5 Ways to Make Your Engagement Session Easy-Peasy!

You engagement session is great way to get to know and trust your photographer and get comfortable in front of the camera. Here are some tips to make your session go smoothly!

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1. CLOTHING - You’ll get the best results from your engagement session when you style your wardrobe in a way that fits your personalities. If you normally wouldn’t be caught dead in a sundress, don’t wear one to your session. Embrace your ripped jeans and leather jacket or whatever clothes make you feel your best. Forcing yourself into an outfit that doesn’t feel “you” will only make you uncomfortable and that will show in your images! And of course, as I always say, Break the Rules! One of my favorite things is to see someone wearing a formal gown in the middle of a dirty landscape. If you’re going casual, wear colors that complement each other, no need to be too “matchy”. Scarves and accessories are great for pops of color.

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2. HAIR - Ladies AND gents! Some ladies like to have a hair and makeup trial before their wedding, and the day of your engagement session is a great time to do that! If you’e not into that, just make sure to take some time on it. If your session is outside, bring a comb or brush. If you tend to have your eyebrows tamed, be sure to have that done a day or two before your session so any redness has time to calm down. For folks with more facial hair (Gentlemen), be sure to trim up that beard or mustache the day of your session. Smoothing it down with some beard oil is a great idea, too (and your partner will enjoy nuzzling if you smell nice).

3. MAKE UP - As mentioned above, if you are planning a hair and makeup trial, the day of your engagement session is a great day to do that! If not, apply your makeup as usual, but add a little more to your eyes. No need to go overboard, and this is not the time to try a new smokey eye if you’ve never done it before. Just do what makes you comfortable, plus a tad more. Don’t forget to watch that jawline if you use foundation, and make sure it’s blended evenly.

4. RELAX - No, really. I know how stressful planning a wedding can be, and your engagement session is an opportunity to just forget it all and be with the person you love. Being present in the moment with your partner will give you genuine expressions of love in your images. Letting go and allowing your photographer to be creative will make for an amazing session!

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5. MAKE IT A DATE - A good way to make sure you’re present in the moment is to make it part of a romantic day with your betrothed. Have reservations made at your favorite restaurant for after the shoot. You’re already dressed to the 9s, might as well! Keep that RELAX part going and enjoy the whole day with each other.

7 Ways to Rock your Family Photos

1. CHOOSE YOUR CLOTHING AHEAD OF TIME

Ok, I keep coming back to this shoot cuz it was SO DANG FUN! The lesson learned: Don’t be afraid to BE YOU!

Have your clothing chosen in advance and make sure that your outfit choices are comfortable and attractive. What do your dream family photos look like? Are they soft and elegant? Choose neutral colors with soft, flowing fabrics…. think creams, soft pastels, light browns, tans, grays, and slate blues. Want to showcase the fun and spunky side of your family? Choose coordinating colors (but not too matchy) with bold accent colors, such as hues of gray with yellow or bright red accents. Adding fun accessories like scarves, headbands, hats, etc. can add a modern twist and sassy flair to your images.

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2. BREAK THE RULES

Now that I’ve brought up the topic of clothing I will say that if little Sophie is going to have a breakdown because she can’t wear her princess costume, let her wear her princess costume. Happiness should be priority above all else. If that means breaking some rules, so be it. You will be happier with your photos if everyone is authentically having fun in them. And imagine what memories those photos will bring when Sophie is all grown up and you have this moment to laugh about!

3. CHEESE IS FOR CRACKERS

Now don’t get me wrong, one of my favorite things in the world is cheese, but it doesn’t belong at a photo shoot. Telling the kids to say “Cheese” usually results in strained, unnatural and unflattering photographs. Instead, step back and allow the photographer to naturally interact and talk with your children. This will result in natural, gorgeous smiles.

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4. FOR GOD’S SAKE EAT!

Speaking of cheese, arrive to your photo session rested and well-fed. Many families come to a photo session with dinner scheduled at the end. If this is your plan, be sure to give everyone a healthy snack beforehand to tide them over.

5. LOOK AT EACH OTHER

Not everyone needs to be looking at the camera and smiling at the same time. The best photographs are often the ones where everyone is engaged or interacting with each other. If you are engaged as a family and loving on each other, your eyes will be on your favorite people and your smiles will be natural.

