Options to fit you
Engagement sessions are a unique chance express yourself and what you love. It's a great opportunity to create some wall art for around your home of the two of you separate from your wedding attire.
Setting up engagement session is fun! I love to brainstorm with you to tie in elements around an engagement session that layer unique meaning around you as a couple. Are you an outdoor couple? What do you love to do in your free time? What location could we tie into your engagement photos to create a different look from your wedding images to help round out your complete wedding story visually?
Every couple I work with is uniquely different. I offer three unique types of engagement sessions with different amounts of coverage at different price ranges to fit what you are looking for.
Most of the couples I work with want my traditional, 1.5 hour engagement session. This is most often what you will see online when looking at my engagement photographs. The traditional engagement session includes two locations (in close proximity to each other) and two looks (two outfit/clothes changes).
Let's talk locations! Santa Barbara has some of the best photography locations! The traditional engagement session comes with two locations. We will need to choose these two locations relatively close to each other since we are photographing during the golden light window (45 minutes - 1 hour each evening before sunset) in order to get the best lighting. The engagement photoshoot itself is 1.5 hours long, and can possibly go through sunset if we can pick two locations that minimize the drive time between them. Less drive time = more shoot time.
Popular locations around Santa Barbara include the beautiful south facing beaches, our Spanish architecture, the urban feel of Santa Barbara's downtown artisan district named the Funk Zone, the spacious outdoor feeling of the California chaparral covered mountains (perfect for couples who like hiking), the beautiful oak trees over the hill in the the Santa Ynez valley, and even the Santa Ynez vineyards. For a vineyard look, you would need to call to reserve a spot with one of the many vineyards in the Santa Ynez valley for approval to photograph on their property.
You can even get really artsy and creative with your location selections. With a little research you can find many unique places in and around Santa Barbara that tie in with your personality and what you love. Some more alternative location options include the local hot springs, night-time beach picnics, and even fire performers.
Some couples just want a simple, 30 minute session to get a few good photos for their save-the-date invites or social media. This is the least expensive of the three options and involves one look (one outfit) and one location. It's usually done right around sunset time.
For the really adventurous couples, there is the 'destination engagement session'. This is perfect for those couples who want to adventure out to an exotic destination location and create some amazing images. National parks such as Zion or Yosemite, other countries such as Mexico or Iceland. The sky is the limit and google image search is your friend. The price of this session does not include travel fees.
Guest Sign-In Book
Why take amazing photos and not share them off. Another add-on bonus you can customize your photography collection with is a reception sign-in book for your guests made from your engagement photos.
I always think of the flow of a wedding from the experience of your guests. This book is a great first impression to your guests entering your wedding reception space for the first time. Family from each side gets to see how each of you views the other through your eyes.
Part of what makes the reception sign-in guestbook so much fun is the prompts and questions we include that inspire more from your guests than just a simple ‘congratulations’ and a signature.
Here are some of the fun inspirational ideas that couples can select from when including their own flavor to their book.
#1 Tip We Should Never Forget?
What is the best marriage advice you could give us for a long, happy relationship?
What advice do you have on how to be a great wife?
What advice do you have on how to be a great husband?
What are your tips for falling in love over and over again?
Words of wisdom?
When did you know we were meant for each other?
Three things you have learned from [the bride & groom]?
What's your most memorable moment with [bride & groom]?
Your favorite bride/groom memory?
What is the one thing we should do during our first year of marriage?
Give us a date night or anniversary idea.
What is the most romantic place we should visit?
Where should we go for our 10 year anniversary?
Where do you see us in 25 years?
Have any good stories about us?
[Groom], something you should know about [the bride] is…
[Bride], something you should know about [the groom] is…
What does [the bride] love about the groom? What does [the groom] love about the bride?
How should we creatively resolve disagreements?
What is your advice for the honeymoon night?
What is the one thing you should never say to your spouse?
What were you really thinking during our vows?
What's your favorite moment from our wedding day today?
What should we name our children?
The pricing for the different engagement sessions and all other package bonuses are located on p.17 of my magazine under 'Enhance Your Collection'. Please contact me for a link to the online digital version of the magazine.
What Do We Wear
Here is all you need to know about clothing. I'll make this super fun and super simple.
For the traditional engagement session, you will need at least two outfits.
For the save-the-date engagement session, you will need one outfit.
For the destination engagement session, you can have 3+.
The number one rule of clothes is to pick something you feel relaxed and comfortable in. Although we want to look nice, it's important to feel comfortable and feel like we can move. Movement and the feeling of being relaxed translate to better photographs than anything else. Whatever makes you feel sexy/handsome and fun. Girls most often know which cut of dress looks best on their body type, and guys know which nice pair of jeans fits them the best. I usually recommend to go with what you love, because you'll smile more authentically when you feel good knowing you look good.
As a general rule of thumb, I like to request my couples dress one step above what they would normally wear in that given situation. For example, if a guy would normally go out on a date in just a button up shirt and nice jeans, maybe throw a sports coat over it and some nicer shoes to dress it up. If a girl would wear a cute dress and flats, maybe throw nice heels in to take it up a step. Similarly, if a guy would go on a sunset walk in board shorts, maybe nice jeans rolled up with bare feet or khaki shorts wearing boat shoes to take it up a notch.
(Applies to Traditional Engagement Sessions and Destination Engagement Sessions) Bring one dressed-up outfit, and one dressed-down (more relaxed outfit). I like to shoot a more formal look, and end with a more relaxed look. For the girls, a pair of heels dresses up the outfit. The second look can also be with heels (because I love heels so much), or also with flats or barefoot (beach). I tend to leave the cut of the dress/outfit up to the girls since they know what cuts they look best in. I usually like to recommend the guys in nice jeans, dress shoes, and he can alternate between a nicer dress shirt and possibly a sports jacket for the first look (a little more dressier look). Then for the second look, move to a more casual shirt with the same jeans and nice dress shoes for a different, more relaxed feel.
Dress him to match you. His colors do not have to be the same as you. You can use complementary colors (ie, beige, white, tan, sage, etc). Lighter colors look amazing in Santa Barbara's background.
Try to stay away from really busy patterns like a lot of busy floral textures in dresses. No logos (such as brands printed on the tee shirts, etc).
Feel free to bring a bunch of clothes and we can sort it out when we get together before the shoot.
Quick tip around hair and makeup. Some brides use their engagement session as a great time to get their trial hair & makeup appointment done. By lining up your hair and makeup appointment before your engagement photoshoot, you can knock out two birds with one stone.