Jake + Courtney {Engagement, Texas}

How to shoot an Engagement Session

This was no average engagement session. This was all about the workshop. I was worried that having 30 students following my couple around would make them extra awkward, but Jake and Courtney were as comfy as can be.

I gave the students an example of how I typically operate during an engagement session. I talked about my primary aim. That more than anything it is the best opportunity to get to know my couple before their wedding. While we wander around looking for great spots for their pictures we talk about everything and anything. From how they met, to my wifes favorite television shows, to how I got started shooting weddings, to how awkward it can be to have your picture taken by me! I always work in the awkward talk so that we can clear the air and get over it.

I usually give limited instruction while I am shooting so that I can get the most natural action possible. I encourage couples to take what I say to the next level and personalize everything. It helps to be spontaneous to get natural reactions from each other, thus giving me real emotion and genuine personality. I also give a little disclaimer that not all ideas work out, but even trying something dorky causes movement and usually good laughter.

I love old rundown messy buildings! They make my top 10 list of favorite locations to shoot (I didnt know I had a top 10 list until now). Acutally, its safe to say that decaying brick buildings surrounded by heaps of rubble and overgrowth makes it into the Top 3! There is just something striking in the contrast of man vs. man-made. The brick is so dirty and rigid while the people are so soft and warm. It gives their love a place to shine!

I also love to use objects to separate the couple a bit so that they get a little breathing room every now and then. These cars were just begging for some attention!

This location was great because we got a few very different feeling backdrops within the same area. You can see the pallets and brick piles next to that door where we shot earlier. The alley is actually just around that corner from that tree.

Ive noticed that artists bring reoccurring themes to their work. Something I keep coming back to is the painting American Gothic. You will see me try it out with different couples and locations. It is fun to take a portrait of the couple that isnt all smiles and laughs. It really shows a different side of their character through a simple deadpan gaze.