Michelle Feileacan , a wedding and portrait photographer based out of beautiful Sonoma County. I asked her to talk a little bit about engagement sessions, what makes them so special, and how couples should prepare for one. I wish when I got married 10+ years ago I did one. I think they are a good way to get to know one of the people who will be around you the most on your wedding day.~Sarah Warner
"I offer all my clients engagement sessions with their wedding packages because I feel they are so vital to the process. There are a number of reasons I urge everyone to take advantage of the sessions, whether your photographer offers them as complimentary or not.
The first reason is really obvious. It gives you some great images! You can send them out with save-the-dates, display them at your wedding or shower and have them as a memory of your "dating" life. Life starts to move faster and faster after you're married (especially if kids are in your future) and it's nice to have a memory of what like was like when it was just the two of you!
Second reason is that it gives you a chance to get comfortable in front of the camera and with your photographer. Most of us don't spend a ton of time being photographed from all angles and we may not realize that we do this funny head tilt or we really don't like when we stand on one foot that way. Seeing all your photos will help you identify that and will help your photographer pose you in the way you feel most at ease and look your best.
Third reason is that it’s just plain fun! What a wonderful chance to spend a few hours just being together, acting silly and loving on each other. Take a break from wedding planning, take a walk on the beach and just enjoy the time to yourself.
I've put together a pinterest board of some of my favorite color/style combos if you're really stumped. I encourage folks to have two looks.
I usually describe this as a day look and a night look. If you have a favorite outfit that really makes you feel awesome, wear it. Don’t wear something that you're borderline on or uncomfortable in. I had a girl once who was tugging and tugging on her dress and I said "are you uncomfortable?" and she admitted that she hated her legs, but wanted to wear this particular mini dress because she wanted it to look cute. I thought she looked stunning, but SHE was uncomfortable and it showed. I will probably make you sit on the ground, lie in the grass and maybe even climb a tree, so keep that in mind when planning your outfit. If you want to wear heels, I encourage you to slip a pair of flats into a bag so you're able to get to our spot without breaking an ankle. :D
Now, a lot of the above information will depend on the WHERE question. Have you thought about what calls to you as a couple? Does your photographer work in specific locations? I tell my clients that I want to take them either somewhere they love and is special to them, or somewhere beautiful. I tell my clients that their session is supposed to present an idealized "Saturday date day". I'm going to take some things into consideration and I urge you to listen to your photographer if they have reasons to avoid a certain place. Lighting is of course very important. You're not going to get those hazy, dreamy photos if you go out at high noon. Your hair will not keep that lovely style if the beach is having a high wind day. That being said, a good photographer will give you some options for getting what you want within reason.
I hear this at every session without fail. "I don't know what to do!" Guys especially have less experience "posing" for the camera. For me personally, I really don't want you to pose as you think of it in the traditional sense. I will give you some guidance as to where to stand, how to hold each other and then I really love you to just sink into each other and get into a comfortable position. Believe it or not, it shows! Little things you'll notice- when you hold hands, whose hand is normally on top? When you do it the other way it feels weird! The basics are this. Breathe deep, stand up straight, smile, look into each other's eyes, trust your photographer and have fun!"
Please check out Michelle's Blog to see more of her work