Preparing for your Session!!
We will start on time! Being a lover of natural light, my timing for your session isn’t a coincidence, it is scheduled so that we have the best lighting for your photos. (Trust me : I’m the girl looking at the sunset/sunrise schedule a year in advance!) Please allow enough time when you find yourself planning and include time for travel or traffic. We will shoot until the sun sets or fully rises, so if we begin a bit late, we won’t stay late! This just ensures that we are in the right place or the right light and it will give you the best results.
Come prepared! A lot of my clients opt to get their hair and makeup professionally done for their session. Make sure you allow enough time to enjoy that experience prior to the photos. If you want to arrive in your first outfit, we will get right to work (after a big hug and a little small talk!) Small details like having manicured nails to show off your ring and the right colored socks help ease stress, so consider setting out our outfits the night before and making sure you have every accessory you want photographed ready!
It’s more than okay to feel nervous! Please know that I do not expect you to be models. My job is to direct you in a way that helps you relax, feel natural, and be your true comfortable selves in front of my lens. You do not need to practice poses, study Pinterest pins or let the nerves take over. By the end of the session you will feel like Tyra Banks and wonder when your big break in modeling will come! Don’t worry if you are feeling nervous, I’ll be sure the end result is something you will love! Almost every single couple I photograph comes to the session saying “We are SOOOOOOO awkward in front of the camera” but to be honest, who isn’t? Thats why its so important that we get to know each other that way I don’t feel like a complete stranger showing up shoving a camera in your face haha!
Now onto one of my favorite part - OUTFITS!!
Man oh man. I know it can feel kind of daunting to pick what to wear for photos. Here are a few guidelines I’ve put together so you guys can be sure to look hot and be all over each other and feel like Beyonce, while still making sure the images are focused on your guys’ love not what you are wearing. Full disclaimer, I don’t know anything about fashion. I usually wear t-shirts and leggings with Birkenstocks 98% of the time so there is a hell of a good chance that you’ve got better style than I do haha! This is just what I’ve found to work best from trial and error from past shoots, they're only guidelines, not rules! You can show up wearing a potato sack for all I care!
Ultimately, I want you guys to look like yourselves. Don’t feel like if you don’t follow these guidelines that your photos are going to suck. The most important thing to me is that you guys feel like yourselves, how you normally dress so that you can be as comfortable as possible! If you decide to go shopping for some awesome new clothes to TREAT YO SELF, send me some photos!! I absolutely love to help people shop for their session!
Some other things to stay away from: heels - we are way too adventurous for those bad boys! White pants (we would totally get them dirty!) medium wash denim (for both men and women, black is the way to go!! Khaki color & black are also a good option for guys. I would just in general recommend staying away from plain denim unless they are like rad vintage Levis!!), bold patterns or bright florals, anything with too distracting of logos. You don't want to clash with your location, you want to pick colors that are complementary and patterns that are small. I LOVE it when couples send me photos as they are shopping! So keep me in the loop and feel free to email me photos for feedback!
If you do want to TREAT YO SELF, here are a few stores that have amazing clothing to photograph!
Lulus - They have amazing long flowy dresses!
Here are a few guidelines to help you if you’re feeling lost about what to wear:
First off, I always recommend to bring options. Options are your friend!! To get the best results, I’ll pick and pull from the options that you bring for you guys to change into for each location we shoot at. That way I can make sure that the outfits compliment the environment so that the focus is on you two, not on any distractions, which yes, can be your outfits! All you have to do is make sure you bring stuff that you feel like a million bucks in that we can pick and pull from!
Don’t bring your whole closet though. It will take too much time for me to go through everything and will take time away from your session. Most people bring about 3 or 4 pairs of bottoms and 4 or 5 tops each, then you can bring dresses, accessories, jackets and whatnot as well. Also, just know that depending on where we are shooting, you’ll most likely be changing in the back of the car on the side of the road. If you aren’t down with that, that’s totally fine and you can just bring one outfit! Just make sure to text me a few photos of the outfit options you have and we can pick it out together beforehand.
Make sure it makes sense.
