Tying the Knot

Five Tips for a Picture-Perfect Engagement Session

From the very beginning, our engagement session presented me with more stress than actual wedding planning.

Where would it be? How much will it cost? And, perhaps most importantly, WHAT DO I WEAR?!

Because we’re getting married in Baltimore, we thought it would be fun do our engagement session in Chicago, where we both currently live. Over the course of two days, we took (nearly 2,000) pictures at several Chicago tourist attractions: the Lincoln Park Zoo, Millennium Park, Navy Pier and more.

It was exhausting, but based on the sneak peeks our photographer, Kathleen Hertel, has shared with us so far, it was well worth it!

Below are five tips Jeff and I have for making the most of your engagement session. We hope they help!

1. Practice smiling. If you’re anything like me, then you may catch yourself making an awkward face whenever someone whips out a camera. The key here is to look natural and not “like you just smelled a fart,” as Kathleen so kindly pointed out.

2. Be prepared. As much as I tried to pick my outfits beforehand, there was still some last-minute running around. The dress I bought on Friday decided not to zip up later that evening, leaving Jeff to scour nearly every Old Navy in Chicago for a replacement while I was getting my hair and makeup done on Saturday … just hours before we were supposed to start shooting. Lesson learned.

3. Get creative. Much like our wedding, we wanted our engagement session to tell our love story. Our first date was at a zoo, so of course we took pictures at the Lincoln Park Zoo. I also LOVE cupcakes, so we incorporated a local cupcake shop into our shoot as well. Just because everyone takes pictures in a field/on a beach/in a park, doesn’t mean you have to as well.

4. Be flexible. This is where you have to learn to trust your photographer. We had no intentions of waking up at 5 a.m. on a Sunday to take pictures in front of the Bean aka Cloud Gate, but Kathleen assured us the lighting would be awesome and … she was right! Bonus: We had the whole place to ourselves. So there were no tourists photobombing our pictures, yay!

5. Relax and have fun! This is not America’s Next Top Model, so there’s no reason to take yourself so seriously. One of my favorite pictures from our engagement session (so far) is a “candid” of us laughing. Sometimes simple is better.

About L’Oreal & Jeff

L'Oreal and Jeff

L’Oreal and Jeff met in May 2008, became friends and went on their first date at the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium in May 2011. They currently reside in Chicago and are planning a fall 2014 wedding in Baltimore with a LOT of purple details. Despite rooting for rival NFL teams, they love laughing and having fun together and look forward to getting married!