Not having an engagement shoot is one of our only regrets regarding our wedding. I was busy moving to where my then fiance lived, we were both busy planning the wedding, and it just didn’t feel like something we needed.
I couldn’t have been more wrong!
In order to keep you from making the same mistake I’ve asked the lovely Nikki of Nikki Santerre Photography (you’ve seen her gorgeous work before here and here) to share her words of wisdom and top tips for your engagement shoot.
From Nikki – One of the choices you will be faced with after you choose your photographer is whether or not you should choose to do an engagement session.
Personally, I believe couples deserve to have their engagements photographed. It is such a special and unique season prior to your nuptials, and it should be captured accordingly. As a former bride, our engagement pictures were the first time my husband and I had any formal pictures taken. They became images we used for our save the dates, gifts for family members, and decor for our home.
It was a way for us to make permanent memories of the amazing (and fleeting) time of our engagement. We chose a location that was important to us, a small beach town where my family vacations every year, invited our family to participate, and made a day out of it. The images are now ones I can look back on and remember the joy and anticipation we felt in the months leading up to our wedding.
As a photographer, an engagement session is an opportunity for my clients to get comfortable in front of my lens. Being photographed can be nerve-racking, especially if you aren’t familiar with the process. An engagement session allows the couple to gain confidence in the poses and with the directions the photographer is giving them. It also allows me, as the photographer, an opportunity to get to know my clients a little better, hear more about their love story, and hopefully have a little fun with them!
Tips for your engagement shoot:
1. Your engagement photos, much like your wedding, should be a reflection of you as a couple and of your personalities. When choosing a location, consider places that are meaningful to you and your relationship. Previously, my clients have chosen portrait locations like the universities they attended, the place of their engagement, and even beautiful riverfront property owned by family.
2. Bring two outfit choices with you, one casual, and one more formal. Try to select attire that reflects your personal style. If you don’t usually wear 5 inch heels, your engagement session on cobblestone streets may not be the best place to practice. Remember, you want to look amazing, but you also want to be comfortable and for your outfit choices to be appropriate for the setting!
3. If you have meaningful props, ask your photographer about incorporating them into your session. A bike, antique suitcase, or even your beloved pets all make great additions to engagement sessions, especially if they’re an important piece of telling your love story!
4. Consider choosing to have a “styled” engagement shoot. If you have an idea for a unique spin for your portraits, don’t hesitate to bring your suggestions to the table with your photographer.
A recent couple of mine love to fish, so we actually spent the majority of their session in a boat. Another client of mine loves all things southern, so we styled her session at a plantation complete with props. Trust me, your photographer will be so thankful to work with you on creating unique images that reflect your individuality as a couple!
5. Trust your photographer, you are in capable hands. This is why it is so important to invest in not only a professional, but in someone who is a good fit for you, with a similar style and personality. If you have chosen such a person, I assure you they want you to have a fun engagement photography experience, so be open to their suggestions, especially regarding light and time of day for your session.
The more relaxed you are in front of their lens, the more likely you are to appear relaxed in the images. Taking the time to get to know your photographer and to make an investment in your images pays off in the long run because you walk away with both beautiful images and a friend for life!
Mahalo to Nikki Santerre Photography for these wonderful tips and this beautiful shoot of Alexandra & Eric’s engagement session!
See more of Nikki’s work here.