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6. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY DOING TOGETHER?

My most successful family sessions have incorporated an activity that the family loves to do together. This gives you something to do with your hands and feet, engages the little ones, and brings an authentic smile to your face. Do you love to read together? Bring some books. Love to play board games or cards? Plan to play a round of Uno or Monopoly during your session. Other ideas include: football, piggy back rides, races, bike riding, the ideas are endless. When families are engaged in doing something that they love together, the photographer will have the opportunity to take some beautiful and authentic photographs.

7. HAVE OUTRAGEOUS FUN!

Don’t be afraid to pick up your children and toss them in the air. Give your wife a sweet kiss on the check. Whisper to your husband your favorite inside joke. Have fun. Laugh. Giggle. Joke. Embrace. Kiss. Snuggle. Play. Doing these things will allow the photographer to capture the emotion and true beauty of your family.

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5 Reasons Morning Weddings Can ROCK!

Yes, you heard me right. Morning Weddings. They’re a thing. And I’ve experienced them, and they’re actually pretty grand. Read on to see why they can rock…

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  1. THEY’RE CHEAPER!

    Melissa and Gary got married at 10 o’clock on a chilly October morn. Their reception consisted of mimosas, coffee, and fancy pastries. They hired a couple of servers to keep an eye on the food and drink, and that was it in the way of vendors (except the photographer, of course). Consider a brunch reception with a stack of pancakes as your wedding cake!

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2. LESS STRESS!

For some, the whole day is a big ball of nerves, and the later in the day you get married, the longer those nerves affect you. If you get married in the morning, the stress leaves you by Noon. It’s over. And you can have the rest of the day to enjoy!

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3. THE REST OF THE DAY IS YOURS!

The After-the-Wedding part of the day is the BEST! Nighttime weddings leave everyone so tired that it’s difficult to get one-on-one time as a couple at the end of the night. If your wedding day ends at 4PM, you can spend the rest of the evening with your spouse – and isn’t that why you got married in the first place? Melissa was home by 7pm and snuggled up on the couch with her new husband by 8. Need I say more? Yes I do: No Hangover!

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4. YOUR GUESTS WILL THANK YOU!

If you live in a tourist or destination town (like Chicago) your guests will have the rest of the day to visit! So many people have only enough time to stay for the wedding and not enough time to see the city they’ve traveled to.

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5. THE LIGHT, THE GLORIOUS, GLORIOUS LIGHT!

If you’re getting married in a beautiful place, or outdoors, the morning light is unbeatable, and you’ll be able to see your surroundings for the whole party. But I'm not biased...

So - Morning weddings. I’m not myself a morning person, and not everyone is. But if you are, there are aspects to a morning ceremony that will allow you to inject your own personalities into your wedding. Create your wedding day for you. Your guests will be fine getting up a little earlier.

5 Pieces of Wedding Day Advice

Make Your Wedding Day Memorable!

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  1. WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES

    This cannot be stressed enough! You will be on your feet more than you realize and the last thing you need is a blister sneaking into every memory of your wedding day. There's a reason this is number one on the list.

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2. CARRY AN EMERGENCY KIT

Have your besties carry an emergency kit. Include water, granola bars, scissors, lip shine, translucent powder, tissue, ibuprofen, band-aids (especially if you don’t heed #1), clear nail polish/glue, tampons, your ID and phone/charger. You never know what can happen, so be prepared for a long day away from home!

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3. HAVE A FIRST LOOK

Seeing the love of your life before you walk down the aisle calms the nerves better than anything. You'll also be able to take all your formal photos before the ceremony and have lots of time to hang with your guests at the reception.

4. DELEGATE

The wedding party is there to support you. Assign them jobs before the day so everyone knows what they need to do. If you're going minimal and have no wedding party, delegate to friends and family. Everyone wants to be a part of your day!

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5. FOR GOD'S SAKE EAT!

In a perfect world, there would be time in between photos and the ceremony for a short sandwich break. Failing that, ask your most reliable bridesmaid or mom to carry healthy snacks and make sure you are eating and staying hydrated.

Most Importantly, don’t sweat the small stuff and Have Fun!