I have been a wedding photographer for a few years now, and I can tell you that nothing makes me happier than when a shoot ‘comes together’! When the location reflects your love story, your outfit reflects your personality and you are able to add some personal embellishments (like your horse!). When you look good, you feel good, you are confident & you are radiant for photos!! When it comes to time of day, I always start my shoots 2 hours before sunset during golden hour. Checkout some of my best advice on planning your engagement session.
The Country Music Video Theory: When thinking of a location for the photoshoot, think of your love story. How did you meet? How do your personalities mesh? Is there a special place that you can think of that is special to you both? Think of your engagement session as a country music video. What would you be doing? Would it be beachy? A tailgate party, a horseback ride through a field, fishing in a river, picnic on the family farm, a romantic campfire & s’mores date for 2? Customizing your engagement session makes it all about your love story— and your friends and family will rave about the ‘cool’ pictures! Don’t be shy to send me your ideas. If you don’t have a farm in mind, some of my favorite places to shoot are Big Hill Springs (west of Airdrie, AB), McKinnon Flats (south of Strathmore), Westerly Edge (south of Cochrane) and anywhere in Canmore.
Dress code For Her: I’ll use the country music video reference again, because it works so well– What would you be wearing? If you don’t wear dresses often, why not make it a special occasion and wear a dress (or bring a dress to change into—you’re allowed outfit changes!). I love headbands, statement necklaces, bangles, big earrings- anything you can do to spice up your outfit and make it uniquely you. Pinterest is a great resource and I’ve made a pinterest board just for outfit inspiration! When choosing colors, think more neutral & natural earth tones. I’m more about the textures: denim, lace, buckles and leather. Avoid tight fitting tops because they might hug your curves too much (think love handles, bra lines)! If one of you is wearing a pattern (think small plaid, stripes or polkadots) then the other should wear something neutral. I know shopping is stressful, but when planning your engagement session my favourite local boutiques like B&B Clothing Boutique in Olds, AB will spend the time with you, hand curating an outfit for your shoot (tell’em Kaycee sent ya).
Dress code For Him: And for him, a freshly pressed button down western shirt and blue jeans always looks great. For bonus points, a suit jacket or blazer will make him look polished and handsome! If you want to go over the top, get his jeans starched! Cowboy boots are a must. Cowboy hats are welcome, but no ballcaps please (unless if he is self conscious about hair loss– then I have no problems with keeping the hat on!!).
Props: if you have anything special you can bring.. A family heirloom, grandma’s handmade quilt, I will absolutely include that in your shoot! I’ve even had the groom bring his dad’s vintage truck. If you are going with a theme (ie. campfire) make sure you grab anything you might need from your house (mugs, hot dog sticks)!
Bringing Animals: I love it when we can include your dog(s) in a shoot. Bring a collar and leash (if we are going to someplace strange for the dog). Usually I will tie the dogs leash to my belt loop for photos without the dog. Watch for an upcoming blog post about including your dogs in your shoot! Horses are a bit trickier. Depending on convenience, I will either start or end the shoot involving the horses! Some horses are super photogenic (and others I need to work super hard to get a good shot!!).
Makeup: It’s a good idea to have your makeup professionally done for your engagement shoot! Professional makeup will make you feel confident and it also photographs better. (psst.. why not schedule your wedding day hair / makeup trial run for this day?) Check out my own personal makeover blog post to see the difference of professional makeup!
Any groom requests or photo ideas are strongly taken into consideration. If you have any ideas, I’d love to hear them! I hope this list was helpful, and remember I am here to answer any questions you may have on planning your engagement session!