Planning for your portrait / engagement shoot
The portrait shoot goes for approximately two hours and we will start approximately 2 hours before sunset, but I will confirm the exact start time once we decide the location we are shooting in. You can check what time the sun will set here to get an idea of what time of afternoon we will start depending on the month.
One location is best.. two at the most, but should be in a close proximity to the start location.. we can either walk to the next location and shoot along the way, otherwise we can jump in a cab / uber (only thing to keep in mind, we do not want to lose 30 minutes in a car during the best light).
I love shooting people that is a place that is significant to you, a place that has a special meaning..as I think it adds more depth to the photograph than just something pretty. We can meet up at your apartment, shoot there for a little and then walk around your neighborhood / head to a park / favorite spot. Another idea is we can visit a few different spots if they are all in close proximity to each other.. like your engagement location, the place where you met, first date..
What to wear?
This is the most common question I get asked regarding an engagement shoot. You want to look and feel your best so you feel comfortable and yourself in front of the camera.
Shooting in NYC always presents a unique set of challenges with the biggest problem being footwear. We will be doing a lot of walking throughout the shoot, so please wear shoes you can walk comfortably in for 2 hours. I really recommend finding a comfortable pair of shoes that look good and you can walk in.. and then base the rest of your outfit around that 🙂 If you bring a spare pair of shoes and change them every time we move locations… this puts a halt on a lot of in the moment shots, turning the shoot into more staged production if you have to change your shoots every time we move locations.
When it comes to deciding on outfits, its best to find outfits that compliment each other without being too ‘matchy’. I always think plain colors photograph better then busy / pattern fabrics.. but at the end of the day, you want these photographs to reflect the real you.. so go with whatever you love the most.
Style-wise, you want to make sure you both match the overall feel of your look, if the lady is wearing a dress, make sure the man dresses up a little too. But I always think a more casual look photographs best for engagement shoots, normally they are more comfortable to be in and get around in and this reflects in the photographs of you both having a great time.
If you are wondering if you should have a few different outfit options – this will really depend on where we are shooting and thinking about the logistics. It’s not really possible to bring outfit changes with us if we are walking the streets of NYC, so unless you have a car to store your outfits in, I recommend only 1 outfit for the entire shoot. If I am going to meet you at your apartment, we can shoot 1 outfit first and before heading out, you could change outfits if you would like.
Hair & Makeup
The engagement shoot can be a perfect time to do a trial with your wedding makeup artist. That way you can see how it will photograph.
What to bring?
Please do not bring much with you during the engagement shoot as you do not want to putting down a bag every time we want to take photographs, spending time worrying if the bag will get stolen . But mostly for the fact that it breaks up the flow of shooting if you have to constantly put your bag down. I lot of my favorite photos are taken when we are moving between locations, a lot of the spontaneous shots happen then and if you have to put your bag down constantly.. this will keep a lot of the spontaneity.
You are welcome to put a few small things in my backpack, like your keys, phone and a bottle of water, but anything else will start weighing my bag down. (please remember to bring a bottle of water as you will get thirsty through the shoot, particularly in summer!)
Going into the shoot relaxed
A problem I run into every now and then is when a couple is running late and the shoot starts off with the couple feeling super stressed. It can make it hard to feel relaxed and loving in the photos, if you have been stressed out moments prior.
Plan to have your hair & make up complete at least an hour or two before you plan to leave… and always allow extra time for traffic. I recommend to arrive early to the meeting location and head to a local bar if you like to relax with a drink. This means you will be completely ready prior to the shoot time, allowing you both to relax and unwind and be in a great headspace prior to the portrait shoot starting.
Also make sure you are well feed before the shoot starts – please do not start the shoot feeling hungry – your energy levels will plummet in the middle of the shoot.. and hungry people do not take the best photographs.
The most important thing to remember about prepping for an engagement session is that we are attempting to photograph you, so be yourself. I know that can be hard when there is a camera pointed in your direction. If you feel nervous, just try your best to get comfortable and have fun. You will get the hang of it before long. Be silly, laugh, play. You will have a much better time which will make for better photos.
Dress nice, but don’t get so dressed up that you are uncomfortable. Interact with each other the way you normally would. In fact, focus on each other A LOT during the shoot – just keep your eyes on each other and try to forget the camera.
Can we include our pet?
Yes – I love shooting couples with their pets. I would either recommend shooting with your pet at home, we could do a few shots inside your apartment and/or in your neighborhood, before bringing them home and we head out for the second half of the shoot. Otherwise I can meet up with you at the first location, shoot with your pet for the first portion, then you have someone come collect your beloved and we carry on with the rest of the shoot.