I think it’s safe to say that Spring is here. FINALLY! Man, it was a long winter. But we are in the clear now. I even took out my little table and chair on my back balcony. That’s my way of telling Mother Nature : “Ok. That’s enough thanks”. We are on good terms.
I wanted to take the opportunity of this pretty weather to talk to you a little about ENGAGEMENT SEASON. It’s time. Before all wedding comes along (which for me start next week) There’s also a LOT of engagement sessions that will be in the middle of all that. Here’s a few tips to make yours, the best experience ever.
An engagement session is a 1h photo shoot with your photographer – anywhere in the city – where you get professional photos of you and your partner. This is not the engagement PARTY photos. It’s a session. It’s you, your love and your photographer (only). Well, maybe an assistant too sometimes. This can include your pet and your kids (if you have any) as well. But it’s a private session to commemorate your time together as “engaged”. You can wear what you want and go where you want for your session. It’s completely up to you.
That is an engagement shoot necessary? After all, your wedding pictures share the beginning of your life together, right?
Shooting an engagement is important for several reasons. First, this time allows you to get comfortable in front of the camera with your photographer and figuring out how you work best together before the wedding. It also allows you to get to know your photographer on a more personal level. Remember, you will spend an entire day with your wedding photographer. It’s important to know their personalities before the big day and see how you get along. Engagement shoots are fun because you get to show off the real YOU. The location, the clothing, the setting, everything can be chosen together with your photographer. You can also choose more than one location (or outfit) for diversity. You can showcase your personalities in a more casual setting, while creating some fun photos for wall portraits, your wedding sign-in book, sign-in board and Thank You cards (shot early enough, we can also provide the images for your Save the Date cards and invitations).
So where should we have your session ? Are you looking for greenery or for a more urban look ? Location sets the tone of an engagement session. I strongly encourage my clients to choose their own location(s). I believe it’s important that the space has some meaning to the couple. It could be a favourite weekend hangout, the place where you first met, or even a place you’ve been meaning to visit together.
Need suggestions ? Here’s a few where I’ve been in Montreal :
• Mont Royal Lookout
• Parc Maisonneuve
• Old port
• Parc St-Viateur (great for skating)
• Rue Prince Arthur
• Parc Angrignon – Lasalle
• St-Henri (in a Café or in the streets)
• St. Patrick and St-Ann/Wellington area
• Pool side
• Canal Lachine
• Ile St-Helene
• Parc Cap St-jacques
• Amusement Park
Everything depends of your style as a couple, where you love to go and what you love to go! We could go anywhere. Montreal is a great city. Be creative and think about your location. If nothing works… think outside the city! I don’t mind traveling!
I get really excited about styling and choosing outfits that show off the client’s personal style. For inspiration and fresh ideas, Pinterest.com is an awesome reference (for OUTFITS … not photos 😉 haha.
However, when discussing styling choices with clients, it’s important to look at the dos and don’ts. For example, I always advise against certain colours and patterns as some can warp on camera and be distracting. I also strongly advise against matching outfits; it can look a bit contrived. Why not choose outfits in the same colour code or in colours that harmonize with each other? I suggest clients to bring several outfit options and help them narrow it down to the one or two best looks. Often, one casual look and one dressier look can create a great balance. Ladies, don’t be shy to overdress and wear that awesome dress you love; it’s a portrait session, we can play it however we want!
You can even bring two different outfits. One dressy and one more casual. WHY NOT! I shot an amazing session last year where we went in an abandoned building and the bride wore a gown and the groom wore a tux. It was amazing. All because the couple realized that an engagement session could be a great opportunity to play dress up. See the session here. If you are “game” to do something out of the box – like masks, tutus or gowns … I suggest bringing that crazy outfit and choosing another one which is more “you” so that we can get both sides of your personality.
More about choosing your outfits on the blog : http://ellaphotography.ca/blog/oh-gosh-wear/
Now, my favourite component: beauty. Investing time in your hair and makeup has perhaps the biggest effect on how polished you look in your photos. I always tell my clients to prepare like they’re getting ready for a hot date: exfoliate, moisturize, shave; all that jazz. I also suggest that they do their hair the way they like it best. You should consider having it professionally styled; you can’t go wrong with a bouncy blow-dry! While you are at it, you might as well consider getting your makeup and hair trial done on that same day! Having professionals take care of your looks will really make a difference in the end.
I can’t say it enough.. It’s your engagement session. It’s a professional session. Take the time to plan it currently. Plan your outfits in advance, do your makeup and have your hair styled. It will make your session look even better.
I’m going to tell you a secret. Engagement sessions are my favourite! They are sooo much fun! There’s no stress for time, there’s only 3 or 4 of us and we get to do what we want! Can’t go wrong!
This final component of a perfect and memorable engagement session is to have fun. Don’t be shy to be extra lovey Dovey. The key to having a great Engagement session is Expression. Laugh, Over smile, make faces at each other.. do it all! I always remind clients to focus on each other, to revel in each other’s company and to enjoy the experience together.
Here’s a BTS video of an engagement session, that I shot last year (with the help of Janet) yay!
So it rains… What do we do ? Well, it’s completely up to you! We can either reschedule to another date or … shoot in the rain!! That could be pretty sexy, don’t you think ? If your engagement session is coming up and it might rain, be sure to email us and let us know what you would like to do beforehand. If you want to shoot in the rain, we’ll get ready, find an assistant to hold my umbrella and we’ll head out all together. I suggest not wearing white. We will get wet.
Ok. This might be where I draw the line. I’m not a HUGE fan of gloomy dark days. You know, the ones where there’s super thick clouds and it looks like it’s 7pm all day long? On those days, I recommend that you reschedule your shoot. Because if it’s gloomy outdoors, it will look kinda gloomy in your photos too. If it’s FOGGY however… let’s shoot! I never shot in Fog and I really really want to do it! hehe.
My engagement sessions are always at sunset. Why? Because I love it. No other reason. The sun is beautiful at that time and we can turn out backs to the sun so that you don’t have any in your faces. No squinty eyes! I want is beautiful photos for you. In the spring, we shoot around 5pm and in the summer, we shoot around 6h30pm. Which makes it also easier for everyone since we can shoot after work. We all know how impossible weekends are in the summer. Sessions last about 1 hour. However… this is how ELLA PHOTOGRAPHY works. If I’m not your photographer, be sure to talk to them about how long their shoots are.
That’s it! So get ready for your session and let’s go have fun!!