So you're about ready to pop the question to your significant other. The diamond ring is in place and now it's time to decide on where to make this happen. Our client Sean decided that the view of Center City would be an epic way to propose to his long time girlfriend and now Fiance. He made this happen on the balcony of XIX of Bellevue Hotel in Philadelphia. Let's just say this was an unforgettable experience for us too as it was blazing 95 degrees outside. Nonetheless, we were able to get some amazing shots sneaking behind some bushes in the small balcony.
This past December, we photographed Zach's proposal to Cara. While it was freezing cold, they had all the elements for perfect winter photography. It was the perfect proposal with fluffy white snow, Christmas lights, and a committed man on bended knee to his future wife.
Fast forward 6 months, we are now capturing their engagement photos along with their precious dog Galaxy at the Philadelphia Art Museum and Waterworks. We finished the night at Race Street Pier for some amazing blue hour photos under the Ben Franklin Bridge.
Cherry blossom is a national flower for Japan, also known as Sakura. It represents the beauty of life. Every year during this time, Washington, DC becomes a major tourist attraction because of the cherry blossoms festival. Luckily, cherry blossom trees are widely distributed in our beautiful city of Philadelphia as well. We took advantage of this blossom season to photograph Gokhan & Naciye's engagement along Kelly Drive and Fairmount Park overlooking the Schuylkill River. A beautiful day with just enough wind to blow the blossom petals in the air for a magical scene.
1. In studio? On Location? Both?
The first step to preparing for an engagement shoot is decide whether you want your session in studio or outside on location. Or a combination of both.
Here's a recent in studio session:
Next you'll want to choose a location. We've shot engagements practically everywhere you can imagine so if you need suggestions, ask!
2. What do I wear?
It's completely up to you! Solids work better than very ornate outfits, but if you want your sari featured in an Indian styled outfit, by all means, wear it. Typically, for engagement sessions 2 hours or more, there is time for multiple outfits so couples generally have one casual and one dressy outfit. If the engagement shoot is 1 hour, there is generally only time for 1 outfit--unless you're a ninja and can change in 5 seconds! Avoid clothes with excessive writing or logos. Try to aim for coordinating, not matching, outfits. Also, make sure clothes are ironed and pressed. You will not want to pay for excessive photoshopping of wrinkles later.
We bring a pop up changing tent to locations so wherever we are you can change in private. This comes in really handy as sometimes we find ourselves in a forest or beach or other remote area where a bathroom isn't an option.
3. How should I get ready?
Most brides use the engagement shoot to schedule a trial make up session with the make up artist they have chosen for their wedding. A few we recommend are: Jazmin Rae , Caitlin Lavin and Pink Tulips . Usually, brides will have their hair done professionally at a salon for the shoot as well.
This allows you to get a look at how your make up will appear on your wedding day and an opportunity to get to know your photographer on a more casual basis before the wedding so at the wedding itself, the photos are much more relaxed. We offer make up trials at our studio where you and your make up artist can come prior to the shoot and then we can all head onto location together.
Grooms need to be...well...groomed. This includes haircuts, beard styling, manis/pedicures, eyebrow waxes, etc. I recommend this be done at least a few days before the shoot so there is no razor burn or redness on the face from a fresh shave/eyebrow wax.
A lot of the images are close ups of hands, feet, faces, rings, etc. so the detail and $$$ you spend for professional grooming will definitely show.
4. What should I bring?
Here we list out some useful things to have and the reason why you should have them.
- Comfortable shoes. I know you want the princess picture of you standing with your Prince Charming with your CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN red bottom shoes, but usually in order to get that image, we have trekked through muddy puddles, grass, sand, water, etc to get there. An extra pair of shoes to walk in will be essential.
- Oil mattifier. This product will remove any shine from your or your future hubby's face. This is especially essential on hot summer days.
- Props. Signs, balloons, sparklers, champagne bottles, umbrellas, scarves, hats, chalkboards with your wedding date, pets, flowers, a bouquet, favorite foods, lollipops, cupcakes, a full on picnic set. Pretty much the sky is the limit and we're usually up for anything. A note on pets: if you bring Fido along, having someone with who can watch him for the rest of the engagement shoot will be necessary. Also, budget at least +20 minutes for pets. Getting them facing the right way and looking at the camera can take sometimes upwards of 20+ tries.
- A small make up bag. Just for quick touch ups. Or sometimes you can arrange to have your make up artist accompany us to the shoot.
- Hair brush.
5. When should I schedule?
Typically, shoots are done about 2 hours before sunset. That time, known as the golden hour, will generally produce the best lighting. And, most of those shoots end with a gorgeous sunset image. However, we have extensive studio quality lighting and can make any situation work to our advantage. Also, trending in 2018, is the return of the night engagement session. This works very well if you live in a city as the beauty of city lights at night is unmatched.
Also keep in mind the time of year. If you want to have lots of greens and shrubbery in the images, then spring and summer is your best bet. In autumn, the leaves changing colors makes for some beautiful pictures. White snowy engagements are also beautiful. Decide on the look and feel you want your images to have as most outdoor locations look very different depending on the time of year.
6. Leave your wallet, cell phone, keys, Chapstick--literally anything that normally goes in your pockets--in your clothing bag.
This happens so often it got its own number. Unnecessary bulges in your dress pants or outfit are not flattering. We don't want to make you pay for the hours of photo-shopping to remove keys, knives, flashlights, or whatever else from your pockets for a hundred images. All your pockets should be completely empty during an engagement shoot.
7. If you are sunburnt & peeling, or in the middle of a breakout, please reschedule.
This kind of goes without saying. We provide complimentary light retouching of your images and various filters and global adjustments to lighting to make your images look the best they can be. However, if you are beet red, no amount of photoshop will fix the fact that you are in fact burnt to a crisp.
8. The weather looks bad. What now?
As long as the precipitation is a light mist/snow, we are ok. Our cameras are magnesium alloy bodies with weather sealing. Basically, that means they will stand up to the elements. As long as you are ok with it, inclement weather can be beautiful too! If you are dead set on golden hour, sunset images, we can reschedule at your convenience.
9. Have fun.
Don't be someone you're not. If you are a jeans and flannel dude, why on earth would you show up for an engagement session in a 3 piece suit. Likewise for girls--do you always wear flats? Then why show up in 3" platforms? Your outfits should be coordinated, but not matching. But most importantly, they should reflect your personality. The sky's the limit--are you fitness fanatics? Let's do that. If you need help, ask!
Let's Set Up a Shoot!
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Hands down one of the BEST proposals/engagements of the year, we were on hand to capture the very moment he got down on one knee followed by a gorgeous engagement shoot at Longwood Gardens.