THE GUIDE TO ENGAGEMENT SHOOTS
Excited? Nervous? Freaking out a little?
That is all totally ok! One of the reasons I offer Engagement Shoots is to get you two, feeling that much more comfortable in front of the camera for the big day so that come Wedding Day, you're not feeling nervous because of the photos! The bonus is, that it's actually really fun and you get to walk away with some super epic photos of the two of you in one of your favourite places!!
So! Why should you have an Engagement Shoot other than super cute photos?
It's a chance to get to know your photographer and for your photographer to get to know you even more, so that on the day, I already know how you work, how to pose you together, what angles you love and how much PDA you two can handle. Basically it creates an even better working relationship between you two and myself so that we can achieve even better, more stress free images on your wedding day in a shorter amount of time, because I really will just feel like an extra friend! Especially if one, or both of you think you aren't the center of attention type people or you hate photographs!
Having your photograph taken can be super intimidating, not that we always want to admit it, especially the guys, usually the line is just "I don't like photos". But doing this before hand, means you get over that, because really we just go to the beach and run around being dorks and having a laugh, and then suddenly it isn't actually that bad anymore. And you actually look good! It's not like when we were kids and we had photographs taken and we actually had to look at the camera and smile. There is none of that unless you want it.
It's a chance for the two of you to do something that is once in a life time.
It's a part of the experience of getting married. A chance to celebrate your life together, your love for one another and the future and family you are creating and bringing together. Have beautiful photographs that you can hang around your home like positive affirmations or even use as your wedding website photographs, invites or save the dates!
Let me say it one more time. You do not have to be good in front of the camera!
"I don't know what to do in front of the camera" or "I don't like photos of myself", I literally hear this all the time, at weddings, before weddings, before a portrait shoot. ALL THE TIME. You do not have to be good in front of the camera. That is my job, to capture you in the moment, to guide you on how to look amazing, to take the images on the right angles and to teach you where to put those hands!
Convinced? Yes! Let's do this!!
PICK A LOCATION YOU LOVE
Whether you too are super fun, want to drown each other at the beach, just chill at home, want to bring your furbaby along or you want to hike to some obscure mountain and take epic photographs while the sun rises, your engagement shoot gets to truly reflect the two of you. It can literally be your favourite local cafe if you wanted or even an old skate park where you met.
What means something to you and what is going to look great in your home are key considerations here. For example, if you love earth Autumn tones and that is what your home features, pick a location that is going to compliment those tones. A lush green field is going to stick out (which might be whaat you want) where as a field of Summer dead grass, an Autumn wonderland of leaves or the cliffs at Muriwai Beach are going to look epic in that colour scheme.
If you like light and airy photographs with pastel colours then beaches with white sand and dune grass are perfect. If you like more moody earthy tones than sand dunes and sandstone cliffs or pine forests are going to compliment those colour palettes best, especially at sunset. If you like mustards and neutrals then some where with pine trees, beach grass, Autumn leaves or fields of that dead Summer toned grass are perfect, especially at sunset.
Certain trees are going to give a different look too, light leafed trees like popular trees and willows will give a beautiful green backdrop and look especially nice when they line either side of a drive way. Native trees like Totara or dense tree walk ways will with small paths will create a much darker image and backdrop. Green grass that has gone to seed or has yellowed off will also have a totally different and much softer look than freshly mown or super lush green grass will.
PICK YOUR OUTFITS!
The real basics of it, is to make sure you look complimentary together and your outfits and location suit and will suit the decor in your home. Wear what is going to be comfortable for you to move in and that is going to suit the type of location you've chosen, for example, get rugged up at the snow in Winter or wear a summery flowing dress or skirt at the beach in Summer. Here are some basic do's and don'ts.
A great way to personalise your outfits or add colour is to add accessories or texture to your outfits, scarves, jackets and cardigans are great additions especially when it's a bit cold as they complete a look as well as keep you nice and snug creating a more intimate feel to your photographs.
Checkered or even a different colour shirts over a plain T-shirt, textured denim or a denim jacket, lace detail or floral patterns are another way to create a more interesting out as well. Complementary jewellery is another way to personalise your outfit to really bring the photographs together.
The other thing that you can do to make your photographs more interesting is to choose outfits that have movement. A flowing skirt or dress in a windswept beach will create movement in your images which creates interest and drama compared to a tight fitted dress in the same environment. A dress cinched at the waist that flows out will also help create a much more complimentary figure than a dress that is a tunic or a boxy shape.
