You said “yes” and now it’s officially time to start thinking about the wedding venue and finding that perfect dress. But before you can figure all of that out, you need to prepare for your engagement photos. You want to look happy and in love, but how does that happen when you’re not a professional model?
While it might be daunting and somewhat intimidating, it’s one of the more easier, laid back things to consider investing in when heading up that path of marital bliss. Engagement and wedding photographer, Kelly Benton of Kelly Benton Photography tells Womanista it is not nearly as difficult as people think.
“Most of the time you’ll be standing — or sitting — cuddled up with your fiancé, gazing into his eyes,” Benton assures. “Commands are simple and there’s no pressure on you to ‘perform’ a certain way, so just relax and enjoy some one-on-one time with your husband-to-be.”
With the stress of wedding planning, engagement photos are a stunning reminder of what being a couple was like before the whirlwind of the wedding day itself. When prepping for your engagementsession, Benton reveals a few things to keep in mind to help you get the photos of your dreams.
How soon before the wedding should we take engagement photos?
Benton reveals it really depends on how you intend to use the photos. If you use them in Save-the-Dates, she shares it is best to schedule your engagement session at least nine months out. However, if you plan to use them in your invitations, Benton advises to schedule your session at least three months out.
“If you just want to have fun, take some photos and get to know your photographer, then any time before the wedding is fine,” she says.
However, Benton discloses it’s important to consider the seasons as well. “Many couples want a different look for their engagement photos than their wedding photos, so if their wedding is in the summer, they may schedule the engagement photos for the fall or winter.”
What location should we choose?
Since location determines the feel of the resulting images, Benton says each spot changes how she sets up her couples and changes the background of the images.
“I always recommend trying to choose some place personal to you as a couple,” she says. “Your location doesn’t have to be a park either. It’s great when couples think outside the box and try to make it reflective of their relationship.”
Whether it’s bowling alleys or breweries, zoos, activities like rocking climbing or cycling, Benton says to give yourself variety compared to your wedding day. If you shoot downtown for the wedding, find a greener spot for your engagement photos.
What should we wear?
“Basically, anything that makes you feel comfortable and beautiful,” Benton smiles. “More specifically, colors and textures look great on camera — layers do as well.”
While comfort should be key for both of you, Benton advises that both you and your fiancé’s wardrobe choices should coordinate well. This doesn’t necessarily mean they must match, but more along the lines of complementing each other through color and tone. “Choose an outfit that’s timeless,” she says.
If time permits, the Indiana photographer adds you might want to consider changing outfits from casual, like jeans and a nice top, to a dressier look with heels. And if you want to go all out, Benton says to consider having your hair and makeup done professionally.
What is the best time of day to shoot?
Benton reveals such a preference varies between photographers, but believes you can’t go wrong with shooting an hour or two before sunset.
“If you plan your engagement session for the middle of a sunny day, be prepared that a good number of your photos may be in the shade,” Benton says.
Additionally, it’s important to check the weather. Though it might be obvious, it should never be overlooked either. When you check the weather ahead of time, you’re preparing yourself for the elements and could also implement props to enhance your session.
Trust your photographer
The goal of your engagement session is to create beautiful, memorable images that capture what it means to be you two as a couple. Whatever happens, always trust your photographer. They want what’s best for you and aim to make it an easy going experience that comes off like more of an art than a commercial session.
Benton advises not to stress about getting certain poses or “shots” done. Instead, have an open mind. “Go into the shoot with a positive attitude,” she says. “[And] plan something special after the shoot to reward yourself for a job well done.”