Engagement Session Tips!

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You and your significant other both really should read this page..so that we are all on the same page!

I hear it all the time…’we are not models.’ Well, I’ve never worked with a model so none of my clients are pros! First, forget about the camera as much as possible! If you are having fun and enjoying the experience, that will translate on camera. This will not be a stuffy, overly posed session. There are a few minutes of getting warmed up and I will need to pose you both and give direction, but from there I like to have fun and get those spontaneous, in-between-pose moments too! I have my own ways of getting you to loosen up and have fun, but a great shoot is a group effort! You will only get out of this, what you put into it… like most things in life!

My style is definitely romantic, fun and sweet so be prepared to put on the PDA! Don’t be afraid to change it up, have fun, laugh, kiss and be goofy… be you! I may tell you to do something strange or make a silly face, but what I’m looking for is your reaction to that, not really the odd thing or silly face itself. So, trust in me and just go with it! I will guide you, but also let you be yourself and not worry about the camera SO much. Every couple has their own body language and I’ve got to see what you do naturally and then will absolutely make adjustments if it isn’t quite right on camera. This is how I get my shoots to look authentic and sincere… they simply are! If you hear my camera click’n, it’s all good!

If there is anything specific you are looking for or any particular theme, lets discuss that in advance! Be prepared for your session to last 1-2 hours tops. Lots more tips below…

eng tips

Pack light. You should consider bringing:

  • touchup lip color (from all that kissing that will surely be happening!)
  • if it’s hot, maybe some tissues for blotting sweat… cold water is also a great idea!
  • outfit changes. Optional – limit yourself to 2 outfits if you can. Consider if the location is ideal for changing (ask us!). Let me know what you are wearing/bringing so I can plan your session and then you’ll know what to wear first.
  • engagement ring – should go without saying!

If you have a lot of stuff to carry or if you want to include your dog in some shots, please consider bringing a friend to help you with that, or I can hire an additional assistant. It’s nice for your hands to be free, so while we are walking to another spot I can keep on shoot’n! I may have one assistant, but they will already be very weighed down with my gear.  I can fit a few small items in my camera bag like your phone, glasses and keys. Adding an assistant is an option with a small fee.

Location

If you don’t know where you want your photos taken, lets talk about it! Think about what makes you tick, as a couple. If you think about what you like to do together, that could inspire something truly unique! I absolutely love shooting at a family farm, a favorite date spot or just somewhere that is truly special to you both. Not everyone has a place like this, so I have lots of ideas for you as well. My favorite places to shoot are natural areas! Remember to dress for the location and consider if there will be a lot of walking involved, type of terrain, mud, tall grass, etc. Some locations charge fees and if outside of San Antonio, I do have a travel fee. So please contact us to discuss all the details. Multiple locations can be used, but we only have so much daylight, so let’s discuss that possibility and see if we can make it work. Browse some location ideas here

Summertime Sessions

Summertime in Texas is hot y’all. The humidity and heat can make for some pretty miserable experiences, if your mood, sweaty hair stuck to your face and neck, and wet clothes aren’t an issue for the photos themselves. I can’t photoshop sweat or unhappy expressions. For this reason, I avoid shooting outside in the hottest months, June-August. If you must have your session outdoors in the summer in Texas, we will limit the time…or shoot in a river! Plan extra outfits for when you sweat thru your clothes and a sweat-proof hair style too!

Do

Have fun! I want this to be a great experience for both of you! Enjoy your engagement and this is all part of it. Everyone is nervous at first, but everyone warms up too and ends up having a blast!

Trust me! Let me do my thang. If someone constantly shuts down my ideas, well, that’s a real bummer. Period.

Plan for hair, makeup, mani and pedi. Even if your feet won’t show in the footwear you’ve chosen, who knows, I might get you to stick your feet in a river or snuggle barefoot on a blanket or a hammock…just be prepared (both of you) if you’d be comfortable with that. You don’t have to have professional hair and makeup, but it’s not a bad idea either. You don’t need tons of extra makeup. Be you, just enhanced.

