Monday, March 30, 2015

FAQ: Engagement Session

If you're a client coming into an engagement session, there's a lot that you should know! I learned very quickly in my business that it was better to be more informative than not. Because I tend to be a details girl when it comes to helping my clients plan, I LOVE when my clients are willing to trust and listen to me. If you want what you see on my blog and website, you have to take my experience and advice into consideration! :) 

And when it comes to engagement sessions, I personally think they are crucial before the wedding day. I didn't use to push for them but now it's something HUGE that I think you'd be missing out on if you opted out!

1. Engagement sessions are the perfect time for us to get to know each other!! I have a couple hours with you where I can ask you questions and you can ask me questions! I lot of times I don't meet my couples until their engagement sessions so it's nice to get acquainted. I want to be your friend! :) 

2. Being in front of a camera can be nerve-racking! You probably don't want your first time being in front of the camera to be on your wedding day! You'll learn all about my posing at the engagement shoot and you'll feel prepared for all the photos to be taken at your wedding!

3. It's important to know that an engagement session is not a 30-minute ordeal. I like to have 2 hours and not be rushed!! Being rushed puts stress on me and you and I just want to be able to have a relaxed time and get a lot out of the shoot. It usually takes at least 30 minutes for a couple to get comfortable in front of my camera so the more time, the better. Definitely eat some food before the shoot! ;)

4. Choose two to three outfits!! I know it can be hard coordinating clothes with each other but bringing variety to the shoot is really fun!! And this might seem silly but you'll have a little break when changing at the shoot. That short little break is sometimes nice because you start fresh again! Outfits with color are so great and I always tell couples to bring jewelry or accessories like hats, watches, or scarves! A well thought-out outfit will take your shoot to the next level. Check out this post for some inspiration! Also, if you're not from VA and are traveling for your shoot with me, be prepared for what the weather will be and plan your outfits accordingly!! It might be cold; it might be scorching hot. VA weather can be bipolar so check the radar! 

5. TRUST. Trust is huge during an engagement shoot. I might have you do some silly things like dance with your fiancé, run towards me, or make silly faces at each other but ultimately I want to capture your personalities and have FUN!! Come willing to have fun and willing to put up with whatever I might ask you to do. The more willing you are to just go with me, the more genuine your images will be! Don't hold back... I will not judge you. I want you to be yourselves and to let loose.

6. Engagement sessions usually happen mid-week since I shoot weddings on the weekends and a few hours before sunset. Depending on the time of year, sessions might be happening at 3:30 or they might be happening at 7 PM. But we'll obviously chat about all this good stuff!! :)

7. I am a natural light photographer so engagement sessions happen outside 99% of the time! When it comes to choosing a location for your shoot, I usually leave it up to my couples! It is my goal to make the shoot something special to you so think about places that are meaningful to you both!! Where did you get engaged, where did you go to school, where do you go for walks in your free time, where do you kayak together, where do you vacation??? I love keeping things fresh by going to a location that the couple chooses! That makes my job even more fun!

8. And last but not least, this one is for the girls!!! Clean that bling, paint your nails, and if you really want to go all out, schedule your wedding hair and makeup trial for your engagement shoot day and you'll look really official! :) 

Thanks for reading and hopefully this answers all the questions you have! If your engagement session with me is coming up, I CAN'T WAIT!!!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Shea + Michael | Charlottesville, Virginia Engagement Photographer

As soon as I received Shea's inquiry, I knew I wanted to meet her and photograph her wedding. She was so likable online and that's always exciting for a photographer! I loved her sweet story of how she and Michael dated for a short time in high school and then went their separate ways for TEN years. But God had a plan for them to grow separately in that time so that they could meet again and end up together. I've never heard a story quite like that and I think it's so amazing!!

