|Nicole and Shannon Celebrate their Engagement in McKinley Park|
As most of you know, I do not shoot weddings, but I love engagement sessions! Fortunately for me, more and more couples are looking for someone who can create a nice portrait to display at the wedding reception and in their home long after the formal wedding portrait comes down off the wall. That's where a certified portrait artist, like me, comes in.
I actually approach engagement sessions in much the same way I prepare for boudoir sessions. After all, what's more sexy than a couple in love? Yes, I even recommend hair and makeup specialists for the betrothed if they so desire. The goal is to have my couples looking and feeling their best! Unfortunately, most guys look at engagement sessions like going to the dentist--a necessary evil.
On that note, here's TRR Photography's Top Five Tips for keeping your man engaged in a successful engagement session--and one that won't leave him wanting to elope!
1) Location, Location, Location - First and foremost the location ought to be meaningful to both of you, or at least reflect your personalities and/or style. Consider incorporating activities or places that you enjoy together. Seen here, Nicole and Shannon knew from the start that they wanted to be photographed in nostalgic McKinley Park, Sacramento. The couple share a home nearby and already have many fond memories of times past in the park--a real plus for me as their photographer! What's more, Shannon says, he's just a regular guy (who usually dons a baseball cap). So, staging an engagement session for these two in a studio or more formal outdoor setting would likely have resulted in a lot of awkward images.
2) What Not to Wear - You are not twins, so there's no need to "match." As a couple, however, you will want to complement each other. Odds are that you already do this naturally, thus the real reason you are getting married. Likewise, you should both wear something new. After all, his old threads will look, well, old and worn in the images and, "no," Photoshop can't "fix it." Make your man more comfortable in his new clothes by laundering (and pressing if necessary) them before the session. This way, they will feel broken in, but still have that fresh look.
3) On Salon/Spa Treatments - Ladies, I know there is no need to ask you twice, but guys usually do not want to get a manicure. This, however, is an engagement session and you will want to show off the engagement ring. And, nothing will detract more than hands in need of grooming, his included. So, I suggest scheduling a couple's massage treatment the day before that just happens to include the mani. At the very least, you both will be relaxed and feeling good for the upcoming session. Bonus Tip: If you already have been wearing your engagement ring for six months or more, take it to a jeweler for cleaning to add sparkle to your images!
4) Pack a Survival Kit - This is especially important for location shoots where services may be some distance away. My engagement sessions generally run two hours. Even so, you will be surprised at how parched you can get walking around outside with a big smile on your face in that amount of time. Your kit (I like those soft-sided lunch boxes, complete with Blue Ice) ought to include: two bottled waters (or his/her favorite energy drinks), frozen grapes (or other refreshing snack that won't stay behind on your teeth), compressed translucent face powder (to combat unwanted shine), Brush/Comb, Chapstick (to keep your man's lips kissable), and a couple Band-Aids (especially if shooting in a rose garden like Nicole and Shannon).
and last, but not least,
5) The "Thank You" Note - Photo shoots can be stressful, especially for the guys. Further, shooting for two hours may feel like running a marathon to your man. Just before your session starts, slip him a handwritten note or text message that simply says, I love you. Believe me, it will do wonders for his attitude and serve as a reminder that you do not take him for granted. Above all else, have fun like Nicole and Shannon did--and you will love your images too.
Congratulations again Nicole and Shannon on your engagement!