Questions to ask and what to consider before taking engagement photos
Engagement photos go beyond mere snapshots; they serve as significant milestones in your wedding planning adventure!
This enjoyable and stress-free photo session acts as a rehearsal for your big day. It's an opportunity to practice flattering poses while also obtaining content for your save-the-dates and wedding website. Moreover, engagement sessions mark the beginning of a crucial vendor relationship, setting the tone for a seamless wedding journey ahead.
I sat down with the f#$*ing icons behind Wanderlynn Photography, Christie & Megan (pictured below), to chat all things engagement shoot.
What should couples consider when planning which locations for their engagement shoot?
The best place to start when choosing a location is thinking about any locations that are specifically special to the couple and their relationship (i.e. first date, where they met, favorite spot together, etc). Even broader, what vibe of location speaks to them (are they nature people or city people)?
Depending on the time of year you choose to have your session, your location should fit within that as well (certain nature areas when there isn't any snow and only dead trees is a no go haha). They should also keep in mind how public the spot is and how busy with other people it could be. Lastly, ask your photographer! They will know if a spot will work or if they have other suggestions.
What should couples consider when picking out their attire?
First, they should decide how many outfits/looks they're going for. Depending on how long your session is will help determine how many outfits - most of our couples do 2 looks! A lot of the time one is dressier and the other is more casual.
Dress for the location (no heels on the beach), dress for the season (sleeveless in winter is most likely not realistic) and most of all, they should dress like themselves. Don't force a look that you'd would never wear because you won't feel comfortable. Feel free to incorporate trends but only a little - less trendy, more timeless.
How much does an engagement session cost? Why?
Our sessions start at $1,000. There are two of us which means double the time, double the equipment and double the shots we're taking us. Having two of us, they'll get different angles with different lenses of each look/shot/etc. It's also more than the session itself - there's pre-session and post session work too.
Before the session, we will scout locations and communicate with any others involved with the spots (if we need permission or to book anything specific). Post session is all of the editing fun! We go through culling the images while editing all the goodies.
How long do engagement shoots usually last?
Unless there are time constraints with our sessions, we don't like to give a set time of when things will end. We won't ever stop a shoot because its 'time' and more so make that decision when we feel like we got everything we collectively want.
Our wedding collections include a complimentary engagement session and those last between 1-2 hours. Our separate booked sessions are either up to 1 hour or up to 2 hours. When timing out the shoot, we keep in mind the amount of locations and travel time between them. Typically, we'll evenly split the time between spots but sometimes one spot could have more going on or more to it and we'll time out things accordingly. The majority of the time, we will go over because we're having too much fun!
What's the best time of day for an engagement session?
Ideally, low light! Sunrise or sunset.
What makes an engagement session successful?
Planning ahead for what we can and letting go of what we may not be able to control.
Planning for the location and outfits is ideal - we always love seeing photos of what our couples are thinking of for outfits so we can plan ahead of what outfit fits what spot best. Seeing any inspo or hearing ideas that our couples have is always good too! It gives us an idea of the vibe they're going for and how we can achieve that with our touch.
Key note is to communicate and trust your photographers! We shoot these sessions all the time so trust us to lead you through a badass session. Lastly, avoid comparing to other sessions. Seeing inspo and hearing ideas is amazing and we love getting an idea of the vibe you're going for. But the goal is not to replicate, the goal is to have photos that are uniquely you two and your relationship!
How can couples make the most of their engagement session?
Make a day of it (if you can). Take the day or part of the day off from work and spend time together before! It's not everyday you get professional photos done together so make it special. Get your hair done, nails done or makeup done if you want. Pamper yourself! Also go out to dinner or for dessert afterwards.
As for during the shoot, have an open heart, let go and just have fun with your person! It's absolutely normal to be nervous, feel awkward and not know what to expect but do your best to let that go and trust us to help! Be silly, be romantic, be you and your photos will show that.
How can couples feel more comfortable going into their engagement session?
We might be repeating ourselves but plan for what you can and avoid getting too caught up on the rest. Don't worry about the little things and making sure everything is "perfect". It won't be and it shouldn't be. Trust your photogs, ask questions, and keep everything above in mind. Lastly, feel free to let loose and have a drink before the shoot (or bring some champagne to have during the shoot)!
Having a Pinterest board and inspiration for what you want your shoot to look and feel like is great. And if you have ideas during the shoot of a pose you like, speak up! But don't get too caught up with replicating something or referencing something else the entire time - it will only make your shoot feel less authentic and less about you two. Finally (and iykyk): Trust your vendors!