This unseasonably warm winter weather has me thinking about my upcoming spring wedding engagement photo sessions. It is tempting to take advantage of 70 degree days in February, but most people prefer to wait for some green on the trees and even a few flowers. So now’s a good time to pull together some tips for planning your session and answering a few common questions.
When should we do the photos?
I recommend that you try to do your wedding engagement photos in a different season and location than where you’re getting married. It’s not always possible, but it’s nice to be able to mix the look of things up a bit. If you’re getting married at a vineyard in the fall, maybe the engagement session could be in an urban setting in the spring. For the actual timing on the day of the photography session, I prefer to schedule late in the day for the best light (starting 1 ½ to 2 hours before sunset depending on the where we’ll be) and to photograph on a sunny day. On your wedding day I work with whatever the weather brings–for the engagement session, a sunny day makes for the best photos!
Where should we go?
Washington DC is full of iconic spots to take portraits. If you’re looking for something that immediately says the “Nation’s Capital,” the Mall is a logical spot. The Reflecting Pool, the Lincoln Memorial or the Capitol grounds are all great backdrops.
But, my favorite locations are the ones that have meaning to you and your partner. Where you had your first date or how you like to spend your time together. Is it hiking on the C&O Canal or shopping in Georgetown? Playing with your pooch or maybe it’s a restaurant where you like to hang out? Sometimes it’s just fun to wander your neighborhood getting a sense of where you live and what feels familiar.
And if nothing comes to mind and you need some help deciding where to go, I can help! There are several interesting spots and parks around town that I can recommend. Sometimes it’s just nice to have some pretty flowers in the photo and leave the focus on the two of you.
What should we wear?
This is the most frequently asked question by far! First, wear something you think you look great in. When you feel good about how you look, that confidence shows in the photographs. Look at the color combos between the two of you. If you’re wearing purple your partner shouldn’t be wearing orange! The same goes for mixing prints and patterns. Keep your styles at a similar level. If you’re wearing a suit and your fiancé is in shorts it’s probably a mismatch in photos. The feedback I’ve gotten from couples is that if they’re a little more dressed up than they’d usually be on a weekend that’s about the right level. It’s not necessary to have hair and makeup professionally done but it doesn’t hurt! I love a pop of color, especially against green trees or those white pillars all over DC. If you’re wearing heels, bring a pair of comfortable shoes for walking. Photographing around DC will almost always involve some walking. Bringing a change of clothes is fine and can add to the variety of the photos. Changing shirts or putting a sweater over a shirt is easy but a full outfit change might be trickier on the Mall or somewhere without a restroom.
How much time will it take?
Generally I plan for about an hour and a half to two hours for an engagement session. That includes the time we’re actually shooting and the walking to get there. I’m not opposed to a couple locations as long as they’re not too far away from each other.
I’m not that comfortable in front of the camera. Can you help??
Of course! I’m not a fan of overly posed photos, but I completely understand that it’s hard to be in front of the camera (and it’s one of the reasons I prefer to stay behind it). I will put you in the prettiest light, give you a few tips if you need them and let you interact naturally. To me the best wedding engagement photos capture your relationship and are about having fun. I tend to shoot with a longer lens so that gives me a little distance and makes it feel less intrusive.
Having your wedding engagement photos done should be fun and easy and I work hard to make it that way. It’s also a great way for us to get to know each other a bit before the wedding day and the other bonus is you get to spend a some quality time with your sweetheart hugging, kissing and holding hands in a public setting!