The first time that an engaged couple asked me to be the photographer for their wedding, I suggested doing an engagement photo session, partly because I was a bit unsure and I wanted to get some practice but, above all, because I wanted them to be absolutely sure that they wanted me for this challenging, yet exciting, job.
Their reaction was one of total astonishment. They had no idea what I was talking about and, most likely, I wouldn’t have known either if it wasn’t for me, as a dedicated blogger, spending so much time reading American blogs.
In the US and other English-speaking countries, the engagement photo session serves as a testimony to an official engagement, which is followed by the wedding after a short period of a few weeks to a year later.
These sessions are planned, prepared and carried out with great care, and entrusted to a professional
photographer who is usually, but not always, the same person who will be the official wedding photographer.
In Italy, this tradition has been lost, even though it was not too long ago that it was quite usual to ask a professional photographer to do an engagement photographic service.
My parents did their engagement photo session in the 1960s and for me, as a little girl, it was an example to follow, even if it never happened in reality.
Today, after years of absence, it is being rediscovered as an American novelty and not as a lost tradition of our own.
I love photographing people and few things are more captivating to me than a couple in love.
It could just be for a sort of lovers game or an anniversary or birthday present, but it is important to entrust this photographic service to he or she who will, presumably, be the official wedding photographer for two very good reasons:
- the couple can get to know the photographer (and vice versa) in advance and this will make the later, and much more important, wedding photo service much less tense, as well as making sure that the relationship between the two parties will guarantee the best results.
- the couple can make sure first-hand that the photographer meets their expectations in terms of sensitivity and capability and, should this not be the case, they will be sure to have enough time to find someone else.
The first thing to do, once you’ve decided on an engagement photo session, is to have a good chat with the couple, by phone or in person, to establish a location and time for the shoot.
The place could be somewhere that is of special significance to the couple, such as, for example, the place where they met or where they had their first date, or even a place of a shared passion for sport or a theme park, a garden or just a city scene. They may want to give the event a particular connotation, such as a vintage theme, or recreate a sort of film storyline.
It should be the couple who decide, even though they may need advice on the best time of day or on what to wear.
I prefer not to interfere, advising them only to coordinate in dress and with the style that they wish to give to the session.
Another idea is to suggest bringing their own props, which not only adds more effect to the story we wish to tell, but also keeps the subjects occupied and helps them to loosen up and relax.
It’s also important to keep informed about the weather forecast for the location and chosen day.
Like what happened with the couple in the photos you see here.
The rain may seem evocative but, for me, on my own, it is just an added complication.
I hope you find this subject to be interesting.
Next time, I’ll follow up with more advice and some technical details.
Interior designer, blogger and photographer. Expert in luxury décor and trompe l’oeil, combining her passion for photography with her love of décor and furnishings, in particular shabby chic style.
Co-creator, together with Cinzia Corbetta, of the book ‘La Magia del Bianco, lo stile shabby chic in Italia’ (The Magic of White; shabby chic in Italy), in which she was responsible for the photography.
She loves people and adores taking pictures of them in their daily lives, as well as during important occasions, such as on wedding days.