Getting engaged is such an exciting time! One of the first things newly engaged couples do is plan a special engagement photo shoot to mark the occasion. Your engagement session is the beginning of your life together, which is why it is so important to plan for it accordingly.
So, to help you plan for your engagement photo shoot with ease, we’ve put together this list of the 11 most common mistakes couples make when planning their engagement photo shoots, and what to do instead.
1) Don’t book a photographer until you know what your own photography style preference is. Do you want pics that are cute but quirky? Dark and moody? Or ethereal and airy? Photographers vary in their style of photography. Sometimes couples request images that don’t represent the work showcased on the photographers website. This puts photographers in a tricky situation. They want you to love your images but if your request doesn’t fit with the style you hired them for, you might not be happy with the results. Get familiar with the most recent work on a photographers blog and Instagram feed to make sure you like what you see. If you don’t, keep searching until you find a better fit.
2. Don’t try to pose during your shoot. Trying too hard to pose instead of just being natural often looks contrived. If you’re not a high fashion model don’t try and be one. Relax, be comfortable in your own skin and just have fun. Your photographer is a professional so accept their input. That's why you hired them!
3. Don’t wait until the night before to pick your outfits. If you have to rush to the store in the morning, you’ll probably end up wearing clothes with tags or crease folds from the shop. Take some time to plan your outfits thoughtfully. You’ll integrate the images from the engagement session into your life more than you would expect!
4. Don’t bring the cheesy props along. Don’t get me wrong – there is absolutely always a time and place a little bit of cheese – but your engagement shoot is usually not it. Instead of silly “I’m with stupid” cutouts, you can opt to incorporate something meaningful such as love letters or items which represent shared hobbies instead. Often a meaningful location is a great way to add a personal touch to your shoot.
5. Don’t be afraid to go glam! Jeans, unless set in an urban environment and styled to perfection, do not always make for beautiful photos. Couples are always encouraged to dress up regardless of whether they’re shooting in a natural environment like a forest, field, park or the beach.
Don’t be too afraid to go all the way! Your engagement session and your wedding day are the only two days where you are allowed to dress up and be fancy and feel fabulous! Go as fancy as you like. These photos might be on your Save the Dates or your wedding invitations, so don’t come dressed in something super casual and then regret it later. You don’t have to break the bank to dress up, but it’s always a good idea to put your best foot forward.
6. Don’t forget your second outfits. Consider bringing two outfits to a shoot – one casual and one more formal. That way you have a range of looks and images which better your story as a whole.
7. Don’t forget to have a basic plan for the shoot. Both logistically and stylistically. It helps to have a basic idea in mind in terms of the location you’re after, and the kind of look at feel you want. Your photographer will be able to guide you as to when the best light can be found where, so you can plan around it. Natural looking photos still require thought and purpose – remember you want these photos to last a lifetime! Plan accordingly.
8. Don’t forget to book a hair and makeup stylist. The more effort you make with your outfit, hair, make-up and styling, the better your photos will come out.
9. Don’t forget to have a plan B in case of bad weather. Of course we’re got our fingers crossed that the skies are beautiful and blue, the wind has taken the day off, and rain is nowhere in sight. But, just in case things don’t work out, it’s always advised to have an alternate location your love in mind for plan B.
10. Don’t overlook travel time between multiple locations. If you’re planning on shooting at both the lake and your fave coffee house but they’re 20 minutes apart, you might have increase the number of hours you’ve booked for your session. Work with your photographer to create a realistic timeline which is practical not only in terms of travel time between locations, but that factors in time to change your outfits, finding parking, locating crowd-free spots & lighting.
11. Don’t fall victim to the Pinterest Let Down. Pinterest can be extremely helpful in terms of visual organization and getting inspiration for your engagement session, but there is a downside to pinning endless romantic poses, clothing, and locations. If you are going to Pinterest, do so with flexibility. Don’t expect your session to be EXACTLY like the photo and manage your expectations clearly. Photographers want your engagement photos to be representative of YOU as a couple, and not as a carbon copy others have seen on Pinterest a hundred times.
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