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.
They met in 2010, or should I say, their love story began in 2010. On their first day of class at The University of Portland. What was only a catch of an eye and a sweet smile, would blossom into the kind of love you dream of in romcoms. Except their love is based off no movie, but real genuine connection.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com to receive investment information.
So what do you think my number one asked question is when it comes to ANY portrait session is? Did you guess 'picking outfits'? Cause that's the answer! Trust me, even I fail at picking my own on camera outfits as well. It's not easy! But every season I try and ease the stress by creating a style guide to help find colors and textures that work well on camera. For my own wardrobe, this has helped a LOT!