Why You Should Have an Engagement Session

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Why You Should Have an Engagement Session

There are so many reasons why I want couples to get excited about engagement sessions. When I meet with clients and they mention engagement sessions, it often sounds like just another thing on their to-do list. Or even worse, they don't even want one! I wanted to write this blog post to hopefully give couples a new perspective on why engagement sessions can be so valuable and meaningful.


You rehearse pretty much every other part of your wedding :

You tried on your outfits, you tasted the food, you styled your hair and maybe even had a rehearsal dinner. Engagement shoots are basically rehearsal wedding photos! You have time to get to know your photographer, get all of your awkwardness out, and learn how to be comfortable and true to yourselves in front of the camera. When you get the photos back and see how amazing they are, you’re going to trust your photographer so much more and be able to go into your wedding day confident that it will be captured perfectly. Or, if worse comes to worse, you'll know that your photographer is not a good fit and will have time to find someone that is. 

Engagement sessions aren’t only for your announcements :

The time of your engagement is just as magical as the chapter before and after. It’s a time in your life where you and your person both decided that you wanted to spend forever together. That’s amazing. You don’t know what your futures look like or what experiences you’re going to have, but you do know that you want to go through them together no matter what. That’s sooo beautiful and all of your feelings and love in this moment deserve to be captured and remembered forever.

Engagement sessions can be just as meaningful as your wedding day :

Pick a location that means something to you. Whether that’s your home or the place you guys go hiking all the time. This is so important because when you look at the photos they’re going to mean way more to you 40-years down the line. You’re going to have flashbacks of all the other special times you spent there too. It’s about your whole love story not just your individual days.


I hope I’ve given you a different perspective on what your engagement session can be. It’s meaningful and special and magical and you should be completely excited about it! Nothing about your wedding day should be without meaning and everything should tell your story.

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Miranda + Aiden | Joshua Tree Love Session | California Wedding Photographer

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Miranda + Aiden | Joshua Tree Love Session | California Wedding Photographer

This Joshua Tree love session is one of my favorites, you guys. My first time in Joshua Tree, California was pretty magical. I went to Kinfolk the Workshop to learn how to be the best couples and wedding photographer that I could be. I learned so much more about how to serve my clients and how to bring out their best selves during shoots. The desert was M-A-G-I-C and I want to go back every year. It would be a dream to shoot an elopement or a wedding there because of how much beautiful energy there is. So if you're trying to head out to Joshua Tree, hit me up.

Miranda and Aiden were so freaking fun to hang out with! They both live in Arizona and traveled all the way to Joshua Tree just to do the shoot! How freaking special and amazing is that? Plus I just felt 20 times cooler even standing near them so that was another bonus. Can we talk about Miranda’s makeup and style please?? It’s so gooood. Choosing outfits for photoshoots can be super stressful and a pretty big to-do if you don’t know what looks good on camera. I send a style guide to each of my clients before the shoot so they have time to learn what looks good and what works well! The right outfit can totally elevate the emotion and compliment the environment in the photo. In the same way, the wrong outfit can distract from all the good. Clothing choice is way more important than people think but in my guide I emphasize that you should be comfortable and feel like yourself too!

Every photographer should invest in education because there is constantly so much to learn in this world. My personal goal is to take 2 classes a year to improve my business and skills. It’s easy to get settled into a way of working that’s comfortable. That’s something I really want to avoid in my business. I always want to be growing and learning new how to be better.

I feel so inspired and ready to make more magic with my couples this year!

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Faith + José | Seal Rock Elopement | Newport Wedding Photographer

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Faith + José | Seal Rock Elopement | Newport Wedding Photographer

This Seal Rock elopement will forever tug on my heartstrings. It was a perfect mix of letting go of tradition and making your own perfect day instead.

When Faith and José booked me last fall, they planned to have a pretty decent sized October wedding with lots of family flying in from out-of-state. If this was me planning my wedding, having people coming from all over would have made it way more stressful and like I really had to make it worth while for them to be there. I think this is why so many brides get so stressed out during the planning process. They start planning the wedding for the guests instead of themselves and their cutie!! That’s not how any couple should feel about their wedding day! It’s such a special day and should be completely unique to the couples’ needs and wants.

After shooting their engagement at Rowena Crest, Faith and José found out that their lives would be changing veeery soon in a completely magical way. This made their photos so much more special but also forced them to rethink their wedding plans. They decided to have a springtime elopement and surprise their family with the news along with a small reception on another day. I couldn’t have been more excited to hear this!! I love shooting intimate weddings and elopements because I just get to focus on the couple and really showcase their love and relationship the whole time.

We all traveled out to Seal Rock and it was the most perfect day. Just me, Faith, José and their friend Kym (who was the best maid of honor/assistant ever!!). There was basically no one around, the light was gorgeous and you couldn’t even see footprints in the sand. A photographer’s heaven. We did their first look on the beach and then went over to Seal Rock to catch the sunset. We explored around until we found a perfect spot for them to read their vows to each other and took photos at every beautiful spot along the way. They got emotional, I got emotional and we were all just balls of joy by the end.