Shea lives in Charleston and Michael lives in Memphis so their time in Charlottesville was short. These two were troopers for their chilly shoot! We had planned to do their session Friday evening but it ended up being rainy and cloudy so we rescheduled for a sunrise shoot the next morning. It was more like a cloudrise but I still had SO much fun with them and I loved getting to shoot on Shea's family's farm in C'ville! Thanks you two for being so awesome!! I am already thrilled for your wedding coming up SO SOON!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Top Things to Do In Oahu (Part III)

It's the last bit of my Hawaii series!!! I'm so sad!! If you'd like to read Part I or Part II, definitely do that now! Day 6 we woke up early to head to Pearl Harbor because you have to get a ticket to get to ride a boat over to the USS Arizona. I didn't expect to like Pearl Harbor because I'm not a huge museum person but seeing the USS Arizona was AMAZING. The ship is still leaking oil from the 1941 attack. Absolutely mind-blowing. It was crazy to think that hundreds of people were laying beneath the sea. If you want to go here, I suggest going before 9 AM to be able to get a ticket. It's free but you'll be there ALL day waiting to go to the USS Arizona if you don't go early. Also, you can't take a purse in so my Pad & Quill phone case that holds my credit cards came in handy. Tip: That case is also so nice at the airport because you don't have to have your wallet, license, and ticket out. I downloaded the mobile ticket to my passport app on my iPhone for them to scan and my license is in my phone case. Super easy.

We went back to Ko'Olina later that day because Ko'Olina is on the side of the island that seemed to be sunnier while we were there. We also saw a seal in the lagoon this day!! YAY! It was really sad, though. The seal had just had a miscarriage and was sad and confused because she had spent the last few weeks looking for her baby... It was awful. That's why she was in the lagoon. There were marine biologists watching out for her not only to make sure she got out safely but also because monk seals have four-hundred pounds of pressure in their jaw... So yeah.

There's a free firework show in Waikiki at the Hilton Hawaiian Village every Friday night. Parking in Waikiki is really expensive but there's free parking down by the Ala Wai Boat Harbor which saved our butts. The photo above is where we parked. But if you park there, you'll probably be walking at least 10-15 minutes to get where you want to go. It's better than paying. Haha. :)
Day 7 was my birthday!!! MY 21st BIRTHDAY!!!! When we planned the trip, it wasn't a birthday trip and I didn't even realize I'd have my birthday there until after we booked the flight. It was definitely the best birthday I've ever had. I really wanted to go to the North Shore where all the surfers are so we went to Waimea because the waves are really big up there. They weren't as big as they have been but it was still pretty scary. The lifeguards had to announce every thirty minutes that if you didn't have years of experience surfing at this beach that you had to get out of the water. The North Shore was a lot of fun though. We only spent a few hours there but I wish it had been more!! It's just your typical beachy, surf town with cool shops and lots of food trucks!! 

The next day we did Tantalus Drive which is an awesome, curvy road all the way up and down the mountain. There are little overlooks with views of Waikiki. It was really cool! If you have a convertible, it would be even more awesome.  

Now this is pretty funny. Megan and I drove to Manoa Falls, hiked the whole thing, got to the falls, and there was no water.... It was dry. Sooooo, if you go to a waterfall, just make sure there's water first. 

The next day we spend with one of Megan's friends who just moved to Oahu. We hiked Diamondhead which was a good workout. Make sure you take the steps at the top to finish it out strong! Haha. When we got to the top, there was yet another good view of Waikiki! The very top overlook had a swarm of gnats which is apparently normal, according to the people up there who told us so.... Megan and Cory left me up there to take a picture. Haha. I braved the bugs but then ran back down wiping them off my body.... Kind of gross. That afternoon we went to Hanauma Bay which is one of the best places to snorkel in Oahu. It was BEAUTIFUL. I saw a rainbow fishy. :) I wish I had gone out further but two people had drowned a couple days before we went so we chose to stay closer to shore. 

That evening we spent at Waikiki again because we had plans to swim in the infinity pool at the Sheraton but you had to have a wristband... They were on lose watch. If you got in the pool right away and hid your wrists you might be okay but we got kicked out. I did get my photo, though! :) 

I didn't take any photos our last full day because we spent it on the beach and went straight to a luau. I was SO sad I didn't have my camera for the luau. The fire breathing show was SO fun!!! If you know someone who is military, you can get a discount at Paradise Cove. :) And then of course, our last morning was so depressing. I wanted to cry. 10 days was good but it's never long enough. I absolutely fell in love with Hawaii and I can't wait to go back!! If anyone is getting married on any of the islands, I'm your girl!! Hope you all enjoyed my three-part series and feel free to ask me any questions!! We obviously didn't get to do everything but there's a lot of amazing food, sights, and things to do. I'd highly recommend going. :)