Engagement sessions are a great way to get comfy in front of the lens. It's a perfect way to build some communication and know that the photographer you have chosen can help you become more comfortable and less stressed, a least when it comes to you're wedding photography. Feeling comfortable is the best possible way to have relaxed and natural looking images. Working with someone you can feel comfortable with and not have to think too much. Direction and guidance to some great photos both during your engagement photo session and on the wedding day its self. Only thing is, the wedding day is easy... because we've already done this photo thing! Thanks to your engagement session you will know you can just enjoy the day and feel like you know what you're doing.
Direction & guidance This is needed and in just the right amount. You want candid and natural photography that doesn't look stiff or posed. The goal is to get comfortable. Taking a laid back approach but still offering lots of direction is key. Using the given light you have and the connections between a couple creating beautiful images that evoke a genuine feeling. Just the right amount of guidance to offer couples easy movement and the invitation to laugh can definitely help them along the way and make photos easy to move through. The biggest thing for me is, I don't ever want my clients to have to think to much. I really just want them to have some laughs. If it feels silly ....let it. Laugh at yourself...laugh at me .....just have fun. Don't take it too seriously and things will fall into place. Wedding photography is a big investment, chosen for the most important reason and so when shooting an engagement session with your photographer you should feel at ease and reassured that the wedding day photography will be a similar positive experience. That being said, do your due diligence when booking you're wedding photography. Be sure they have a good amount of experience and they are familiar with this style of photography. In the photography world, it is true the saying " you get what you pay for" in this situation it really does hit home. Wedding photography is an investment and sourcing a good wedding photographer is key in getting beautiful timeless images from your very special day.
What to wear? This is ultimately different for every individual. There is no one list of do's and don't because style is as personal as it gets. I will suggest that you dress to compliment each other. Choose outfits together to be sure that they work together. Don't be afraid of colour and consider things that move. If you wear a very short skirt (it may look super hot) but you can't sit or move your legs much, making it hard to offer a versatile variety of movements with your body. Sitting in the grass or find a sitting spot proves harder when you can't sit or move or fear flashing the camera! Same thing applied with shoes. Save the stilettos for the wedding day if thats your style. Unless you're going for a very dressed up and elegant and posh look (which can be very beautiful) consider being able to move about during your session and the location and ground you will be walking on. Many engagement session that I shoot happen in natural and wooded areas, urban centres and fields. Locations that offers lots in terms of natural and beautiful backgrounds. Be sure you are able to walk in the footwear you choose. Choose something you feel good in but remember to be practical and consider the location you're going to be shooting. Heels can look awesome in photos and dress's and skirts and fun. These can be great choices, just be sure you can wear them with confidence and be able to move, sit and stand in what you are wearing. If choosing something that restricts you from sitting, might not offer as many ways to move and be comfortable while taking photos in versatile ways.
Whats the best time of day for your engagement photography session? Luckily with an engagement session you can choose what time of day to begin your shoot. This isn't always the case for the wedding day due to catering, ceremony times and other details with scheduling. Its best to take advantage of this and choose the best lighting possible. The golden hour is always the best time for photos. It can take a regular photos and make it a stunning photo. Golden sunlight when its low in the sky doesn't cast strong shadows or squinting into the sun. Instead from the hours just before the sun sets can create absolutely beautiful engagement photography and any other kind of photography you can think of. When the light is beautiful, the photography is beautiful. Keep this in mind for you're wedding photography as well. Even though you may not be able to choose the perfect time for you're wedding party photos you can always sneak out with your hubby at sunset to capture a few beauty shots to add to your already finished wedding photography portraits.
Time of year and season Think about creating a contrast between you're wedding photography and your engagement photography. If you're getting married in December, don't schedule your engagement session in the winter. Same applies if you getting married in the fall why not choose a different time of year to reflect a contrast in your photos. You don't want you photos to look the same right? So by choosing a different time of year and different location you are creating a situation that will allow for your engagement photos to look different then you're wedding day photos. Engagement sessions should be a more relaxed approach and offer something a bit different then the polished look of the big day and by choosing a different time of year to take advantage of for your engagement photography will only add to this contrast. Also if you love fall and only want fall photos.......no worries!! You can ultimately choose what fits you best of course! The only time I would suggest not doing your session would be during mucky raining and cold months. Winter sessions can be fun but know that are often a little shorter and offer less flexibility in what you can do. There is little sun during the winter months here in Ontario and sunsets/ golden hour for photography is really unlikely during about Jan-April. These are not the ideal months for beautiful session in the most beautiful light. Rain and melting snow into Feb/march and April also make things more difficult when looking for a beautiful background to Fram your shot. That being said, I have shot some absolutely beautiful winter engagement session during the peek of winter when the snow is fresh and adding a Canadian winter charm in the woods really does create a great look for any coupled engagement session.
Regardless if you decide to do an engagement session with you're wedding photographer or not, be sure to chat with them a little. Get to know their style and work so you know you are on the same page. Be sure to ask questions about direction and guidance during the wedding party section of you're wedding photography. There are two important parts to being a really great wedding photographer and I believe half of taking the photos is know how to make others feel comfortable. If you have found something sparkly on your ring finger or are just waiting for her to ask, I would love to hear from you and the opportunity to hear about you're wedding day plans!