‘Tis the season of engagements! After the initial excitement starts to ebb, it’s time to get down to business and make some fun decisions. One of the first tasks to handle: your engagement shoot! We had a chat with the amazingly talented Melanie Zacek to put together a full guide on planning your engagement shoot — everything from timing to what you need to bring to make the day a success.
How soon after your engagement should you be scheduling your engagement shoot? How far before your wedding should this happen?
Well, it all depends! If you’re planning on using your photos for your Save the Date cards, you’ll want to schedule the shoot for 6-7 months before the wedding. Not including photos on your Save the Date? You have the flexibility of scheduling your engagement shoot anytime before the big day!
Should your engagement shoot match the season/theme for your wedding?
It’s totally up to you! Sometimes it’s nice to have a completely different look for your engagement session. For example if you are having a summer wedding, a cozy snowy day engagement session could be fun! Just make sure you time things properly if you are using images for your Save the Date cards! If you want these to have images with the fall foliage, make sure you plan with plenty of time in advance so you aren’t rushing to get your cards together at the last minute!
What is the average turnaround time a couple should expect to see images in?
The turnaround time for photographers will really depend on the time of year you are getting photographed. If it’s during the summer or fall (the height of wedding season), turn around times may be slightly longer. Melanie’s average turnaround time for engagement photos is 3 weeks.
How far before a wedding should a couple plan to book their photographer?
If you want to have your first choice of photographer booking about one year in advance is a good bet.
What should you bring with you to your shoot?
Melanie photographs with a timeless aesthetic that highlights the emotion between couples in gorgeous natural settings. Because of this, she finds that props aren’t necessary for the shoot. Of course if couples would like to incorporate a prop, such as a picnic setting or something similar, they are more than welcome to bring whatever they like! She recommends bringing 2 outfits to the session. Typically one formal and one casual outfit works well! Pinterest is such a great resource to get outfit ideas. Melanie always tells her clients to go with light colors and neutral tones. Be sure to have your ring cleaned and your nails done before the shoot, as the ring will certainly be featured in the pictures!
How can a couple help make the shoot run smoothly?
One of the most common concerns from brides is that they are worried their fiancé doesn’t like having their photos taken. Spend some time looking at your photographer’s blog and showing your fiancé some engagement photos so they know what to expect. Melanie photographs in an easygoing way and gives directions to guide couples into natural poses. More times than not, grooms will end up coming back after the shoot to tell her that they actually had fun! Picking a photographer that you are comfortable with and feel a connection to will really help. Another huge part of making sure the shoot goes smoothly is to give yourselves plenty of time to arrive on time. No one wants to feel frazzled if they’re running late!
Any other tips/tricks for a recently engaged couple?
At the end of the day, you want to relax and enjoy your shoot and entire wedding planning process. It’ll fly by and be over before you know it! Make sure you’re creating and documenting the happy memories to look back on for years to come.
Are you looking for a photographer for your wedding or engagement shoot? Be sure to check out the incredibly talented Melanie Zacek to document your special day!