ABOUT THE SESSION
I like to think of an engagement session as a trial run before the big day! We get the pre-wedding jitters out and get you looking and feeling your best in front of the camera- no stress!
Yes, I know that men in particular are often not overly fond of having their photo taken, and you might feel like you could quite possibly be the least photogenic couple on the planet, but I can assure you that this is NOT the case. NDP engagement sessions are light and the closest thing to fun you can have while having your picture taken, I promise! We will go over any poses I would do during the wedding day and make it feel natural so we can get genuine expressions and connection. I am not a "look at the camera and 'say cheese'!" photographer. We'll be laughing at some point before the session is over, guaranteed.
All sessions start approximately 2 hours prior to sunset on Weeknights during peak season so we can utilize soft, gorgeous, golden hour light!
I LOVE when couples choose a great location. Whether it's your parents backyard, the place you met or went on your first date, a gorgeous park, a home you just purchased, your wedding venue, a city street, the place he proposed, or somewhere totally different, I always get excited to work somewhere new. With that said, don't overthink this. It's literally my job to make any location look good, and at the end of the day, you are more important than your location. If you're slammed at work and you just don't want to even think about it, my property is always available for your use and I love that too! If you need some inspiration, here are some great places I've shot at:
Lock Ridge Park | Alburtis, PA
Sea Isle City, NJ
Downtown Bethlehem, PA
Rickett's Glen State Park
Longwood Gardens | Kennett Square, PA
Valley Forge Park | King of Prussia, PA
Knoebel's Amusement Park | Elysburg, PA
Beech Springs Farm | Gettysburg, PA
Ledges Hotel | Hawley, PA
Montour Preserve | Danville, PA
Rittenhouse Square | Philadelphia, PA
The Lands at Hillside Farms | Shavertown, PA
Lancaster County Central Park | Lancaster, PA
Other Ideas: NDP Property, Bloomsburg Fair, Old City Philadelphia, College Campuses, Beach Locations, Industrial Buildings, Your Wedding Venue, Farms, Urban Settings, NYC, Philadelphia Zoo, Your Home, Coffee Shops
Did You Know? I love to travel! Although my travel schedule is limited, I am available for special requests for engagement sessions across the US. I might already be headed your way, or I might make a special trip - you just never know! If you have something magical in mind.... Ask!
March - Galway, Ireland
April - Amalfi Coast, Pompeii & Rome Italy
November - Dominican Republic December - Munich, Germany
WHAT TO WEAR
I think as women, we tend to overthink this a lot when it really doesn't need to be complicated. While your clothing choices certainly can add to the mood of your images (or be distracting, on the flip side), your clothing isn't as important to me as you emotional connection. With that said, here are some helpful tips when planning outfits for your session!
Wear clothes you feel comfortable/confident in. Think clothes you would wear on a date. What does that mean to you?
Bring 1-3 outfit options. If you are a low maintenance couple, one outfit is perfectly fine. If you want me to try to get your engagement session published in a blog, one outfit is also preferable (editors like a cohesive session). If you like options, bring 2-3 looks (but no more than 3) to get a variety! If choosing to do 3 looks, I generally recommend one 'favorite' (your go-to outfit... I know you have one!), a casual but polished, and a more dressed up look. Start with the favorite look... it will help you feel relaxed and comfortable at the start of our session!
Choose complimentary colors & patterns for the two of you! I'm not going to give you an Art lesson, but choosing colors & patterns that compliment each other goes a long way. For example, a casual dress in a subtle print would look great next to a jeans and a shirt in one of the colors within the print. Stay away from logos, and overly distracting prints when possible.
Skip the neon colors. In general, softer hues make for more flattering portraits. In fact, bright colors on top can often cast unwanted colors onto your face (particularly if it's bright/sunny out). I highly recommend sticking to neutrals or soft color palettes whenever possible for portrait sessions.
Rules are meant for breaking. Yes, in most cases soft colors ARE best, but that doesn't mean a red dress isn't one of THE best decisions, ever, in most cases.
Consider your environment. If you are planning a spring outdoor engagement session, everything is going to be green. VERY green. I would probably advise against wearing green. If you are planning a Fall Engagement session on a mountainside, everything is going to be so colorful! Stick with a neutral palette like creams, beiges, browns and tans, and you'll stand out against that gorgeous backdrop and also compliment it.
Think about Layers and Texture. Layers and texture add a lot of visual content to an image, so it's always a good idea to think about this when planning outfits. Chunky knits in the fall, vests, certain fabrics such as lace, etc., can add so much to an image! Remember, you can also always remove layers for a different look built right in.
Accessorize. Adding a piece of jewelry can often completely transform a look, so don't forget these important little pieces! Choosing jewelry, shoes, and seasonal items like hats & scarves that compliment your look are always a great idea.
PETS & PROPS
I have to admit, I am not big on props. My goal during our session is to connect with you (and for you to connect with one another), so we can show through images, all of the ways that you love one another. I'm going to be honest, for most couples, pinterest ideas are.... sort of a bad idea. Unless the props are genuine to your relationship (i.e. you guys love to play scrabble and want to include scrabble pieces in your photos somehow), leave the props at home. With that said, sometimes couples are able to incorporate a cute sign with their wedding date, or something meaningful to them, and I'm all for that. We just probably won't use props for the whole session, so try not to go overboard when planning.
On the other hand, I LOVE the idea of incorporating pets into sessions. Here are some tips for successful sessions with pets included (this is written for dogs):
Be prepared to have your dog for the first part of the session (say 10-15 minutes) then complete the session without him. This means depending on the season, you'll either need to have a place to tie him up, trust him to be in the car, or have an extra set of hands to take him home.
Bring a leash! Even if your dog is trained well, expect the unexpected during your session. Dogs tend to get jumpy when there is camera and unfamiliar faces, and even the most well-behaved dogs have their moments. We'll play it by ear and hopefully get some shots without a leash, but it's great to have one just in case.
Bring treats. In these cases, sometimes we bribe. And bribery is OK. We want to get some cute shots, and sometimes this is what it takes!
Be sure to bring something to clean up after your dog with. When you've got to go, you've got to go.
Do not expect the 'perfect' family portrait with your dog. When dealing with dogs, it's best to go with the flow. This means you might get more candid shots, which are just as lovely, I promise!
OTHER HELPFUL TIPS
Relax! Engagement sessions are meant to be fun... you're going to get some great images... I promise.
Think about scheduling a trial makeup run for your engagement session. You can see how your makeup will photograph before your big day!
Either remove the nail polish, or get a fresh manicure. Your ring is in close proximity to those nails and they will be visible in many of your shots!
Clean your ring! I typically take a few ring shots during engagement sessions, so taking a few minutes to make it sparkle will make all the difference!