Engagement Photos, mine and yours!

As a photographer and wedding photographer’s assistant, I thought I should post about my experience in having my own e-pics taken. Plus I love my pictures and share them every chance I get.

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But first, a brief engagement story. Garrett and I knew we wanted to get married pretty much from day one. We’d talked about it as a given, after maybe 10 months of dating we looked at some rings in stores, I showed him Tacori’s website, mentioned my likes and dislikes. Garrett left Chapel Hill December 15th to move home to Birmingham and I went back to my hometown for Christmastime with my family. I drove down to Birmingham December 27th (it was the shortest 4 hour drive ever because I was so excited to get there) and when I got to Garrett’s parent’s house he was waiting for me outside, I’m pretty sure barefoot, with a hard rock cafe t-shirt and his tan corduroy pants. He urged me to get out of the car and had one of his hands behind his back. I didn’t even get the car turned off, I just got out and left the door open while he got down on one knee and said “I just can’t wait. Will you marry me?” I think I nodded, said yes, kissed him, hugged him and then I remembered the ring. I almost took the ring out of the box myself and then said “Oh yeah, you should put it on me.” It was perfect for me, the whole thing, and so was the ring, which his mom and grandmother helped pick out. I wasn’t expecting it and I was already so excited about moving that it was an awesome feeling.

Because I’m a goof, here’s my ring on ice, entitled “My ice.”

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Okay, so hear comes the advice portion.

Why even have engagement pictures taken? Some people (and their parents) want to announce the engagement and wedding in their local paper. Others want a photo to use for their save the dates. Or professional pictures for their wedding websites.

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I never thought of not having engagement pictures taken, but that’s probably because I love pictures so much, not for any of the practical purposes. Garrett and I don’t have a lot of really good pictures of us together (I recently trained him not to blink during every flash, though), and the fire department cheesy backdrop shots we took to appease my mother weren’t cutting it.

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I met my photographer, Amelia Strauss shortly after I moved here; I was looking for a wedding photographer to assist while I was settling in here. She actually helped pick my date (thanks to the Alabama football schedule) and I knew before I met her that I loved her style . Since I started working with her everyday I got to know her pretty well.

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Which brings me to the main reason you should have engagement pictures taken. To get to know your photographer better, learn tricks of the trade, (how to pose to best flatter your bodies and know that “pop” means to bring your hip [and hotness] out, how to look sultry, that sort of thing), and communicate about what you want out of a session. Tell your photographer what concerns you have (things you are self-conscious about like kissing or if you have features that you aren’t crazy about) that way they can make you more comfortable and keep those things in mind while posing you or picking angles.

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Garrett had met and liked Amelia so that made it a little bit easier on him, but he still had to come out of his shell a little. I’ve noticed through  photographing e-sessions that the couple is usually a lot more stiff in the first series of pictures but gets comfortable as we go on. One thing Amelia does is have the couple shake it out (especially when it’s freezing out!), which usually creates a silly tension breaking moment for everybody.

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Make the session fun by being yourselves in your clothing choices, and props if you choose to bring them. Pick something you feel sexy or cute in (I really love dresses, and the blue strapless was my first dress from anthropologie and a gift from Garrett for graduation). Pick something fun or some fun details (bright colors, necklaces, shoes, hats).  I started with my hair down and threw it up with bobbypins and swept my bangs to the side to create some variety. We had 3 outfits which was great for changing up the look and feel. We also brought champagne, an umbrella, Russian hats.

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If you have a look or location in mind, go for it. We chose the art museum because it’s the first date we had together when I came to visit Garrett after our field school was over. You can do urban, nature, vintage, or someplace significant to you. You are the props! Just have fun with it and your personalities will come out, don’t stress over it! And when picking a day and time for your shoot, keep in mind that the weather and lighting affect the photos and be a little flexible if possible.

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Thank you for indulging me in my photo-fetish!  I’d love to see some of your e-pics too, and answer any questions if you’ve yet to take yours and want tips!

All photos other than the “ice” taken by Amelia Strauss Photography.