If you were lucky enough to be selected by the couple to photograph their wedding day, it is a good idea to offer an engagement session as well. First, consider what they want to accomplish with the session. Perhaps it is to make save the dates, get to know you as their photographer, or get some photos to show off that new ring on social media! Your session will go smoothly if you plan ahead of time.
1- Choosing a Location
Start with asking the couple if they have any ideas in mind. Narrow down the options with establishing the setting such as a downtown urban feel or maybe they are nature lovers. Ask questions about where they went on a first date or where he proposed. Make sure you have permission to shoot at the location. Some spots require a permit or a fee. It can be embarrassing if you are approached by an official and asked to leave so do your homework ahead of time.
2- What to Wear
The number one question my clients ask is what they should wear for their session. Establishing the location is key to find what is appropriate. The bride would have difficulty in walking nature trails if she is wearing a fancy pair of Jimmy Choos. My main advice is that white adds weight while black or dark colors minimize flaws. They do not need to invest a new wardrobe if they follow the tips from these amazing stylists.
3 – The Gear
Keep your gear selection simple. Pack a field gear bag so that you can easily walk with the couple and not overwhelm them with a large production for every spot you stop at. I suggest packing two to three lenses. I typically pack a zoom lens for those cute close ups, a wide-angle lens to encompass the background, and a macro lens for the ring shots.
4- Give Direction
Prepare yourself with a series of poses. Pay close attention to the details such as hand placements. Start with the basic positions that will help the clients get familiar with your style as well for you get to know how they naturally interact with each other. It is also a good idea to have some jokes or icebreakers prepared to help everyone loosen up. Not every couple is comfortable with PDA so encourage other ways of connection like holding hands or just gazing into each other’s eyes.
5- Provide Variety
Even if you feel unsure of some photo ideas, it is great to try new things. This helps to showcase your style and set you apart from other photographers. Do not be afraid to break the rules. Check out these photo ideas from real couples to spark some inspiration.
6- Cull it Down
After the session is wrapped up, it may be hard to select your favorites. When giving the final photos to the client, try to stay away from giving the same pose with different expressions. When a client is given too many choices, their only way of elimination is by comparing the flaws. Cull it down to the best of the best.
A photo session should be fun and help showcase your talents as a photographer as well as the awesome couple. Everyone has to start somewhere and engagement sessions are great practice to start working with brides and grooms. Do your homework by finding tips and you will be set for success!