5 tips for a great engagement session (for the groom)

When you become engaged, some of the first photos you think of taking are engagement portraits. It’s exciting! Your first official photographs as husband and wife to be. The photos that will be displayed at your bridal showers, save the date cards and your new home. So for girls, we want those photos to be romantic and special. We want everything to be perfect and we put a lot of time and effort into making sure  everything is just right.

Now as much as you might be so excited & really looking forward to taking e-portraits, your other half may be dragging his feet. & in most cases (not all cases), most guys, don’t like taking photos at all. It’s very rare to find a groom that meets with me for e-portraits, and says, “Abi, I am just SO excited to take these pictures! I’ve really been looking forward to this!” … you know, I really tried to think back of all the grooms I have worked with, and I’m having a really difficult time remembering a groom that mentioned this to me. & if you are a past groom and have felt this or remember telling me something along these lines, remind me! If anything, my brides are the ones that jump out from their cars, already chatting away, about how they got their hair and makeup done, and yes, they brought this prop along, and this is the extra outfit they are changing into, and they are just so nervous, but so excited for photos. & most of my grooms, just smile and nod 🙂

At some point, you may hear your fiance say, “I hate taking photos.” or he might even say, “do we really need engagement portraits?” & you stand there, with your jaw dropped, like “seriously!?”  I mean, there are many grooms that feel this way, and that’s okay! So, let’s think of some ways that we can help them stay involved with this e- portrait process and actually help them look forward to these photographs.

1. Ask {& listen} for his opinion.

As a bride, you’ve been thinking of engagement portraits for a while now. You even have a pinterest board, named ‘engagement portrait ideas’, (you know you do)! But what about your groom? So let me tell y’all about a consultation I had with my bride & groom, Erick & Yanelli. When I met with them for their consultation, I loved them (I still do!!), their personalities are the best & we hit it off right away! When I asked about engagement portraits, Yanelli spoke up right away, she wanted a whimsical feel. Open field, trees, sunshine, she wanted romance! She knew exactly what she wanted. Then Erick says, “what if we did something involving water!” I sat there very intrigued. The more Erick spoke of his idea of possibly taking engagement portraits in the water, the more Yanelli liked the idea, and the more my brain began to race, at the idea of taking engagement portraits in an actual body of water. Together, with a lot of communication, we combined Yanelli’s whimsy idea with Erick’s water idea and an awesome engagement session was created. Those photographs are still some of my favorites! (Check it out here)

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2. Compromise.

Maybe your groom isn’t the type who likes to get all dressed up. Aw man, but you really wanted him to wear a suit & you have the perfect dress in mind! What’s his style like? Does he like to wear cowboy boots? Is he more of a sporty type of guy? All portraits that are booked with me, include a second outfit change. So what if we incorporate your style & his style? What if we did one dressy look and one casual look? Or maybe it’s the other way around, maybe he’s the one that doesn’t mind putting on a suit, and that’s when he feels his best. Either way, finding that compromise is very loving on both ends.

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3. Make a date.

A lot of times, I will tell my brides- “you might have to take your man to go get a cold beer after this!” But it’s true. I’m not saying they need to drink a beer, they can totally drink a cold Pepsi too! Lol. The point is, by the end of the session, you are both tired & probably hungry. Make a date out of it! Y’all are all dressed up, girls, you have your hair & makeup done, go out for dinner! Meet up with friends, have a good time out & wait for those teasers to be posted 😉 Make a plan! Maybe you guys are taking engagement portraits in downtown, why not have dinner somewhere new? Or plan to meet up with friends or family at your favorite place.

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4. Keep the group small.

Now, you aren’t going to be the only one excited for engagement portraits. You know who else will be excited to see your engagement portraits take place? Your mom, your sisters, your best friend, your maid of honor, your bridesmaids, your cousin, your aunt, etc. The women in your life, may at some point ask you, “Ooo! Can I go!??” & you might feel two ways. 1. “Yes!!! Of course you can. The more the merrier!” Or 2. “Ohhh…no. No you can’t.” Now, if you feel either way, it’s not a bad thing. Here’s why. Of course you want to share every moment with mom/ with your best friends. I totally understand! Now, if you are more inclined towards part two of that answer, no, it doesn’t make you a snooty bride. No, it doesn’t make you a mean girl. You are more of a private individual and that’s okay too. Now, let’s think of your groom. He also, might feel one of both ways. Now, here is my opinion (again, just my own opinion) If mom (yours or his or both) are standing right there, in front of you, and I ask for you to make stand facing each other, get a little closer, a little closer, and then all of a sudden mom says, “Oyeme, NO!” That’s spanish for, “Um. No!” Lol! Let’s face it, some of us have very protective parents & siblings … & that’s not bad at all! They just want to be sure that your engagement portraits are sweet, not all frisky! Lol.  & maybe we won’t be able to be totally natural or maybe show a decent amount of affection without feeling slightly uncomfortable. As a photographer, I have worked with couples who have a big group with them (and that’s totally fine!), but I have also worked with couples- where it’s just the two of them and myself or a couple who does bring along a friend or a sibling to help & I have seen the difference between photos. Now, what do I recommend? Ask your groom. Talk to him. How does he feel about it? Would he feel better with a smaller group then a big group? Now, you might even hear, “whatever you want!” & that happens, but really think about what his comfort level would be. Will he be able to act himself if mom comes along? If so, great!!! If not, we should think about that.

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5. It doesn’t have to be totally serious.

Remember the Olan Mill days? Oh gosh, please say you do! Oh you know, the studio photos, the very posed, hand on the shoulder and with a solid color backdrop, you know what I’m talking about! Okay, those types of studios are still around & your groom might be thinking that engagement portraits will be like that. Grooms, your engagement session will be nothing like that! They are fun, you’ll be laughing, you’ll hold your bride to be close. & I promise you, at the end of the session, you will tell me, “that was fun, we had a good time!” You might even say, “that wasn’t that bad at all!” … and guess what? It won’t be that bad and you will have fun!!!

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I hope that helped all of you couples are planning to take your engagement portraits soon. Whatever y’all need, I’m here to help you! We can go over ideas together, talk about locations, outfits.

Engagement portraits are supposed to be a lot of fun & a great way for us to get to know each other. I always encourage an engagement session, I like to see what poses work and which ones don’t work as well. How the two of you interact with one another & what makes you guys laugh. Have fun & the smiles will come naturally!

Sweet comments make me happy.

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