I am so excited to be able to photograph the wedding of Chelsie and Ross this coming weekend. Their engagement session was so much fun! We hiked an easy trail in Coloma down to the American River. The trail is called Dave Moore Nature Trail. Since they are backpackers and lovers of the outdoors (just like me) I knew they would be down for a place like this. It’s one of my favorite trails because it’s short, but it has some amazing natural features like the beautiful tree seen below. I also love the wide variety of photo opportunities. It also has a couple of beautiful beach areas that are great for more intimate moments. This is the kind of place I love finding for couples. It’s something new, adventurous, intimate and all their own.
These two are amazing together! You can tell they have so much love each other. They were engaged on a hike so it's only fitting that this is the kind of engagement session they should do. Like many couples these days they met on a dating website and I think it was love at first site. They love wine so we had a little while shooting. I mean who doesn't love to relax with a glass of wine by the water? I think the only thing that would have made this shoot more perfect are their dogs. I wish we could have incorporated them in some way.
What’s more fun than seeing photos of you thoroughly enjoying yourself with your significant other? Getting along with your photographer and making sure they are professional because that’s how you get amazing shots by trusting the person you hired. I have heard many times from friends and clients how awful their wedding photographer was (more stories on that later), but I am here to offer a solution. Book an engagement session. If you are a bride unsure of who to pick, hire them for an engagement session. It’s the perfect opportunity to see how the photographer operates and if you get along.
I know budgets can be tight and the photographer you hired offers one with your package already and that’s fine as long as you really like their style. But if you are unsure even after meeting them for a consultation just pay for an engagement session. It’s well worth the money knowing what you are getting before your big day. I photographed a second wedding recently and the father of the bride told me that at her first marriage he had hired what he thought was a wonderful photographer. But when the photographer came to the wedding he got drunk. When they received the photos weeks later most of them were of a guest at the wedding. A young woman who he had an infatuation with. The father never complained or asked for his money back because of the contract he had signed. If that were me I would have raised some hell! So for me it’s an easy choice, spend a little extra knowing what your getting instead of risking getting an unprofessional photographer.
With that in mind, photos are the one thing from your wedding day that last for the rest of your life. A big part of your budget should be spent researching, preserving that and knowing that the photographer is going to be professional and attentive to your needs. (I could write a whole other post of the value of a photographer over a florist and venue, etc). You should like their style and them as a person because if you can’t trust them your photos will be awkward and you'll have a horrible experience.
Here’s a little insight to how I like to do my engagement sessions. I always like to meet you first for coffee or drinks, whatever you want. We’ll talk about you, your love story and more. If you like me we book an engagement session. At the engagement session I like to bring your favorite drink (I prefer beer, but my last session, they liked wine). We start by talking and walking to the beautiful location I have picked out or we start with drinks to loosen up a bit. My style usually involves something outdoors like a hike or a day at the beach. I get you moving and keep it casual, no stiff posing, just you and your significant other having fun like you are on a date. Then I introduce more questions and intimate moments to help capture real emotions and natural body movements. I may even offer a drink in the middle and ask you to explore the landscape together. What I try to offer is less stuffy photographer and more director and friend, something more casual, adventurous and fun!
So if I haven’t convinced you already book an engagement session first before hiring a wedding photographer. See if you like them and would want to hangout with them. See if they make you feel relaxed and comfortable. The worst that will happen is you get some more photos of you and your loved one. Just remember you are never going to get a second chance at those wedding photos when the big day comes!