Anyone who has worked with me will tell you just how much I LOVE and value engagement sessions. In fact, I love them so much that every couple who books me for their wedding day gets a complimentary engagement session just because I find them so valuable. I make it my mission to decrease stress on a wedding day and I think engagement sessions are one of the best ways of doing that. I won't lie almost every couple that I chat to say, "We hate being in front of the camera!" But guess what, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! I do too! But imagine coming to your wedding day, nerves are already high, and a perfect stranger with two cameras waltzes in and starts taking your photo. Could be a little stressful, right? That's where I find engagement sessions to be so helpful! Not only do you two get practice in being in front of the camera, but we get to know each other too! I get a feel for how you two photograph and connect in front of the camera and you get a feel for how I work, and how I may guide you. My biggest hope is that you come away from your experience with me feeling like you've gained a friend versus being just another vendor to show up on your wedding day. I want you to be confident in me and pray I bring just a small element of peace to your day. THAT'S just the start of why I love engagement sessions. I want your session to be all that it can be! So here are some tips and ideas to really prepare yourself to get the most out of your session!

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First off, Just Relax!

I know, I know, it's cliche and so much easier said than done, but it's true! I know it's awkward at first - I've been there. But think of it as just hanging out with a friend. I do everything in my power to take the awkward out of it so we start easy. No awkward, unnatural poses allowed. I work mostly with action based invitations and prompts so your photos are as natural as possible but still deep and meaningful. So breathe deep and relax your face! The night before and the day of, try not to think about it too much! Just think of it as a fun day out or date night with your love. There will just be a super excitable American chick with a camera there too (that's me). So don't take it too seriously. We're going to have a lot of fun!

What to Wear?

I get this question A LOT, "What should we wear?" My answer is always: Girls, wear what you feel most beautiful in and what you feel most yourself in! If you want to wear a flowy gown GREAT! If you want to wear jeans and a t-shirt GREAT! Guys, wear whatever she tells you. Just kidding. That's gross. Guys, same goes for you! What do you feel the most yourself in? (I just ask that there are no visible logos or baseball hats). Maybe steer away from bright colors and crazy patterns as they can distract from the image and can also throw off my white balance a bit; earth tones, neutrals and gem tones always photograph well. Just remember, the more comfortable and confident you feel, the more relaxed and natural you'll look in your photos!

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Spend the Day Together.

This one is my favorite piece of advice! Spend the day connecting! I shoot around the sun, meaning I prefer to do our sessions at sunset. If possible, spend time together before your session. I can't tell you the amount of times my couples have shown up mid fight (if that happens NO WORRIES - we're all human!) and it can take a bit to get warmed up! This has happened to my husband and I multiple times and it always seems to stem from 1. not communicating and 2. not communicating BECAUSE we haven't seen each other all day! So if possible plan a fun day together and top it all of with your session!

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Be on Time.

This is a biggie! I often shoot around the sun so we're working with an object that we can't control. We may only have an hour or so of perfect, yummy light so I want to make sure we get it. I promise that light makes an incredible difference in your photos and I so want that for you! So aim to be there early even so we aren't rushing. I try to be so intentional with your session so the last thing I want is rushing through your session because we're losing light!

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Make it Special.

What can you do to make your engagement session special? It's so much more than going to an epic location and taking nice photos. I want you two to really connect during your session; I always say my mission is that you two come away from your session feeling more in love than when you came. So how can you get every ounce of "special" out of your session? Here are some ideas:

1. Pick your location strategically! Have a place that's special to you two? Let's shoot there! I've had so many couples ask to do their shoots where their significant other proposed to them or where they first met. Or somewhere you enjoy together; if you're a mountain loving couple (like my guy and I) let's head to the Mournes, if you guys love our North Coast (like, who doesn't?) let's find an epic spot! If there's a place where you two feel most connected, I want to go there and experience it with you! Even if that's at home.

2. Write each other love letters and exchange them at your session, or read them out loud to each other (don't worry, I won't be close enough to listen!)

3. Have a song that's special to you two? Let's stick it on during your session and dance!

These are just a few! The list is really endless of things you could do to make your engagement session one to remember.

I've had multiple couples on their wedding day tell me how thankful they were that they had an engagement shoot prior! It makes all the difference, for both of us, coming into your wedding day already feeling like we know each other. This eliminates just that little bit of uneasiness or stress on your wedding day which I find invaluable. Having an engagement session also gives the two of you time to slow down and connect during the craziness that is wedding planning!

If you want to chat about what it would look like to have me as your photographer, just send me a wee email through my contact form here.

See more images from some of my favorite engagement and couple's sessions here.