Congratulations! You are engaged! This is one of the most exciting times of your life … you have begun the process of planning your wedding, a fun but often overwhelming string of decision after decision. We know that it can get a little daunting, but with a little bit of help, you can relax and really enjoy the process! Generally the first major decisions to be made upon your engagement are the date and venue and the two kind of go hand in hand. Shortly after the date and venue have been nailed down couples generally start looking for their photographer. Once the photographer has been chosen, the next big decision to be made arises … do we take engagement photos or not? It really is a personal choice between the couple, and depending on the size of your budget, you may opt to forego them, but as a photographer, I can tell you several reasons why we highly recommend that you take them.
- First and foremost, taking engagement photos gives the couple a chance to get to know their photographer and the process better. The better we know each other, the better your wedding photos will ultimately be. Scheduling engagement photos early on in the game gives the couple a chance to learn their photographer’s working style and for the photographer to learn things about you. You’ll learn to be relaxed in front of the camera and it’s the best way for everyone to know what to expect from one another on the wedding day.
- Having engagement photos taken also gives you a great set of photos that you can use throughout your engagement to use for such things as your engagement announcement, Save the Dates, your reception sign in book and the like.
- Many couples like to print some of the photos and have them displayed at the reception. This is a great way to showcase your relationship and personalities.
Once the decision to take the engagement photos has been made, the next two big questions that arise are where do we take them, and what should we wear? The second question is often answered by the first, as outfits should be appropriate for the venue (more on that later). But when couples ask for recommendations on where to take their photos, I start with a question, “how do you want me to tell the story of you?” Your engagement photos should be about you as a couple, who you are and what you do for fun when you are relaxing together. The example I always like to give is, if you like to bowl, let’s go to Rock ‘N’ Bowl, get it? So sit down as a couple and think about your favorite place to be together, or what place best showcases you for who you are. Below are a few of our favorite locations to get your ideas flowing.
1. The French Quarter
The New Orleans French Quarter is one of our most requested locations to shoot, and its easy to see why. We live in one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in the world! There are so many nooks and crannies, colors and textures in the French Quarter that can be used as a backdrop, it is the perfect place to tell your New Orleans love story. Is this where you two like to hang out? Did you meet in the Quarter when you were in college? Or maybe you attended Mardi Gras together for the first time! Whatever your story is, relive it every time you look at your engagement photos! Bonus: There is no fee for shooting in the Quarter, except for Jackson Square. To shoot inside of the square requires a permit and a $50 fee, which we, of course, can obtain for you. But we often shoot all around the square without actually going in with great results!
2. The Place You Got Engaged
Regardless of where it is, the place where your proposal took place is one of the most romantic places in the world! Let’s revisit it! Depending on where it is, sometimes all it takes is a phone call to ask for permission to go back to the scene of the Best Day Ever!!!
3. Your Favorite Bar or Hangout
Where do you like to hangout for drinks, or any other kind of fun? Just like the place where you got engaged, often gaining access to these kind of places just takes a phone call to the management. Depending on the day of the week and how crowded the place is, we are usually welcome to shoot there. These kind of sessions obviously work best when planned in the middle of the week, and even during the early afternoon, when the business level is low.
4. Audubon Park
Shooting in Audubon Park is always lovely, and the best part, there is no permit or fee required! There are lots of different places we like to shoot in the park from the fountain near St. Charles, to the lush green spaces near Magazine Street. Park shoots work great dressed up, or dressed down … it all depends on your personal style!
5. The Tree of Life
Also located in Audubon is the beautiful oak tree known as the Tree of Life. Its kind of tucked away in the back, but once you’ve found it, you know it was worth the trip. Shooting here close to sunset is nothing short of magical!
6. The Audubon Zoo
Also within Audubon Park is the beautiful Audubon Zoo. We are so fortunate in New Orleans to have this world class zoo at our disposal! If visiting the zoo is part of your love story, there are some great spots inside where we can capture fun, romantic images. All it takes to get inside is zoo admission tickets, for you and for us! (If you have yearly passes, the zoo has let us in on our clients’ passes). These sessions work best during spring and summer, as the zoo does close early in the colder months, and good light is essential! And, of course, these sessions work best when the zoo is not teaming with children … so weekdays are key.
7. City Park
Next to the French Quarter, City Park is the second most requested spot for shooting because it is so beautiful an there are SO many different locations we can shoot in the park! There’s the park in general, but among the most popular areas are the botanical garden, the sculpture garden and the art museum. At certain times of the year, there are amazing fields of wildflowers in the back! To shoot in City Park does require a $50 permit, and separate permits are required for the park and the sculpture garden/museum. But shooting in City Park can happen year round, and the results will always be beautiful no matter what time of year it is!
8. Your Place
What about capturing your love story in the place where you are most YOU? Your house, apartment, backyard, garden … whatever place it is that you like to relax and be yourselves together, we want to capture you there! Nothing else could look more relaxed and natural than you two snuggling amongst all your favorite things (think cat)! If you’re the kind of couple that says we don’t really like posed or staged photos, consider doing a shoot in your home environment. BONUS: Your engagement photos will be unlike anyone else’s!
9. A French Quarter Courtyard
Everyone knows that the French Quarter is lined with cute little houses of varying bright colors. But did you know that most of those houses have an amazing courtyard tucked away in the back somewhere? If you are fortunate enough to know someone who has access to a French Quarter courtyard, by all means call them up and lets take you there! There are also lots of beautiful little French Quarter courtyards in many of the boutique hotels in the Quarter. Shooting in these kind of spaces is romantic and a little more intimate than just snuggling out on the street, if PDA’s are not your thing.
10. The Mississippi River
For the cost of a ferry ride, we can hop on the Canal Street ferry and get some great shots of you with the skyline of New Orleans as your backdrop! One note, the ride is quick and you will not be alone … but if you’re the kind that is OK with a literal boatload of guests weighing in on just how cute you two are, this might just be for you!
11. A Fort or Other Historic Place
If you are a history buff, consider shooting at a place like Fort Jackson! Around Louisiana there are lots of places like this, abandoned forts and historic sites that may be available to accommodate your engagement shoot …. they just take a little research. Fort Jackson, for instance, is only open one weekend a year, which is during the Orange Festival. We were fortunate enough to coordinate that with Sarah and David’s engagement shoot, and we just kind of had to roll with the raindrops since rescheduling was not an option, but who doesn’t mind stealing kisses in the rain? We got some really fun and unique shots for them that really speak to who they are!
12. A Place You Love to Spend Your Time Together
If you have a special place where you love to hang out together, like, say, a fishing camp, just let us know. We’d love to come along and capture you there! Your engagement photos will not only be unique to your love story, but if you are in your own environment, having fun the way you two do when its just the two of you (uhhmmm, not privately, think in a Netflix and chill kind of way), your photos will look much more natural and capture your personalities in the best way.
What to Wear
Once you have chosen the place where your engagement photos will take place, choose your outfits accordingly. Whether you decide to dress up or dress down, you should wear an outfit that is comfortable, and that makes you feel like you look your best! Try to avoid shirts with distracting words or logos. Clothing that is fitted is most flattering; large, baggy or loose fitting shirts should be avoided. The two of you do not have to wear the exact same color, but coordinating colors make for great photos! For further “What to Wear” inspiration, check out our Pinterest board HERE!
Want more information about our engagement sessions or wedding photography? Let’s get in touch and get started!
PaulYour use of focus is stellar. Nicely done!