Thank you guys so much for letting me be a part of your lives, I love you both so much!!

View their wedding slideshow here 

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Zack + Melissa | Silver Falls Anniversary | Portland Wedding Photographer

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Zack + Melissa | Silver Falls Anniversary | Portland Wedding Photographer

This  Silver Falls anniversary session is really special to me. When you look at these two, you really wouldn't know that they've been married for 10 years and have 3 adorable babies together. They still look at each other like they just fell in love and it warms the freaking heck out of my heart. We thought Silver Falls would be the perfect location for a moody anniversary shoot and it suuuure was.

It's always a good idea to get images taken of you and your special someone but this case was a little more unique. Melissa shared with me that when they got married they were unable to afford a photographer and it was a regret they'd carried with them for a decade. It's so special for me that I get to create art like this with people who will value and cherish it for generations.

Of course I think everyone should invest as much as they can into photography for their wedding day but in some situations if you just can't, totally make sure to get anniversary sessions so you're able to capture how you and your cutie grow together each year.

When we got to Silver Falls there were little patches of snow all over! We avoided them though because we all wanted a spring look to the shoot. This is the 4th time I'd been there in the last year so I got to see it in all seasons! It's crazy how different it looks in each one. We explored the area around the falls and took some images in the forest before the hike down. These cuties were even brave enough to hop into the FREEZING cold water. They're amazing and I love them.

We truly had a rainy Oregon adventure and I'll never forget this moody anniversary session. Happy anniversary, cuties!!

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Hayley + Zack | Cathedral Park Engagement | Portland Wedding Photographer

Hayley + Zack | Cathedral Park Engagement | Portland Wedding Photographer

These two are a freaking blast and we had so much fun during our shoot!! Zack has some kind of special ability where he's able to keep Hayley laughing pretty much all the time. These two just get each other and they're completely adorable together. Their love story started when they met in high school and will continue for the rest of forever.

I can't wait to shoot their beautiful magical wedding next year!!

Audrey + Stefan | Plaza Del Toro Wedding | Portland Wedding Photographer

Audrey + Stefan | Plaza Del Toro Wedding | Portland Wedding Photographer

Audrey and Stefan's Plaza Del Toro wedding was so simply them. No crazy details, no packed schedule and no stress. They didn't feel the need to follow normal traditions and focused on making their day exactly  how they wanted. This is something I'm seeing more and more couples do and it makes me so incredibly happy. If having tons of details will make you happy then seriously go nuts! If you want to be extra and throw in some wedding llamas then have at it, girl! As long as you do you and your boo, you can't go wrong (should I try and trademark that or is it not as good of a line as I think??). 

Audrey and Stefan started their day off at the Nines hotel in downtown Portland. When I got to the room Audrey was with a few friends and one of them was doing her makeup. They told me right away that the makeup artist didn't show up so she had to phone a friend (who luckily was a professional HMUA) to do it for her!! Her best friend Parinda had to run across the street and practically buy out all of the beauty counters because she didn't know what shades matched Audrey (lol!!). They the ride or die kind of friends for sure.

They did their first look at the Nines and then it was time to head over to the next venue! Having their wedding at Plaza Del Toro was such a perfect choice. Imagine a cool downtown Portland bar but the only people inside are your nearest and dearest.  Only their closest family and friends attended their intimate gathering and every single person was sooo excited to celebrate with them.

I love this crowd and they really love this couple. Thank you so much for letting me capture this special time.

Congrats you two! 

Carmen + Tasha | Mt. Hood Winter Anniversary | Mt. Hood Wedding Photographer

Carmen + Tasha | Mt. Hood Winter Anniversary | Mt. Hood Wedding Photographer

This was the snowiest and most magical day! I was invited by Emery Adair to join her on this amazing winter styled shoot and had the most fun ever. So many amazing local vendors added their creative genius to the shoot and made it extra special!! We wanted to inspire couples with these romantic snowy vibes and it turned out better than any of us could have expected. Mother nature graced us with fluffy snow to top it all off!

Carmen + Sasha are some of the most gorgeous women I've ever seen and their smiles are freaking BLINDING you guys. I hope you get to meet these ladies because they are the absolute sweetest, especially to each other. Their love is so clear and present in every photo of them together.

All of the participating vendors are listed at the end of the post!

