The time between getting engaged and getting married is an important time for most couples – a whirlwind of beginning a new chapter together and likely planning a wedding. It’s a no-brainer for some couples (gotta show off that new ring!) while for others, it’s a time to work out camera jitters before your wedding day comes. Regardless, it’s a great moment in time to have captured and to look back on in 10, 20 or 50 years. I’ve rounded up my top tips for planning an engagement session that reflects your personal style, while also creating beautiful, timeless photos that you’ll love for years to come.
1. Choose the Style of Photos
Before doing anything else, it’s important to first have a chat with each other about the style of photos you want captured. There are tons of different photographers that all specialize in different things.
Are you looking for someone to capture candid moments of you and your fiancé, or more posed/traditional (or a mix of both)? Do you like a more vintage style, or more modern?
The first step is generally narrowing down a photographer that you feel would capture your fiancé and you well, and also that you can get along with and feel relaxed in front of their camera.
2. Decide on a Season
The second step would be choosing a time of year and location – Newfoundland has so much to offer, and you can plan a summer hike on the east coast trail with a picnic, a quiet, winter walk in Bowring Park; or a fun fall-themed shoot at a farm.
There are so many options and your photographer will likely bring tons of inspiration as well if you’re undecided!
3. Pick a Location
Choosing a location is my favourite part of the whole planning process! I always like to encourage couples to think of things they like to do together, or, a fun experience they’ve wanted to do for a while – and then we can have it captured as a beautiful memory.
The options are seriously endless. By far the most popular option is getting outside and exploring the nooks and crannies of this beautiful place! Nothing makes me happier than utilizing the Newfoundland landscape to create personal artwork for you to look back on and love, while also cementing in your minds a special place that you can go back to again over the years and remember starting your lives together.
If hiking isn’t your thing, no worries – we can go for a walk downtown, stopping into your favourite coffee shop for a cup of joe; relax in your own home or cabin, cozied up by the fire, or create some fun photos of you enjoying an activity together – making pottery, having a picnic, or exploring a new place.
If you have a few favourite places near to each other, we can always make a little journey out of it – for example, start at the cabin, go for a little walk in the woods, and end with a picnic by the ocean at sunset.
4. Plan Your Outfits
The #1 most asked question is – what do we wear?! For some couples it’s easy and effortless to show off their personal style – while others (like me, haha) are naturally more comfortable in a t-shirt and sweatpants, so choosing a nice outfit can be much harder. When you break it all down though, it doesn’t have to be too hard.
While it’s totally up to you how elegant or casual you go, it’s always nice to get a little bit dressier than you normally would, with a nice dress shirt and khakis or jeans on guys, and a nice comfortable dress or blouse and skirt for the ladies. For cold weather, dressing in layers with a comfortable, fitted sweater or dressy coat is a great option.
Long flowy dresses photograph incredibly well and look very elegant for outdoor sessions in dramatic locations, especially paired with a handsome man in a fitted shirt and sports coat. If we have time, you can also bring multiple outfits – and I always recommend packing one that’s more formal, and one that’s more casual – then you’ve got lots of options.
Start by picking out a key piece for the pickiest person – maybe a favourite sweater or comfortable dress – something that you know you look awesome in and that feels great. Or if your partner has difficultly finding clothes, you can pick out a favourite dress shirt that you know he/she likes and that fits the look you’re going for. Once you’ve picked out your key piece, you can start building an outfit around it by working in the same colour family – bringing it back to art class; certain colours go great together and certain ones don’t – you can always send me photos of the outfits you have picked if you’re unsure! My favourite colour combos are grey and navy, neutrals (beige, brown, white), and for fall, red and mustard yellow.
Trendy necklaces, funky scarves, cute shoes all go a long way towards making you look put-together and styled. Also, make sure to do a trial run with your outfits, maybe to work or a party, or even just wear it around the house a couple of weeks before your session to make sure everything fits well, looks good, and above all, is comfortable and makes you feel great!
5. Day-of Preparation
I know it’s not possible for everyone, but if you can, it’s wonderful to make an evening out of your engagement session. I highly recommend booking a makeup artist – bonus points if you can schedule your wedding makeup trial! I also recommend having your nails done a few days before your session as well, and getting your ring cleaned if needed.
If you’re a bit jittery, plan enough time that you can have a glass of wine while you’re getting ready, or a cozy bath beforehand. We’ll be aiming to capture photos of your partner and you looking relaxed and happy together, so try to be patient with one another on the way to your shoot – your happiness with each other will show through in the photos.
If you’re getting all dressed up and going out, why not make a reservation at your favourite restaurant for after your engagement photos and turn photo-day into date night, and it can be a great memory that you’ll look back on with a smile.
Enjoy! If you have any questions about booking your own engagement shoot, please feel free to chat with us – our email is firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you!
Alex Stead Photography is based out of St. John's, Newfoundland. To contact us directly, email info (at) alexsteadphotos (dot) com.
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