I met Malinda at the Riverlodge Bridal Fair in January. She booked her wedding soon after. Malinda decided she wanted to shoot her engagement session in Trinidad on the beach. I had so much fun with this couple! We met at College Cove in Trinidad where we frolicked on the beaches, climbed on top of sharp rocks and had fun playing around on the beach. It was a beautiful day with barely any wind. As the time for sunset neared, we hustled up the grueling incline trail from College Cove and got to Trinidad State Beach as the sun was beginning it’s descent into the horizon. We ended up with an epic sunset. This was one of my favorite engagement sessions, and I can’t wait to shoot their Beau Pre Golf Course later this month!
Engagement photo shoots are on the rise and have become a huge trend in the wedding industry. I love them because it gives me a chance to get to know the couples I am working with, to see how they interact in front of the camera, and help couples feel comfortable in front of the camera (because you will have hundreds of photographs taken of you on your big day). Let’s also not forget that these photos also double as great presents, which could be made into photo books for your wedding guests to sign, and great to have on display on your big day!
Engagement sessions will typically last about 1-2 hours. I can help recommend a location or you can choose a place that has significant meaning to you both as a couple. This could be anything from where you first met, the spot of the very first real date you had or a place where you shared an unforgettable moment of joy and laughter together!
I love the creative side that unfolds between couples when they want to make this experience unique and special! Let’s get outside and let your personalities out to play!
Below are a few tips on not just how to take great photos, but how to have a fun engagement shoot!
Trust your Photographer… Feeling comfortable with your photographer is important. This is our chance to get to know each other better. The more I can learn about you, the easier and more comfortable it will be during your shoot.
Your Outfit is Important… Feeling confident and comfortable is one of the most important parts of an engagement photo session. If you feel great about what you are wearing and how you look, it makes posing in front of the camera so much easier! If you are not the type to wear high heels or not really a “dress” person, then don’t feel obligated to make drastic changes. Stick to clothes that make you feel beautiful and bring out the best in you. A pair of wranglers, boots and a button up plaid shirt can do just as much as a cute summery dress dancing in the soft breeze.
Hair and Makeup… Leave this to the professionals. The wardrobe can be left totally up to you but the hair and makeup, I highly recommend seeking a professional. Professional hair stylists and makeup artists have the experience and knowledge in understanding colors, tones and what will look good on camera. They know about lighting and angles through the lens.
Location, Location, Location… As I stated above, the place you choose to have your photos taken is so important! If you want the story of who you are as a couple to truly be told, select a location that truly means something to you both! If you are a power couple that loves hiking in redwood country, maybe the perfect location would be at one of the many trails you have hiked at Humboldt Redwoods State Park! Or maybe you are the couple that loves long walks on the beaches of Shelter Cove. What I love even more than these traditional places are unique ideas that are truly special to you and your fiance. I have some fun and unique engagement sessions coming up and I can’t wait to show them off!
Create Movement… Many people think posing in front of the camera means you have to be still like statues. It’s actually just the opposite. Cameras nowadays have the ability to capture images at a fast rate, so moving doesn’t mean a blurry image. Creating movement gives me a chance to capture an image that is flattering & unique. Movement also creates little details in images that would never appear had you been standing still. For example, your hair might look as if it is being teased in the soft breeze at just the right angle, as your fiancé holds your hand twirling you as if you were dancing. The small details movement creates might just be what makes a photo pop!
Lose Yourself… As a professional photographer my main job is to capture unforgettable photos of you. The best way to do that is for you to forget I am there. Take a moment to embrace your surroundings and partner. Think about what you love about your partner, the joy he/she brings to the relationship and all the memories that make you laugh. Walk hand in hand, talking, laughing, hugging, kissing and enjoy this moment of being together. The more relaxed, comfortable and affectionate you can be with one another, the better experience you will have.
Have fun and make the most of your engagement photo shoot. After all, “Life’s not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away.”
I arrived at Miranda’s Rescue in Fortuna, California at 3:30 to begin shooting the details and getting ready shots for Tyler and Mackenzie’s night time wedding. I spent about an hour bouncing back and forth between Mackenzie getting ready with her girls and Tyler hanging with the boys. Mackenzie’s Mom Kathy, the wedding coordinator for this wedding was very organized. The entire wedding party was ready to go for formal pictures right on time which makes the whole day flow much smoother! We snapped some fun shots with Tyler and his groomsmen and then shot Mackenzie and her bridal party separately. Tyler and Mackenzie had opted not to do a “first look”, but Mackenzie did a first look with her dad and it was beautiful!
The ceremony was slated to start at 6:30 pm. There was a light haze in their air from the California wildfires, but that did not put a damper on their evening. The ceremony went smoothly and they added a special touch as their dog was the ring bearer. The look on Tyler’s face as he watched Mackenzie walk down the aisle was priceless.
They celebrated with friends and family under the twinkle lights and there were even a a few fireworks.
Congratulations, you are ENGAGED!!! With so many details to think about, its very easy for things to slip through the cracks. Once you have decided on a vision for your day, it’s time to start on the small stuff. Whether you will have 10 or 500 guests in attendance, there are always new and different ways to add creative touches to your special day! Here are some of our favorites:
“Man’s Best Friend!
Have a furry friend? Include them in your special day!! Give him a bow tie, a chalkboard sign, and send him down the aisle in style!
2. Your Bouquet
Pinning something to your flowers can be a great way of carrying something with you that has meaning! This could be your grandma’s handkerchief, a piece of your mom’s wedding gown or small photographs of loved ones who couldn’t make it. This can be something that is very visible or not depending on what you are looking for.
Dessert is an essential part of any meal, but it doesn’t have to be a 4 tier wedding cake! You can do a candy, dessert, or cookie bar! Guests can decorate their own cookies, or customize their bag of candy with their favorites! Use chalkboard signs to tell them what it’s in store!
4. Welcome Bags
These can be a great touch for guests coming from out of town or as a welcome for a destination wedding! Include items that go with your theme! Ex: sunscreen, aloe, toiletries, snacks, advil and a fun letter from you with tips of local sights to see in the area!
5. Guest Book
A picture says 1,000 words! Have a friend with a polaroid camera and film? Or a photo booth set up by your photographer?? Set up a station by your guest book and have your friends document the evening! They personalize the guest book when they sign it with their photo :)
6. Personalized Details
Koozies, napkins coasters and other personalized touches can be super fun way to show off your personality and doesn’t have to break the bank! Include fun slogans, like your wedding hashtag, and color for a unique look!
Ex: “To Have and to Hold and to Keep your Drink Cold” #johnsonwedding2018
7. The Send Off
When you are leaving the ceremony, instead of giving the guests rice to toss, give them handfuls of lavender or confetti! Your photographer will give everyone the cue to shower the bride and groom as you come down the tunnel! You can also do this with sparklers as a final send off for the evening!
Gone are the days of sugared almonds and melt away mints! The more thoughtful and practical you can be with your favor, the more memorable it will be! This could be as simple as flip flops for tired feet, sunglasses for an outdoor wedding, or a succulent for a more natural feel! Most of these items can be bought in bulk so they won’t break the bank!
Whatever is unique to your big day, make sure your photographer knows about it so they can make sure to capture those moments! Remember, if you don’t have a date yet, this is the most important, and NEXT is choosing your photographer! What are some unique details do you want to include in your big day??