Let’s talk engagements for a few moments, shall we? And not dinner engagements or social engagements, but wedding engagements! The time in your life you have dreamt about since you were a little girl; the time when you can finally begin putting that wedding inspiration board on Pinterest to good use!
But before the actual “big day,” why not enjoy the process of starting forever with your best friend with images that capture your happiness and love?
Engagement photos have become increasingly popular over the last few years, yet before you schedule your own session, consider a few options to make sure your images truly portray the joy that you and your husband-to-be share together.
Today, along with sharing some über useful, practical guidelines and fun ideas for a successful engagement photo shoot, we are featuring these gorgeous images of Mariah and Aaron from their pre-wedding session with Meg Bowman in Wooster, Ohio. We love these images because they capture pure bliss that radiates off the couple’s faces. It’s completely obvious that these two had an absolute blast during their session, and their eyes are sparkling in spite of all that cold, wet snow!
1. research local photographers
While Pinterest is a fantastic source of inspiration for every aspect of wedding planning, make sure you look at local vendors and their profiles thoroughly, read their reviews on Wedding Wire and also ask local bridal shops for information on professionals they recommend. As a pianist who plays for dozens of weddings each year and has seen both successful and tragic wedding happenings, I promise that doing your research by talking with recently married local brides and reading reviews of local vendors is an important aspect of choosing the people who will make your dreams of a perfect wedding a reality! Just because you show a cute photo shoot idea by the top-rated photographer in San Francisco to your local photographer does not mean you will get the same results. It takes skill, experience and knowledge to take a stunning photograph that you deserve.
2. use your engagement photos as a trial run for wedding photos
This may seem a little silly, but in order to get the best possible images, you need to feel not only confident in your photographer(s), but also relaxed and comfortable with them. If you are unsure, feel anxious or intimidated by the person behind the camera, that is the vibe you will feel from the images themselves. Get to know your photographer before any pictures are taken and also use the time you spend together during engagement photos to prep for the actual wedding.
3. don’t feel pressured to use the family friend
We all have one: a friend or family member who got an awesome Canon for Christmas and is practically dying for a chance to start a photography business. That’s great, and we are all about small business, entrepreneurs and helping people out, but do not feel obligated to let those photos be the only images you end up with! If they do turn out spectacular, way to go! But if they turn out less than what you wanted, make sure you allow time and finances to be available for retakes with a professional.
4. don’t just have pictures taken
Make the whole process an actual event in the wedding process, and then make the event a memorable one! Allow yourself time to get ready: think about your outfit choices ahead of time, have his shoes shined, iron clothes the night before, get plenty of rest the night before, and don’t arrive late to your appointment! Prepare for engagement photo shoot with as much care and forethought as you would for bridal portraits. These will probably be included in your wedding invitations, website, rehearsal and reception somehow, so make sure you have exactly what you need so as not to feel rushed while getting ready.
5. set the stage
Sure, smiling into one another’s eyes is all lovey-dovey and extra special, but set the stage for your engagement photos beyond a simple posed hand-on-the-hip. Are you coffee people? Stop by the coffee shop for a sip of happy, or take the cups with you and let that relax you. You could even arrange to meet your photographer there to grab a few candids before the more formal poses. Are you book lovers? Grab a few of your favorites off the bookshelf or head to the local library to capture romance better than Jane Austen. Do you have a new pet like Aaron and Mariah? Then make the session a family affair! Are you into adventure? Hire a photographer for the day and be spontaneous just as you would on a date. Are you artsy people? Museums, concert halls, cathedrals and historical landmarks often require no fee for admission and make gorgeous backdrops for love.
6. have fun
Be relaxed. Be yourself. Have fun — together! Laugh with one another, be who you are and allow your photographer to capture who you are as a couple. Taking winter engagement photos for your summer wedding? Build a snowman, have a snowball fight or go ice skating. Let these photos be a true representation of your love — whether you opt for fancy or casual, a full-on staged effect or a less-is-more atmosphere. Those will be the most treasured and meaningful pictures you could ever hope to create!