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Session Guide

I am SO excited for your session!

This session is going to be completely different from any other “portrait experience” you’ve had, so come with an open mind, and be prepared for a great experience!

Fun photo of engagement session in Michigan

 

I’ll guide you through the whole session, giving you easy directions and prompts that will result in natural, authentic poses and moments. I’m going to focus on your connection, your bond, and the energy you share together. We’ll walk around, explore the location, look for beautiful light, and just have a great time! You’ll find out that I’m super easy-going and I laugh a lot.

Aside from creating photos of the two of you, this session is when we really get to know each other, and you can get a feel for what its like to work with me. It’s the perfect way for us to learn a lot about each other’s personalities. It’s amazing how much I learn about how couples interact with each other just from hanging out for an hour taking photos.

Read and use this guide to help you prepare for your session, and to make sure your photos are as awesome as possible!

 

 

LIGHTING

Lighting is the number one most important element in creating breathtaking photos! The best light is at sunrise & two hours before sunset! I don’t know about you. but I prefer not to get up before the crack of dawn, so ideally we’ll be shooting in the evening- starting about an hour to an hour and a half before sunset.

 

Engagement photo at Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes in Michigan

 

LOCATION

The location of your session depends on the kind of vibe you’d like for your photos! If lighting is the number one factor for great photos, location is definitely number two. If you want beautiful, epic photos that are set in a gorgeous outdoor location (like most of the images you see on my website & portfolio) then we’ll need to find and travel to an epic location! I can totally help with that. There are some options in the SE MI area, or I’m always up for an adventure to a farther destination. In-home sessions are becoming more and more popular, too. These sessions focus more on the connection and energy between the two of you. If you don’t like your own home, consider renting an Airbnb with lots of window light and minimal clutter.

 

Amazing Airbnb in Detroit

 

 

WHAT TO WEAR

FOR HER:

Like the location, your outfits will have a huge effect on how your photos turn out. If you want your photos to really be amazing, you’re going to have to dress the part. Luckily, this isn’t as hard as it sounds- and I’m happy to assist!

For my sessions, I love it when couples wear timeless outfits that speak of adventure and romance. That could mean a long, flowy dress with leather hiking boots, or jeans and flannel tops. Overall, I’d recommend sticking to neutral, solid colors and lots of interesting textures.

Clothing movement is also a huge factor in creating romance and drama in your photos – dresses, flowy shawls, etc. are fantastic. Take this as your excuse to buy that dress from Free People you’ve been eyeing and to break out the shoes you look amazing in. Dresses that are more vintage style are totally my thing. I love tiny buttons, lace accents, etc.

Try including some accessories – a necklace, floppy rimmed hat, a scarf, a set of bracelets etc. Aim to add some layers that make your look just a little more stylish and add interest.

 

 

 

Hint: consider staying away from sleeveless tops/dresses if you don’t like the way your arms look. Or bring a sweater, jacket, or shawl to cover them up. :)

 

BORROW A DRESS:

If you’re having a hard time with deciding what to wear or just don’t want to deal with it, I’m more than happy to let you borrow a dress from my session closet! I have lots of options and sizes to choose from that are all amazing for photos! If I don’t have your size, I’m happy to get it for you. My dresses are flowy, romantic, and will look great on you! If you’d like to take advantage of this offer, just let me know. We can go through my closet and choose a couple of options. Bonus- if you take advantage of this offer and wear one of my dresses for your session, I’ll give you a $35 print credit!

 

 

FOR HIM:

For guys, simpler is almost always better.

If you’d rather be more casual, a pair of skinny jeans and a black or white v-neck look great. Do your best to add layers and accessories for interest. Glasses or a watch, or maybe bring a blazer or leather jacket. If you’re a hat guy, bring along a fedora, but please leave baseball hats at home!

