ANDRENA PHOTOGRAPHY
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Engagement Sessions

LOS ANGELES ENGAGEMENT SESSION TIPS

Engagement sessions are a great way to become comfortable in front of the camera, and for your photographer to get to know you. What's that, you say? You don't need to get to know your photographer? Oh, but you do. :) And more importantly, your photographer needs to get to know you, your personalities, your faces and what types of poses will work best for you. So the "getting to know each other" part of the engagement session is a little more important than just saying hi and asking where you're from. :)

People often ask me what they should wear and bring to their engagement session, so I put together a list of Engagement Session Tips that I've sent to my clients for years. But then I thought, "Why not share this information with everybody?" After all, whether you work with me or another photographer, I still want you to get the very best out of your engagement session. With this in mind, I've put together a series of tips that I've found work best for colorful, engaging and exciting engagement shoots.

Remember: You want your engagement shoot to show off the real you, and the love that you have for each other.

WHAT MAKES A GREAT ENGAGEMENT SESSION?

  • You, being comfortable with one another. If you're stiff and self-conscious, you will look stiff and self-conscious in your images. I'll let you in on a little secret: Photographers usually delete at least 50% of the images captured during an engagement session. This means that your engagement session is the absolute best opportunity for you to try out as many looks as possible. Be serious, playful, sparkly, romantic, silly, loud and sexy. Jump up in the air. Close your eyes. And pose as though you're going to be in the pages of Vogue or GQ. Don't worry about how you look. That's the photographer's job, and believe me, most photographers will take care to remove any image that you absolutely won't like. So take risks and be comfortable with one another.


WARDROBE

For Both of You

  • Think stylish, think hi-fashion, think “a night out clubbing.” Swank it up.
  • Mid-tone colors photograph best.
  • Avoid white, taupe, beige or super-pale yellow/blue/pink. Mid-tone darker yellow/gold, mid-tone blues and darker pink/fuschia colors are all fine. Oranges, reds, anything bright and vibrant – all fine. Just avoid anything super-pale, and please also avoid patterns.
  • If both of you are wearing pants, make sure they match (e.g., both of you in jeans rather than one in khakis and one in jeans).

For Women

  • Cocktail dresses, sundresses and saris photograph beautifully.
  • Patterns and logos are distracting and should be avoided. Solid colors are best.
  • Choose a lipstick that will separate your lips from your skin color. Pale colors do not photograph as well as a color that you can see. It doesn’t have to be dark, but your lips shouldn’t blend directly into your face.
  • Bring shoes for height and shoes for walking. We will be walking 1-2 miles.

For Men

  • For men, pale business shirts are OK as long as there is a dark sports coat or suit jacket over the shirt. Avoid a light shirt unless there is something dark worn over it.
  • Leave the watch at home. It is distracting, since we’re focusing on your faces.
  • Avoid short sleeves (polos, etc.). Long sleeves photograph better. Avoid logos.
  • Keep your pockets free of stuff. Leave your phone and wallet in the car.


HAIR AND MAKEUP

You do not need professional makeup for your engagement session, though you may coordinate the session with your makeup trial if desired.

  • A little more makeup always looks better in photos.
  • Many shoots are done outside, so curls will go flat, and your hair may get windswept. A simple style is best. Curled hair can end up looking stringy very quickly.
  • Hair should not fall into pieces on your forehead, or cover one of your eyes. Stray hairs are very difficult to retouch, and the images sometimes have to be deleted. If in doubt, put a little hairspray on your fingers, and smooth down the stray hairs near your forehead.
  • Pale lipstick will blend in with your skin in photos. Choose colors that add pop and punch, or go pale for one look, and dramatic for your second look.

THINGS TO BRING, THINGS TO LEAVE IN THE CAR

  • LADIES: Bring tote bag that includes a mirror, a brush and lipstick and/or powder (if needed). You should also wear walking shoes and carry your heels in your tote, as we will be walking 1-2 miles. Bring your heels for height, but not for walking.
  • GUYS: Leave the wallet, watch and phone in the car or at home. You don’t want anything bulging in your pockets. "But why can't I wear my watch?" You can, but it ends up being very distracting, so I generally recommend leaving it off.
  • Multiple outfits (for both) should stay hanging in the car.

TIMING OF SHOOT

  • Like most pro photographers, I will want to start shooting 2, 3 or 4 hours before the sun goes down (depending on the length of your shoot). For some indoor locations, I may start shooting earlier in the day, as the light may be optimal earlier. If the weather is foggy or drizzly, I may reschedule to ensure that I have the opportunity to use reflective and bounced light during your shoot. Recommendations for rescheduling your engagement session are always made with your best interests in mind.
  • Weekends are generally reserved for weddings, but we do have some weekend days available throughout the year. Sundays are more readily available, however, many of the better shooting locations are heavily populated with people on weekends. Weekdays are thus usually a better option. We suggest avoiding shoots on Fridays, as the Los Angeles traffic can be problematic.

ENGAGEMENT SESSION LOCATIONS

  • We have a long list of locations that look great and also allow photography. We happily provide this list upon booking.
  • Many of our clients have their own ideas for session locations. If you have an idea, please send it to us, and we can then tell you whether or not that location allows photography, or whether they have permit or fee requirements. 
  • Our goal is to ensure that you get a wonderful collection of images showcasing a wide variety of backgrounds. Some locations may not offer much variety or provide optimal lighting during their hours of operation. We are happy to chat through your location ideas, and any recommendations we make will always be with your best interests in mind.
  • Clients are responsible for all entrance and permit fees, as well as securing and signing any permits that may be required.

I hope these tips are helpful to anyone who wants their engagement session to be the very best reflection of who they are as individuals and as part of a couple. :)

Dina Douglass | Andrena Photography

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Copyright 2016 by Dina Douglass. All rights reserved. Content actively monitored for copyright infringement.