Think about the conditions and locations we are going to be shooting in and plan around it. If we are going to be hiking around in Sedona or the mountains, bring shoes with good grip and you won’t twist your ankles in. If we are shooting at the sand dunes or at a lake, it would look weird if you’re wearing shoes (ps heels are almost always a bad idea in most scenarios, unless you’re freakishly good at walking in them haha). If it’s freezing cold outside, bring lots of layers and warm clothes with wool socks and boots. If it’s going to be hot (aka ARIZONA), bring clothes that can breathe more so you don’t have sweaty pit stains in the photos. Be as comfortable as you can be! Make sense?!
Like I said, make sure that the materials you wear will keep you comfortable during the shoot not only for temperatures but also for being able to move around in. If you're in brand new jeans that are still stiff and tight, you might be distracted during the shoot trying to make sure everything stays in place as well as lets you sit and run and move around in. I recommend bringing clothes that are "broken in" so that you'll be as comfortable as possible. I also love when people bring clothing or accessories that can show movement by catching wind, because it adds energy to the photos and looks freaking gorgeous! Long flowy dresses are always my favorite because they get the best dress drama. I would suggest bringing a casual outfit with jeans/shorts and a shirt and then a dressier outfit! The best of both worlds.
I typically recommend sticking with neutrals and earthy tones. Neutrals doesn't mean just grays and browns. There are neutrals in every color (mustard yellow, forest green, navy blue, burnt orange, etc.) Stay away from bright fluorescent distracting colors. The only colors I typically recommend to stay away from are pinks, bring oranges and reds. If you have dark or olive toned skin it may be an exception with the light conditions but a lot of the time it results in people looking really pink and weird in photos. So just try and stay away from those colors if you can, but if you want to wear any of those colors, just check with me!! ALSO black is always a yes in my book! Its my favorite color with my style!
Patterns & Texture:
Avoid big, loud, chunky, crazy patterns. The smaller or more subtle, the better! If the pattern is too loud, it will distract from your faces. I usually try to avoid pairing too many patterns together because, you guessed it, it makes the photos feel a little hectic and distracting from your faces and the location. Also, be sure to iron your clothes before so there’s not huge wrinkles distracting from your faces either!
Instead of looking for outfits with a lot of patterns try and look for outfits with texture! Texture is fabulous for photos, such as embroidery, ruffles, denim or leather jackets, chunky big sweaters, felt hats, holes in jeans or frayed at the ankles, fringe boho booties, etc!!! It adds a lot of interest to your outfit without distracting from your surroundings!
Like in the photos I posted above, the large chunk sweater and the leather jacket adds texture and interest to the images rather than looking out of place.
Here are two examples where patterns/colors in outfits can clash with the landscape. In my professional opinion what could improve the image would to stick to one pattern and to stay within the color scheme of the location. She wore a loud floral blue jumpsuit which can be distracting when all of the colors around her are more warmed toned.
In this example she is wearing a light blue dress with embroidery (looks amazing) and he is wearing a checkered patterned shirt with a deep red vest. My eye immediately goes to his red vest instead of their emotions on their faces. In my professional opinion he could wear a neutral color vest (grey, tan, forest green, or black) to help compliment the surroundings with a non patterned shirt. That way their emotions will stand out more on their face, rather than their outfits!
But regardless of what the heck you show up in I know you are going to love the photos because they are showcasing your story and that is all that matters. You could not shower for 4 days and show up in matching costumes for all I care!
