Recently engaged? Congrats! By now you’ve probably told the engagement story a million times already, and your mind is racing with questions on what to start planning. You start to think about scheduling an engagement photo session with your hubby-to-be, but have a TON of questions and some nerves (let’s be honest here; you want the photos to be perfect!). Well we’re right there with you, and so we invited Allison Pedigo of ABH Fine Photography to share her 9 tips on taking the best engagement photos ever.
Photographing engagement sessions are, without a doubt, the most fun. Ever. This is my opportunity to engage (sorry for the pun…) with you two and see how you interact with one another and with a camera in the mix. It’s not a test, and despite what everyone keeps telling you, it’s not going to be awkward… the entire time.
Look at it this way. What is the purpose of a photograph? It’s to tell a story. A photograph is a way of invoking feeling – a connection – with a moment of the past, without even having to use a single word. An image is meant to remind you of something – or someone – from your past and make it relevant. It is often a reminder of something precious. And if you’ve held on to a photograph after some time, it’s a way of bringing back that feeling and reliving it. The celebration of your engagement is a moment. A fleeting one, at that. That’s why everyone tells you to enjoy it and not to miss a second! Your engagement session coincides with this, in that it is a means of documenting this precious time so you have the newness of it all and the excitement that preludes this promise you will soon make to one another, and you are enabled to revisit it as many times as you’d like and for the rest of your lives. It is such a beautiful thing. It’s why I love this blessing of a career so much!
That being said, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone that has said “being in front of a camera is easy”. Here are a few helpful hints and tips for you as you are gearing up for your big e-sesh!
1 – Don’t do anything too different.
For your session, you want to look and feel like your best self. If you love the way you look with soft highlights, go for it! But, when preparing for your engagement session, it’s easy to toil with the idea of that ombre hairstyle you’ve been wanting to try… or that new animal-print-meets-stripes “look” you found – and love – on Pinterest. You want to look back at your images five, ten… 60 years from now and see yourselves and the sweet beginnings of your new love, just the way it is. Adventurous. Anticipatory. Excited. Not wondering, “what was I wearing?” I advise my couples to wear something comfortable, but that makes them feel beautiful (and handsome!). Because, like my Mom has always said – when you look great, you feel great. And when you’re looking good with your soon-to-be husband or wife, it’s just icing on the cake.
2 – Keep it simple.
Something I always address with my couples is what to bring to their engagement session. I’ve found over the years, though it may be subjective, that less is usually more. If there is something that means something important to you both – maybe a quilt he had made for you one winter because he knows you hate the cold, or your pilot’s wings (because we all know how hard you worked for those!) – bring it along! Detail shots are always fun, especially if they enhance your session by not taking away from you. You two are the main focus, so it’s important not to lose sight of what’s most important – your love!
3 – Get your nails done!
I guess this one is pretty self-explanatory. Your fiancé made a big investment in that shiny ring on your finger, and it’s definitely going to be making a debut. And, being that it is on your finger… so will your nails. If you’re like me, you’re nowhere close to being ambidextrous and painting your own nails is a disaster. Every. Time. Besides, you deserve to get the full treatment – take this as an excuse to treat yourself and try out a new nail color for the big day!
4 – Location.
When thinking about where to have your session, think about places that mean something to you both and your relationship. Where did he propose? Is there a lake house you two frequent every summer? Did you just get a new home together? These are all questions that have lead to some pretty awesome locations in my sessions. If you just can’t seem to think of somewhere special, think of things you enjoy doing together. Whether it’s hiking, walking your dogs, or exploring new and fun things (like apple picking!), I am up for absolutely wherever your love leads you!
5 – Be honest with your photographer.
So, you’re not comfortable with PDA. I 100% get that! And it’s totally okay! You don’t have to kiss in front of the camera to get fabulous images. If anything you’re doing makes either of you uncomfortable, it will show. I want you to feel as comfortable as you could possibly feel so that your images are as uniquely and as beautifully you as they ought to be.
6 – Bring flats.
Okay, so this is pretty simple. But seriously – unless you are an in-touch-with-the-Earth kind of chick (in which case – we love you, too!), bringing flats will save you from a wicked case of hurting feet. Your session will likely last anywhere from one to two hours or more, so you will probably be walking quite a bit. Those heels are hot! But, unfortunately, blistering feet is not. Unless your fiancé will carry you everywhere we go… in which case, ditch all shoes and let him be the heck of a man he is. That would actually be super cute.
7 – Schedule your session 6-12 months in advance.
So your wedding isn’t until a year from now. You’re ahead of the game, and you’ll be thanking yourself later! It also means you have every season to choose from when considering when to have your engagement session. My husband and I are Fall people, so Autumn is “our” season. We planned our wedding for September, but opted for a Springtime session to get a different seasonal backdrop in our images. It’s always a good idea to schedule your engagement session at least 6 -12 months preceding your wedding day. That way, you have the pick of your date and plenty of time to reschedule if the weather decides to rear its ugly head.
8 – Don’t be afraid to improvise!
The word “posing” scares everyone. Let’s be honest, who wants their images to be “posed”? I do my best to direct my clients with positioning of bodies and placement of hands. Then – I step back and let you do what feels natural to you! Don’t be afraid to lean in close, tuck her hair behind her ear, hold hands, or – gasp! – kiss! Improvising lets me know you feel comfortable enough to take a little direction and run with it. And, those are the captures with feeling. Those are the ones I promise you will love the most.
9 – Have fun with each other!
I always say that, of all of the jobs that are required to be done in order to plan and make your wedding day a reality, mine is by far the most fun. Especially when it comes to your e-session. This is your opportunity to relax and just have fun together! What do you love most about each other? What is it about the other that makes you “tick”? Let those fun qualities shine through and just have a blast. Don’t worry about the camera – I’m there to capture you being you! I mean… “have fun”. How easy is that?
Be sure to check out Allison’s site for more of her work and a chance to connect with her for your upcoming engagement photo session!