My full day wedding packages always include an engagement shoot. I think it’s a great opportunity to really get to know you (the couple) before your big day. As a bride, you get a makeup trial, a hair trial, you should also get a photography trial! Honestly, it just provides a great way for me to sort out what will elicit the best pictures the day of. Having up to two hours with you means we get to learn to be super efficient and get great shots on your wedding day.
What to Do
It’s always amazing when couples manage to create something special for their photos. This really is your time to have fun with your images, show your personality, and also create some pictures that you can use for your wedding and beyond. If you and your fiance love to cook together, let’s do that! Or, perhaps you have a favourite cafe or trail you always go to – I’m down! Is The Notebook your favourite book/movie? I would love to capture you guys re-creating your fave scene. The opportunities are really endless.
Need a starting point for thinking of a location? Some I love (or would love to shoot at) include:
1. Elora Gorge: Beautiful outdoor space with the option of shooting in Elora (super cute) as well.
2. Martin’s Apple Farm: Really pretty orchard with some lovely trees around. There isn’t a lot of options for buildings etc in this location, but lots of cute trees and lanes!
3. Waterloo Park: Close to the University of Waterloo and the uptown core, I’ve shot a ton of images here, and every time I feel it comes out different. The park is huge so the bonus is you can get a bunch of different sorts of images here. The Perimeter Institute, Clay and Glass Gallery, and Victorian Gardens are all there as well for some variety t
4. Rockway Gardens: This packs a punch for a small area near Kitchener’s downtown core. I’ve shot here before as well, a nice blend of grounds and some nice architecture.
5. Victoria Park: Kitchener’s best known park really boasts a large area with lovely bridges, lakescapes, grounds, and trails!
6. Stratford: The city itself is just so lovely and adorable. There are plenty of beautiful locations to choose from including Shakespeare Gardens and the downtown core.
7. Dundurn Castle: Dating back to the 1800’s, this beautiful mansion is located right on the water in Hamilton/Burlington. This is actually where I shot my engagement photos and I fell in love. I would love to take a couple here and get some really gorgeous photos done!
8. Port Stanley: Not as busy as Grand Bend, Port Stanley offers the big beach, as well as the smaller one for some great images. The town enables for some gorgeously diverse shots.
9. Fanshawe Conservation Area: Located in London, Ontario this is an amazing location for photos. Between lakes, rivers, and various greenery this diverse location can really look like you were at 3 or 4 different parks in one!
10. Royal Botanical Gardens: These grounds in Hamilton/Burlington are just gorgeous and one of my favourite garden locations. Between the Japanese garden, indoor greenhouse, and immaculate grounds, it’s definitely a gem of a place!
How to Prepare
So, once you know what you generally want for your shoot, there are a couple other things to remember in order to get the most out of your session.
- Nails: There will be lots of hand holding, ring shots, etc! So you want to make sure your nails are nice and cleaned up.
- Makeup: Sephora and MAC do 45-1hr makeup applications. They are free with a minimum purchase ($50 at Sephora, $60 at MAC I believe). OR if you have a makeup artist in mind for your wedding, this is a great chance to do a makeup trial with them.
- Clothing: The key is to coordinate outfits, not match. So don’t both wear white tops with jeans for example. It looks much nicer if the colors are opposite of each other on the color wheel. I always suggest having one “formal” outfit, think skirt/dress and tie, and one that is more casual. This way you cover a lot with one session and have photos for save the dates, engagement dinners, guestbook, etc!
- Props: If you want any props included (something special to you both for example) don’t forget to bring it! This also includes blankets, chalkboards, etc. My Pinterest board is a good starting point for look/feel/outfits/props that I love. I’ve also pinned some articles there for what to wear, how to prep, etc
I normally schedule engagement sessions about 2 hours before sunset as this just gives that beautiful backlight and really helps me avoid scary and harsh shadows that can happen mid-day. Depending on your season, you can really pull more prop elements into your shoot, or plan locations around the season (orchards in fall, skating in winter?!).
A typical engagement session yields about 50-60 images for you – all edited and delivered as you see online!