloomfield Hills and Mill Race Village in Northville can be very restrictive.
When do we shoot? – If the shoot is outdoors, I prefer the Golden Hour. The Golden Hour is the 60 minutes just before sunset or just after sunrise. I find the light to be most striking when the sun is low in the sky. Golden Hour also give a nice warm color to the photos. The most challenging time of day to shoot and get attractive lighting is when the sun is highest in the sky. If the day is overcast or you are near tall buildings, getting pleasing light is much easier.
What about wardrobe, hair and makeup? – I always ask the couple to bring at least two outfits, one more dressy, one more casual. You should certainly wear what is comfortable and what you think you look your best in. You might look your best in a suit or formal dress. You might look your best in camo. I like to have the wardrobe compliment the couple and not steal the show. I like more muted colors, simpler patterns or stripes. Think about where you will change, sometimes the only option is your vehicle. The ladies can use the engagement session as a trial run for wedding day hair and makeup. A little more makeup always looks better in photos. In any case I find the best results are when the lady has her hair and makeup done at a salon. You might have you hair up for one look and then simply take it down for another look. For the guys it is pretty simple. Watch shaving or trimming and if you are getting a haircut, get it a few days before the shoot and leave bulky pocket items in the car. I have a “face repair kit” to cover basic makeup, lip gloss and shine issues
How about props or pets or children? – Yes, yes and yes. Please bring anything with you that helps tell us who you are. As long as the prop is not the sole reason for the shot, giving people something to interact with or something to hold makes for more natural looking photos.
What if we are not so good in front of the camera? – That is why you are hiring a professional. I (and any good professional) have spent our career working with everyday people that don’t spend their lives in front of a camera. We know when to direct, when guide, when to just let it happen and we have the wisdom and experience to know the difference. Typically the first part of the session I will be more instructional and then as the two of you get used to having a camera in your face and we work and play together some, you will feel much more comfortable and look much more natural. You are having you engagement photos taken for you to show the love and connection with your future spouse. If you hold that, you are going to look fantastic. I promise.