Time It Right
Six to nine months before the wedding—that’s your timeline for checking an engagement shoot off your to-dos, especially if you want to use the photos for your save-the-dates. If you just want them as an element for the big day, say in a guest book, schedule your session a minimum of three months prior to allow enough time for editing, printing, and delivery.
Put Thought Into Your Outfit
“These are not your prom photos. You’re in love for a reason. Why not capture it at a location that’s special to both of you and in outfits that turn heads?” Don some duds that are an extension of your personality, Andrew says. Dress up in your favorite color, something that shows off your best assets comfortably and complements your backdrop. Consider dressier garb for a downtown engagement shoot (word to the heel-lovers: bring a pair of flats to walk in between shots), casual threads like a dress or tank top at the beach (but save the bikinis for the honeymoon), and boots when in the woods. What not to wear? Big, bold patterns, bright neon, and random text on your shirt.
If you know your nerves are going to bundle in front of the camera, turn to the oldest trick in the book: “A glass of wine or shot of whiskey never hurts.” Also, give yourself excess time to get ready so you’re not feeling rushed or arriving late—and, in turn, stressed. No amount of post-production can wipe that emotion from your face. But keep in mind that it’s not all on you to look good. “It’s the photographer’s job to help coach you with posing and evoking emotions.”
Know Nature is Unpredictable… and Beautiful
So you want to take your photos outside? Even in San Diego, Mother Nature can be fickle, sending strong winds at the beach to redo your down-do, or, dare we say, a rogue wave coming out of nowhere. “The trick is to keep an open mind and expect the unexpected,” Andrew says. The most beautiful backdrops are worth the extra dirt and sweat. “Sometimes the best shots are in the hard-to-reach locations, where the sun is shining through the trees with a perfect amount of golden glow.”
Consider It a Practice Run
Being camera shy is one thing, but being photographed by a stranger is another. You only get one shot at the portraits on your big day, but an engagement session—even if you don’t opt to share the photos widely—gives you a practice run and a starting point to build trust with the person behind the lens. “Think of it as a dress rehearsal,” Andrew says. “The goal is to help you feel comfortable and relaxed, so on the day of the wedding you will be pros and have a better idea how to interact with one another in front of the camera and how to take direction from your photographer.”