FAQ: Engagement

Is it important or necessary to have an engagement session? 

One piece of advice I always give my wedding couples is to do an engagement session.  There are a few reasons:   it’s a great way to get to know your photographer before your big day, a way to get used to being in front of the camera and most importantly, can be a fun experience and lessen a lot of the anxiety for the wedding day.  It also can provide the couple with some great images for their wedding Save the Date cards and images to use at your reception.

Where would you recommend having an engagement session?

Once hired, I’ll offer a choice of locations and be up for most anything you can image.  Whatever location you choose, make sure it’s meaningful to you and your fiancé.  Think of where you first met, where he proposed, your favorite places to travel together, and what activates you do together.

Don’t be afraid to suggest a unique area, I love new locations!  One of my favorite engagement sessions involved hiking out on the Arizona Trail, just north of Flagstaff, AZ, where the couple would spend days of mountain biking together.  Essentially, this is where they fell in love.  The location was extremely sentimental to both of them, and you could tell from the photos just how relaxed they were and how much they loved this special place.

Another favorite engagement session was a session in a downtown, more urban area.  This couple had met at a popular bar downtown and wanted to reflect that location somehow in their photographs.  So, a $20 tip later to the doorman, we found ourselves up on the rooftop.  I think this will be a photo they’ll love forever.

Can’t decide on one location?  For an additional fee, I also offer a two location package.  Most of our couples tend to gravitate towards a combination of a natural landscape and a more urban area for their photos, each lending to different opportunities for final moods for the photos.

Are you willing to travel for engagement sessions as well?

Most of my wedding clients live outside of Arizona, so we regularly travel for Engagement Sessions as well as for the wedding.   Ask about my travel fee rates for your area.

What time of day should we schedule our engagement session?

I usually have our engagement sessions start about 90 minutes before sunset.  The best light, in my opinion, is the beautiful glow right before the sun dips beyond the horizon.  Everyone looks fabulous in this light!  Of course, if you’re going to be working in an urban environment, scout out the area you want to use first and see where the shadows are falling.  You’ll want your whole body to be in the shade, or to have the sun at your back.  Backlight is one of my favorite lights and has become my signature look.

In the case of a snow engagement session, you can usually do your photos anytime.  This is, of course, a little trickier to predict, but the effect can be amazing.  During a snow storm, the sky is filled with constant clouds that cast a nice diffused light on everyone’s skin.  It’s like having a giant soft box traveling with you on location!

How long will the session usually last?

A one location engagement session usually lasts for one hour and a two location can take up to three hours depending on travel time between locations.

Can I purchase the High Resolution Image Files?

If you’ve booked your wedding with us, you’ll receive all high resolution image files complimentary.  Otherwise, the files are available for purchase.

What should we wear to the shoot?

At our studio, we get asked this one a lot…“What should we wear?”  I always tell our couples to bring a couple of outfits for each location, one a bit dressier than the other.   It’s best to compliment each other’s outfits, but don’t try and match the colors you’re wearing exactly.   That goes for white and black shirts too.  We have never, ever seen two white shirts that match up perfectly.  In addition, a white shirt can compete with a person’s teeth coloration and the whites of their eyes, making them look dingy and off white.

Think about the environment as well.  If you know you’re going to be in the forest, stay away from anything the same color as the grasses and trees to avoid blending in with the environment.

Where can I find your rates?

The investment for engagement photography varies on how long you’d like to photograph, the location and what art pieces you’d like to keep.  Please email me at melissa@arizona-elopement.com and I can send you all the info!

What do you think about the use of props? 

Props can be a fun way for you to show a little bit of your personality in your photo session.  Bring a favorite cowboy hat, a beautiful scarf, or simply a card with your date of your wedding on it.  And, if your dogs are family, bring them along as well!  Look around the environment and pick a pretty wildflower, that can easily become a cute prop.  Some of my clients go as far as bringing an old car along!  Also, don’t forget that your engagement ring is the ultimate prop!

Any last piece of advice?

As super cheesy as this sounds, just remember to have fun!   The time between the engagement and the wedding goes SO fast, so breathe it in and enjoy!  Congratulations to each one of you reading!!


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