michigan wedding photographer for easygoing couples planning elegant weddings
* ONLY FIVE 2023 DATES REMAINING *
Now that you have picked a date, a photographer and probably a venue as well, you can celebrate! Those are some of the toughest decisions in wedding planning and you can cross them off your list! Hooray!! Now on to the fun stuff…. like your engagement session!
I love to include engagement sessions in The CBK Wedding Experience because I truly believe that they are a VITAL part of the entire process. During your engagement session, you’ll have the chance to get to know me, experience how I shoot and how I handle posing and lighting. This session will make a HUGE impact on how the wedding day flows. I’ll arrive on your wedding day already knowing how you two interact, what your best poses are, and how to photograph you in a genuine way! What I will learn about you during your engagement session is invaluable! You will feel like such a pro on your big day because of the great practice you had during your engagement session, and that’s how it should be!
Your engagement session can be scheduled anytime before your wedding day. I normally suggest booking it at least 3-6 months in advance to avoid stress. Because my weekends are filled with weddings, I shoot engagements on weekday evenings, normally from 5-7pm (depending on the light and the time of the year). In the winter months, 3-5pm is a normal time frame.
As you start to plan for your engagement shoot, you will need to start brainstorming about location ideas. I LOVE it when couples pick a location that is special or sentimental to them in some way! If you can’t think of anywhere specific that you would like to shoot, I can help you decide on a location. As long as the light is great, I can make ANY location look awesome! I shoot at farms, campuses, downtown alleys and even laundry mats! I’m serious, do not shy away from crazy ideas – the more creative, the better! Be sure to keep reading to find out more about outfit ideas and inspiration!
It’s always a little intimidating to have your picture taken …. even if it’s just a photo on a phone that is taken by a friend. We still want to look nice, make sure nothing is in our teeth and that our hair is behaving! I realize that preparing for your engagement session can be a little overwhelming. In the rest of this blog post, I’ll be providing tips for outfits, handling nerves and recommendations that will make your shoot the best it can possibly be!
Empty your pockets! Literally. You don’t want to have key chains or phones showing through your pockets. (This is for the guys especially) Also, double check your wrists and take anything you don’t want in your photos off. Most of my couples prefer to take off the fitness trackers and smart watches they normally wear. I almost always have hairband on my wrist and have had to kick myself for forgetting to take it off in my own family photos!
I am always a few minutes early to engagement sessions so that I can scope out the location and find the light that will be flattering on my couples! Because we will be racing the sun and will wrap up the session when the sun is set, I recommend leaving 15 minutes earlier that you originally planned just to be safe.
Clean your engagement ring! I love to shoot a few rings shots while you change outfits, the cleaner the better – we want to see that sparkle!
As much as I would like to say that we always have restrooms for outfit changes, it’s pretty common that my couples do quick outfit changes in their car if there are no other options.
I’m going to help you along the way and it’s going to be a blast! Enjoy this time together, and make a date out of it – plan to have a night out on the town afterwards and celebrate!!
This may not apply to your shoot, but you always want to plan in advance for a cash-only parking fee that we may encounter, or any tolls. I certainly wouldn’t want an unexpected fee to cause any stress, stress is what we want to avoid!
I’ll explain this more in-depth in the next section but generally, my couples like to bring one casual outfit and one dressier outfit! If you’re unsure about a few pieces, feel free to bring all options and I can help you decide.
If you were considering getting your hair and makeup done, this is the perfect opportunity to do your hair and makeup trial run for the wedding day! If you’re not able to work out a trial run with your wedding day Hair & Make Up Artist(s), this is also a great opportunity to splurge a little and treat yourself. You will cherish these images forever, so investing in professional hair and makeup can be an extra fun way to celebrate the occasion and allow you to feel confident during your shoot!
You may need to apply more lip color after an outfit change and a few kisses. (If you have a bold lip color, try to have a matte finish so it won’t transfer to your groom as intensely!). Hairspray and a brush will be helpful if your hair struggles in the humidity!
If you’re wearing shoes that are difficult to walk in but look awesome, bring some comfy shoes to change to while we walk to each shooting location!
Believe it or not, you have so much control over the outcome of your shoot and what it looks and feels like! What you choose to wear is a big decision that often causes a ton of stress for the bride beforehand. However, my hope is that with a little education, you will be able to determine style and feel you desire for your shoot and then that will make your outfit selection so much easier and less complicated! Lets start by de-bunking some very common outfit myths that a lot of people believe about what they should wear to their session!
Whoever started this myth couldn’t have been further from the truth. Sure, there are some colors that don’t work for some people, but I spent a large majority of my life believing that I could never wear neutrals and I was missing out! The truth is, neutrals are the most photogenic color for portraits.
