Top 10 Questions to Ask Before your Engagement Session

Many of our clients know that they “should” have an engagement session, but don’t really know what to expect or what to look for. We always recommend starting with a creative brainstorm—and a great place to start is Pinterest. Look at various boards for inspiration and ideas, and don’t be afraid to ask your friends that have gotten married about their experience.

Ultimately, the key to a successful engagement shoot is to be yourself—be comfortable, have fun and don’t be afraid to show your love on camera! Below are the top ten questions our clients ask prior to an engagement shoot:

1.      Where should we take our pictures? Choose one or a few locations that are meaningful to you. We recently had a couple select the high school where they first met, and the movie theater where they had their first date.  This always effects the session in a positive way, not only were they excited to be reliving these meaningful moments, but their energy and passion was caught on camera.

2.      What should we wear? First of all, bring multiple outfits. Depending on the lighting and the creative mood you’re in, you may want to change halfway through the shoot or when you arrive at a different location. Dress to your personality, be fun and creative! If you’re sporty, wear your favorite team shirt, if you have a favorite blouse that just cant stay on the hangar, wear it! Remember to try and color-coordinate, keeping it in the same color family. Some additional tips are:

·         For the ladies:   Wear bright colors for one of your looks, the bright colors will enhance the photo and landscape. Changing into a darker or more neutral color will help bring the focus and attention to your faces.

·          For the gents:  Bring a few different shirts to change into to match your partner. A button down shirt will help to frame your face rather than a t-shirt, and also provides more flexibility with your look (sleeves, buttoned up, tucked in, etc.)

3.      What shouldn’t we wear? Well…most of our clients don’t ask us this…but we sometimes wish we would! Do not wear baggy or loose shirts or pants. The baggy and loose clothing will make you look wider in photos and hide your figure. Do not over tan or start tanning the week of your engagement session—you will look orange in the photos. And finally, do not wear stripes and plaid patterns, they never look good in the final shots.

4.      How long is an engagement session? Depending on travel time to your various locations, an engagement session is typically anywhere between 1-3 hours.

 5.       What is the best time of day to shoot? We will typically schedule an engagement session in the early morning or about 2-3 hours before sunset. The lighting truly makes all the difference in the quality of the photographs, so it’s imperative to BE ON TIME.

6.       Should we use a theme? While you do not have to select a specific “theme,” themes can be fun. We’ve had couples set up scenarios for their engagement sessions that fit their hobbies and interests and were really excited about the unique outcome. Some ideas are: camping, baking, picnic, sailing, staying at home, ice skating, etc.

 7.      Should we bring accessories or props? Absolutely! Your favorite hats, ties, sunglasses or scarf can really help to compliment/accent your outfit. Don’t be afraid to bring “out of the ordinary” props with you also—we’ve used old furniture, instruments, pets, toys, balloons and even masks and not only was it fun to shoot, but the couples had a great time and laughed the most, using the props they brought. Finally, as seen on most of our social media, we’re big fans of chalkboards or poster-boards that we can Photoshop text onto…which is always a good idea for your thank you or save the date cards!

 8.      When will we see our photos? Always ask your photographer how long it will take to see the photos. If you saved your shoot for the last minute and need the images for the save the date, make sure you tell your photographer. Depending on the time of year and how booked they are, it typically takes 2-4 weeks for the final photos to be posted to the gallery. We typically get excited and will post our top 10 within a week to our blog or Instagram so that you can share with your family and friends!

 9.       Should we get our hair/make-up done? The engagement session is a great opportunity to test out your makeup/hair styling by using this as a trial. We typically recommend that the ladies get their makeup done and a manicure—regardless of anything, we will be photographing your ring and the last thing you want is chipped nail polish. For the gents, we recommend getting a haircut prior to the shoot and also making sure their nails are manicured.

10.  How do we make the most of our session? Rely on your photographer’s creative input and don’t be afraid to take risks. This may involve some out of the ordinary concepts—but if you want those unique photos that no one else has, trust in your artist. While the photographer is trying to capture the essence of your relationship, remember to act natural, don’t be afraid to play up your relationship by kissing and embracing for the camera.

 Engagement sessions are a great way to create long-lasting memories to share with your friends, family and future generations.  Do some research before deciding on location and don’t be afraid to ask to meet or Skype with your photographer to come up with some creative ideas! We always enjoy sending our favorite photos from Pinterest and magazines to help spark the creative juices!

Please visit our facebook to view our engagement photos or our website for more information! http://www.carriewestonstudios.com

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Capturing all of your personalities

First, let me say that being a gemini woman, being able to capture the multiple personalities of one woman, is very near and dear to my heart. I’ve heard my friends say “Its interesting with Carrie – you never know who you’re going to get – Elegant Carrie, Goth Carrie, Shy Carrie, Tough Carrie… Its a new mystery every day.” While some can’t even begin to deal with this, the ones that can are my closest, truest friends. We have all seen so many sides to the people that we love and care about; and Sharon walked in to our studio with this request – “I want to show who I am – all sides of me.” Sharon, elegant, artistic, not just out of high school, but not yet a junior in college, with a really unique personality that we knew we’d love to explore. Here are a few shots that came from Sharon’s session at Carrie Weston Studios in East Northport, New York; with make up by Betty Lynn Tims.

Carrie_Weston_Studios_East_Northport_NY_Photography-3Carrie_Weston_Studios_East_Northport_NY_Photography-1Carrie_Weston_Studios_East_Northport_NY_Photography-8 Carrie_Weston_Studios_East_Northport_NY_Photography-10 Carrie_Weston_Studios_East_Northport_NY_Photography-20 Carrie_Weston_Studios_East_Northport_NY_Photography-19

To view the rest of the album, check out our Face Book Page.

My recommendation for other photographers (and something clients should look for in their photographers too!) – Get to know your client. Don’t just book a session and say “Great see you then!” For how can you truly capture the essence of who a person is without never taking the time to speak to them? Find out their likes, their dislikes. What is their favorite movie? Why? What kind of art are they attracted to? What kind of activities are they attracted to? Musician? Loves Cirque du Soleil? Loves France? Hates skirts? Loves rock climbing? Into Elizabethan style dress? Whatever it is, whoever your client is, know them. Take the time to sit them down in your studio over a cup of coffee or tea and really know them. Plan out your shoots. Give them the best experience of their lives and show them what it is you see when you look through your lens. Show them the beauty that is.