engagement planning

When should you take your engagement photos?

When should you take your engagement photos?

Wondering how long to wait after the proposal to take those engagement photos? I'll give you a hint: there really is no right or wrong answer. But in the video below, I break down all the things you should consider when booking your session to get the most out of your time. From weather and personality traits, to technical aspects, you can find all of your answers here!

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. 

Engagement Outfit Tips: Video

Engagement Outfit Tips: Video

Choosing an outfit for your engagement session can be super frustrating. There are so many things to think about! What colors should you pick? Should you wear a dress, or pants? And how the heck do you coordinate with each other? Fear not, because I have ALL the answers for you. In the video below I outline exactly what's appropriate for the shoot, what outfits you can prepare for, and the decision-making process behind choosing the best colors to wear! Whenever in doubt, you can also rest easy knowing your photographer is there to help you make those big decisions if you're struggling. So always pack a few options just in case!

Tips for bringing your dog to your engagement session

Tips for bringing your dog to your engagement session

Is a family photo really complete without your pups? When planning engagement sessions with my couples, I am asked frequently 'what is the etiquette when bringing a dog to an engagement session'. Personally I'm an animal lover, so any extra time I get to play with happy pups is time well spent. But not every photographer is as eager to bring them along. If your pets are hard to keep track of, they run off when they see another animal, or they are less behaved outdoors than indoors, sure, maybe it's not such a great idea to bring them along. Either way, I've got some tips to help you plan for the best session with your sweet animals without feeling overwhelmed or unsure how to capture the right moments. 

My Favorite Engagement Poses

It goes without saying that no two engagement sessions are the same. Because no two couples are the same! Something that is disheartening to see is couples expecting that their engagement photos will be a cutout of what they saw on Pinterest or what they were told was expected of them, instead of allowing their natural relationship to influence the session. 

Something that I've learned over the years is that not every pose is going to work for every couple. Sometimes my favorite pose just isn't working one day for whatever reason. Or the pose that I think would work well might not be all that exciting to my couples. So it's important to be adaptable. A common trap in engagement photography is to keep a backlog of poses to revisit each session. And not that every session can't include specific "winning" poses, but it's all too easy to get into a routine and forget the client behind the pose. Which is NOT GOOD! 

Something that I challenge myself to do is to stop looking at old poses that I've done, or poses that I see other photographers doing, and focus on letting the moment guide my decisions. If the couple hasn't had time to warm up to the camera, I would want to allow them time to get comfortable by adding in movement like walking together or holding hands and swaying. If they are feeling giggly and silly, I would want to use that to my advantage and pose them in natural positions and give them cues to make each other laugh. 

It's been a great benefit to me because I stop trying to recreate somebody else's moment, and give my clients a unique session that they will personally enjoy. All that said, these are a few of my favorite poses from the past year that highlight the couple in their own element. This is why lifestyle photography is such a great fit for me, because I can use my creative eye to design a pose, but also allow the couple to be candid and take the pose wherever they want it. 

Kristina-Tyler-Sneak-Peeks-2.jpg
Jessica-and-Justin-Engagement-Columbia-River-Gorge-42.jpg
karlcristie-and-joe-engagement-cannon-beach-57.jpg
Courtney-Kendra-Govt-Cove-Engagement-11.jpg
erika-and-kurt-indian-beach-engagement-40.jpg

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.