Many couples I work with have an engagement session. These portraits capture the two of you at a moment in time, without all of the wedding day bustle. The photos are nice to have for save-the-dates, to create a few framed portraits for your home, and also are a fun pre-wedding experience. Below are some tips for making the most of your engagement session.
Remember what your mother always told you about posture? "Stand up straight." Well, she was right. You don't have to be stick straight (please don't!) but instead just carry yourself with confidence.
In portraiture, hands are as important as faces. So there. I just gave away one of my biggest photography secrets for great portraits. Flip through any magazine known for great photography (Vogue, Vanity Fair) and look at what people are doing with their hands. Even in the ads. Notice? Their hands are usually engaged - doing something, touching something or someone. Try it with your next selfies and notice the improvement in your photos! This carries over to my next tip....
This is a hands-free/hands-available shoot. Don't carry items such as purses or shopping bags with extra clothes. If you must bring an extra sweater, hat, or jacket (if you want to switch it up a little in the photos), or even a dog (pets welcome!), then feel free to bring a friend who carry your bag with a jacket or handle your fur baby on a leash for some pics of just the two of you. If we're doing your session in a very localized area where your car will be nearby, leave items such as a jacket in the trunk. Small items such as your cell phone or car keys can fit in my camera bag while we shoot.
These photos are all about the two of you being together, so try to maintain some physical connection with each other as we're photographing. It could be a touch, a hand on an arm -- whatever feels natural to you.
Looking good in photographs usually means stepping it up from our typical daily wear. It means up-leveling the clothes we normally wear to work or for going out. Feeling slightly overdressed for our shoot? That's a good sign! Bought that hat from Anthropology on a splurge and haven't worn it because it feels a little.... over-the-top? It will probably look great in photos.
People usually photograph better when their clothes are more tailored looking. Baggy jeans, untucked shirts, and puffy winter coats might look great in person, but you'll almost always photograph better if these details are all "buttoned down."
You're more than welcome to bring a friend or someone who can manage your clothes and/or any other styling elements. While I can often notice if a button has come undone or a belt jacket might look better cinched, you are ultimately in charge of your appearance. When we look at the portraits of high-profile people and wonder why they look so great in these images, remember that there was almost certainly a stylist(s) present.
Speaking of styling, remember that an important element of these images is that you want your clothes to match the environment. Thinking of a beach walk for your photos? Wear clothes that match a beach-walk vibe. A hike in the woods? Think tailored casual comfort. Interested in an upscale city shoot? Feel free to go a little more formal or city-chic.
Your portrait session could also be a good time to do your hair and makeup trial. This way you're almost guaranteed that you'll be picture-ready.
Finally, be sure to wear comfortable shoes. We'll be walking for an hour, so make sure that your footwear won't give you any hassles.
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What makes an old book, movie, or work of art endure through the decades? Why are future generations able to identify with certain stories and images while some creative works fall into obscurity? I believe that the enduring element in art is human nature. Photographs that capture our true nature will remain timeless and infinitely relatable.