Engagement and lifestyle sessions are quite possibly my very favorite sessions to shoot. Not only are they a lot of fun and a fantastic way for me to get to know my clients, but they are also a great chance to have a creative, relaxed shoot without the stress of schedule and weather. Portrait sessions are typically shot during the week in the evening, a few hours before sunset as that’s the best time of day for lighting. (The crack of dawn is great too but that would mean having to get up eeeearly!!)
If you’re doing an engagement shoot, we’ll usually shoot two outfits, though you’re welcome to bring more. Engagement shoots are generally around two hours but as it is a very casual, walk-friendly shoot, the main gauge I use to call the shoot is when I think we’ve gotten all the awesome shots we can! I strongly encourage my clients to be as creative as possible with their engagement session. If you have a favorite pastime or a hobby or place as a couple, this is the time to embrace it and get some awesome pictures! I can do my best to help with suggestions of locations and tell you what to avoid (there are some places that definitely get over-shot here in Baltimore and I want you all to think outside the box!) but most of all, this session should be an expression of YOU.
A lot of that is also true for family and lifestyle shoots. If you’re doing a snappy shoot, it’s only 20 minutes, so there’s not really a lot of time for outfit changes. A lifestyle shoot is about an hour and allows for more time for outfit changes and location changes. If there are kids involved in the shoot, it’s best to do it someplace where they’re going to be stimulated by their surroundings. Young children don’t last long for posed shots, so we’ll want to capture them having fun as they explore and interact with their environment.
The absolute best time of day to shoot is about two hours before sunset or within the two hours after sunrise. (I can’t promise I will be the most talkative in the morning, but I’ll do my best!) These times are called by photographer the “golden hour” which means that the sun is low in the sky, which levels out shadows and causes the light to be golden, creamy, and soft. It’s pretty light and it’s the light that we photographers cherish. Engagement and lifestyle shoots are scheduled for weekdays, as we reserve Saturdays for weddings and take off on Sundays to spend with family.
With that in mind, I’ve got a little bit of advice for my clients and it has to do with a major aspect that can literally take your pictures from being nice to being AMAZING. And that is WARDROBE. Here are some tips:
Be nice to your body. What does that even mean? That means, you need to be comfortable!! Don’t wear something you would never, ever wear! If you’re not comfortable in what you’re wearing, it is going to show. People are most at ease when they not only feel comfortable but also when they also feel great. The right clothes can make you feel sexy, beautiful, handsome. The right clothes will make you feel happy and it will translate into happy pictures. So wear clothes that fits well, that you can feel at ease in, and that make you feel great!
This does not mean I won’t shoot you barefoot. This means your shoes are a huge part of your outfit. If you’re a girl, you probably already know this. If you’re a guy, ask your fiance, she can reaffirm this. Even the cutest outfit with ugly-duck shoes is going to look and feel weird. And you wouldn’t wear gym shorts with stilettos, right? So wear shoes that match the style of clothes you have on. In general, ladies, heels do make your legs look nicer. But I won’t force you to wear them, especially if we’re doing a lot of walking around! I can’t stress enough how every little detail of the clothes you are wearing will come through in the picture. If a guy has on a fantastic tie that matches his girl’s shoes, I guarantee you it will come through. So wear jewelry. Bring hats, scarves, sunglasses, belts. Layer. Learn to love accessories, especially if they have a pop of color. Even if we don’t use it all, you’ll have options.
– White clothes and black clothes. (I don’t include a white top with a cute colored cardigan or black leggings or something along that nature here. But in general, go with color.)
– Matching clothes. I mean being really matchy-matchy. If you both show up in jeans and pink polo shirts, it’s gonna be a little awkward. But do consider the style of clothes you each are wearing. If she’s in a cocktail dress, it probably isn’t a great idea for him to be in shorts.
– Pinstripes (digitally, they often can get moire patterns that look weird on screen)
– Graphics and Text. Guys this is not the time to wear your favorite Miller HighLife shirt. We all like beer, but we’re not advertising it. :P
– Sloppy clothes. (I think this speaks for itself, but unless you’re both putting on jerseys and doing a cute football theme, leave the jerseys, sweatpants, and muscle shirts at home!)
– Clothes that just don’t fit well. This is especially for guys. Repeat after me: Baggy clothes are bad. Baggy clothes are bad.
-Tennis shoes. (Again, unless we are doing a gym themed shoot or something, you can do better!)
– Jeans. Not only do they look great on most people, but the colors are also wonderful.
– Vibrant colors, especially solids. Colors can make a picture pop. End of story.
– Well thought-out outfits. You know how there are just super cute outfits that make you want to go out and copy that look? Yeah, those. Stalk some fashion blogs if you want ideas — there are really fun ways to make your outfits look amazing with things you already might even have in your closet!
– Dresses. Cute dresses are the best.
– Flip flops, Chucks, and cute, colorful heels. I may be biased on this because that actually matches the exact description of my favorite footwear. But it also just works.
-Bring props or themed items. If you all love watching movies, why not bring some of those red-and-white striped popcorn containers, popcorn, and a blanket? If you love reading, bring books! If you love wine, bring it (and three glasses, two for you, one for me. Hehe.)! Bicycle shoots = divine.
– Feel free to bring any signs or save the date type ideas you’ve thought of that we can incorporate into the shoot if you’re going to use your pictures for save the dates.
– Can’t live without your favorite pooch? You can bring him along! Just remember, you’ll probably want some pictures without Lassie, so make sure to plan around that!
-I will travel to sessions! Anything over 50 miles from 21163 has a small fee, but if you have an awesome idea, don’t hesitate to ask!