STORY By mia byrd
Your proposal planning was a success. And now the love story begins. You’re engaged and it’s time to start planning the details of your big day. From the wedding professionals you hire to the pre-wedding events, there are more than enough milestones to check off your list. Once you’ve selected the wedding date, picked your venue and booked a photographer, your engagement session should be closer to the top of your “to do list” than you think.
That being said, should you wear more than one look for your session? Pinterest and your favorite bridal blogs would suggest lots of choices but Echard Wheeler, a Virginia Beach photographer for close to 20 years, has more realistic thoughts. “I always think couples should wear outfits they’re comfortable in. You want to feel like yourself during the shoot. My motto is ‘mesh but don’t match.’ You want to be the focal point of the photographer, not your outfit.”
You’ve reserved your shoot date so what location or venue choice should you consider and is it necessary to have a theme or relationship to the location? You certainly want to choose a spot that you love as a couple. Photographer Keith Cephus, who has done many engagement shoots in his career notes, “I love themed locations for engagement sessions. It gives couples a special identity and adds flair and style to the session. Even something as simple as college themed jerseys worn on the campus of where a couple met is a popular idea. Always bring at least two looks so there’s some variety to choose from.”
Why is an engagement session important? It’s the perfect opportunity to work with your photographer for the first time and test some of those hair and makeup ideas you’ve been pinning. So when should you schedule your engagement session? According to David Schwartz of David Schwartz Photography, “Couples should book their engagement session as soon as possible. It allows them to get better acquainted with the photographer, to get comfortable in front of his camera and if it’s six months out or more, it gives them time to use an image for their Save the Date cards.”
When booking your photographer, review all packages carefully and find out which ones include this important first session together. For Bryan Brough of EyeCaptures Photography, it’s an essential part of establishing a relationship between a couple and their photographer. “An engagement session is included in all of my packages. I want to get to know my couples, experience how they are in front of the camera and get to know their personalities a little without a camera in their face. Photographing them at a location close to their hearts with all the details they want to include is a great introduction to have prior to the wedding day.”
You’re taking advantage of the trial time with your photographer, so why not schedule a preview consultation with your beauty professionals to see how your look translates in photos. Photographer Brandilynn Aines said it best. “Who doesn’t want to be pampered for a day? Having your hair and makeup done before engagements gives much more confidence during the shoot”. She also feels the engagement session is a great time to show off your four-legged family member. “I’m big on adventure and I love it when my couples are just being themselves with their pet. It’s authentic moments like that which fuel my soul.”