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Engagement Shoot Tips: Location, Time & When To Book

March 29, 2011 , Tips

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There are some many fabulous locations to shoot engagement pictures at. The first question I normally ask is: Do you want a nature-y feel or urban feel? Yes, these two genres are very simplistic way of breaking down every possible location, but it gives everyone a starting off point.

So if you would answer Nature-y think about:

  • Do you want an actual garden? A public park? A beach? A picnic? A lake? A field filled with hayrolls? A horse stable? A hayride? A wool festival with sheep (I kid you not, there is a sheep festival coming up and I’m sooo there)?
  • Are you willing to hike? Or do you want to wear your killer heels in the woods- so we can’t go too far. Are you willing to get wet from the ocean waves? Are you willing to build a fire? Set up a picnic scene? Get your butt dirty sitting in some fields?
  • Do you want nature but with architecture to back it up? Like your good with a field but hey, it’s gotta have a barn. Or yes, you want a garden, but you want lots of secret nooks with an old stone building to explore.
  • Do you envision yourself surrounded by flowers? Or fall foliage and leaves? Or winter snow?

So if you would answer urban think about:

  • Do you want a small town charm with lots of local shops you go to? Do you want a big city with lots of opportunity to switch up where we go and the mood you want?
  • Do you want graffiti? Broken down buildings? Modern architecture? Iconic city buildings? Historic buildings? Brightly colored background? More urban gritty background? Do you want to explore a museum? Or be in the middle of a crowd? What about going off of transportation: trains, subway, etc?
  • Does the area allow commercial shoots? Are you willing to deal with lots of people watching you? Are you ok with going into alleys that smell? Or being near broken glass? Or sitting on the road? Or waiting that few minutes to wait for tourists to pass by?
  • Is there an event you want to base your shoot off of: a valentines pop-up market, a spring festival, a flea market?

For location, think about the mood you want to create and also what makes you happy. Are you book nerds that would love to shoot in a library? Or would you like to veg on the beach with a good water fight? Or do you love exploring and are open to going to new locations and playing it by ear?

Timing

Timing is everything when it comes to your shoot. Literally, I’m at the sun’s mercy. There are very specific hours of the day that lend themselves to that yummy gold light you see on my blog. So sunrise or sunset are basically your two options. Now before you scream “OMG, no freakin’ way am I EVER going to do a sunrise shoot. What crack is she on?” Sunrise has a lot of advantages. The big one: less people. If you want to shoot at a popular, urban locations (or peak times, like the beach in the summer) but don’t want 3565 other people in your pictures, watching you, and generally making us wait to get in a good spot, sunrise is perfection. How magical is NYC at 6:30 am with a handful of people walking around! But whether you choose sunrise or sunset, the timing of those two events differs by location and time of year. So talk to me.

When to Book

I generally advise, if at all possible, to do engagement shoots at least 7 months before your wedding. Since I do have couple’s book me with less time than that till their wedding, obviously this is flexible. Turn around time is 5 weeks, so if you need shots for your Christmas card or save-the-dates, keep that in mind. I shoot engagement sessions Monday-Thursday, so if you can’t get out of work before 5 ever ever ever, a shoot in June, July, or August is ideal because the sun is setting later. And if you have your little heart set on a particular season or date to coincide with a festival or flower blooming, you should set that up ASAP. And if your really set on a fall shoot? You better speak now of forever hold your peace. Fall is by far the busiest wedding season for me. I’m running around trying to remember to eat, sleep and bathe! So I take only a few other shoots at that time so I’m not overextended.

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