Wedding Photography — Start to Finish
Navigating the journey of wedding photography from engagement session through thank-yous
Enjoy our multi-part blog series on wedding photography:
- An engagement session to set the scene- 6 Tips for a Successful Engagement Session
- A successful day starts with a timeline – Creating a Wedding Timeline to Avoid a Disaster
- Communication and creativity with other vendors- Brilliant Ideas for Working with Wedding Vendors
- To First Look or Not to First Look- The Great Debate: A First Look or No First Look
- Must-Have Pictures of the Bride – 6 Must Have Pictures to get of the Bride
- Capturing Moments with the Groom- 5 Pictures to Capture of the Groom
- Quick and Easy Family Portraits – 6 Tips for Quick and Easy Family Portraits at a Wedding
- Keeping Bridal Party Photos Smooth and Fresh – 6 Tips to Keep Bridal Party Photos Smooth and Fresh
- All About the Little Things — Details of the Day 68 Details To Photograph at a Wedding
- Wrapping it up with kindness and care 6 Tips Photographers Need to put the Final Touch on a Wedding
An engagement session to set the scene
I believe that engagement sessions are so important that I include them as a complimentary addition to every one of my wedding packages.
The engagement session is sometimes the first time I meet my clients, or at least the first time outside of a more formal consultation at a coffee shop. It’s a fantastic opportunity to see the two of them in a favorite location and at a more leisurely pace.
1- Ask a lot of Questions: I almost always walk away from an engagements session feeling like I really know my couple. I ask a lot of questions — about their wedding planning and details, but since that can be a bit of a stressful topic, I will often times keep it much more laid-back. I ask about their jobs, hobbies, pets (11 Tips to Incorporate Pets into Your Engagement Session), plans for the weekend and anything else that comes up while we walk paths or cross fields. I’m a huge observer so between our conversations and the way I see them look at each other, hold hands, finish each other’s sentences and several other non-verbal cues, I can typically figure out styles of photographs, ideas for our next pose or even ways to loosen them up if someone gets a little too self-conscious.
2- Helps with Hang-ups: An engagement session ahead of time also tells me what their hang-ups with body issues or poses may be long before she’s ever wearing a white gown. A great read on 7 Posing Tips for Engagement Portraits
3- Keep it Personal: I try to keep engagement sessions as personal and significant to them as possible — whether it’s making sure a bride with a dance background gets in some twirls or some coffee drinkers pause with cups of mochas, there are so many ways to make these images “fit” them.
Sometimes, one idea will spur an entire theme — like when one bride-to-be wanted to do a shot with them sharing an ice cream cone. Soon, we found a vintage ice cream parlor and the two of them embraced it all the way with 40s-style clothing and hair and so many other vintage touches. It was so much fun!
4- Multiple Locations and Outfits: I encourage multiple outfits and always give my clients the first choosing of a location. My engagement sessions usually run about two hours. I’ll give them a little “break” for outfit changes and a chance to capture some ring detail shots (We’ll share more about those in Part 9 of the series!).
5- Planning the Session: When planning an engagement session date, determine: 1. If your couple wants a similar season/background to their wedding (So, a summer session for their next June wedding) and 2. If they’ll be using final images for Save-the-Dates and/or displays at the wedding.
6- Don’t be Predictable: While a wedding day can be somewhat “predictable” —with a timeline (read more about those in our next part of the series!) an engagement session is always unique! I’ve witnessed beautiful sunsets, incorporated treasured pets and learned all about new hobbies and interests with my couples, all thanks to a couple of hours of spontaneity, exploring and fun!
Engagement photos answer the question “Who are these two?”
It’s the first step in truly telling their love story.
Be sure to follow along this series to get great tips on the entire “wedding” process!
Guest Blogger: Wendy Zook
Wendy is a Jersey Girl at heart creating adventures with her hubby and two kids (Zack-5 and Addie-3) in Rochester, NY. When she’s not capturing love stories with her Nikon, she’s reading, sipping coffee and chasing new adventures!