I absolutely enjoy photographing engagement sessions. While they do involve the same couples I will be photographing later at their wedding, they always have a much different feel to them. From not being held to the same constraints of the wedding timeline, to the opportunity to shoot at a location or at a time we could never do for a wedding, engagements will always have a special place in my heart and my business.
As I take a look back to the many great couples I was lucky enough to be able to photograph, I always enjoy just how different each session feels and looks. Wherever we go, whatever the season and whomever the couple, I want nothing more than your friends and family to look at your engagement photographs and simply say “These photographs are just so you!”.
Alexa and Evan
This photograph was from one of my first engagement sessions of the year but was one of the last photographs taken that night. We had spent most of our time shooting at the location where Evan had proposed to Alexa and taking advantage of a beautiful sunset over the lake in Madison WI. As we were walking back to our cars, this was our view. Using the environment to frame a couple is something I do very frequently but this one is special to me.
Arnela and Michael
Yeah, yeah …. this was technically not an engagement session but it does involve an engagement! Michael gave me a call a few weeks before this perfect moment and asked if I could help out with something special. A proposal is something that is an event but within that event are one or two just special moments. I have photographed a few proposal over the years and the toughest part for me is being ready for that one moment. There is a lot happening and a lot of emotions so even if I have the best plan to be ready for that moment, sometimes it just does not work out. For these two, this captured moment is one they will both forever remember.
Stacy and Joe
This photo has everything that a Pinterest Perfect engagement session photograph should have! A romantic sunset, a beach, a chalkboard with a date, a bundle of balloons, a picnic basket, a couple of glasses of wine, a flannel blanket and matching shirts. Wait… welp at least we got the matching shirts right. This is a great reason why I love engagement sessions, I could never plan a photograph like this. It just has to happen. When we got into a session without any notions of what makes a great photograph, you are able to have moments like this. If I were to bust out the balloons and wine and make Stacy and Joe take photo like that, their family and friends would have no idea who was actually in that photo. With this one though, fantasy football trophy included, we have a photograph that really lets you into just who they are.
Danielle and Brendan
I could tell you that Danielle and Brenden were high school sweethearts. However, if I could show you that they were, it would carry so much more impact. These two are exactly that, which you probably already knew. You also were probably able to figure out they went to prom together in high school. Those memories are one that they are proud of and those memories are how their family and friends know them as. This photograph is a throw back to that moment before prom. That one photograph of you as a new couple just figuring things out. When Danielle showed me this photograph, I knew exactly why she had brought it with.
Erin and Mike
This photograph is another great use of the environment, not in framing the photograph but just using the environment to make the photograph more interesting. Our lives are dominated by everything vying for our attention. Our attention is so fragmented that getting someones attentions is sometimes the most difficult thing in communication with other. This photograph of Erin and Mike is one that grabs your attention and then holds it as your process out what you are looking at. It does not rely on filters or “that film look” or much of anything other than just letting the couple have fun and me using what I what was given to me.
Rachel and Steve
These two clowns. Seriously. These two are just full of life and love nothing more than to push each others buttons and then laugh at the other person getting worked up. This led to some pretty amazing photographs of ridiculous things taking place. However there were moments in our session where I could see other parts of them coming through. Rachel was planning a wedding and finishing nursing school and Steve owns his own business. People are not able to do either of those things without some drive and the ability to bust their butt when they need to. So how do I capture this part of them when they are so ridiculous that they are making my stomach hurt from laughing at them so much? This photograph is how.
Catherine and Ryan
Catherine and Ryan tried to kill me. No really. This photograph was the result of their attempt on my life as we hiked up to this overlook at Devils Lake. Now to be fair to them, I did set myself up for this by asking them what they were looking for in their engagement session. I asked them if they were looking for more of a larger quantity of photographs but we stayed near the lake or did they want to give up some of the quantity to have that handful of amazing photographs. They talked it over for a bit and shortly after we started the hike. We made it to the overlook just as the sun was headed down on this fall night and the result was, well, worth me almost falling over dead from the hike.
Julie and Jon
This is simple photograph, there is not a lot to it. Just a couple, in the windy city of Chicago, along the lake front at sunset. This is exactly why I love this photograph. There is no extra pomp and circumstance, no extra fluff. Just a couple in their city and me getting out of their way. While I do like to create some photographs that do have some extra flair and take advantage of the opportunities and the environment, that is not my singular focus. It is a balance, much like cake. Cake without frosting is boring and frosting without cake waaaaay too rich. There has to be some of each to be perfect, both in cake and photography.
Kiley and Jimmy
Oh Kiley and
Clay Matthews Jimmy, this was a great engagement session. Mainly because I totally would hang out with Kiley and Jimmy any day of the week but also because they wanted to go on an adventure and we found ourselves shooting at a location we probably should not have. Not because it was not a perfect location but more because, well, we just should not have been there 🙂 Kiley gave me a rough outline of what she wanted their engagement session and then let me run from there. I will tell my couples during their engagement session that it is not about me telling them what to do, nor is it the couple telling me what to do. It is just simply us three putting our heads and ideas together to give the couple photographs of them they will love.
Liz and Mike
Here come the pet photos! I have photographed many pets over the past few years, both at engagements and at weddings. One couple even had their Great Dane in my studio! For Liz and Mike’s engagement session they brought their little buddy along for the first part of their session. We had a blast and I was able to give them some photographs that were a great blend of everyone. This photograph however was my favorite. The sideways stink eye I got as I took this photograph is priceless. I also think it gives an insight to Liz and Mike how their precious little pet probably looks at everyone. While Liz and Mike are blissfully enjoying each others company, this is what is happening behind them!
Rosa and Frankie
There was a ridiculous amount of Italian happening at this engagement session! It would have been really easy to just run down that path as a photographer but as with most couples, there was so much more to Rosa and Frank than the fact they are legit Italian. Rosa told me that her Father had some classic cars and that she would like some photographs with one of them. That was about all the guidance I was given and it was the perfect amount! As the sun was bringing an end to the day, it gave me the chance to create this photo. I love the mood and feel this moment creates. A call back to the days when this vehicle was made. Before cell phones, before the internet, before so many distractions of everyday current life, you would get your girl and just go for a drive without a GPS guiding you….
If you stuck around for this whole time, thank you so much! I hope this gave you a little insight as to how I took some of my favorite photographs of the year! Coming up next is my favorite event photographs!