What happens on an engagement shoot?

Recently, I've posted quite a bit about super-fun engagement shoots I've been doing and I've had some inquiries/questions from people wanting to find out more. So I'm going to do a little mini-interview with myself and hopefully try to answer the questions. I haven't decided yet to interview in the style of Ellen, Oprah or Martha so let's just see where this takes us...

And just because every post is better with pictures, I'll add a few more from Denise & Krikor's shoot...

Q: An engagement shoot? I'm thinking cheesy posed shots of stiff couples with a lot of focus on the engagement ring - is that what it's like?

A: Nope - my plan for an engagement shoot is threefold:
1) Get people used to being in front of the camera
2) Get to know me and vice versa. Who wants to trust an almost-stranger with capturing the most precious moments on your wedding day? I love it when I'm photographing the wedding and I've got my professional photographer hat on (not really - you know I don't wear a hat right?) but because I've got to know the couple I feel so happy for them as they say their vows - I think my happiness somehow shows in the photos!
3) Experiment a little with the post-processing. I'll be shooting like crazy but then I edit the photos down to the best 30 or so and then I'll take extra time on select photos - adding a little texture, making the colors pop, trying a little antique look depending on the feel. It's great because it helps me understand the style of each couple even better depending on the images they like best. The shot above has a little texture/contrast added and it fits nicely with the location (click on it to go big and see in more detail)

Q: Is there any dancing? Let's dance!

A: Well Ellen, sometimes there is dancing. We seriously have fun (or at least I do). Couples get to relax at the beginning while I shoot from afar like a paparazzo, then as the shoot continues maybe climb a tree, maybe lie on the floor, maybe hide behind a tree, maybe bust some moves from their first dance routine, maybe kiss a little (they're nearly married - it's almost legal!)

Q: Hmmm, so what would one wear? Pressed khakis and a crisp tailored oxford?

A: Oh Martha - you're so funny - not everyone has a full time ironing expert on staff! I suggest clothing that really reflects your style and taste. So while the classic blue jeans/white shirt look is great, not that many people dress as though they're in a Lands End catalog. A cute summer dress with fun shoes matched with a shirt that picks out the colors in the dress is fun. Jeans, flipflops and a tshirt is cool too. School colors/team colors - whatever you like!

Q: Steadman says that he just doesn't understand the point of an engagement shoot, huh, well maybe that's why we're not engaged yet?

A: Well, Oprah - it's just a really relaxed shoot that captures the two of you at that fun time of just beginning of your life together. Some couples will pick their favorite image and order a great print or fine art gallery wrap for their home. Or request a custom guest book filled with the images as an alternative to the usual guest signature book. Or use photos in a save-the-date postcard. So many options!

Q: Well Leah, that was very interesting, I hope you had fun?
A: Of course, thanks Leah, I enjoyed it too.

Click on the white play triangle in the image below for a mini movie

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