Wardrobe. Coordinating is optional, but definitely don’t match. Mild colors, simple patterns, be yourself– try pairing a simple print and the other person with a coordinating solid (Pinterest can be great for wardrobe inspiration). Many plan for additional outfits as well; one casual, one a little dressy, etc. If you need help, let’s discuss!

Dress for the current season/weather/location.

Press your clothes (iron or steam out any wrinkles).

Discuss any concerns, wants and do-not-wants prior to the shoot.

Empty your pockets; (Guys!) keys, wallet, cell phone, sunglasses – if your pockets look bulky or full, it’s got to go! Makes your butt look weird. Great wedding day tip too!

Trim your nose hair (I’m looking at you again, guys!)

Let me know of anything you want me to know. Not kissing until your I-do’s? No problem and you wouldn’t be the first ones! But it’s best if I know this ahead of time.

Dogs are welcome! If you want to include your dogs in some, bring someone who can wrangle them when we don’t need them and definitely let me know about it in advance.

Props…Let me say that I am not a prop photographer. I do my best to stay away from the cheesy/staged side of photography and focus on moments & interaction more. However, if it’s something that makes sense for you, I would love to see how we can use it. A quilt your Gran made for you, a guitar, something with your wedding date if you are sending save-the-dates…I don’t think those type of things are cheesy if we can use them properly. I wouldn’t go heavy on props and don’t over think it. You don’t have to bring anything at all and most don’t. We don’t need any props. If you do though, I just ask that you let me know in advance what you want to bring so I have a chance to think about how best to use them so I can plan your session better. There’s nothing like showing up to our session to find you have a wagon full of props I knew nothing about. You will see a deer in headlights. The shoot will be first about the both of you and then we can see what we can do with your extra stuff ;)

Do Not (please)

Don’t wear matching outfits or same colors (i.e. both in black shirts and khaki pants…just…why?!)

Don’t wear overly bright colors. Bright red, orange, bright yellow, bright green and hot pink are the harshest. In a sunny afternoon, the colors will actually reflect that color onto your skin. Not good. Very bad.

Guys, I advise against a solid white shirt. Ladies, however, if you have a white dress you love, go for it! Off white is much better than bright white though, FYI.

Flip flops just never look good ;(

Do not spray tan…it’s not your friend. Orange is not a good look. Except for oompa loompas. Looks great on them.

Do not wear fine stripes. A Moiré pattern can occur (it looks weird).

Do not chew gum :)

(if bringing a helper for your dogs) Do not bring someone that will try and dictate your session for us – that’s my job and that’s a real creativity sucker! Trust in me! Also, don’t bring someone you’d be embarrassed kissing and getting all romantical in front of…that has to be a word, right? So think twice about bringing any parents. I prefer to not have extra people around, so maybe your helper can give us some space when they are not needed ;)

One of the worst things you can do it bring a list of images from Pinterest (or elsewhere) that you’d like to recreate. Pinterest is great for inspiration, but let’s leave it at that. We simply cannot copy a bunch of images found online. If there is something you’ve got your heart set on, let’s discuss it in advance. I’d much rather create unique images that everyone else wants ;)

But really…

If you are unsure of something and really want to go against my rules, let’s talk about it! In the end, if it’s something you just really want to wear or bring that doesn’t fit within the list, I usually just say go for it! If you feel good in it, that definitely counts for something. These are your photos and you need to be happy with them in the end. I am just giving you my best, tried and true advice to help your images and experience be the best they can be.

 After Your Session

About a week after your session, you should receive an e-mail with a link to see your proofs. These proofs are edited for color and lighting and you can select which 15 images you want retouched to keep for all eternity and print til your heart’s content! Retouching may include: fix blemishes, remove hair or unwanted bulges here and there and each image is usually in color and black and white. My goal is to end up with an image that doesn’t look retouched. Then, you will receive the digital files along with your wedding images. I am happy to send you a couple to use for save the dates. Want more than 15? Keep in mind that you can order prints from your proofs for a year or you can purchase additional digital files so you can print many times over on your own anytime you want.

 

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