Limited Edition Photography
Texas based landscape photographer

Blog-weddings

How I Think During an Engagement Session

First, I want to thank you for reading my blog... If you get anything at all from this post, leave me a comment, because I have no idea if you're liking it or not ;) Thanks!

I recently did a shoot with Mark and Tina in Nashville. They wanted to take pictures at the place they first met, Music City Tippler, and so that is where we start today!

The first couple shots I take are just to see how my lighting is and how my couple acts in front of the camera. You can learn a lot in the first few shots, like are they comfortable, happy, nervous, ok with PDA? It's also an introduction for you as a Photographer, so they can see how you handle things. If the first couple shots suck, don't say anything, don't show anything.... just keep going with it, because if you're comfortable, they are comfortable. Their first two shots were great ;)

Fortunately, Mark and Tina are gems and super easy to like and take pictures of! Here are the first couple of shots we took. 

Just a nice pose

Just a nice pose

getting to a kiss... they were perfectly fine with it ;)

getting to a kiss... they were perfectly fine with it ;)

If I am perfectly honest with you, I have a little bit of an idea what I'm going to shoot before they get there, but I forget it all immediately as the shoot starts! :) I guess the creative juices start flowing and my mind starts going into overdrive! 

We walked up stairs, I saw a cool couch and told them to have a conversation about how they feel right now. That always makes everyone laugh a little... I pulled out an off-camera speedlight and put my lens next to the coffee table for a cool reflection.

TTL off camera flash... I'll talk about that another time.

TTL off camera flash... I'll talk about that another time.

I love flash, but I also really love how things look in natural light. Sometimes I just take a chance, switch my camera into aperture priority (nikon) and see what things look like. It literally take's 3 seconds... if the shot's not there, I move on, but in this case it worked well for the next few shots!

holding each other

holding each other

cranked my ISO to about 4000 for this one

cranked my ISO to about 4000 for this one

plenty of sunlight was coming through the window for this shot

plenty of sunlight was coming through the window for this shot

I don't mess with a good thing, so when natural light is looking awesome in my photos, I stick with it. It's so much faster than setting up a speedlight all the time!

We continued through the place as I constantly looked for my next shot, while learning more about them at the same time. If there is anything that is truly an art with photographing couples, it's that balance of listening to them and looking for your shot. Sometimes, I just have to stop and listen and turn off my creative brain for a second. Then it's game on again! The next couple shots are just me having them sit and pose in different locations of the bar.

I love real conversations in my photos

I love real conversations in my photos

just a cute shot in front of a window

just a cute shot in front of a window

There's always a moment when I realize I need to stop talking and let the couple do their thing! I had no idea how playful Mark and Tina would be, but they were so awesome together!! Mark just randomly started spinning her around and I swear, it was the cutest thing!

being playful

being playful

I was feeling good after that shot, because I could clearly see they were super comfortable with me :) So, walking up the stairs, I noticed a light shining down and asked them to stop in the middle of the stairs and hug. I thought it was a random place to have them stop, but I could already see the shot before I took it. I ran down to the other side of the bar, got out a long lens and literally laid on the ground to snap this next shot. It was a better than I thought it would be.

a beautiful moment in what would normally be a weird location to shoot

a beautiful moment in what would normally be a weird location to shoot

I decided to do the rest of the shoot outside. I personally like a lot of room to run around and get creative with and when I don't have to worry about lighting in a dimly lit bar, it allows me to focus on them as a couple and capture their true self.  First thing I do when switching locations? CHECK MY ISO!! Always remember that.

The next few shots, I pretty much told them to talk, play, dance, be in love.... sometimes I don't know what I'm saying and I literally start mumbling, because my focus is on the shot.... hahaha! Again, these are the times I need to step back, stop talking and let the magic happen.

laughing

laughing

dancing together outside

dancing together outside

talking on a bench

talking on a bench

Then, of course, I start shooting through things... because I love to find that different angle!

black and white through a bench

black and white through a bench

shooting through leaves adds some depth and color

shooting through leaves adds some depth and color

You can almost always feel the end of a shoot, because you can see the couple getting tired, but Mark and Tina could have probably gone for another hour! They were amazing ;) We were all done, when at the last second, I noticed the clouds!  You know how I love doing silhouettes! I got low and had them get close, put my camera in aperture priority and this is what we came up with! My main focus was to get them in between those 2 large clusters of clouds and I feel it turned out great!

a beautiful silhouette to end the session

a beautiful silhouette to end the session

Mark and Tina were an amazing couple to take pictures of. Their personalities were larger than life and I knew these two were madly in love the second I met them!

As a Photographer, that helps a lot when taking pictures, but it's not everything. You still have to know what your camera is capable of. You also need to know what you are capable of and that only comes with taking chances and trying something different. On your next shoot, get your safe shots, the ones you would normally take, and then go and try something new! If it doesn't work out, don't show your couple ;) At least take it into post and see what you could possibly do with it there....  maybe something cool will happen.

I hope you liked this post! Comment below if you did... I would love to hear from you :)

Joe Hendricks