I encourage all of my couples to schedule an engagement session, especially if they are a little nervous about being in front of a camera. Taking engagement photos is the perfect opportunity to get to know your clients on a personal level, plus it's a ton of fun! By the time you're done, they will know exactly what to expect from their wedding day portraits and their comfort level will have skyrocketed. As their photographer, I will know what angles and what type of photos are most flattering for them. The best part is that they will have some great photos to use for their save-the-dates, signature guest book and wedding displays. This is a momentous time in their lives, and engagement photos are a fun and romantic way to remind them years from now of how excited they were to begin married life together!
Here are five tips for preparing your clients for an engagement session that will produce photos they'll love.
Photo courtesy of Hazelwood Photo
The first thing to think about is the location. Always let your clients choose the location, but have suggestions ready. These are some questions to present them with:
- Do they want the great outdoors or the city?
- Is there a special cafe they always go to for Sunday morning coffee?
- A particular stretch of beach or park where they spend a lot of time camping or hiking?
- Where did they go on their first date?
- Where was their proposal?
To sum it up, try to discover if there is a special place where the two of them have fond memories of being together, because that may be the perfect spot for their engagement session to take place!
*Note: Try to avoid over populated areas with a lot of foot traffic.
Time of day:
The next important ingredient that goes into taking amazing engagement photos is the time of day, and its corresponding lighting. If you are a natural light photographer the time of day is just as important as the location. Early morning and sunset (the golden hour) are the best times to schedule a session. This is when the light is at its most flattering. If mid-day is the only option, you should look for shaded areas to avoid harsh shadows if the sun is directly overhead.
What to wear:
This is one of the first questions your client will likely ask. The first and best answer is to wear something they feel AMAZING in! Nothing that is too tight. You want them to be comfortable sitting or standing in whatever they decide to wear. In general, bold colors, whites and pastels photograph beautifully. Fun patterns work great too as long as they coordinate with each other. In the summer months, cute dresses and colorful heels are perfect for the ladies (remember to suggest bringing flats in case there is a lot of walking involved). In the chillier months, a fabulous scarf and coat can go a long way!
*Note: I also encourage couples to bring accessories such as umbrellas, scarves, hats and sunglasses to play around with and keep their hands busy.
Wardrobe do's and don'ts:
Do's: Fun simple patterns, summer dresses, heels and/or boots, bold colors, whites and pastels
Don't: Logos, overly busy patterns, oversized T-shirts, large stripes (horizontal or vertical)
Hair and makeup:
If your bride is having professional hair and makeup done for her wedding day, the engagement session is a perfect opportunity to do a trial run. She can see how it looks in photos, and will know if she wants to make any changes for her big day. Most professional makeup artists will do a test run, just to ensure their schedule will be on track when it comes to the big day. You should also suggest bringing a hairbrush along with some lip gloss, hairspray and a small mirror in case the bride needs to do some touch-ups during the session. Last but not least, suggest a manicure. Everyone is going to want to see the ring!
*Note: It's important to remind her to avoid any makeup that has glitter in it. Glitter tends to reflect light and look like little spots. Also, be sure to warn them to stay out of the sun the week before their session in order to avoid sunburns, tan lines and the potential for peeling.
Now that you've prepared your clients for their engagement photos, discover romantic portrait session ideas you can use on the day of your shoot. Learn essential posing, lighting and editing techniques to get the photos of your client's dreams in Wedding Photography: The Romantic Portrait Session .