The engagement session is so much more than a checklist item or shots. It is a time to be together and create images that often have multiple purposes (save the dates, invitations, display photos, social media photos, etc.). This is a list of things we’ve learned through the years that will help you make the most of your session and the images. Our goal is to help you transform your engagement session into a truly memorable event by planning ahead so you can enjoy the moment.
Clothes: Follow the invitation method:
Who: This is about your day, and these are your images. The best way to make them all they can be is to be yourselves and be comfortable. If that means you both wear pajamas, do that. If it means you wear a full, formal gown and suit, do that. Or do both. Let your personality as a couple shine through together by coordinating (though I don’t recommend completely matching) your style and level of formality to each other and to what makes you.
What: Consider what these photos are for. Do you want the color of your clothing or the level of formality to match your invitations? Do you want your clothing to be the highlight of the photos or to compliment your interaction with each other and the location? Do you want to put these on your desk at work, on your wall at home? What colors and patterns will help further those purposes? A few rules of thumb to keep in mind: black will often show every piece of dust or flyaway hair, white is traditionally saved for the wedding day, the camera loves color (bright but not blinding), super busy patterns might be distracting, and logos should be completely avoided (unless they have significance for you as a couple).
When: Consider timing. Bring 2-3 outfits, and try each one on beforehand, viewing them together as a couple if possible, and considering which outfits you want in which locations. This will add variety and interest to your photos and won’t take away time from your shoot. Be mindful of how long it will take you to change at the shoot, and consider where you will change. We have a small, pop-up changing tent that can be available if needed, to help things go smoothly.
Where: Consider where your photos will be taken, including the time of year, the possible weather (remember that Rocky Mountain is often chilly even in the summer), and the terrain. Some of the most striking photos contrast in subject matter (e.g. formal gowns in rugged terrain), but if you’re going for a contrast with the location, just keep in mind the terrain you’ll need to cross to get there first. It’s often a good idea to bring walking shoes for walking and formal shoes for photos (make sure they’re easy to switch out). Consider bringing warm wraps or jackets that can be easily removed.
Ring: Get it cleaned, if possible.
It’s already new and beautiful, but getting it cleaned the day of the shoot will make it really shine (most jewelry stores will do this for free, no appointment necessary)! Also, consider that your nails may be shown in detail. A manicure or fresh nail polish may be a great idea, depending on your style.
We love it when clients bring props or have a concept to capture! As natural icebreakers, props can help distract you from being photographed, making you more natural in your photos. They can also be a fantastic tool for telling your story in your own way. Feel free to bring as many props as you want (keep timing in mind) and explain your vision for them (you can create a Pinterest page if that helps). Props are meant to tell your story, not ours, so we won’t bring any unless we’ve specifically discussed it beforehand.
Examples of good props: anything you use for a particular hobby, sports jerseys, blankets (lying on it, wrapping up in it, having a picnic, etc.), board games, picnic items, coffee/tea, champagne, hats, flowers, balloons, chairs, instruments, bubbles, chalk, confetti, or even a unique pair of shoes that stand out. Basically, anything that tells about your relationship or gets you talking.
We are happy to suggest locations. We also love it when you find a spot that represents your personalities and relationship. We’ve shot everywhere from cemeteries, alleyways, libraries, and bars, to streams, open fields, barns, and the tallest tundra of the Rocky Mountains. Don’t be afraid to shoot somewhere unusual; there is beauty everywhere! Some of our favorite locations to shoot: Lily Lake (Estes Park), Sandstone Historical Park (Longmont), Poudre River Barn (Greeley), Devil’s Backbone (Loveland), White Ranch Open Space (Golden), Downtown Denver.
Engagement sessions are about capturing images of couples being couples. For most, this means lots of holding, hugging, and kissing…in front of the camera. We want you to feel as comfortable as possible “having a moment” together while being photographed. To that end, it helps to practice. Make it comfortable by practicing with couple’s selfies, by “having a moment” in public places, by walking down the street as though everyone was watching. Practice by holding each other, kissing each other, and looking into each other’s eyes for just a little bit longer than you normally would.
When you pose for pictures, you need to give each action more time than normal, but you also don’t want to be stiff and completely frozen. Posing for pictures is just bringing slow motion into your relationship. We’ll let you know exactly how much to slow it down for each shot.
Our Final Advice:
Plan your engagement session fully, then enjoy it to its fullest! This is an opportunity for a memorable time, not just for memorable images. Choosing the what and the where, thinking through the reasons for the shoot and the future uses for the images, practicing feeling comfortable together in front of other people, this is the beginning. Once you’ve got that all on paper, in the bag, under your belt (choose your metaphor), then it’s time to breathe.
During your shoot, take a moment (any moment) to stop thinking about being photographed and to think instead about the beauty of your surroundings and your relationship. This is your session.