5 Steps to Prepare for an "At-Home" Engagement Shoot
I may be a wedding videographer, but I have dabbled in engagement photography for a few years prior so I can confidently give some advice to those looking to keep in cozy with their engagement photos.
1. Find a photographer you feel comfortable around
If you haven't already booked a photographer for your wedding, this should be your first step! I'm saying this because most photographers offer complimentary or reduced-rate engagement sessions with their wedding packages. If you've already booked your photographer skip to step two. If you haven't, here are some generalized tips when choosing a wedding day photographer:
Do you feel comfortable around them? The photographer(s) you hire will be around you for (most likely) longer than your spouse on the day of your wedding. Make sure that they feel like a good fit! If you haven't already, schedule a time to meet with the photographer. Whether that be via facetime, a coffee shop, or their office (if they have one).
Do you like their portfolio? How do you feel about the photos they've taken at previous weddings? Do they get all up in the action or work more as a fly on the wall? Which do you prefer? What about colour grading? Do you want something trendy or timeless? Decide on this beforehand.
What's your budget? A good photographer will just make your day flow better so it's worth dedicating a solid chunk of your budget to photography. Though, don't be wedding poor and spend your ENTIRE budget on photography. Create a budget beforehand and try your best to stick with it.
2. Decide on outfits that match the colour palette of your home
Is your home decorated in cozy neutrals? Maybe colourful bohemian? Whatever it may be, try to keep your home's colour palette in mind while deciding what you're going to wear.
A general rule of thumb is to stick with warm tones, cool tones, or neutral tones.
Warm tones: yellow, beige, reds, browns, orange, etc.
Cool tones: blue, green, pure white or black, purples, pinks, etc.
Neutrals: colours that are more muted.
Note that this is just a guideline and rules were made to be broken!
3. Find the perfect light
Where are the windows in your home? Your photo session will most likely take place around the spot in your home with the largest windows. Now try to find a time in the day when the light coming through those windows isn't too bright but also isn't too dark. Mid noon can work but may make certain areas a little too bright for photos. Talk to your photographer to determine the perfect time to book.
4. Prepare your home for photos
As mentioned above, your photo session will most likely take place in areas with access to natural light so prepare those areas of your home for photos. Get rid of or hide the clutter. Keep everything minimal.
You'll probably want some hints of your personality to come out through your decor so don't stage a completely fake living environment. Keep it as close to how it naturally is as possible... without the clutter.
5. Involve your pets
This might be a no-brainer for some, but involving your pets is a great way to preserve memories with your furry (or not so furry friend) and infuse even more personality into your shoot!