Whether you're camera shy or love to strike a pose, partaking in an engagement photo shoot can be uncharted territory for most couples. We talked with Mikkel Paige, owner and photographer at Mikkel Paige Photography, to get the 411 on what you can do to ensure you end up loving your engagement photos—and the process too.
Although wedding planning might be a bit (or a lot) stressful, do your best to put that aside, relax, and have fun with your photo shoot. Engagement shoots should be "a fun time for us to get to know each other and for you to spend time focusing on being in love and being fiancés—and I get to photograph it!" Paige says. "I much prefer candid photos, which unfold from a relaxing, enjoyable time."
If you're camera shy or anxious before the shoot, that's normal—but you should find a photographer you're comfortable with. This is a must, stresses Paige. "I liken finding a photographer to dating. You need to have chemistry!"
Think beyond the engagement photos, and remember this is most likely the person who will be by your side through your wedding day too. You and your photographer should click. "I've had many self-proclaimed camera-shy couples who tell me they had a blast at the end of their session," Paige explains.
Dress to Impress
What you wear for your shoot is often the second most important outfit you'll need throughout your wedding events, but where should you begin? "I tell people to try to avoid all black or all white. Cobalt blue looks good on a woman. If you notice, that's why a lot of news anchors and reporters wear it!" says Paige. The main thing is to keep it simple. "You'll want to avoid brand names and distracting patterns to avoid regret down the line."
Paige also believes it's best to stick with one outfit versus showcasing a wardrobe, complete with outfit changes and props. However, "if you're craving an outfit change, I suggest one formal look and one more casual option. (Engagement shoots) are one session, so you want it to look cohesive. I'm all about storytelling through imagery, and it helps if the outfit is singular to thread the needle all the way through." As for props, "I find props to be prohibitive on a shoot, having to find somewhere to put them when they're not in use while walking around a location," Paige explains.
Location, Location, Location
Where to shoot is nearly as important as what to wear. Paige advises, "Couples should choose a location important to them. Or, the opposite of their wedding, so that their wedding and engagement photos are different when they look at the scenery or season." Winter wedding? Opt for a summer shoot. City venue? Pose in a park with lush greenery. The contrast will help balance your collection of images and change things up a bit.
You can also change the timing to fit what you're looking for. Paige encourages you to schedule your shoot whenever you want it. "I've had couples do an engagement session two years from their wedding, after they get engaged, not yet knowing their wedding date, or even weeks before the big day," she explains.
Remember, It's All About You
If nothing else, Paige wants couples to remember something: "These photos are so you can look back on this time in your lives when you're old and gray. Though you may choose to post some great photos from the session (and if you do, please credit your photographer!), at the heart of the matter is, it's not about social media or what other family members want. This is a great time to simply focus on what the two of you desire for the session, to get to know your photographer, and to produce photos of the time you were engaged before becoming spouses. Enjoy it!"