WELCOME TO YOUR PORTRAIT SESSION GUIDE!
Here you will find everything you need to know from picking the perfect location to how I typically run my sessions! PLEASE take the time to read through all the way through this guide not only today but also a day or two before your session. The more prepared you are, the better your session will go! My goal with providing you this information is so that we can create beautiful memories for your family without any addition stress. The goal for each session is to capture your family truly CANDID, chaos and all. Whether you have just one precious baby or a group of teenagers, I want to capture them in a way that showcases who they are! DO NOT STRESS... Parents, kids will be kids and that doesn't change when you book a photography session. The number one thing I can say is if you are stressed, your kids will be more stressed. I have three kids of my own (11,10 and 2) so I can totally handle the tantrums and craziness. In fact, you will probably think I am a little crazy myself when you see what I am willing to do for some smiles and laughs. Regardless, let me handle the kids and you just love on your family through whatever it may bring!
So let’s get to it!
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HE PUT A RING ON IT!!! Now it's time to plan for the big day and send out your save the dates. Engagement sessions are so fun and we get to create a lasting memory that you will share with the people you love! If you're anything like me, having a clear idea of what to expect in terms of how to approach engagement sessions (starting at location choosing, wardrobe & hair all the way to posing and finally delivery) really helps calm the nerves and allows you to actually enjoy the process-- and honestly, it is a super fun process. Promise! So, let's dive right in!
HOW TO PREPARE
So at this point we've nailed down the perfect location and have the date ready to go! Now, to prepare for you session....
- The TOP suggestion, no the TOP REQUIREMENT is that want to make sure you pick outfits that you both feel comfortable in. If you are not 100% comfortable in what you are wearing, no matter what we do or what we try, you're going to look uncomfortable in your photos. This also applies to anything that may be restricting or tight fitting. No one wants to move around in super tight clothes and the photos will definitely show if you are uncomfortable.
- When thinking about colors, think: Complimentary Colors. Try to steer away from going matchy-matchy that will cause you both to become a big blob of navy where it's hard to tell where one individual begins and another one ends, find a color story that has multiple shades that all compliment one another, but will give your photographs depth. Stay away from black as it tends to loose texture and depth as well as black tends to dominate the photo. You want the eye to go to your faces and not the black shirt. Also, try to steer away from neon and super bright colors. These cause horrible color casts on your skin and make it difficult to get accurate skin tones.
- PLEASE stick with jewel and earth tones as they photography beautifully, 100% of the time. Some colors to consider are your burgundy's, plums, olives, navies, creams, greys & browns.
- Patterns and textures are great additions that add layers to your photos. The great thing about layers is you can remove them to create a totally different look during the session. Sweaters, jackets, cardigans-- all great as well to break up solids and to give a little bit more depth!
- Also think about your location. When shooting at the beach a lot of people see the ocean and think blue is the best color to go with but in reality all they are doing is blending in with the setting. To create a more dynamic image, try to choose colors that create a contrast between you and the backdrop. Jewel tones achieve this very easily.
BRAINSTORMING ACTIVITIES & PROPS
- Before your session think about different activities that you both enjoy doing that can help take your mind of being photography and allow you to connect, authentically (like popping a bottle of champagne, or having a picnic). Little activities like these create amazing images that are try to who you are as a couple!
BRINGING PETS OR KIDS
- Do you want to bring your furry friend or maybe you precious child with you to be in some frames? If the answer is yes than ABSOLUTELY bring them! The biggest thing about bringing along a pet or small kids for an engagement session is finding someone to tag a long that can act as a babysitter for the times when the animal/kid wont be in the frame. This person is honestly the make-it-or-break-it for a session running smoothly when there's more than just the couple in tow.
- When bringing along a pet, another thing to consider is any possible mobility limitations (for older animals) and any potential social restrictions (like if they aren't dog/people friendly, can't be off leash, etc etc). If your pet does have any limitations but you guys can't imagine the portraits without them, just keep their needs in mind when picking out a location.
- And if your pup can't be off the leash, I highly recommend bringing along a more neutral colored leash & collar. I know a lot of people have fun pops of color when it comes to their doggo's accessories-- purples, blues, neons, etc--, but just like your own wardrobe, you don't want the first thing your eye to go to in the photograph is the hot pink collar.
FINDING YOUR POSING STYLE & COMMUNICATING YOUR VISION FOR THE PORTRAITS
Probably one of the most important preparations is for you two as a couple to sit down, look through some engagement photos-- whether that's mine or just searching IG or Pinterest-- and talking about what kind of images you are each drawn to. The next step is to then relay your expectations and vision to me. Granted, each photographer has their own unique style and flow when it comes to posing & the flow of a session, but there's also no way for me to know if you're looking for less romantic and intimate imagery and more so smiley and fun-natured portraits if that's not what I'm seeing happening organically during the session.
HAVE THE "IT'S A DATE" MINDSET
Try to think about your engagement session as just one part to a fun date night! Heck, why not keep it going and make plans for to go to your favorites restaurant after the session! My goal during the session to to really get you two to connect so that I can capture those micro expressions that flit across your faces & create emotive photographs that aren't just gorgeous, but more importantly have the ability to evoke feelings--- to give you that same warm & fuzzy and spilling-over-the-brim-can't-contain-it feeling that you had the moment the shutter was clicked. In order to really accomplish that, the subjects need to have authentic connection, and that can be kind of hard when your stressing about xyz & if your hair is placed just right or if this side of your face is actually more photogenic than the other side, etc etc etc etc. Keeping focused on each other and that "date" mindset will help allow the space for that connection to happen and for you two to fall in sync as if there wasn't a photographer standing only 10 feet away with a camera pointed at the two of you.
Last thing is to trust the process. I may give you the most silly prompts you have ever heard but I promise you that they are all for an amazing reason! I can not wait to photography you guys on this next chapter of your journey to husband and wife.