Valentine’s Day was this month so there may be some newly engaged Yentas joining our big online family. If you are one of those newbies with brand new bling on the finger, welcome to The Wedding Yentas! We wish you hearty mazels and hope we can help you with all your Jewish wedding planning needs!
One of the many engagement milestones is a photo shoot, typically with your wedding photographer, that happens at some point before you actually tie the knot. This photo shoot is helpful for both of you: the couple and your hired photographer. You may think you’re comfortable behind a camera, but remember, every photographer has a different style and method, so taking engagement photos gives you and your betrothed a sneak peak into what you can expect from your photographer on the big day. Also, your photographer will learn about how to photograph you. Let’s face it, everyone is different — different angles, features, bodies, comfort levels — and this shoot will also allow your photographer to get a feel for what methods work for capturing you at your best. I know that I would want my photographer to know my good side (right) and if I have extra chins from a weird angle (true) before the big show when the photos truly matter. Plus, whatever, it’s fun.
These shoots are usually included in most photographers’ wedding packages when you book and it’s a good idea to put some thought into personalizing this kind of session. Make sure to ask if your wedding day reservation also includes an engagement shoot and then ask if you receive a DVD of the photos. Some couples may ask to eliminate the session in order to save money, but here’s the thing: a) Usually you can’t do this because photographers have already included this service in their package and rate. b) You wouldn’t be doing yourself any favors because the value of the engagement session is more than just a monetary one. It’s like a rehearsal for the photos for which you’re actually paying and hiring your photographer. So don’t try to have your photographer remove this service and see the price go down. It’s probably not possible and you’re only cutting your nose to spite your face. And let’s face it, that face needs to look good for the wedding!
Also, keep in mind that engagement photos can be more than just fun and games. You can actually use them for wedding-related tangibles. Many couples like to incorporate their engagement shots in save the dates, escort cards, table numbers, guestbooks, or sign-in boards.
So, let’s fast forward: You’ve confirmed that your photographer does indeed shoot engagement photos and you’re amped to get started. What do you need to know?
- Pick a date! Go with a date that doesn’t cause you to rush, so make sure your schedule is clear. Also, consider weather and how that plays into your shoot. If you know you want to wear cute, summery dresses, it’s probably not best to book a date in February. Make sure to think about where you want to shoot and how the date will affect your location as well. Some places are closed on the weekends. Check before!
- Speaking of places, you can shoot your engagement photos anywhere, but maybe think of a location that’s special to you and your partner. We’ve seen engagement photos in the ballparks of the couple’s favorite baseball team! Perhaps you and your fiance are alum of the same university or met through Hillel at college; you might want to walk around campus and take photos at your favorite spots. Maybe you’re into cycling and the outdoors; we’ve seen adorable photos of couples hiking or on bikes by the beach. Think about colorful locations like piers or carnivals. The park usually has great color and open space as well. The possibilities are endless and we encourage you to think outside the box.
- Confirm with your photographer what colors or patterns work on camera. Some may say no busy prints or white colors depending on their style and post-processing methods. This is important because you want to be sure that what you wear will be appropriately represented in your finished product. You also may be able to have two or three different looks in your shoot. This is something else you should confirm with your photographer. If you do have multiple looks, make sure you find a variety of outfits to wear. It’s fun to see engagement photos that feature the couple in casual and formal wear.
- Be yourself! Don’t try to mimic your favorite model or celebrity. You’ll probably just end up looking silly (um, been there, done that). Instead, just smile and have fun! If you’re actually, really, truly having fun, your photos will look like that you are actually, really, truly having fun! Forcing poses or pouty lips doesn’t work. If you and your partner have fun acting goofy together, then let out your inner silly. If you’re more on the shy side and not really wild and crazy, that’s okay, too! Just be your usual in-love selves and the goodness will pour through the photos!