This post is not only for my clients but for any couple wondering what this engagement-session phenomenon is all about.
An engagement session is about becoming comfortable with your photographer and learning what it takes to create rad portraits. It's important for the three of us to work together before the big day. It should (in my opinion) be provided to all couples who book a wedding package. Unless, for some reason, they absolutely detest the idea of an engagement shoot (which is okay), or can't make the trip before the wedding because they live in Antarctica (but if that were the case —I'd definitely fly there to shoot it.)
An engagement session may involve some liquid courage—beer or cocktails if necessary—and an hour or so wandering the streets, back alleys (sounds sketchy) or the woods. Always bring a pair of comfortable shoes. Don't expect your engagement session photos to be cookie-cutter. I am here to offer you something creative so don't be surprised to see prisms or oddly-shaped pieces of glass working their magic during the shoot. That's how you get effects like this:
Here's what I suggest to prepare for your upcoming session.
TIME OF DAY
Your session should be scheduled during the golden hour. Which is an hour before either SUNRISE or SUNSET and provides the best lighting for portraits. I can still count on one hand the amount of sessions I have had at dawn— most couples prefer the sunset option. I am totally cool with that. If you know me at all, I am a night owl.
A sunrise shoot on St. Augustine's Bayfront
A sunset shoot at Guana Tolomato Reserve in Ponte Vedra
Where you do hang out together? Do you want your photos to be taken near your wedding venue? Or do you want to mix it up? I say mix it up. If you're getting married in downtown St. Augustine, let's plan your engagement session elsewhere. Where can we take an adventure? Here are a couple of my favorite shoots that mixed it up.
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park & Campground
Fawn & Corey have been camping and going to festivals here for years. They were in their element and it was my first time in the park—which was awesome.
Cummer Museum & Gardens
Holly & Jan are both artists in Jacksonville and loved the idea of having their portraits taken in and around the museum.
One of my favorite engagement sessions to date, not only because I got to enjoy Iceplant happy hour with Ali and Marcie but we had an adventure at the shrimp docks on Riberia Street.
WHAT TO WEAR
Coordinate somehow—in color or style. Guys, jeans and a button up will always work. Ladies, try for a color that pops (like the red pants Lindsay rocked below). If you are up for a change bring two outfits, one causal and one formal. Oh, and you can never go wrong with black.
WHAT TO BRING
If we're shooting in Florida (with one of the most bipolar weather systems) I always recommend to bring umbrellas if there's a chance of rain. We most likely won't cancel unless it's a downpour. I am not opposed to props but they are NOT necessary. If you want to pop champagne (when appropriate) or bring along a lantern to light the way—do it! Also, a blanket if we're going to the beach.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST: MAKEUP
Ladies, have your makeup professionally done. You will be happy you did! And how often do you get to rock fake lashes anyway? I can recommend a few local artists and this can also be used as your makeup trial for your wedding.
WHAT TO EXPECT