Avoid shorts, baggy pants, stripes, polos, running shoes & t-shirts with prints (unless it’s a rad band-tee). Avoid shaving for a few hours before the session, because it’ll leave red marks and give you a splotchy chin. A fresh hair cut 4-7 days before is always a bonus! *Make sure you do it at LEAST 4 days in advance, so the hair has time to blend a bit.

 

 

Always dress for the weather, and the location. If we’re going on an adventure or exploring in the wilderness, wear clothes that would make sense in that environment. Like, if we’re going in the woods, don’t wear strappy sandals or high-heeled boots. Rugged boots or hiking shoes are a great choice. I want you to be comfortable, but feel amazing, too.

 

COLOR PALETTE:

The colors you wear are a very important part of the outfits you choose. Earthy or neutral colors photograph best, and will give you the most natural look. Bright vivid colors can really pop, but can also be tricky because they often cause strange color casts on your skin- especially under your chin and eyes. It’s also important to choose colors that won’t blend into the background- so don’t wear blue if we’re going to be at a beach, and don’t wear green if we’ll be in a green field, etc. Stick to the color palletes below, and remember that neutrals (black, white, gray) always look great!

 

 

For more outfit ideas and inspiration, check out my Pinterest board:

WHAT TO WEAR

 

Hint- send me photos of your outfit choices before the session. That way I can let you know if something isn’t going to work, or give you ideas on how to improve your selection if needed.

 

 

WHAT TO EXPECT

This isn’t going to be like any portrait session you’ve ever had. You’re going to spend 99% of the time just hanging out, focusing on each other, and not even looking at the camera. Yep, you heard me right- rule #1 is NO LOOKING AT THE CAMERA (unless I ask you to). Don’t worry- I’ll go over everything at the start of the session and show you what to do and what not to do. It’s easy, I promise :)

Come to the session with an open mind and be ready to embrace the unexpected. Let the wind mess up your hair, get a little weird. Your job is to relax, try to forget I’m taking photos, and just enjoy each other. Don’t worry- I’ll guide you and give you lots of things to do to keep your mind busy! Some of the prompts I give you might seem strange, or even silly- but just go with it! I promise the end result will be amazing. You can expect to feel all kinds of awkward at the beginning, but it’s totally normal and it’ll pass! Nothing to be afraid of- I won’t ask you to do anything that you’re uncomfortable with. We’ll just hang out for a while and I’ll guide you through the session in a natural, relaxed, easy-going way. :)

 

TIPS FOR THE BEST SESSION EVER

DON’T BRING ANYTHING WITH YOU. If you bring anything that needs to be carried, it’ll have to be left behind. You’re going to need your hands free, and I’ll be taking photos “in-between” moments, so it’s best to not have anything with you. If it’s absolutely necessary, I can always pack smaller items (water bottles and smaller) in my camera bag and bring them along.

SHARE IT ALL WITH ME & DON’T HOLD BACK. Honesty is mandatory. Be yourselves. Don’t act like you think you should, I want to capture you as you really are. Remember how you interact when you’re alone, and don’t hide it. Embrace both the goofy laughter and the quiet moments. I will, of course, guide you through all this as we shoot.

TRUST ME. I absolutely love capturing these images, and I like to think I’m pretty good at it. A lot of the time, I see things in a completely different way- and I love to experiment! You might question some of my ideas (like if I’m like “Oh wow! That’s an awesome pile of dead sticks right there! Let’s use it for a background”) but trust me- it usually turns out amazing!

EMBRACE THE SPONTANEOUS ELEMENTS. And I don’t just mean the weather. I want you to embrace the rocks, the dirt, the paths less traveled, the wind messing up your hair, and all the other spontaneous and “imperfect” elements. I want to keep it natural and honest, so just let go!

MAKE A DAY OF IT! Take the whole day off, if you can, and use it as a reason to celebrate each other! Hang out, relax, and enjoy your time together. Or, go out for dinner or a movie afterwards!

 

 

If you have any questions or need help with anything, just let me know! I’m looking forward to our adventure!

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