Participating in engagement photos is certainly becoming more and more popular these days. You only have to peruse photographers’ blogs to notice the surge of e-photos (a.k.a. engagement photos) being posted. So what exactly occurs during engagement photo sessions and how do you capture the perfect shots minus the cheese factor? We spoke to photographer Gabe McClintock from PerspectivEye Photography and asked him to give us the ins and outs of perfecting e-photos and to explain the benefits of having this sort of photo session done.
Weddingbells: Can you give us a general overview of what an engagement session is?
Gabe McClintock: “An engagement session is usually a one-to-three-hour photo session on location with a couple. It’s almost like a ‘warm up’ for the photographer and the couple, without the nerves and busyness that surround the wedding day. Nowadays, most photographers call them engagement photo sessions, e-sessions, or lifestyle sessions, however, I call them connection sessions. The reason for this is many couples that I’ve shot have commented on the feeling they get when we shoot these. They feel reconnected. Many [couples] get so caught up and busy with the planning and just life in general, that they rarely stop and just hold each other.”
WB: What are the benefits to having an engagement photo session?
GM: “I find couples are much more relaxed on the wedding day if we have shot together beforehand. I usually meet couples seven months to a year and a half in advance of their wedding. If the next time I meet the bride is while she is getting dressed the day of her wedding, trust me, we are strangers once again and she is going to feel uncomfortable. Now if we meet four to five months prior to the wedding day for a connection session, and then we meet again to go over their images, and then I see her on the wedding day, she is going to feel much more relaxed as we have already worked together more than once. These sessions are a great way for the couple to see how their photographer works, if they make you feel comfortable in front of the camera, and the way they process the images afterwards. For me it’s the perfect way to see how couples interact with each other. Every couple is different, every couple connects differently; therefore, there is never a one-size-fits-all solution and pose. All these reasons combined, make for even better images on the day of the wedding.”
WB: What are three things that couples should consider when booking these engagement sessions?
GM: “Firstly, I ask all my couples before we set up their connection session what look they want (i.e. urban, natural, grungy, etc.). Once that is decided, I will suggest a few locations to match that look. Secondly, the time of day for the session will have a huge impact on the mood of the images. Mid-afternoon and high sun will give a much more edgy, hard look. Late evening, an hour or two before sunset will produce a warm, much more intimate look and feeling in the image. Lastly, I get asked a lot about clothing. For me neutral tones are best. No big logos or patterns, but overall, just wear something that you feel comfortable in.”
WB: What makes a great session?
GM: “A great session is created when the couple is comfortable enough with their photographer that they forget he or she is even there. They are connected with each other so emotionally that it can be captured in an image—this makes for a great session. Everything else is secondary to that emotion and connection.”
WB: Do you notice any trends or patterns that couples are asking for these days?
GM: “I think many couples want a more natural look, less posed, something that their parents didn’t have in their photo albums. My couples want an image they can hang as art and showcase, not hide away in a box in the basement.”