Planning a Personalized Engagement Session
Engagement photos may seem optional or as an added bonus you can skip before the wedding day, but in reality it is an incredibly significant step leading up to your celebration.
Here are the two main reasons to have an engagement session:
1. To practice being in front of the camera with your partner.
2. To tell the story of you as a couple during the time you spent engaged
Being in front of the camera is not natural for everyone, but engagement photos allow you and your partner to learn the timing of the shoot and how to interact with each other with the camera.
Couples are lucky to get 30 minutes uninterrupted for their wedding portraits, and they say practice makes perfect. Having an engagement session will make you and your partner professionals at taking photos together so that you can get to the reception quicker.
Also, these photos are the perfect way to capture all of those pre-wedding emotions because the excitement you feel cannot be mimicked once the cake is cut and the dancing is done. And an engagement session provides extra time to incorporate fun and distinctive details that will help tell your story as a couple.
Finding time for an engagement session and figuring out how to make the session unique to you is how you go from having a few pretty pictures to meaningful photos that will be special to you for a lifetime.
Here are a few ideas and examples to think about when planning your engagement session:
Sydne and JJ chose to have their engagement session in Birmingham, Alabama, because that is the city they call home.
The two met at Auburn University, where JJ played baseball and Sydne played softball. After graduation, they both moved to Birmingham and grew to love the city together. Now, as a Birmingham couple through and through, they chose to use the city as their backdrop for their engagement photos.
Various locations in the downtown area, including the Redmond Hotel, provided the perfect setting for their engagement session. The downtown city streets gave an edgy feel to the shoot, while still keeping the southern charm.
With this in mind, Sydne and JJ included their dogs, Hank, the Golden Retriever, and Lola, the French Bulldog in their photos as well. Hank and Lola are an integral part of Sydne and JJ’s story as a couple and added the personal touch to the session that they wanted.
Caroline and Kirk are high school sweethearts who went on their first date to Doodles, an Italian ice shop. After attending college, the two moved back to their hometown of Mountain Brook, Alabama, and started exploring life together as an engaged couple.
When it came time for their hometown engagement session, we chose to highlight specific locations that tell their story as a couple. We discovered that as their relationship has grown, their love for frozen treats remained.
On their way home from dates, Caroline and Kirk would find themselves visiting their local ice cream parlor, Mountain Brook Creamery. This was the perfect activity to include in their engagement session to make the shoot feel like a real life date, while also paying tribute to the first time they went out as well.
Pro-Tip: If you choose to take photos with ice cream, plan to shoot fast because the ice cream does melt quickly.
Ryan and Emma are from the same hometown of Westchester, Ohio, but met by chance in Atlanta. Ryan plays center for the Indianapolis Colts, and lives in Indy full time, and after a year of long distance dating, Emma joined Ryan in Indy.
After they got engaged, there were several ideas of where and how they wanted their engagement session to go. But because Indy is where they shared their first home, where Ryan proposed, and is a big part of their relationship, which is ultimately why they chose Indy for their engagement session.
Upon choosing Indy as the backdrop of their session, it was obvious that Lucas Oil Stadium would be their first choice in location. We then needed to find a second location that would pair well with Lucas Oil but also be impressive on its own.
Luckily the canal walk in downtown Indy is close by and provides a variety of potential locations. One location in particular features the Indianapolis skyline, which was the perfect spot to compliment the previous impact from Lucas Oil, while also creating a separate scene of its own.
Ryan wore a custom black suit, while Emma made a statement with her bold accessories and pink shoes. Their fashion choices complimented the look and feel of their surroundings, while creating an eye-catching dynamic as well.
Engagement photos are important to the success of the wedding day, but they are also a great opportunity to escape the craziness of planning and enjoy being with your partner. What better way to get excited for the big day than spending quality time with each other that is solely focused on you?
Please send me a note if you’re looking to plan your engagement session and if any of these tips helped you. I’m here to be on your team!