Sure, black is sliming, but it’s always very heavy in portraits. There is nothing wrong with black but if you’re only wearing it to look thinner and deep down you’re hoping for light and bright portraits, it may not be the best choice.
Please, for the love of all things beautiful, please don’t try to match your significant other! Instead, try to coordinate! Coordinating is a completely different concept from “matching”. Coordination means you are usually choosing different colors that look good together but are not close to being the same. I have some more tips about this concept coming up.
False! Your outfit has way more impact than your location. Your location is just a setting in the background but you two will still be the main focus of the images.
False! If you know you look awesome in an outfit that you already have, and it fits the style you want for your engagement session, that would be a great choice!
Start by asking yourself 3 questions about your style. Bold or Neutral? Dressy or Casual? Classic or Trendy?
These choices represent the three main decisions you will have to make in regards to your outfit choices. There are no right or wrong answers! Maybe you want one outfit to be dressy and the other to be casual. Maybe you want one outfit to be very light and neutral, but you want to wear more color in the next outfit. These categories will hopefully help you determine what you’re hoping for in your engagement session. If you’re feeling stuck and can’t seem to determine what you prefer, that’s very normal!
Here are some general “rules of thumb” when it comes to styling during an engagement session. Once you read through these, you may have a better understanding of what you prefer and you can start planning your outfits. These “rules of thumbs” are based off of my experience and aren’t concrete rules that can’t be broken. However, if you have questions about one of them in regards to what you want to wear, just email or text me and we can talk about what would be best!
Neon colors, bright oranges and greens (they reflect color onto skin and can be difficult to edit!)
Tiny patterns cause something called “Chromatic Abberation” in digital images. Men’s checkered shirts are fine if the “checks” are on the larger side.
If one of you is wearing very dark jeans, the other may want to wear lighter pants. If one of you is wearing a navy top, the other shouldn’t wear a dark/heavy colored top. To a certain degree, alternating the “heaviness” of your outfits can make your images look more balanced.
This is the one time I will tell you to “match!” You should either both wear casual clothes or both dress up.
Tennis shoes, Graphic tees, Bold logos on shirts, Sunglasses & Baseball Hats
If you’re hoping for a more romantic style of shoot that includes “light” and “airy” colors, you can actually make outfit choices that will lend your images to turn out brighter, softer and extra photogenic! Here are some ingredients that go into creating a romantic styled shoot. It’s important to note that you do not need to choose all of these ingredients in order to have a light and airy style to your images, but the more ingredients you include, the more romantic it will be:
Blushes, tans, light pinks, faint blues and light minty teals, creams, grays and whites will always result in more of a light and airy look in your images. These colors photograph softer and more romantically!
Dresses and skirts with feminine ruffles, multiple layers of fabric and the ability to blow and move in the wind will always photograph beautifully! You would be amazed at how impactful moving fabric softens an image.
If you really want your images to be as bright as possible, consider having your groom wear lighter pants instead of dark dress pants or dark jeans.
Just like the “Romantic” recipe, you don’t have to apply all of these “ingredients to get a perfectly BRIGHT & BOLD look to your engagement session. These ingredients include:
If one of you has a bold pattern, it’s very important that the other doesn’t. The more bold the pattern, the more important this rule is!
If you really want a bold and bright look, but you want to do it well and tastefully, I would suggest that only one of you have a bright and bold colored outfit and the other stay in a solid neutral to avoid over-doing it!
If you really want to wear a pattern, just make sure that your pattern is on the larger side. Patterns that are smaller than a quarter can be difficult to photograph. This isn’t true of all patterns, but it’s a good general rule to go by!
If you’re a bride that is a little anxious about how your groom is going to react to this whole “picture” thing, you’re not alone. I receive so many emails from brides who are worried that their groom won’t be into it and I have great news for you…. you both are more photogenic than you think!
I am constantly surprising couples by discovering their hidden modeling skills and the most common response from CBK Grooms is, “That wasn’t as bad as I thought! It was actually fun”. Boom! Mission accomplished! When the groom says that taking pictures was FUN, I have done my job well!
Your engagement session is supposed to be fun and relaxed, not forced or awkward. As you prepare for your shoot, there are a few things that you can do to help your groom know what to expect. First of all, I highly recommend sitting down with your guy and showing him 2-3 of your favorite engagement sessions that I have photographed. Spend some time together scrolling through a few blog posts, this will allow him to gauge what his expectations should be.
I also recommend that you allow for plenty of time to get to your shoot! There is nothing worse than when a couple shows up late, and they have been arguing in the car! That is definitely going to put your groom in a bad mood!
Last but not least, remember to have patience with him, and don’t assume that he’s not going to have a good time… I think you’ll be surprised how much you will both enjoy your session!
You can find CBK Engagement Sessions HERE
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