Stylist | Axe and Wedge Events
Dress | The English Department
Florist | Ali Briskey Designs
Rentals | Vintage Meets Modern
Cake | Just A Dash Cakes
Rings | Lady Faye Jewelry
MUAH | Anna Bursofsky
Models | Carmen + Tasha Alo

Faith + José | Rowena Crest Engagement | Portland Wedding Photographer

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Faith + José | Rowena Crest Engagement | Portland Wedding Photographer

This Rowena Crest engagement session is one of the highlights of my year for so many reasons. These two are special to me. They are funny and kind and easy. I first met them last fall when we had coffee to talk about their wedding plans. They don't have that bubblegum romance that you see all over instagram. They make fun of the other person if they're taking themselves too seriously, they laugh about their mistakes and always make truly understanding each other a priority. Their relationship has layers and each one is beautiful. I also don't think it's possible for José not to make Faith laugh in any situation and that's another reason why these two are made for each other. 

For their engagement session they wanted something nature-y and dramatic so we decided on Rowena Crest! We could not believe how freaking beautiful it was!!! It had major Iceland vibes and we were all over it. It was super chilly and windy as heck but Faith and José were total troopers. It's natural to be worried that major winds will mess up your hair but I always tell clients not to be afraid of wind!! It adds such a romantic and magical energy to any photo. Team wind forever!! 

The day after we did their engagements at Rowena Crest, they messaged me with some really beautiful news. It made me remember why I love and cherish this job so much. I'm not just taking photos, I'm capturing history. Your life is always changing and it's impossible to be completely in-the-moment all the time. When I capture your present moment it's so you can look back later and remember every little detail about what it meant to you. For Faith and José, these images are the last moments before something life changing. That's everything to me.

I feel so lucky to be a part of their story and can't wait to capture their elopement in a few months! 

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Lilly | Romantic Bridal Inspiration | Portland Wedding Photographer

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Lilly | Romantic Bridal Inspiration | Portland Wedding Photographer

I'm in love with this romantic bridal inspiration shoot. I wanted to show brides that you can have a comfortable and simple look on your wedding day that still feels like you.

Getting ready for your wedding day can be such a special and intimate time if you want it to be. Whether you're surrounded by your girls or just putting yourself together, it's the beginning of you on your best day. This is actually my favorite part of the wedding day if you can believe it!! I love pulling brides aside and taking some timeless and delicate photos to capture this time forever. I want you to freak out about how amazing you looked on your day every time you see the photos.

With the help of some amazing local Portland vendors, we were able to create two beautiful bridal looks. A little bit modern, a little bit boho and a lot of romance. Arranged For You florals came through with TWO gorgeous bouquets that added so much to the looks. The accessories were so good, I seriously can't decide if I love the Sara Gabriel veil more or that gorgeous Emma Katzka crown. Thanks so much to Portland's a&bé bridal shop for loaning the dress for the shoot and for styling the looks! 

When you're planning out your bridal look, make sure each piece makes you feel like you. Schedule a time to do a makeup and hair trial with your MUA and redo it as many times as you need until you're totally happy! That's what trials are for!! I'm totally the kind of person that would feel super guilty about asking for more do overs so if that's you too, I feel ya, girl. Try on your dress with all of your accessories until everything feels totally right. 

You don't want to look like a stranger on your wedding day, you want to look like your best self. 

Check out a&beé bridal shop's blog post of this styled shoot!

 

Vendors

Dress: Truvelle Alexandra from a&bé bridal shop

Crown: Emma Katzka

Veil: Sara Gabriel 

Florals: Arranged For You

HMUA: Harshita Singhal

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Thuy-Linh + Vy | Castaway Portland Wedding | Portland Wedding Photographer

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Thuy-Linh + Vy | Castaway Portland Wedding | Portland Wedding Photographer

Last fall I got to assist Marcela Pulido at this AMAAAZING Castaway Portland wedding!! We started the day off at the church Thuy-Linh went to elementary school in when she was younger. Does anyone else get choked up over little sentimental details like this or am I the only one?? They had their first look right outside the church. it was seriously the most gorgeous sunny fall day! After they exchanged their gifts for each other it was off to the ceremony with all of their friends and family waiting for them inside. Once they went through all the official stuff, they were officially husband and wife and it was time to PARTAY!!

Their reception was held at Castaway Portland and it's now one of my favorite venues ever!! It's open without feeling overwhelming and it's got all of those good good downtown Portland vibes. Once we got to the venue we met up with the wedding llamas, which was totally insane. I've never been so close to llamas and they literally didn't move you guys. It was so surreal. At first it kind of felt like they were dinosaurs? I hope I'm not the only one that felt that way because it sounds super weird in text (lol). We took their couples portraits nearby Castaway Portland with the llamas and I've never seen something more unique than that! They're so fun and cute and seriously some of my favorite images.

After an amazing dinner (thanks Castaway), the cutest slideshow ever and a cameo from Seal, the rest of the night was spent dancing, laughing, drinking and more dancing. I've never been around a reception that was this wild!! This was such a fun bunch and such a perfect way to celebrate Thuy-Linh + Vy's love. Congrats you guys and a big thanks to Marcela for letting me tag along!!

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