Congratulations! You’ve just said yes to a bright future together. Now, take that shiny ring and start planning the wedding of your dreams! Because this is such an exciting and once-in-a-lifetime experience, why not also make it unforgettable by having a professional photographer capture the adventure through engagement and wedding photos?
“You can look at a picture for a week and never think of it again,” observes Trevor Wiltgen, Photographer & Lead Photo Editor, Complete Weddings + Events. “You can also look at a picture for a second and think of it for the rest of your life.”
If you’re dreaming about creating truly memorable images, there are several things to keep in mind. Below are some expert tips on how to select the right photographer and plan the essential photoshoot details to give you the results you’re looking for: beautiful images that you will love for a lifetime. Let’s get started!
Engagement & Wedding Photos Guide
You may be surprised to learn that engagement photos can serve multiple purposes. Not only will these images convey the love, romance, and intimacy of your early days together, you can also use the session as a trial run to experiment with different beauty looks and photo styles for the big day itself. Engagement photos also make great backdrops for save-the-date cards. Most importantly, an engagement photo session will help you determine whether your chosen photographer is the best fit to commemorate the upcoming, magical moments of your wedding day.
Choosing Your Florida Photographer
Feeling a little overwhelmed? It’s no wonder. There are already so many things to think about when planning a wedding and – let’s face it – the Florida market is saturated with potential photographers. So, how do you go about picking the right one? As you begin to explore your options, there are some important elements to consider.
To begin, take a look at the potential photographer’s wedding portfolio, website, and all social media outlets. “It amazes me how many people inquire about the packages before they even looked over the galleries or blogs of weddings,” says Cassie Boyce, Photographer & Media Manager, Complete Weddings + Events Springfield, MO. “If you are not a fan of the style or gallery of work, it is a waste of your time to get pricing from that photographer.”
A wedding portfolio and/or online gallery should give you a good sense of the photographer’s experience and preferred photography style(s). Explore whether they tend more towards artsy candids, traditional posed studio shots, a photo-journalistic approach, or a range of other stylistic possibilities. You can also see whether they’ve photographed past weddings at your specific venue, or at similar venues to yours. On-location experience can be helpful, though is by no means essential.
Because a portfolio consists of a photographer’s best images from a number of different events, Boyce also recommends asking to see a full album from a single wedding. This will give you a more realistic impression of image quality from start to finish.
Once you’ve found several photographers whose images you like, it’s time to ask about availability and pricing. First, see if they are free on your preferred date(s). Next, while exploring cost, be sure you are comparing apples to apples. In other words, do the photographers under consideration include exactly the same things in their wedding packages?
Finding the right wedding photographer is about more than just seeing their pretty pictures and hearing about their affordable pricing. In order to capture the best photos possible, you want to find someone who you feel completely comfortable working with. Don’t underestimate personality – finding a photographer you like allows both you and your fiance to relax, which means more authentic, beautiful photographs for your photographer to work with. Before committing to a particular photographer, schedule a phone call or – even better – an in-person meeting with the most promising one(s) and use this time to get a sense of their personality. Ask questions about how they would approach your photo session.
“Look for a photographer who is not so much about setting up a photo shoot, but is more about creating a space in which the experience of being photographed is a by-product of you being together over that period of time,” recommends Scott Stanley, Owner & Photographer, Complete Weddings + Events Jacksonville.
Hair and Makeup Ideas and Tips
“Makeup should be applied as if going out in the evening,” suggests Scott Stanley. He also recommends that because most engagement photo sessions involve a couple of different looks, “Hairstyles need to work for both outfits, or be able to be easily changed for the additional outfit. A lot of times that means avoiding hair spray, and complicated curling or braiding patterns.”
When it comes to hair and makeup choices for either your engagement photos or your big day, you may want to ask the opinions of several (honest) friends or family members. You should also ask your photographer how certain makeup looks will photograph so you’ll look stunning on film as well as in person. But remember, the most important thing is to select styles that make you feel beautiful – both inside and out. This is your moment. Enjoy it!
Engagement Photo Outfit Ideas and Tips
Most engagement photo sessions take an hour and a half to two hours and involve a couple of different outfit changes. This is great news for couples who can’t quite decide what to wear, and it doubles the odds of nailing one of your looks!
When selecting your two ensembles, you may wish to pair a casual outfit with more formal attire – or choose one outfit appropriate for indoors, then one for outside. When deciding on your attire, consider the practicality of photo location, season, and weather. After all, you probably won’t want to be posing outside for two hours in the middle of winter wearing a strapless dress! Instead, coordinate clothing choices with your surroundings. For example, how about trying earth-toned sweaters and scarves with jeans and cozy boots against a background of fall foliage? Or, what about wearing shades of blue and white against a beach, lake, or other water-themed backdrops during summertime?
“Try to pick clothing styles that reflect your personal style and tastes,” adds Scott Stanley. “Coordinate your looks with each other by staying in the same color palette such as spring pastels, autumn earth tones, winter warm, or summer breeze.” He also recommends that you avoid large, bright, shiny jewelry pieces, since they will reflect more light than anything else in the image and be an unwelcome distraction from your facial expressions.
Engagement Photo Location and Tips
When it comes to finding the perfect spot for engagement photos, consider places that are meaningful to you as a couple and/or reflect your combined interests and personalities. Ask yourselves: Where did we first meet? Where did we get engaged? Where do we hang out as a couple? What activities do we enjoy doing together? Whether it’s hiking outdoors in the fresh air, cooking gourmet meals at home in your pajamas, dressing up and going to the theater, or snuggling in front of a fire underneath fleece blankets – the more meaningful the location, the more comfortable and natural you will feel during your photo shoot. As a result, the image quality will reflect this.
No matter where you ultimately book your session, remember that the most important feature is capturing the love and intimacy between the two of you. Attractive surroundings are simply an added bonus!
Choosing Your Photography Style
Photography styles are wide-ranging and include traditional, artistic, documentary, candid, dramatic, black and white, portrait, natural, romantic, vintage, and more. While some photographers tend primarily towards a particular style, other wedding photographers are less specialized and successfully dabble in multiple styles. The best way to ensure you receive the stylized shots you desire is to share sample photos with your photographer. But always keep an open mind – if your theoretical preference is for outdoor candids, you might be pleasantly surprised to discover that the indoor studio shots end up being your favorite images! Again, communication is key.
Remember that your engagement photo session is the perfect time to experiment with different photo styles. “Take the time to look back at your engagement photos and share with your photographer the photos you loved so you can recreate them on your wedding day,” encourages Ari Reynolds.
With a little advance planning and a lot of open communication, the images you are now envisioning are sure to become reality. Simply follow our expert photography tips to create an array of memorable engagement and wedding photos that you will treasure for the rest of your lives together.
Find More in our Guide to Loving Your Engagement & Wedding Photos
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