ENGAGEMENT SESSION PREP
We love engagement sessions, and we're so excited that you're signed on for one! They are the very best way for us to get to know you, your relationship, and the types of images you love most - plus they allow for you two to get relaxed and confident in front of our cameras, experiencing how we shoot before your wedding day.
To kick things off, we've put together this handy guide with suggestions and FAQs to help as we plan for your shoot. You've probably seen lots of engagement photos out there on the internet, and it can seem like the possibilities are endless. The most important idea to take away from this: be yourselves! There's no rule book, and this is a perfect excuse to take a break from planning to celebrate this exciting time.
WHAT TO EXPECT
We focus primarily on the connection between you two to get honest, happy, and beautiful photos. Our goal is to bring out and document your personalities, quirks, and the things you love about each other - we believe this is much more timeless than traditional stiff posing. Therefore the way we direct is very organic, fast-paced, and FUN. First we'll make sure you look great, composing flattering photos with beautiful light, but then our priority is to get you two connected and relaxed. We'll ask lots of questions, crack some jokes, move around, give you some breathing room - anything to get your focus off of the camera and onto each other.
If you'd like to use your photos for save the dates, these are typically sent out 6-9 months in advance of the wedding. Factoring in edit time: we'll return your photos within 3 weeks of your shoot.
Most people next consider seasonality when choosing a session date, and the Midwest has plenty of this to embrace! Spring and summer are lovely, lush, and versatile seasons to shoot in. Fall is beautiful with crisp light and changing leaves, and it's understandably our busiest season as a popular time for weddings, engagements, and family shoots. A bit less expected, we LOVE shooting in winter for adventurous couples - the soft pastel sunlight is unmatched, and snowy landscapes lead to gorgeous minimal images.
No matter the time of year, we'll always start your shoot about 1.5 hours before sunset (or at sunrise!) for the best lighting. Harsh mid-day sunlight creates wacky colors and skin tones, unflattering facial shadows, sweating, squinting, and a host of other challenges, so we avoid it whenever possible. The hours around sunrise and sunset provide beautiful directional light to work with - think warm golden rays, soft/even shadows everywhere, and (our favorite) the romantic blue-ish tones of twilight.
During the wedding season (May-October) we shoot on weekdays as our weekends are a little hectic. We'll send our Shoot Reservation Calendar to select your date!
“Where should we shoot?”, you ask. Above all we encourage locations and activities that represent you as a couple - think sentimental spots, unique hobbies, or shared passions that could be incorporated. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the typical spots! Avoiding popular landmarks will cut down on crowds (photobombers and watching eyes), permits, and other restrictions, and will allow your photos stand out as unique.
Like to hang at home together? In-home sessions are truly our favorite, capturing your lives together at this moment in time. We also find that people are much more relaxed and natural in their own environment, without lots of other people around. Have a favorite neighborhood you live in or love to spend time in? We love wandering around finding interesting light and backdrops. We've been on sailboats, had a few at breweries, cooked in peoples' kitchens, wandered art museums, you name it. We are always game for new locations, adventures, and concepts, and we’re happy to help brainstorm or pull from our bucket list if you’re stumped.
WHAT TO WEAR
The key here again: be yourself, and be comfortable! If you're not feeling like yourself in a new outfit it will show in photos, so we'd much rather see you in a style of clothing you normally wear. We'll likely move around a fair bit during your session, so keep footwear comfort in mind.
Keep outfits to a maximum of two (most couples do just one) - too many outfit changes interrupts the flow of the session, and can lead to photos looking inconsistent overall. Between the two of you, we say "complimentary, but not matchy-matchy" in terms of casualness and color palette. Avoid loud colors, patterns, and text/graphics/logos - these will overtake photos and distract from you two and your connection, so we encourage neutrals or bold colors like navy, maroon, and emerald. One of you in a subtle pattern like plaid or gingham works great.
ANY Other QUESTIONS?
We'd love to hear your thoughts - please feel free to shoot us a message if you have any other questions or ideas about your shoot! Most of all we are SO excited to hang out with you two, and to make some memories capturing your love together.
Joe and Jen