The first things to do once you're engaged

The first things to do once you're engaged

Congratulations babe, you're engaged!!! You ready to tell the world and put that deal all over Facebook? That was rhetorical of course ;) But let's focus for a second, what are you really actually supposed to do once you're engaged? Well do I have the list for you! If you're planning a long engagement, my advice is to start your official planning process about 12 months before your expected wedding date (unless your dream venue books out further). If it's a shorter engagement, it's time to pull out those pens and notepads and pour that coffee! We have a lot of work to do. 

Cannon Beach Engagement: Julie + James

What can be more flattering than a couple from out of state reaching out to have their photos taken by YOU while on a mini getaway? Not much comes to mind. When the newly engaged Julie and James had started making plans for their trip to the Oregon Coast, they realized that this special getaway (even if surrounded by work events), needed to be documented. It was their first time visiting the gorgeous Cannon Beach, and quickly they decided they absolutely needed to come back and visit. What's not to love about the salt in the air, the stunning view of Haystack Rock, and the endless stretch of beach. I had to brag, but the Pacific Northwest really has the most incredible beaches. 

Meeting the two for the first time, especially on such an occasion, was a real treat for me and Jem. It was obvious that this kind and silly pair had a deeper understanding of love and friendship than the average couple. How else can I describe them but sweet, passionate, carefree, and warm.

Being in their presence was a gift enough, not to mention they were so much fun to photograph. They have a way of being fully there with each other at all times, without making it seem like they are ignoring or forgetting the outside world. But simply, enjoying it together. 


Tierney + Mark: Smith Rock Engagement Photos

Tierney + Mark: Smith Rock Engagement Photos

The greatest part about being an engagement photographer is easily the adventures you get to share with your clients. Especially here in Oregon! With a week's notice, Jem and I changed our coastal plans to make a trip to Bend to share one of these said adventures with Tierney and Mark. How lucky are we that we have so many options! So we packed our bags and drove down to visit Smith Rock State Park for the first time. One of the top locations on my "Must Shoot" list. 

Jaimie + Joe: Columbia River Gorge Engagement

Jaimie + Joe: Columbia River Gorge Engagement

I am always grateful for when my clients share a new location with me that is special to them when we are planning for their engagement photos. I have always been vocal about encouraging my clients to pick a location that is right for them above all else. And there is nothing more "right" than a sunrise stroll on a trail you and your pup frequent. 

Plan a "Destination" Engagement

Oregon is a unique state, filled to the brim with adventure and opportunity. Those of us who live in the city of Portland often find ourselves making up excuses not to leave our marvelous parks and sidewalks, especially when it comes to taking photos. When it's time to plan your engagement session, it's easy to think of places within 20 miles that are "good enough" for your photo visions. But have you ever thought about what is outside that perimeter?

Instead of having a "good enough" location for your engagement photos, plan for a destination. I'm not saying catch a plane and have your session in Tokyo, I'm saying choose one of Oregon's fantastic and unique parks or landscapes to make your photo opportunities grander and more delightful. Here are my favorite places outside of Portland to have a destination engagement. 

  • Cannon Beach, 80 Miles
    ow lucky are we to live so close to a beach? And not just any regular beach, but a Pacific Ocean beach. We have rocks, and cliffs, and incomparable views of the ocean. There are private and lesser known nooks along the coastline that are easy to take advantage of when wanting to take engagement photos without a bunch of people to get in the way. 
  • Smith Rock, 142 Miles
    River, cliffs, and fields, Smith Rock is a stunning backdrop that will make you feel very far away from Portland, without an obnoxiously long drive. If you're a lover of state parks and an incredible view no matter where you stand, this is the spot for you
  • Government Cove, 53 Miles
    It's the closest of destinations, Government Cove allows you to enjoy the Columbia Gorge without the extreme winds we get near Hood River. With options to photograph by boulders, trees, or water, this location has Oregon written all over it, without looking too overdone.
  • Trillium Lake, 60 Miles
    Already a favorite camping spot, Trillium Lake is also a great place to take engagement photos. Whether you stand on the lakeside, or take a stroll through the fields, you can't be disappointed! With a stunning view of Mount Hood in the background, you know you're close to home, even if it doesn't feel like it. 


Let's Start Planning: Engagement Sessions

Now that the holiday season has officially come to an end, we have written out our resolutions, and you got engaged, it's time to start planning the wedding. Last Tuesday I wrote out the first steps to take when looking for vendors. If you're well on your way to organizing your big day, that's great! But I want to pull you back for a second and talk Engagement Photos. This is either the most dreaded, or most anticipated part of getting engaged. If you're on the fence, or are just searching for more reasons to add an engagement session to your wedding package, take a peek at the guide below. 

I've outlined four reasons why taking engagement photos will be one of the most important decisions in wedding planning. If you're nervous about being on camera, or have an upcoming session to prepare for, check out my Wedding Planning tab and click the images that says Comfort on Camera. There I offer my guidance as someone who is incredibly camera shy, but also wants to look and feel great for my images. 


If you're in Portland, Oregon or in the Seattle, Washington area and searching for an Engagement Photographer, I have started booking sessions for the winter and spring seasons! My sessions start at $300, but are included in all booked wedding packages. Reach out to me via the contact form, or email me at info@katiedessinphotography.com to receive investment information.