So I want to talk to you about something that is extremely important to me, the engagement session. The engagement session is something that as photographers, we use to get to know you and “break the ice,” before a wedding day. Modern wedding trends have given brides more and more control over their day they ever before. I am noticing that far more often than not, the engagement session has still taken a traditional approach.
Now don’t get me wrong, every couple needs some traditional poses in their album. Being that our style is different than most photographers, we strive to turn all of our images into a work of art. We want every experience with our brides and grooms to be unique in nature, and we do not want to use the same shots in every image. That is why we try to find unique ways to blend off-camera lighting, with creative use of natural light. We also try to blend the environment into our portraits.
I know, I know, get to the point. Our experience is that with every engagement session that we have photographed, the best results come from more than just picking a cool location and then showing up. We believe that if you want an E-Session to really rock, then we need to pick a theme to go with.
Now I am not saying that you both need to rent costumes and dress up like it’s halloween in the middle of Downtown Los Angeles for your engagement photos, I am just saying that utilizing a theme, and then styling your shoot accordingly will take your images a lot further. They will be different, unique, and truly one of a kind. Here is an example of how the process can work.
Let’s say you wanted a vintage theme. You may want to pick a natural location, or one with older architecture. I like Union Station, or Travel Town for urban, or maybe an open field for natural (Santa Clarita is full of great natural locations for engagement photography in Los Angeles). We would then go over the best timing for lighting, which is almost always around sunset, however the timing can change based on weather and date. This is where most couples finish the planning.
The most important next step would be locking down your wardrobe. Now I chose a vintage theme for this example, because that is what is popular in wedding photography right now. This theme allows for amazing images that Jen tells me are chic, couture, rustic,
butterflies and unicorns. You would want to visit a thrift store to gather an older vintage dress, for a natural setting think 1960’s, maybe with a headband. For guys maybe an old grey suit. For an urban vintage shoot, your style would have to be a bit different. That is why they made Pinterest, it is a source of inspiration for this exact reason, and it works great. I don’t know if Pinterest is still on an invite system but if you need an invite, we will send one your way.
Do not forget to accessorize, for our vintage shoot, look for jewelry from the era you are going with, pearls are a good choice. Guys don’t forget the suspenders and vintagy hats. Yes “vintagy” is not in the dictionary, yes I checked. Guys can also look at bowties, or grandpa sweaters.
Next thing that is important is the details. Jen and I have been paying a lot more attention to details lately, because that is what publishers have told us they want to see. Vintage props are easy to find, and look amazing in photographs. You can pick up many of them on Etsy. Suitcases, books, umbrellas, typewriters. You name it, if it is something old, it will look good in pictures. Consider maybe a picnic, with champagne (Anyone see the Zombie Engagement Shoot? It was done in Santa Clarita FYI) There are TONS of ideas that you can come up with.
Now, if you go all out with this theme, if it is not photographed correctly, all that work would just not look right. If we were photographing it, we would slightly overexpose, and give it a bit of a washed out look in our editing process. Using light to our advantage is something that we excel at, and this type of shoot is easy to accomplish.
Ok, now that I have done all this talking about a vintage themed engagement shoot, we are dying to shoot one! So I will do this, to the couples reading this, write a comment in the box below with your ideas for a vintage themed engagement shoot. We will pick one couple that we will provide a session to free of charge. You have to wow us, and be prepared to carry out your idea! Remember to provide details! The winner chosen will need to provide props to make this shoot chic, couture, rustic,
butterflies and unicorns (see above).