Once you have narrowed your list of potential photographers, set up a time to meet and discuss your wedding plans and photography ideas. It’s a perfect time to get to better know the photographer’s style and personality.
Your engagement session tells part of your love story. Sometimes it’s the first photo shoot that the couple will have together. The two of you can try out posing ideas that you’ve seen from friends or online. Having you relax and be yourselves is important. Have fun with each other! You will enjoy your session and your images a lot more if you are just being yourself during your session. An engagement session is also good way to warm up to the camera and it will give you and your photographer an opportunity to get to know each other a little better before your wedding day. The main idea is to capture images of you, in love. Here’s a little homework: Practice kissing! What? Well, practice holding that moment just before your lips meet and your eyes are closed and it’s so intimate and beautiful. It’s an image that you have likely never seen of yourselves, so you practice the pose and I’ll take care of the rest.
It’s a good time to try out your hairstylist or makeup artist. It’s kind of like a dress rehearsal. If you aren’t pleased with his or her work, then you still have time to shop for a new stylist or artist before your wedding day. Don’t forget to bring lipgloss for touch ups. You may want to consider getting a mani or pedi (especially in the spring and summer months). All of the little details add up to make your photos better. We will be taking pictures of that lovely ring on your finger, so don’t forget to take care of your hands. Applying lotion to your hands will help them look refreshed, but make sure you don’t get it in the details of your ring.
Dress comfortably, and be prepared to walk a bit. Try to avoid solid white clothing. Your outfits can compliment each other without always having to match. You can wear colors that are in season, colors that you’ll be using on your wedding day. You can change clothes during your session and we can change locations a time or two. If you are a huge sports fan, change into your favorite team’s colors for some fun shots.
Choose a location that means something to you. Where did you get engaged? Where was your first date? Be creative and think of places that you love, places that are pretty for photos. Finding a field or a structure that speaks to you might happen while your out for a drive or it might be a place that you pass by daily. Take a different route to work or to the grocery store to see if anything strikes you. Observe your surroundings. Talk to friends to get ideas. Your location can be somewhere that has some special meaning to you.
The best times of day for outdoor photos are the first two hours after sunrise and the last two to three hours before sunset. The location of the sun from 11:00am until 3:00pm can be unfriendly, especially on a bright sun shiny day, when it comes to taking photos. I tend to love the afternoon/early evening light the best. It’s simply beautiful and flattering. When possible, your session will be scheduled for this time of day.
“What should I do with my hands?” You can touch each other! Girls, you can put your hand near your hip, play with your skirt or collar, touch your jewelry, run your fingers through your hair. Guys, you can put your hands in your pockets, rest an elbow on an object or on your knee. It’s perfectly fine to embrace each other, hold hands, kiss.
Are you looking to capture a “save the date” photo or have an idea for your “save the date” cards? Share your ideas with your photographer and gather the necessities for your announcement prior to your session. Bring chalk boards, balloons, hats, scarves, or other props or accessories that make your announcement special to you.
So now that you have idea about your engagement session, make sure that you relax and be yourselves. You will better recognize the people in your images if you do.
Now let’s talk bridals
Bridal sessions allow the bride to see everything put together before the wedding day. It’s a dress rehearsal for hair, makeup, jewelry, veil, bouquet, and THE DRESS! You can try a long, flowing hairstyle, an up-do or anything in between. If you are having a professional do your hair and makeup for your wedding day, it is a good idea to have appointments with the same artists for your bridal session. Contact your florist once you have set a date for your bridal session, so a bouquet can be designed for you. Typically a smaller version of your wedding day bouquet is made.
Your bridal session should be scheduled at least two months before your wedding. Make sure that your dress is ordered and altered in time enough to meet this deadline. If weather prohibits your shoot from happening on your scheduled date, be prepared to reschedule. Editing, ordering, and printing all take time, so this is the reason for the deadline. Before you know it, your guests will be swooning over your beautiful bridal portrait that’s displayed at your reception.
Ask your mother, sister or a bridesmaid to come to your bridal session to help you with your dress. These special ladies in your life will help to fluff and straighten your dress, hold your flowers, change your shoes, give you props, have your lipgloss and a mirror handy, make you smile and make you laugh, so it is important to have these people in place. Speaking of props, if you have some items that are special to you, bring them and we can incorporate them into your session. Make your bridals unique by adding your own style and personality to them.
Don’t forget to eat a good meal before your session. The last thing you need to do is get lightheaded or pass out. Bring bottled water and snack with you, too. It’s important to stay hydrated, especially during the warmer months.
The location for your bridal session can be as simple as field or a church, a flower garden or a gazebo. You are more than welcome to share your ideas with me. I’m always interested in new ideas.
A white sheet will be provided for you to stand and sit on during your bridals, but accept that the hem and underneath of your dress might get a little dirty. Plan to have your dress cleaned after your bridal session. Your bridal session is all about you, so if you are uncomfortable with poses or with the location, just let me know. We can make adjustments as necessary. The goal is for you to enjoy your session.
Most of the bridal party will start to gather at your wedding location about two hours before the ceremony starts. This is also a great time for the photographer to arrive to get photos of the bride and groom getting ready, shoot details, take pre-ceremony formal photos and get candid shots of the wedding party. Historically, some important part of the wedding party will be late, so having a little bit of flex time before the wedding will help everyone remain calm.
Pre-ceremony formal shots can be taken inside or outside of the church or wedding location, weather permitting. Most churches require these pictures to be completed thirty minutes before the ceremony begins due to guests arriving and being seated.
Photos will be taken of grandparents being seated, flower girls and ring bearers, bridesmaids and the beautiful bride and her escort walking down the aisle. Flash photography is typically not permitted at this point during the service. All of the special moments during your ceremony will be documented, from the giving away of the bride to your first kiss as a married couple. Congratulations! We will reenter the ceremony location for formal pictures, unless other plans have been made. Well in advance of your wedding day, make sure that your family members know if you want them stay for formal pictures after the ceremony. We know you all want to join your other guests at the reception, so having everyone available and ready to jump in for their photo will help significantly decrease the time it takes to get these pictures taken.
Once we get to the reception, wait for your photographer to go in ahead of you, then you will be announced as Mr. & Mrs.! Let your photographer know how you plan for your reception to unfold during the weeks before your wedding day. Each reception has some similarities and some differences. Knowing what your plans are in advance will make for better pictures. First dances, cake cutting, bouquet and garter tossing and other special moments will all be documented. Lots of candid shots will be taken, too.
Before you leave the reception, we will likely take the new Mr. & Mrs. off for a short photo shoot. Will your guests send you off with sparklers, bubbles, flags, candles, lanterns or something else?
You have spent a tremendous amount of time planning every little detail of your wedding. Share those details with your photographer, so they can be documented and incorporated into the details of your wedding album.