Engagement Sessions 101 - jasongoldfarbphotography.com

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Jason Goldfarb Photography is a Seattle wedding photographer who values telling your story through timeless, candid, and true-to-life images. He photographs weddings and engagements in Seattle, Washington and throughout the PNW. 

Engagement Sessions 101

What is an engagement session?

An engagement session is a couples photoshoot that happens prior to a wedding, and is important for a few reasons.

First, it allows you to understand how I work as a photographer and allows you to meet me before we spend your entire wedding day side-by-side. The photographer is the vendor that you’ll spend the most amount of time with on your wedding day. You want to work with someone that you feel comfortable with — not only will this be more enjoyable for you, but also your pictures will come out MUCH better if you’re comfortable with me!

Man and woman during engagement session at UW Arboretum in Seattle WA

Second, it gives you the opportunity to have professional photos that are NOT in your wedding attire. These are great for save-the-dates, Christmas cards, and just hanging in your house. Think about it — your wedding photographer will deliver 600-1000+ images from your wedding, which will be AMAZING, but an engagement session allows you to get professional photos of your relationship in a more casual setting.

Lastly, it allows you to learn some of my key posing techniques prior to your wedding. Your wedding day will be a whirlwind of activities, and it’s my job to make you look at your very best. I’ll be able to teach you all my favorite poses at your engagement session to make your wedding photos as seamless as possible.

My engagement sessions typically last about an hour. Couples tend to like to bring 2 different outfits to get a few different “looks” with their photos. If you have any pets, and would like some photos with them, that’s always SO much fun – just bring along a 3rd person who can watch your pet while we get some solo couple photos.

What should I wear to my engagement session?

This is the NUMBER ONE question that I get asked by my couples prior to their session. Here are my top tips:

I recommend a maximum of 2 outfits for your engagement session to ensure that we have plenty of time to capture both looks before sunset! When you change for your engagement session I will photograph your rings while we wait!

Neutrals such as blush, tans, link pinks, faint blues and teals, creams, grays and whites will always result in more of a light and airy look to your images. These colors photograph softer and more romantically!

Layering adds great texture and dimension to your photos! If you’re really looking for a soft, romantic look, I recommend a flowing, maxi-length dress or skirt! The movement of this type of fabric photographs beautifully!

I always recommend a more formal outfit and a more casual one so that you have plenty of variety to choose from later.

Man and woman kissing in front of Pike Place Market in Seattle WA
Notice how their colors compliment each other?

The goal is to COORDINATE instead of MATCHING! I also recommend avoiding both of you wearing WHITE as a top. This won’t allow for any contrast in your images.

Guys, I recommend that you avoid patterns that are smaller than a dime! These small patterns can create strange visual effects in a digital camera. Close-toed shoes photograph well and we recommend avoiding graphic tees and tennis shoes!

Gals, I recommend that you wear something that flatters the parts of you that you love the most and also allows you to be extremely confident! If you are uncomfortable, then that probably isn’t the best outfit choice for you.

What tips do you have to make the session go well?

CLEAN YOUR RING! I will be photographing your gorgeous diamond! This means that this would be a perfect opportunity to have your ring cleaned so that it’s clear of dirt and build up that may be visible through a macro lens!

HAIR AND MAKEUP: Splurge a little! If you were considering getting your hair and makeup done, this is the perfect opportunity to treat yourself! You will cherish these images forever and so investing in professional hair and makeup can be an extra fun way to celebrate the occasion and allow you to be extra confident during your shoot.

TIP: If you’re worried about looking tired or just want a little something special for your portraits, getting false lashes make the most impact in portraits! I would lean towards the natural end of the spectrum! 🙂

Notice how each of the locations influences the vibe of the images?

What are the best locations in Seattle for an engagement session?

Choosing a location can often be stressful, especially in Seattle where there are so many beautiful places to choose from. Feel free to pick somewhere that you know and love, or I can always provide a few recommendations. Please keep in mind that your location will influence the “vibe” of your photos. So think of what you want to go for. Are you looking for a grungy, urban shoot, or a bright, colorful, nature session? Do you want to shoot somewhere meaningful that holds a special value to you? Some of my favorite photo locations are:

  • Richmond Beach
  • Luther Burbank Park
  • Gasworks Park
  • Pike Place Market
  • Marymoor Park
  • Discovery Park
  • UW Arboretum
  • Golden Gardens
  • Schmitz Park/Alki Beach

What time of day do you recommend for my engagement session?

Photos tend to look the best during Golden Hour. This is the lovely hour of light right before and slightly after the sunrise or sunset. I prefer scheduling sessions during this time if the day will be sunny or partially sunny. If the day is cloudy, time of day doesn’t matter too much, because the lighting will be consistent all day.Those are my top engagement session tips and tricks — I can’t wait for our session!

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