If you have recently booked your wedding photographer, chances are that an engagement session was included in your wedding photography package. And that is awesome news but NOW what? If you haven't been married before (let's just say you haven't for the sake of this article), or ever been to a professional photo shoot you may be secretly uncomfortable about the prospect of having your picture taken AND having no idea what these pictures will end up looking like.
I hear you.
Now take a deep breath and relax, I will give you a few pointers just to make this process a little bit easier for you. Engagement shoots should be fun, make you feel beautiful and make you want to show the world how excited you are to be marrying your fiancé. So let's start with..
1 - Picking a location
Choose somewhere that you frequent as a couple, somewhere that has meaning to you or somewhere that you simply love to spend time for whatever reason. It can be a beach, a neighbourhood, a street, a place in the country or your home. Remember that these photographs should be personal to you and the best ones tend to reflect the personalities of the couple. Or ask your photographer for suggestions if you need help deciding, we can help you to decide based on the kind of look you love about photography and ensure you end up with photos you are happy with. We know lighting like the back of our hand - and we want you to look gorgeous.
2 - What to wear
The dreaded question! And the cause of headaches for brides-to-be across the world. Yet the answer can be as simple as "whatever you feel comfortable in" or "something that ties in with your wedding theme".
If my clients are lost for ideas I always go back to the safe option of a pair of nice jeans, a simple shirt or tee in neutral colours. Denim looks great in photographs and paired back with a understated top/shirt/tee you can't go wrong. The best part is that this look will not date as fast as any other piece of clothing and your pictures will look contemporary and fresh for years.
The other way to go with wardrobe is to tie it in with your wedding theme. Honestly, this is my favourite. This is like being in your very own fashion photo shoot and will look amazing in the wedding album alongside your bridal photos. Love playing dress ups? Then this is for you. It is a little more effort than the more casual jeans and tee option but the extra effort will make your engagement photos stand apart from the crowd. Guaranteed. And you will look like a feature in a fashion magazine.
3 - Hair & Make up
Whether of not you get your hair and make up professionally done is entirely up to you and definitely not a necessity. Saying that, I recommend you do. The difference between doing your own hair and make up and having a pro do it, is that they know what products to use that will look good on camera (yep, not all foundations are the same and some reflect light better than others) and a hair stylist also understands the compression that happens from a 3D image (reality) to a 2D image (the photo). Yeah, I know, this sounds technical but all it means is that the camera flattens everything and they take that into consideration when creating hair. Great hair and make up plays an important role in creating those amazing photos.
I can understand this can seem costly but it doesn't have to be. Ask your wedding make up and hair team if they can help you out (for a fee of course) or ask your photographer if they have a contact they can recommend. Most of us enjoy great networks of industry professionals and we love to be able to help our brides out like this.
TIP : Schedule your engagement shoot the same day as your make up and hair trial. Ditch the veil and you are done. Easy, right?
4 - Get a good nights rest and watch a couple of episodes of GOT
Winter isn't coming and your engagement shoot will be fun and a great experience for you and hubby-to-be. Relax, your wedding photographer will guide you through all the posing and make sure you both look and feel amazing.
5 - Why you should have the engagement session in the first place
For most it would have seemed the obvious choice for point number 1. But if you know HOW you won't be worried about WHY. So I will not tell you why, I will just tell you the benefits instead.
- You get to know how to rock those poses for your bridal shoot
- You get a chance to understand what your photographer means when they say "relax your mouth and look to the left with your eyes and then push your chin forward and elongate your spine". Yeah, I know.
- You will have epic photos to use for STD cards/email, your guest book, table placement cards, wedding website and so much more. And of course they can be incorporated into your wedding album as well.
- You get a chance to practice smizing. For real. Not just in your selfies. That alone should do it.
Now go rock that engagement session like a pro.