Tuesday, June 17, 2008

FAQ: What to wear to your photo session?

In my recent on-line photography research (aka "Blog Stalking ;) I stumbled upon an awesome wedding photographer right here in Chicago. Olivia Leigh Weddings has the edgy, creative and artistic eye that I strive for. It looks like she gets some really fun clients who are up for anything...that is what I love about my clients as well.
Considering I had these exact questions sitting in my inbox this morning from a bride whose wedding I am doing in November and whose engagement session I am doing this weekend downtown Chicago, I thought this was too good to be true that I came across this entry below. So I thought I would give Olivia Leigh some props for sharing the words I truly could not have said better myself. This applies not only to engagement sessions, but any photo sessions that I do as well.
1. What should we wear for our engagement session?

You should wear whatever makes you feel like you. Engagement sessions are one of the best opportunities you’ll have to get pictures that really capture who you are as individuals and as a couple. If that means that you’re a jeans and tees sort of couple, then by all means, wear that. If you’re a girly girl that loves heels and frilly dresses, that’s fantastic, as well. Just be yourself, and be comfortable–if you’re fussing with your clothes and feel self-conscious, that will come across! Don’t wear what you think people in engagement photos “should” wear, or what someone else wants. We’ll do a few photos close up so you can still have that “newspaper shot” regardless of what you’re wearing.

In terms of style specifics, your looks should work together. That definitely does not mean dressing like twins (please, no!), but dressing similar in terms of formality of style, fabric weight, and harmonizing colors is always a good move. And, no surprise, I’m sure, but do feel free to bust out the colours when you’re shooting with me. I love working with them, and especially in some of the more industrial spots in Chicago that clients like, a few vibrant hues can really pop.
I’m also a big fan of textures and accessories like hats, scarves and interesting but not overwhelming jewelry, all of which help to add pop and visual interest to your images.

Aarthi and David did really well on all counts. Here they’re both wearing winter-weight fabrics with very nice texture in colours and don’t compete:

2. Where should we have our session done?

I usually like to have a couple choose a location that might have a special meaning to them. Having the couple choose such a location is nice because we can add even more depth and meaning to your photographs, and it also provides a nice starting off point for me. Some of my favourite engagement photos were taken in random locations that I find while strolling between locations with a couple. This one of Aji and Michael, for instance, was shot at the IBM building downtown, which I never would have gone to had we not happened to walk past it.

That said, if you really want to leave it up to me, I do like finding new locations. For Aarthi and David’s shoot, I did a super quick location scouting the day before, and found a wealth of industrial gems. It’s helpful to think about what you might want from photo photos. Fun? Pretty? Edgy? Romantic? While we’ll usually incorporate all of these elements, I knew David and Aarthi wanted something a bit more artistic and urban, so we didn’t go to a flower garden, for instance (which would be perfect for other couples).

3. How should we act on our shoot?

I shoot differently than photographers you probably grew up with (certainly different from the ones I went to!). It can be a little nerve-wracking to know “what to do” on a photoshoot that is more relaxed than the grip-and-grin style you may be used to. I like to tell couples to just relax and act like you’re on a date. Do things that make each other smile and laugh (and if you start to laugh, really own it and laugh-laughing makes for fantastic pictures!). Talk to each other. Don’t be afraid to get close and look at each other. Be yourselves, whether that be sharing your love through the way you look at each other, or through some full on PDA. I’ll direct you for some of the more artistic photographs, but I also just like to capture how you are when you’re together. Here are two very different, but very honest real moments with engagement couples:

And last but not least, I was talking to a photographer friend recently, and he said he actually asks if the couple would like a small drink before the shoot to loosen up a bit. If you think one little drink might calm your nerves a bit and would help you ease into the shoot, please let me know–a lot of restaurants and bars have killer interiors that we could take advantage of for 15 minutes.

Hopefully those answers will help everyone as we prepare for prime engagement session time. If you have any other questions, as always, feel free to contact me. I’m happy to answer questions! -Olivia Leigh Weddings


Thanks Olivia Leigh, you summed it up perfectly. I hope this clears any questions up for any of my clients as well.

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