We were incredibly fortunate to love about 90% of our engagement photos. Seriously, guys, I was so nervous that I wouldn’t like them. I wasn’t worried about Mr. Narwhal (I knew he’d photograph well), but what if I photographed badly? What if they just looked bad?
I kept telling myself that as long as I loved at least five of them, that’s all that mattered. I know that sounds crazy when you’re talking about hundreds of photos, but I was that nervous, so as long as I loved a few, I told myself I would be good.
Fortunately, I think we did all the right things to get the great photos we did. There are very few I dislike in the bunch. So I thought I would share some tips for getting the engagement photos you want!
Being a portrait photographer myself, this part of being engaged was one of the things I was looking forward to the most. I cherish pictures, and believe that pictures are so very important to have, especially when documenting such a special time in your life. Engagement pictures are one of my favorite things to shoot, and even though I feel comfortable behind the camera, appearing in front of it is another story completely.
Mr. C and I chose my good friend and super-talented photographer Rebekah of Rebekah Viola Photography to take our engagement pictures. Rebekah is an absolutely incredible photographer, and I knew she would do an awesome job making Mr. C and me look good. (Trust me, I’m the most awkward person ever when a camera is on me.) I wanted our pictures to capture our personalities and who we are as a couple. Rebekah definitely has a certain “style” of photography, meaning the poses she uses and the way she edits her pictures. I have loved her work since I first saw it, and I have even had the opportunity to second-shoot with her this past summer. She’s fun and creative and exactly the type of photographer I wanted to take our engagement pictures!
We chose a local apple orchard as the location for our pictures, which provided some pretty gorgeous backdrops. It really was the perfection location except, well…the smell. It was toward the end of the apple-picking season, so there were literally hundreds, maybe thousands, of rotting apples everywhere. Not exactly the most romantic environment, but Mr. C and I had such a blast taking these photos, and truth be told, we got used to the smell after just a few minutes.
Our engagement-photo session could not have gone better. It felt natural & unposed, and was so. much. fun. We had a light dusting of snow and a beautiful sunny day, which is pretty much exactly what I had hoped for.
And now, I have the best kind of problem to have. A major major love for our engagement photos. So much love that it’s pretty much impossible to pick favourites. Seriously, you guys, I love our photographers. If you live anywhere near Toronto, call them up and book them for your wedding!!
My advice on getting your engagement photos is to pick a setting that you’re comfortable in as a couple. Do two settings (preferably indoor and outdoor) and have two outfits. Have fun with each other, and instead of asking to be posed, just do you. Do what feels natural and did I mention have fun?
We decided to get our photos taken inside our living room and then outside and around our property. I love that we have our engagement photos in front of the cabin we’re getting married in front of! It just gets me all giddy thinking about getting pictures in front of it for all sorts of stages in our life. I’m seriously never moving.
Anyway, I’ll let the (many) photos do the talking now.
Once we had our photographers in place, it was time to pick a date for our engagement photos. Our package included a one hour pre-wedding session with the photographers, which I think is an important part of your photography package.
While it’s nice to have some pre-wedding photos taken, there is a method to the madness. If photography is a priority in your wedding, I highly recommend getting engagement photos! They give you an opportunity to feel out your photographer’s vibe and style. It also helps you as a couple get comfortable behind the camera.
When we started planning our engagement photos it was the end of August and we were heading into the season of fall colours. I knew I wanted to wait until after most of the leaves had fallen. While I love fall foliage and a good pumpkin spice latte, I didn’t want our photos to scream fall. So we planned for our photos in early November.
When we received our engagement photos, we were totally in love—the talented Anni made us look SO GOOD! We had a great time at our engagement shoot, and we definitely learned a few lessons along the way.
I’m pretty sure taking engagement photos in Los Angeles without visiting the beach would be a crime—we definitely did not want to miss the opportunity to walk along the shore and the pier with our paparazzo in tow. I think you can tell that we had loosened up a bit by this point in the day.
Once we had our amazing and talented photographer, we started to talk about engagement photos. We love living in Boston—it was the place we met and where we fell in love. We currently live in Boston, so it’s certainly the most convenient option. I’ve seen dozens of quintessentially “Boston” engagement shoots which are beautiful, but we just didn’t think that posing on the steps of the Boston Public Library and sitting on John Harvard’s lap says a lot about us as a couple.
After we graduated from college in Boston, Mr. Tractor and I set out on a cross-country road trip to move to Los Angeles. He grew up there, his family lives there, and he always knew he wanted to move there after college. We had been dating for about two years at that point, things were getting pretty serious, and we were ready to take the next step to move in together. But when moving in together means moving across the country, things get really serious! I was ready for an adventure and I wanted the opportunity to get to know his parents and family, so we made the big move together.
For two years, we lived in a tiny house near the beach in Venice, California. During that time, we did a lot of growing up, both as individuals and as a couple. We lived there when we adopted our cat, Scout, together! We had some bumps in the road, but we definitely had a lot of fun, and Venice and that tiny house will always hold a very special place in our hearts. That was where we wanted to take our engagement photos!
Where were we? Ah yes, the pumpkin patch. Because our engagement pictures had been pushed so far out (late October at the time), we were running on borrowed daylight. So I was secretly freaking out when our photographer, BM J, had to work super extra late on our planned pumpkin patch/engagement picture day. The closest pumpkin patch is about 45 minutes away, so by the time he was ready to go, we knew we weren’t going to catch it.
But the universe has a funny way of working, and I know that because of BM J’s super late work day, and Mr. Orca’s stubbornness to take the pictures in the first place, we ended up with some of the most beautiful engagement photos I’ve ever seen.
We quickly regrouped and decided that we’d take a short drive out of town to Tumalo Falls. The closer we got (we were quickly climbing in elevation), the crazier the weather got—the fog set in and hung heavy in the air; it was misty and freezing cold. This was our view:
Early in our engagement, our dear friend, GM J, offered to take our engagement pictures. He’s a talented recreational photographer, and we knew that his eye for a good shot would capture something special. Right off the bat, I had elaborate visions of summer-y, warm pictures taken around town—maybe even the fair? Floating the river?
Well, that didn’t happen. First, Mr. Orca is not a picture taker (I think he’s super photogenic, but he really doesn’t like having his picture taken), so he kept pushing it out further and further. Also, GM J’s schedule was a little hard to coordinate with, and since he was doing us such a huge favor, we thought it best to try to be flexible with his free time.
Once I knew that my summer vision wasn’t going to happen, I started drawing inspiration from elsewhere. You can read the post that hugely inspired me here (that’s you, Ms. Squid!). I loved the idea of capturing us in this season of life and being able to look back and say “these were our spots when we were engage” someday. So, we tried it out. I planned for stops at our local watering hole and our absolute favorite pizza place. I also invited a good handful of friends, you know, to lighten the mood. Well, it got dark outside quickly and started sprinkling, and soon everyone was in such a silly mood that the photo-bombing was relentless. Yeesh. That was a bust (although we did get some good group pictures out of it).