It’s the most wonderful time of the year and for some, it just became a bit sweeter! I’m sure we’ve all seen multiple Facebook “engaged” statuses and Instagram proposal shots over the past several days, after all, nearly 40 percent of engagements happen between November and February! So, if you’re a newly engaged couple, or know someone who recently popped the question, where do you go from here?
Weddings generally take 12-13 months of planning, and hiring for vendors happens anywhere from 7-9 months prior to the wedding. However, the sooner you start, the better because the 7-9 month statistic doesn’t hold true to the photography community: we start to book weddings 9 months to a year prior to the date, and we book up fast.
Lucky lovers, fret not! I’m here to give you some tips to jumpstart your search for the perfect vendor. This is part 1 of my wedding vendor series, so let’s begin with the engagement session. Here are a few tips to point you in the right direction:
1. Start looking at Instagram and Pinterest NOW. Follow, like, and pin your favorite wedding images. As you do so, make mental notes of why you chose the images. Do you like the poses? Or maybe it’s the airy and bright style that caught your eye? Each photographer, especially wedding photographers, has a unique style to his or her work. Think of photographers like snowflakes, no two are the same!
2. When choosing your engagement photographer, see if they offer the session as part of a wedding package. Many photographers will bundle the engagement session when you book your wedding. Though this can be a cost-effective and time-saving solution, you don’t have to choose the same photographer for both.
3. Dress in your own style. If you normally rock jeans and button ups, stay casual. If you like glitz and glam, don’t be afraid to go over-the-top and wear a gown for the shoot. This is your time to share your romance story with your friends and family — let your true colors shine through! Side note: If you do decide to dress up, bring comfortable walking shoes and change into your heels just for the shot. In order to get many different backgrounds and scenes, you will need to walk (and sometimes a lot!).
4. Let your photographer know what you’re wearing and if you plan to change outfits during your shoot. This will help them plan poses, and have a changing room option available for you.
5. Select a location that is near-and-dear to you. If there’s a place that you and your love spend lots of time, make sure to include it in your session, even if it’s as simple as the coffee house you stop on Saturdays to grab a cup of joe. Your photographer can find a way to creatively work this into the shoot.
6. Ask your friends if they would recommend working with their photographers. Loved your friend’s perfectly captured family portrait session? Ask for the photographer. Loved their trendy and candid wedding shots? Ask for the photographer. It’s important to find someone with whom you will work well and will make you feel comfortable in front of the camera.
7. And finally, HAVE FUN. Joke around, get ice cream, frolic through fields! Engagement sessions are best when you’re relaxed. If you’re a nervous Nelly in front of the camera, let your photographer know. I always keep a few jokes or funny stories on hand to loosen up the mood.
8. Ask your wedding photographer to copy someone else’s style. You will ultimately be disappointed and the photographer will be creatively confined. Instead, choose a photographer whose style you already like. Asking to copy poses from other photographs is OK, but remember to give you photographer freedom to pose you as well!
9. When sharing your images on social media, don’t use filters. Most photographers will have you sign a contract asking you not to crop or add filters to their images, and please respect this. A photographer’s reputation is based on what people see, if their work is altered it can sully their name. If you would like additional edits, talk to your photographer. Trust me, they’ll be happy to make simple edit changes (black and white edits, for example) rather than seeing an Insta filter added to their artwork.