Tips for engagement photography sessions, advice on pre wedding portraits from London wedding photographer Louise Björling – Suggestions for choosing clothes, location and being creative …
THE ENGAGEMENT SHOOT
A shoot for just the two of you in good time before your actual wedding day. It’s become increasingly popular over the last couple of years to book a so called engagement shoot. And I’m intending to look at the many upsides that have couples asking for them and photographers offering them – sometimes even as an inclusion in their wedding packages.
FIRSTLY, it’s a chance for the photographer to get to know you through the eye of the camera. (Cause actually, the camera’s eye sees you differently, to how the actual eye will see you). And it’s a chance for the photographer to understand how comfortable you are in front of the camera.
SECONDLY, and probably even more important for you – you will get to know your photographer. The huge, clumsy camera will turn in to a person and when finally your wedding day arrives, the clumsy camera that has turned into a person, will easily sink into the background – and you will feel so much more natural and relaxed with the camera around you, than you otherwise would have if you didn’t feel comfortable with your photographer.
THIRDLY, this is the chance for you both to get awesome shots of you together, without the stress of thinking about other things around you, such as whether your guests are enjoying themselves or whether they are bored, whether you gonna be late for the reception, whether the best man has the disc with him for your First dance as promised… Although I definitely recommend a portrait session on your actual wedding day as well – since of course you want to have those shots of you dressed up and made up and all smily and full of butterflies. But for your engagement shoot, you might have a couple of hours to get cool shots, while your wedding day probably won’t offer you more than 20 – 30 min for portraits on your own.
FOURTHLY, for your engagement shoot you can have more control over weather and location! Or if you can’t have control over the weather – if it’s absolutely pouring down and there is no chance of rescheduling – then at least you are not dressed in your most delicate dress. You can find suitable clothes, umbrellas, boots and location to still get some cool shots. Your photographer will also know which time of the day you will have the best light, and the engagement session can be more flexibly scheduled than the portrait session on your actual wedding day.
The list could go on with positives. But I thought I’d just round of with the most positive of them all: This could be your chance to put yourself in to the picture that you want to have of you. An opportunity to choose clothes that you love, an amazing location, and to go creative with ideas or maybe even go a bit mad if you wish. A portrait session is not about just taking some shots of the two of you, where you smile with a cheesy grin to the camera. It’s not about getting head shots for your passports. This is about capturing your personality.
HOW TO GET INSPIRATION FOR YOUR SESSION
* Firstly, think about how you want to be portrayed and what sort of feeling you want in the images – do you want it to be romantic, colourful, black/white, perhaps a bit funky and gritty, cityscape/countryside, vintage or modern? Also think about what location you want to see yourself in. Perhaps a location that says something about you, or maybe a location that means something special to you, or you might want a location that lends itself to create a certain mood.
* A great resource packed with ideas for your shoot, are the bridal blogs. These blogs which are like golden treasure of inspiration for marrying couples, do often showcase engagement shoots – Look out for “Engagement shoots” or “Love shoots” in their menu. Here you’ll probably come across an array of interesting engagement sessions which might be slightly off the beaten path – the bridal blogs love featuring portrait sessions that stand out a bit. Such as for example circus theme, fun park setting, movie- themes, surreal fairytale look, vintage look, balloons, over- sized candy, soup bubbles, peculiar props, crazy backdrops…. One of the funniest engagement shoots that recently caught my eye on one of the blogs, was a shoot that started off as a romantic vintage look picnic. And then turned in to a horror movie look, when somebody dressed up and made to look like a monster(!) came running out from the woods and ruined the romance.
* Look at what your photographer has done previously to get some ideas.
*Look around at advertising images around you, fashion magazines or movies for some inspiration.
TIPS ON WHAT TO WEAR FOR YOUR ENGAGEMENT SESSION
- Think about blending with the style/mood of the location that you have chosen. For example, a shoot in the countryside or woods would look fab with certain clothes, while a cityscape shoot might look best with a different style of clothes. A romantic shoot might require a different look in the clothes compared to a funny shoot.
- Think about matching each other – or you can mismatch of course, as long as it’s done with style.
- Clothes that just “look good on you” and brings out your shape, or eyes or skin tone, and so forth.
- Clothes that are a little bit funny – such as t-shirts with funny text that says something about you or your partner.
- Clothes that has a tint of style or attitude to it, which all goes with your personality and style of the location that you’ve chosen: Such as vintage, rock – look, interesting/crazy patterns, futuristic look, stylish mismatching, traces of your profession or hobby, to name a few.
- A colour that sticks out. For example: toned down and plain colours in the clothes and then red or purple shoes to break it up a bit.
- Designer wear if you wish to go for a trendy look.
- Funny or attractive props if it works with your personality. One shoot sticks to my mind that I saw last year, of a couple who had dressed up really stylish and looked like they had just fallen off the pages of a fashion magazine. Then towards the end of the shoot they had decided to break it all up a bit, and returned in front of the camera with funny, over- sized glasses.
- Trousers for him if you want to look a little bit more “dressed up” – not necessary the black office type, you might want to consider a lighter colour.
- A simple dress in one colour or a dress in soft, romantic pattern, for her
- Simple blue jeans with a casual shirt/t-shirt can be quite nice and relaxed, for him.
- A white / light colour silky dress can be quite nice if you want to create a more “dressy” look that brings thoughts towards the coming wedding, for her.
- Think about how the colours and style work with or work against the backdrop.
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