scheduling your session
Engagement sessions take 1 -2 hours depending on the collection you've chosen. Your session will likely be on a weekday and ideally in the evening. The best light is 2 hours before sunset. However, I'm up for shooting anytime during the day.
While it's not always possible to set up a session on a weekday due to scheduling, areas like parks and cities will be less crowded, if you're willing to plan for a weekday. When we schedule the session will depend on what you would like to use the images for. Save the Dates are pre-invitations usually sent out at least 5 months before the wedding. Since editing time for an engagement session is generally 2-3 weeks I recommend scheduling your session at least 5-6 months before the wedding.
about the session
These sessions are about celebrating you as a couple and it's also a chance to "unlearn" how you've previously taken photos up until now. They're laid back and free flowing. It won't take long for you to get an idea for how I direct and communicate. After a few bad jokes you'll quickly learn why I'm a photographer and not a comedian.
This is also a great chance for us to get to know each other. If you've never had professional photos taken together you'll probably learn a bit more about each other as well. After the session feel free to provide any feedback you may have in case we need to change anything for wedding day portraits. Some couples realize that they prefer less kissing photos and others find that they are drawn to more intimate photos. If we're both comfortable and know what to expect from the other it will make the wedding day portraits go much quicker and smoother.
Let me start by saying that I'm up for shooting anywhere. I have locations in the Lynchburg, VA area that I often gravitate toward but I'm always looking for new places I've never been to before. I have no problem shooting somewhere that I've been before but it's usually a good idea if you choose a unique location that's representative of you both.
Think about things that inspire you: your hobbies, careers, passions, or even your own neighborhood. Places that have sentimental meaning for the two of you are great. The more personal you can make it the better. Keep in mind that it doesn't have to be a "traditional" location. If an empty field with wild flowers and a beautiful sunset is your thing, I'm all for it. But don't feel obligated to choose a location like that because that's what you've seen done.
If both of you are foodies, an outdoor market or your favorite local coffee shop may be an option for you. If you have a minimal and modern style, maybe a city block with lots of modern architecture or an industrial setting would work for you. If you love to read, a library or a bookstore might be perfect. You may have to get together to brainstorm a few options. Also, think about the colors and style of any location and how you can compliment them with your outfits. The shoot doesn't have to be a grand concept but it helps when you love where we are. If you have a concept or theme in mind feel free to talk to me about it and we can work together together to bring your vision to fruition. Keep in mind that some places may require a permit for us to shoot there so be sure to check the policies for any place you have in mind.
what to wear
Like the location, your clothes should reflect the two of you. I think it may be a good idea to dress more casually since you'll be more formal for your wedding. It's good for the two of you to wear colors that compliment each other as well as the location. I would suggest not bringing more than 2 outfits. Any more than that may hinder our time together. You'll want to avoid clothes with any distracting patterns, graphics, or baggy button downs. Primary colors work well to make you pop from the background. A subtle hint of red, yellow, or blue can really add to your outfit. Be sure to wear a comfortable pair of shoes because we'll probably do a good bit of walking. During the session plan to travel light. You can leave things like your phone, keys, and bags or purses in your car. I can always carry any small items for you as well.
Remember - confidence is everything in photographs. What you choose to wear should be comfortable, compliment your physical features, your individuality, and make you feel amazing.
All in all, this guide was written to just give you a few tips and ideas to point you in the right direction. At the end of the day this session is about you. Make it personal, make it about you, and have fun with it!