Be prepared. Professional hair and makeup can make a huge different in photographs, if your eyebrows need doing, do them. If your legs need shaving, do it. If your regrowth needs doing and you really don't like your hair, make sure you organise this ahead of time. These things will show up in your images and these images are going to last a lifetime, doing these few small things will help to ensure you love your images! And as much as we like to say "oh you can just photoshop that out right?" It's a lot cheaper to just dye your re-growth than it is to pay a retoucher to remove it!
ALWAYS, ALWAYS BRING A CHANGE OF CLOTHES AND A TOWEL TO A BEACH SHOOT. YOU WILL GET WET!
If you want timeless images, then these are things to consider. When choosing your outfits there are some things that won't help us create timeless photographs and we should try to avoid if we can. Things such as T-shirts with large prints or writing on the front aren't ideal. An example of this would be a pink unicorn or kitten print on the front of a T-shirt or a brand name or logo across the front of the shirt such as the words LWR or Cheapskates etc.
Try going for neutral colours rather than a neon or super bright colours as they will draw the eye rather than creating an evenly coloured photograph where the focus is on the two of you! An example would be wearing hot pink and neon green colours to an environment like a white sand beach, you are going to stand out like a sore thumb.
Don't wear things that don't fit properly. In the studio, things don't need to fit properly because everything is posed and curated and generally still, on location though, to create candid images, you are going to be moving and doing things. The best images are the ones that aren't posed so much as directed and it's bit hard to avoid a too tight piece of clothing or a clip at the back holding something closed when you're spinning each other around.
TIME OF DAY
Nearly all of my outdoor photoshoots are taken either first thing in the morning or at sunset. This is because at midday when the light is directly above, we get really dark shadows on our faces that aren't so complimentary. My favourite time of day to shoot at the beach is in the last hour before the sunsets, at sunset and the half an hour after the sunsets. This creates a beautiful soft light. If you plan to have your photoshoot in an environment that has little to no shade, I would recommend before 10am or at sunset. If you choose a location such as a drive way with popular trees on both sides creating an archway, then this can be photographed during the day as the trees will create shade for us. During summer, the sunset is quite late, we are often shooting at 8-9pm at night where as in winter, we are shooting around 3 - 5pm.
Shooting in the rain is totally ok for me and it can create some awesome images if you are up for it, overcast days aren't going to get us epic sunsets usually but they are still awesome, especially with storm clouds on the horizon. But if what you really want is that gorgeous sunset light, we can reschedule to a nicer day! Windy days are going to give movement to your images, especially if your hair is out or you have a long or loose dress to catch in the wind!
WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH YOUR IMAGES?
Matching your location and outfits to your home. When you start planning what to wear or what type of location to have your photographs taken at, take into consideration your home and how you want to display your images. Do you want to put big frames on the wall or have a beautiful album sitting on the coffee table?
If you want a beautiful set of frames to put above your couch or in your entry way, think about what colour the decor in your home is, are you in your forever home? Just like when we talk about wearing hot pink tight fitting dresses at the beach, you also may not want to have certain colours on the walls of your home as they might look a little out of place.
To make it easy for you to create a complimentary colour palette, I've popped some examples below to help you choose what combos to work with.
Earthy neutral tones like beiges and browns will create a deeper colour palette while still keeping with that timeless feel.
Pairing light neutrals like grey with eggshell blue and a mustard or light yellow create a bit of colour throughout a neutral colour palette.
These creamy neutral tones are perfect for indoor or outdoor photographs, think blush and white and cream with darker accessories
blues & cream
Beiges and cream with peach and blues is a gorgeous easy to achieve look with jeans, skirts and flowing dresses.
pastels and pinks
Creamy pinks and blushes matched with light neutral tones create gorgeous light and airy photographs.
Pastels, pinks and creamy neutral tones are perfect for light backdrops such as the white walls in a home or at the beach
denim and cream
Perfect easy colours to match with denim and light neutral tones for any time of year.
Wine and mustards paired with neutrals and denims are so great when you want to create cosy Autumn and Winter photos outdoors.
Still stuck on ideas? Check out these previous shoots and see what kinds of locations you like, what types of outfits you like and what colours you like the most.
CAITLIN & CHAD
BRYDIE & SAM
BRIDGET & LEIGH
SARAH & JOSH
JESSICA & JD
CHRISTIE & SAM