I love when people bring hats, sunglasses, scarves, jewelry, etc because it’s nice to pair them with different outfit options. Just avoid wearing watches so they don’t distract from your faces when I’m getting close up shots
When I think “props”, my mind flashes through all of the cringe-worthy Pinterest photos I’ve seen of cheesy chalkboards and hobby lobby props brought to shoots that basically just make me wanna barf. But props don’t have to be cheesy! Props could be a dominos pizza picnic, a motorcycle, your naked cats (if you have a dog and don’t bring it I’ll be pissed), blankets, a truck/car, a campfire, a bouquet, a paddle board, etc. If you have props you wanna incorporate, let me know and we can make sure to incorporate them in a non-cheesy way
Hair + Makeup
A lot of people ask me whether or not they should get your hair and makeup done by a pro. My answer is always “whatever will make you feel best, do that.” I absolutely don’t think it’s necessary whatsoever, because in my personal opinion, I would rather look like MYSELF rather than a super glammed up version of myself. If you normally wear little to no makeup and show up fully glammed, you are going to feel not yourself. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve had girls show up to shoots wiping off the caked on makeup and taking out 500 bobby-pins their makeup and hair artist did because it just doesn’t look like them. But, if you want your hair and makeup done, then definitely do it, because the most important thing is that you feel confident like Beyonce always. If you’re getting hair and makeup done, I recommend you schedule to be done at least an hour before you have to leave for the shoot so you aren’t late. Also, if you’re whiter than toothpaste like me and want a spray tan, be sure to get a suuuuper natural airbrushed spray tan rather than one from a salon/tanning place. We don’t want you looking like an oompa loompa!
Welp, that’s all folks! - LET ME KNOW IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS!
If you have anymore questions, don’t hesitate to let me know! If you’re still freakin out about what to wear feel free to shoot me a pic or two of what you’re thinking, or we can create a little Pinterest board together! But overall, just wear what you’re comfortable in and feel like you in. A pair of Vans you’ve had since 8th grade? Great. A sweater you wore for basically a month straight? Awesome. A hat that you know your mom hates? Perfect. You do you, and I promise the photos will turn out amazing.
Some Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What if we are REALLLLLLY awkward in front of the camera and hate our photo being taken?
A: I mentioned this in the very beginning. I do not expect you to show up acting like models! I want you to show up exactly how you are. I have yet to have a session where someone does not show up saying “we are really awkward, we hate photos, we have never had our photos taken.” Thats my job to make sure you are 100% comfortable and having an absolute blast! I never show up to any session immediately shoving my camera in your face because I know that would make me feel awkward haha! As long as you trust me and love my style! Everything will be a ton of fun and it will feel like a date night by the end and you will totally forget I even have a camera in my hand. If having a few drinks allows you to loosen up, bring some! If you enjoy jamming out to music, let me know and I will make you a playlist! Anything I can do to help enhance your session just let me know :)
Q: We just had our session, whats next?!!
A: Right after your session I will be rushing home to back up your images because I will be so excited! I will then cull the images which just means I pick the best of the best! You won’t have to go through your session and pick which images you want edited. I will do all of that work for ya :) Then I will get to editing! Your final gallery will be ready within 3-4 weeks after your session and I will send you an email with a link to an online gallery. From there you can download your photos to your computer & phone and also share the link to any friends and family!!
Q: Do you give out RAW (unedited) images?
A: Nope, I don’t because editing is half the process/magic that goes into images and without that huge step the images are only halfway done. I promise to never leave any photos out that you’ll want/need and if you feel that I missed delivering a photo, just ask! I’m more than happy to check back through my images and send it over for you. I won’t let you miss out on any memories!
Q: Can you photoshop us to be skinnier / have clear skin?
A: I’m not a personal trainer and I don’t change your appearance. I want to focus on making you feel beautiful, rather than look unrealistic. So no, I don’t photoshop your body to appear different than they actually are. Yes, I clear up the skin and remove distractions.
Q: What if we need to reschedule our engagement session due to the weather?
We can reschedule if the weather is really that awful, but some of my favorite sessions ever have been in rain/hail/snow storms! And wind? Pshhhh.. Wind is what I pray to get before every shoot! Embracing the weather makes for incredible photos. The only times I’ve rescheduled shoots due to the weather is if my camera will be ruined by the weather. We will make the decision together whether we need to reschedule or not.
Q: Do you accept gratuity?
A: Absolutely! You have no idea how much I appreciate it. It just lets me know how much you enjoyed your session with me.
Q: We have a fur baby and were wondering if its okay to bring them to our session?
A: The answer will always be 110% YES!! Like I said in my about me page, I am the biggest animal lover!! One thing I would say is to double check the location with me to make sure the location is safe for them. I would hate for them to get a cacti needle in their paw if we are having our session in the desert.