March 31, 2015  •  Leave a Comment


make-up and hair by Lucy -Zayne Reynolds

Luiza and Tom were referred to me by a friend.  They had called me in the middle of the summer to talk about scheduling their engagement photos with me after they saw and they really liked  the photos I did for their friend Lucy. We scheduled the session for early November, right after the October Pumpkin Patch was over. 

Luiza and Tom were very well prepared for this long awaited photoshoot. They brought a few outfits, signs and picked out a beautiful location - The Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont, CA.  The location has an old historic railway, park with eucalyptus trees, farmland and The Pumpkin Patch, just outside of the park, which despite the fact that was closed only a week ago, still had hay and pumpkins rolling all over the ground. The horizon seemed so close to us, allowing us to enjoy the magnificent California sunset, bringing a spark of romantic atmosphere to our photo shoot. A scene that any photographer can only dream about it.

When the  in-loved couple arrived I knew that would be a very a great photo session. This is also the  first time we met with each other after exchanging emails and phone calls for a while. I usually don’t meet with clients for engagement session unless the client wants to. We sometimes may choose to talk on skype, if we live further from each other and the time doesn’t permit a face to face meeting. But for weddings face to face meeting is a must before the couple books me.
Luiza and Tom are such a sweet couple, they really enjoyed being photographed , knew how to pose and what to pick as their clothes for the session.


In this blog post I would like to talk also about FAQ about portrait/engagement photo session preparation and I thought that the photos of Luiza and Tom are great example to answer those questions.

For this section of the blog I asked Geri Bondar , who is a style consultant to share her thoughts on the subject and here is what she says about it considering any type of photo shoot from engagement, family to a single portrait: “What is the theme that best describes your family, future family or just you? Think of your lifestyle. Or maybe you want to recreate a scene from your favorite movie. Or you enjoy being at the beach or mountains. Now is the time to turn your dream into reality. You want to look at your pictures 10 years from today and remind yourselves of who you are, what you like to do. My husband and I have not had a romantic day alone since our engagement photo shoot a year ago, and we keep looking at our engagement photos and remind ourselves, that we love exploring new places, and we love wine tasting and good food and spending time together as happy as we were that day. Because in our busy lives we forget who we are and what we enjoy doing.
The most important part of the photo shoot is the Theme, than the Location to fit your theme and from there on the wardrobe and the props will naturally fall into place.
Think of what your family or sweetheart enjoys doing. Maybe you love spending time at the beach. Wear a flowy dress, pick a brighter color even if you don't feel that you look good in bright colors bring it to the photo shoot you will be surprised of how bright colors turn on photos. Boys, wear comfy linen pants and a Blue t-shirt to complement the yellow dress without wearing the same color. Instead of wearing the same color pick the same tones of different colors. Like Bright Yellow and Bright Blue, or pastel Pink and pastel green.  The most important part is for you to be comfortable. Ladies, bring a big beach hat to go with that dress. Make sure you balance the accessories don't wear half of your jewelry box at the same time.  If you are going to wear a big statement ring, loose the bracelet. If you would wear large earrings or a hair clip, don't wear a necklace. When you look at the mirror you want YOU to be the focal point! When you have too much going on your eyes keep moving between all the accessories rather than your face. You and your family are the most important part of the photo. Same goes for Boys If you will be wearing a hat don’t wear sunglasses. May be a picnic bag with your favorite snacks and a blanket to enjoy the sunset. If you like playing a sport incorporate that into the photo shoot.
Make sure you spend time trying on what your think of wearing the day of the shoot. You don't want pants to be too big or too small and shirts not fitting right. Avoid clothes that are too worn out and colors fading, unless this is the look you are going for.
If you are shopping for brand new outfits choose brands that fit your personality and style. If you are into Classy/Casual look into Banana Republic
Ann Taylor, Tommy Bahama,PradaHugo BossArmani.  If you are more into  Boho-Chic, check out Free PeopleLucky Brand and Vintage stores would have just what you are looking for. Department Stores such as Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus are great because it's easy to find your whole style in just one section. Also don’t be shy to ask one of the sales people to help you out. They will be more than happy to help you with the whole look. And Don't forget to stop by the make-up and fragrance department most stores will do your make-up for little or no charge at all. “

There are few things you should consider for such an event and experience: location- weather, time of the year and the day; style of clothes, shoes, accessories; story- conceptual or classic; hair and make up.

