When should we book the photo shoot?
The engagement photo shoot should be booked 2 to 3 months before the wedding. Of course, you can always do it sooner or later if your schedule requires.
Do I have to hire a professional photographer? A friend or family member has offered to shoot our engagement pictures for free.
Stop right there! A wedding is a once in a life time event and that means your engagement pictures symbolize this part of your relationship together. Establishing a relationship with your wedding photographer long before your wedding will make a difference in the outcome of your wedding images. As a couple you've probably never been photographed professionally before so your engagement session is a good time for the photographer to see your individual personalities and how you interact with each other. This will help the photographer to capture images on the wedding day that are unique to that couple.
When should we send out wedding invitations with our engagement photo?
When you invite people from out of town you should send their invitation at least 8 weeks in advance. For local guests 4 weeks before the wedding is ideal.
Where should we do the photo shoot?
Have your engagement pictures taken at a location that is important or that has some meaning to the two of you. This could be the place you got engaged, first date, the college where you met, a favorite restaurant, or your home town. Your photographer will also have a list of great locations for your photo shoot if you want something different. An open meadow, an abandoned house, a local carnival, or a bowling alley are all examples of non-traditional locations you could also try.
What time of day is best for pictures?
The early morning or the late evening is best for photos right when the sun is rising or setting. If you are planning on having your hair and makeup done for your engagement session you will have an easier time scheduling your photo shoot in the late afternoon. Always schedule your shoot at least two hours before sunset so you will have plenty of time for pictures.
What should we wear?
If you schedule a two hour engagement session you probably have time to do a formal and casual outfit for each hour. Keep your clothing classic and colorful. Solid colors are a must and try to avoid plaids, florals, patterns, and head to toe in the same color. Make sure your clothing is not coordinated to the point where it looks too matchy. Keep your jewelry simple to avoid flashy distractions in your pictures. Of course wear your engagement ring.
How should I do my makeup/hair?
If you don't normally wear makeup I highly suggest you wear some for your photo shoot. I highly recommend having your hair and makeup done professionally so you can start to experiment with different looks for your wedding day. False eye lashes are a must have for any photo shoot. Don't bother with a fancy up-do since these photos are casual and relaxed. It's best to keep your hair down in loose curls or completely strait. Make sure you bring some lip gloss with you to the photo shoot so you can reapply after kisses.
What should we do with the engagement photos?
The most popular use for engagement photos is to include a loose print with your wedding invitations. Another great idea is to have custom wedding invitations made with your favorite engagement pictures. This means you save money on not having to do a print on photo paper and you can include more then one photo on the invites. Another great idea is to have your photographer create a guest sign in book using your engagement photos and white space for your guests to write their well wishes. This ends up being a great keepsake after the wedding.
What should we bring with us to our engagement session?
If your doing your engagement pictures in the summer bring some bottled water and sunblock. If your doing your engagement session in the winter make sure you bring gloves, hand warmers, and a change of shoes. Get creative with props. You can bring: bikes, balloons, a picnic, a vintage car, a piece of furniture, an umbrella, a suit case, a skateboard, hats, and books.
Do I get the digital negatives?
In most cases the photographer will break up the session fee and the cost of the digital negatives. The session fee is for the photographer's time and talent to shoot and process the pictures. The digital negatives are supplied on disc with a print release giving you permission to print the images for personal use.