Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Planning Your Engagement Session

When it comes to your engagement photos, I have only one rule:

The session should reflect you and your love together.

I want people to see your engagement photos and say, "Wow... they look like they have fun, and they are so in love" That's it. Done. The rest of these paragraphs are just guidelines, some suggestions.

San Antonio Wedding Zombie Attack 1. Location: Think about locations that are special to you. First date, where you met, your favorite date spot or activity, etc. The location can reflect your hobbies (golf, motorcycles) or even your job. In the San Antonio/Hill Country area we are fortunate that we have a wide variety of locations within short driving distance. Do you consider yourselves to be more country or more of an urban couple? If you have no preference for locations, the ones that I usually suggest are downtown along the riverwalk (hey, San Antonio is considered to be one of the most romantic cities in the country because of our Riverwalk!) or Hemisfair Park. The Japanese Tea Gardens have spectular views. I also enjoy shooting in Gruene and along the Guadalupe River.

2. Time: I prefer to use natural light during Engagement sessions. We will get the best natural light at either sunrise or sunset. I don't mind getting up before dawn to meet you for a sunrise shoot, so either time works for the photographer. Let me know which you prefer.

3. Clothes: This is a big one, just because there are so many different opinions on the matter. When in doubt, see my only rule at the very beginning of this page. All of these clothing suggestions are just what I feel looks best in general, and should not restrict you in any way.
Here are some things to generally AVOID:
  • Logos/graphics/text on clothing. It is mainly a distraction.
  • Ill-fitting clothes. Make sure the clothing fits you properly. Dress for your body type. If it's too tight, it will not be comfortable, and may not be flattering. The same goes for baggy clothes - Guys, please make sure your dress shirt fits you and does not swallow you. If it's too baggy, it can look sloppy or messy. Try to avoid sleeveless tops. If you have a favorite top that is sleeveless, then bring a cute sweater to wear over it.
  • White shirts/pants/dresses and black shirts/pants/dresses.
  • Running shoes. Sneakers generally don't photograph well. Stick to loafers or dress shoes, or Converse shoes if you want to wear sneakers that look nice on camera.
  • Ladies, avoid overdoing your makeup. Don't use a light liquid or pancake base. Too often the base is not applied evenly or to all your exposed skin, and it makes your face look ghostly pale compared to your neck and hands. I highly recommend getting your hair and makeup professionally done for your shoot, so that you look the most fabulous! It doesn't have to cost a lot. I have a list of makeup professionals that I use, and they are very experienced in doing makeup for photo shoots. They guarantee that it will look fabulous all day and all evening.
Try to make sure your outfits coordinate. This doesn't mean that they have to match. Pick a style of clothing and dress similarly with coordinating color palettes. Vintage? Dressy? Casual? Dress in the same style. Choose a color palette, such as bold colors, fall colors, pastels, etc. and make sure you're coordinating.
Don't forget about accessories! It doesn't have to be overpowering (after all, the most important accessory besides your smiles is the ring!), but add some personalized touches with your sunglasses, earrings or scarves, and necklaces, etc. Cute shoes add a great touch to any image!
Hats: Photographers have a love/hate relationship with hats. Hats can sometimes make a photograph look interesting and unique, but too often, it hides the face and causes the eyes to be in shadows. I understand this is Texas, and some guys are as much a part of their hats as their truck. If the hat is part of his personality, then please wear it, and I'll work around it. Just be understanding when I have to put a reflector at waist level to put a little light on his face.
Jeans. For whatever reason, jeans tend to photograph really really well. I personally prefer the look of jeans in photos over khaki chinos, but that is really more of a personal preference. They both look great.Cute dresses. Another great thing for you girls to keep in mind is dresses! If you’re comfortable in dresses and have a few that you love (or want an excuse to go out and shop!), brightly colored dresses are a great option. Bright, solid colors. Rich colors can really help separate you from the background.
DO look like the most dressed up version of yourselves. Wear what you would normally wear to a really fun party (this is open to your interpretation of course). This is partly because it dresses up your photos and partly because party outfits put people in a mood to have fun.
4. To DO This is part of that whole "your personality" theme. Anyone can have engagement pictures in their album of the couple walking hand in hand down a sidewalk. Meh... I like to be a little more creative. One couple that I know, loves to ride roller coasters! For their engagement shoot, we're taking pictures at Six Flags on the coasters! Are you both motorcycle riders? I'll get some pictures of you going 70mph on Hwy 281 headed to the Shadetree Saloon!
Not to be repetitive or anything, but

The session should reflect you and your love together.

If you are adventurous and out of ideas, ask me. I might have some really cool ideas that I've been wanting to shoot. If you see something fun on Pinterest, send it to me! I love to share ideas with couples. Bring your dog(s) for part of the shoot!

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