Let start with the LOCATION: Since I live in Concord, I prefer to do it closer to my zip code , which is 94521. However, I am always open to travel and shoot in unknown locations, which are worth traveling. And here are my suggestions how to pick a location: the photo session is about 90 to 120 min max so you can pick two locations that are close to each other or one , which has scenic variety like the Ardenwood Historic Farm. The location has to be personal to you or if you are more adventurous soul you can gamble and explore a new one. Just be careful because for some locations you need to have a special permit to photograph, i.e. museums and other places, which close at dusk or earlier as that would mean that we have to enter the location before that.  Here are some examples for location: OUTDOOR: urban, rural, farmland, vineyard, forest, redwoods, beach, river, water, biking trails, Sacramento Delta, cherry picking time or cherry blossom time, state parks, national parks, city parks, Golden Gate bridge and the surrounding area in San Francisco, any popular outdoor location in the Bay Area. INDOOR: museums, hotels, your house, coffee shops, bars, etc. A place and activity that you will enjoy together as an engaged couple. My goal is to document your activity and having fun together no matter where but it has to matter to you. You have to fully enjoy this life time experience. The best day lighting for a portrait photography is just before dusk - sunset, which late afternoon or very early in the morning. Otherwise you will get very harsh shadows and highlights on your faces and you don’t want that. Also, it doesn’t have to be sunny; the best images are created with soft light, so little clouds in the sky wouldn’t hurt or a dramatic sky with beautiful warm or cold colors.

The next question my clients ask me is what to wear? STYLE: In order to help you I will first say: pick two to three outfits- one casual, one more formal and third one your choice. Complement each other, don’t wear the same colors or matching clothes like white T-shirts, avoid also signs and letters on your clothes that don’t mean anything to you personally and you don’t want to be remembered by these choices.Accessories are very important detail to your styling - hats, jewelry, belts, sunglasses, umbrellas if it’s raining or a rain coat - why not? You can also have your bikes or create a theme with few accessories, or go fishing!, or play a guitar! That’s also part of your specific taste and accessories - small details like those could bring a lot to the big picture. They are as important as you being there. 

MAKE-UP AND HAIR: Well, now is the time to invest some time and money in yourself. Especially if you haven’t done a trial make-up and hair for your wedding day ( if you are a bride to be) this might be a good opportunity for you. But I do suggest you to get the whole experience from this photo session. You don’t get to be photographed every year!  Do your manicure and pedicure, hire a professional hair and makeup artist who knows what they are doing. Or if you are on smaller budget you can always go to the mall or to Sephora and get a make up for no charge or buy a product and get your makeup done. And remember how you look is how you will feel about yourself and your face will show it in front of the camera, so it’s all up to you. Feel great about yourself and you will have one of the most fun days in your life. I want you to feel relaxed and calm.  And here are couple of make-up and hair stylist who I have worked with and they have done fabulous jobs for my clients: Lucy_Zayne Reynolds from Get Flowless and Jennifer Toy from JT Artistry 

YOUR STORY: conceptual, classic or personal ? Conceptual story is when you have a specific idea about something and you want to show it in your images. For instance, you want to be someone else and dress up like a rock star or a character from a movie, or you have a personalized idea, things that you like doing together, like biking, riding a horse, having a coffee or glass of wine.  It’s connected all together with location, styling and lighting. You can play happy and you can play serious. Classic is when the images are done in a more formal way, think about portraiture and photojournalism where the romantic relationship is captured. However, in your 90min photo shoot you can do both. Wear one outfit to fit a conceptualize story and another one to show your romantic relationship. It’s all about your personal experience in front of the camera. I can also photograph one day of your life as a couple, which is your Personal story- things you do on your day off or weekday. Think about photos that will describe you as a couple before your wedding, something that will remain in your memories forever.



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