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For Photographers // Tips for a Creative Engagement Session.

Thu, May 24, 2012 | photographers

If Julie Andrews were to sing about our favorite things, there’d be a whole verse on creative engagement sessions. We LOVE them! Different photographers execute their engagement sessions in different ways. But for us, they turn out best when they’re REAL! When we get to know our clients. Their stories. What they like to do on dates. How they met. All of those things get us thinking. And, we’ve found, that in order to execute a creative engagement session, we have to do some thinking 🙂 I put a couple photos from 7 different engagement sessions (well, one was a love shoot for an already-married couple, but you get the idea) we’ve shot recently. Each of these sessions has a story behind it, but we ended up with all the images the same way.

A few inside tips for a creative (& relevant!) engagement session:

1. Communicate with your clients. Ask them questions. And then LISTEN! Sometimes our clients will quickly mention something in conversation. But, when we’re listening, it triggers the creative juices and then we go from there.
2. Brainstorm. Look at your notes, mull over past conversations. It’ll get you thinking. Promise!
3. Once you have an idea, tell your clients. See what they think. The photos will be hanging on their walls and it’s important they LOVE them.
4. Be confident. We know this isn’t always easy. But we know it’s a big part of the job! Our clients pay good money for unique and real images. They put their trust in our skill and creativity. So, it’s only fair that we work it! Go to town. Be prepared and then be confident.
5. Have fun! This goes along with #4. You have the power to set the tone for the session. If you have fun, your clients will have fun. It’ll make them that much more relaxed and the images that much better.

Why we love shooting creative engagement sessions:

1. It gives our clients one-of-a-kind photos. Sure, someone else might have done something similar. But when you throw in places, activities & ideas super relevant to the couple, you can’t help but get a unique and creative engagement session 🙂
2. It helps clients relax in front of the camera. When you give people something to do they enjoy doing, they sort of forget about the camera. Same thing with asking them to just BE in an environment they’re used to and/or love.
3. And, because they’re relaxed and having fun, it shows. Then we end up with our favorite kind of photos showing real moments, real expressions & real happiness.
4. Wedding days have a tight timeline. We like to get creative bride & groom portraits, too. But sometimes it’s nice to have a creative engagement session in the bag, just in case everything runs late. (However, there’s SO MUCH you can do in just 5 minutes with a bride & groom without any props or activities. Stay tuned for an upcoming post on all of that.)
5. We love to explore and get out in the world. So, selfishly, it’s super fun for us to always be doing something different.

Not every shoot needs a vibe, activity or props. Sometimes our clients want a big, open field and some pretty light. No problem! On that same note, not every shot we took during these 7 sessions is related to love letters, fitness, a farmers’ market, etc. Sometimes, it’s just a good place to start. Click on our clients’ names below to see some of our favorites from their creative engagement sessions. I’ve included one session at the end we shot at a park. Just to show you don’t NEED to do this for every shoot. It’s just fun for us and our clients. So, we thought it might be fun for you and yours!

Toby & Anna. A Love Letters Engagement Session.

Brandon & Lissy. Fit for Fun.

Geoff & Ali. A Colorful San Diego Engagement Session.

Harry & Kate. Cedros Design District Engagement Session.

Tom & Addie. Date Day Engagement Photos.

Tim & Diana. Old Car Engagement Session.

Ryan & Kari. California Camping Engagement Session.

This shoot was at a park. No big brainstorm session. They just wanted some real and pretty photos at a pretty place. 
Brennan & Olivia. A Woodsy Engagement Session.


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