I’m a Lake Tahoe based wedding and portrait photographer, and fan of unposed, giddy-in-love, melt-my-lenses-editorial-style moments … oh, and t-shirts and jeans.
The ultimate date, or so it should be treated! Engagement sessions can be one of the most fun parts of the wedding planning process, finally gradating you both from all the selfies that fill your frames. If you’ve decided this is for you, have a peek at the following tips to show up, slay it, and revel in the gorgeous evidence of your love!
If you’re still on the fence of whether you should have an engagement session or not, check out this article🙂
1. Location. With endless possibilities, overwhelm can set in. Often couples need some tips on where to shoot. Start with where you like to spend time together. I always fall in love with sessions that are set in settings with extra personal meaning. Are you homebodies? Try around your home. Are you outside every day off together? Go to where you default to. These can then feel like less of a photoshoot and more of a day a photographer coming along for what you love to spend your time together doing.
Maybe you want something totally new, and that’s cool too. The new location becomes a special spot to revisit together. Start with determining the vibe you want, casual, fancy, indoor and cozy, outdoor and majestic… from there a photographer will be able to collaborate with you to find the perfect location.
Areian and John, pictured below, love their Sunday mornings together walking to get coffee so it was a perfect location to work into their session!
2. Wardrobe. This is usually one of the biggest stress points. All of a sudden, there’s nothing to wear in your closet. If this is your first time in front of a professional photographer, of course you want to choose what would photograph well but what exactly would that be? Odds are you have the perfect pieces in your closet, they just need to be paired well. Or, you can use this as an excuse to go shopping if you’re having a tough time. Your favorite retailer has a stylist for campaigns and mannequins, why not start there? I even use this as my usual shopping strategy since I last about 10 minutes clothes shopping. If you’re having a really hard time with wardrobe and don’t live in an area with a ton of stylists, there are so many fashion bloggers out there! Why not reach out to one of them for a session of personal styling? Locally in Reno, Two Peas in a Prada, regularly posts on the latest trends. Our reliable friend, Pinterest, is a good destination for any wardrobe searches like my defaults ” Effortless style” or ” Simple chic.” Head over that way and I’ll see you back in a few hours:)
One of my Canadian favorites, Emily Lightly, is a capsule wardrobe queen and pieces together many things you likely already have. If you don’t follow trends and just want comfy and timeless (that’s me!), go through your favorites outfits – we all have them, the looks that give the best sense of who we are and make us feel the most comfortable – lay it out and then go upgrade one or a few pieces. Swap out the pants for a dressier or new version, update the top, or adding some new jewelry can give your staple outfit just the right update it needs. I’m a tee-shirt and jeans gal, but I also love to dress up, so I might take my favorite pair of jeans, splurge on a pricier tee-shirt (better fabric moves better for the camera) and pair it will some heels (if we’re shooting on solid ground) or a great pair of boots if we’re in the woods. I like to get a great blowout and my makeup done because that in itself, feels like I’ve dressed up just the right amount to polish up my casual look.
3. Hair and makeup take it from snap shot to pro! Looking good means feeling good means nailing every shot. I don’t wear a lot of makeup on a daily basis, but if I’m about to have a photoshoot, I wouldn’t think of going without makeup and hair. And if you’re the natural look type, I recommend it even more to get that natural glow. Who doesn’t want a guaranteed good hair day? Invest in yourself. You’re paying good money for these images and they’ll be a part of your story together.
4. Choose an activity to do. Riding bikes, going for a drive, hanging on your rooftop sipping champagne with cigars, getting ice cream…. whatever it is that you two love doing most together, why not tie it into your session? Being in your element adds comfort, personality and a sweet editorial feel to your images. Check out Carlo and Lizet, pictured below, who tied in his love for his car and their love for taking drives to Marin Headlands.
5. Let go, remember these are for you. For some, portrait sessions are no big deal. For 90% of my clients, the idea of being in front of the camera is foreign, awkward and the uncertainty of it all make the anxiety turn up a bit. Odds are these are your first professional portraits together, as well. Whenever I’m in front of the camera, which I used to avoid at all costs, I try to remember the point of the shoot and why my nerves will ultimately sabotage the end result if I don’t let them go. Why are we taking these engagement portraits? Because you’re in love, you’re tired of taking selfies, and, damnit, you deserve to have some beautiful images of the two of you! Get out of your head that you’re awkward and get into your head that this is your shoot, your love and own it!
If all this seems to much, then do it whatever way feels most like you. It’s your engagement, your images. These are tips meant to help from my perspective and experience, but ultimately it’s your own beautiful story to tell. Keep it simple, just being in love is the greatest look!