Last week I posted a little bit behind why engagement sessions are awesome (they really, really are!) and why I only shoot them with my wedding couples. My brides & grooms and I chat about e-sessions at the very first meeting so they can get EXCITED about theirs! I know that I’m a planner and want to know what to expect for things like engagement sessions, so I figured today would be a good time to blog about things to consider when you’re planning for your e-session.
1) Timing- Are you planning to send out Save The Dates? Then you’ll probably need to have your e-session at least 6 months before your wedding. Make sure you leave enough time to get the Save The Dates printed, addressed and sent off! Did you have a particular season in which you wanted to shoot? Schedule your session as soon as possible to ensure your photographer is available during that particular season.
2) The photographer’s schedule- I’m generally booked about 6 weeks out when it comes to portrait session, and generally about 2 months out when it’s the middle of wedding season. I also only shoot engagement sessions Monday-Thursday, so my brides and grooms may have to take an afternoon off of work for their session, which may also require advance planning. I do my best to get my clients’ e-sessions on the schedule within 30 days of their booking- we don’t have to shoot it within 30 days, I just try to nail down a date so that we can prepare accordingly!
3) Location- is there a particular place that’s been significant in your relationship? A college campus, a city, a park, a coffee house? Consider shooting in one of those locations! It’ll keep your session more personal, tailored to you and your fiancé.
4) Outfits! I ask my couples to plan on two different outfits- one more dressy, one more casual. I LOVE when my brides send me photos of their outfits ahead of time so we can chat about the feel of their session. Last week I was chatting with my bride Tracy about their e-session we were planning to shoot in Great Falls, but after seeing Tracy’s adorable urban outfit choices, we made the decision to switch the location to Georgetown to match their clothing choices. Keep in mind where you’ll be shooting, then coordinate your outfits to match the formality/feel of what will be the backdrop for your session.
5) Hair & make-up- ladies! Definitely think about scheduling a hair & make-up artist for your session. Not only will it glam you up a bit, but you’ll FEEL more gorgeous. Scientific fact: false eyelashes improve self-esteem by 78-100%. I don’t know about y’all but, I’m impressed with myself when I can manage to apply liquid eyeliner in a straight line, so doing my own hair and make-up for professional photos is stressful! (Tip: don’t try to trim false lashes once you’ve already glued them to your eyelids- you’ll end up cutting your own real lashes. True story).
6) Weather- I don’t know about where you guys are from, but it is COLD in Virginia from December-February, sometimes March. I’ve found that when it’s bitterly cold outside, it’s just not as enjoyable of an experience for my bride and groom. My goal is beautiful images, definitely, but I also want my couples to have FUN! I want them to look back on their e-session and have sweet memories associated with their photos, instead of “I love this photo- remember how my fingers were turning blue from the cold? That was SUPER fun.” Because I want it to be a cheerful, gratifying experience, we typically won’t schedule engagement sessions from January to mid-late March to avoid frigid, blustery temperatures.
7) Time of day- I LOVE shooting at sunrise! But you guys already know that after this blog post. I put an especially heavy emphasis on sunrise starts if we’ve scheduled the e-session during one of the hot, sticky months- July & August can be miserably warm and humid, so if we don’t plan to start shooting until 5-6 pm, we’ll all be sweaty and uncomfortable. And since I want my brides and grooms to not only look amazing but FEEL amazing, we’ll opt to shoot at sunrise when temperatures are quite a bit cooler.