HOW TO HAVE THE BEST ENGAGEMENT SHOOT – TIPS & TRICKS FROM ALLY HO OF EVOLYLLAPHOTOGRAPHY
Ever wondered what is the purpose of an engagement session, how much it will cost and what you should expect? Well we’re here to try to answer those questions for you along with seasoned Toronto wedding photographer, Ally Ho of Evolyllaphotography
This past weekend, I had the lovely experience of shooting with Ally (our wedding photographer) and learning hands-on what and what not to do for your engagement session. We chose Paris, ON for our photos since that’s where my fiance is from; scroll through for some of the amazing shots Ally captured!
Engagement sessions are generally a more casual photoshoot with you and your beau… and sometimes your pet! It’s a great way to get to know the style of your photographer and loosen up before you have 100 sets of eyes on you on the wedding day; a “photography rehearsal” you could say.
Engagement sessions are sometimes included in photography packages but often they aren’t. Generally, photographers charge around $300-500 for the 1-1.5 hour session. For those budget clients that think this is a high cost, don’t forget all the sifting through hundreds of images and editing / touch-ups required for each.
The purpose of engagement shoots are great for so many reasons!
- Get to know your photographer and how he/she works
- Practice that smize (smiling with your eyes) and get to know your angles
- See how your make-up and hair looks on camera (set your trial for the morning of your engagement session)
- Sometimes there’s 1 person in the couple that isn’t comfortable with cameras so it’s nice to learn to move on camera as a pair
- Shake off those awkward nerves that come with 100+ people looking at you on the day of
- Get some more beautiful photos of you both looking more like your natural selves!
Many photographers will say, and I agree that, an engagement session is a trial for wedding day photography. It’s an opportunity for you to get to know your photographer and for her/ him to know you. You get to see the engagement photos before the wedding day and relate them back to the experience and learn something about yourself in front of the camera. You might want to apply some of those learnings on your wedding day (“I need to watch my posture”, “my fingers look funny when I’m nervous”, etc.).
To me, an engagement session doesn’t only help to ease the photography process but also documents your relationship in an everyday life setting. It captures your personalities and connection with each other. I approach engagement sessions with a documentary style with emphasis on candid moments and content. I enjoy composing photojournalistic portraits and capturing couples in their elements. – Ally Ho
WHAT TO WEAR
The great thing about engagement shoots is you can wear anything you like. If you’re not a heels-type-of-girl, ditch those stilettos for some Nike’s! Engagement shoots are so fun; you can bring props, bring a change of clothes incase it gets chillier and just play! Flowy clothing also helps if you want to capture some movement in the photos for outdoor shoots.
Ally suggests to wear, “something that’s you. Be that a pair or ripped jeans or an over-the-top evening dress.”
WHAT TO BRING
Here are some ideas of things you can bring on the shoot if you have idle hands…
- your fluffy pet!
- a blanket to wrap around you both for winter/fall/dusk shoots or to have a picnic on summer shoots
- a bouquet… flowers can never go wrong / ask your florist if she can whip something up so you can also see what types of flowers or the size of your bouquet on the wedding day
- a frisbee
- some hot chocolate in a thermos
- a ring box for your ring shots
- comfortable shoes if you are hiking through nature
- make-up for touch-ups with a mirror
- a snack incase you get hungry (trust me, I did… a couple times!)
Another common question that couples ask is where to have the shoot. Think about a place that has some meaning to you like an amusement park that you went to together, the movie theatre if you’re movie buffs, somewhere you’ve never been can be exciting or even somewhere you always go as a couple. If you’re a city dweller, just walking around your neighbour can make for some fun shots since you know all the good places to pop into or pick a location outside of the city for some beautiful landscapes.
If you have a location that’s personally relevant to you, it can be your home, a restaurant or a destination, check with your photographer and as long as the spot works for photos, go for it. A good photographer will try to make any place works if it means a ton to you. If you’re open to suggestions, a photographer should be able to provide you with options.
TIPS FROM THE PROS
Ally answers “how do you stay relaxed while on the shoot?”
Focus on each other. If you’re not comfortable doing something, tell your photographer. It also doesn’t hurt to crack a joke here and there.
Or “what if its terrible weather?”
Embrace it. If you can’t, try to reschedule ahead of time (which can be equally challenging given how accurate weather forecast can be) or have a backup location. There are a few indoor photo locations in Toronto. Some require a photo permit.
It may feel weird but practicing your angles and smiles in the mirror is not a bad idea! Don’t forget your nails and toes for those detailed shots. If anyone asks if they can come on the shoot… it may make you a little uneasy someone looking at you so keep the kiddies, parents, friends, wedding party and everyone else at home.
All photos by Ally Ho/Evolyllaphotography / styling Bisous Events / hair Puzzle Creations / make-up The Look Bridal / menswear 18 Waits