always been

But I never set out to be a photographer. I was (and still am!) going to be a writer. And then as I worked toward that writing goal, someone put a camera in my hand and asked me to try telling stories with something besides words. So with an English nerd's love for character and tone, a romantic's love for poignant beauty, and a realist's love for imperfection, I dove in.

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always been a

That was back in 2010.

Since that time, photography has changed much of my life. It's brought me some of my dearest friends. It's reshaped the way my husband Danny and I view serving others. It has even literally taken me around the world. One thing that hasn't changed: my soul-stirring desire to tell stories that feel so real you're sure you knew them before you heard them. Or saw them. It's my privilege to tell those stories for my clients, and for the generations of their families still to come.

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Wedding Planning Wednesday # 16: Planning a Publication-Ready Engagement Session . . . And Taylor + Jerry’s Engagement on Borrowed & Bleu!

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

One of the hands-down most romantic engagements I’ve ever seen . . . and which I was lucky enough to get to photograph . . . has been published today! Taylor and Jerry’s fantasy-horse-filled engagement from last February is front and center on Borrowed & Bleu this morning, and frankly, I’m happy for a reason to revisit it. Golden sunlight. Dreamy horses. Spanish moss and tropical palms. What more does a couple need? Oh, just a little bit of love. They had plenty! Swing by to see the full post on Borrowed & Bleu, and leave the pair some love! A big thanks to Erika at Borrowed & Bleu for selecting their engagement session to share!Since we’re on the topic of engagements again this Wednesday, I thought we might as well talk about what you’ll want to do if you’re looking to get your engagement session published . . . or just to have as gorgeous a session as possible. This is the fourth engagement we’ve had published since last spring, we’ve got another one lined up for publication soon, and we’ve shot many more — so here are some tips we want to share with you.

1.) Plan the overall aesthetic of your engagement session.
Brides plan their wedding with an overarching vision. The best engagement sessions are planned that way, too — or turn out looking as if they were. Build an inspiration board to bring together cohesive elements, such as. . . .

2.) Color palettes.
This is important in achieving the overall feel and mood you want at your session, and it encompasses your wardrobe, the surroundings, and any props you use. Want funky, fun, and fresh? Go for loud colors that pop against a more neutral background. Looking for something romantic and dreamy? Think a blend of coordinating pastels for your wardrobe and the scenery.

3.) Chic wardrobe. 
If you want to impress editors (not to mention your grandchildren, sixty years from now), make sure you dress the part for your engagement session. Look clean and kept and well-styled; save the stretchy shorts and logo tee shirts for when you head home from the session to relax.

4.) Props.
Props aren’t essential to getting an engagement session published, but they definitely help — and they don’t have to be things the bride and groom bring to the session; as Taylor and Jerry proved, props can be beautiful horses. Or they can be items you find during the session: Shells, leaves, funny street signs. Incorporating detail shots of props (whether planned or found) is a great way to break up the portraits and is appealing to editors because those types of shots help to make for a beautiful blog post.

5.) Location, location, location.
The setting for your engagement session will play a major role in whether your engagement session gets selected for publication. Choosing a spot that is significant to you or that was the backdrop to an important moment in your relationship is a great way to personalize your session — but take your photographer’s advice. Your photographer will have a good understanding of whether the location you have in mind will provide optimal lighting (which is even more essential for beautiful pictures than a pretty backdrop) at the time of day you’re planning to shoot, or whether there are any other less-than-ideal issues with the location. Work together to choose a location that works well with your overall vision.

6.) Keep it candid.
Blogs want to see a good mix of looks in engagement portraits, which means candid shots are key to getting published. An engagement session that is nothing but portraits of the couple both looking into the camera is very unlikely to get picked for publication, so make sure you spend plenty of time at your engagement session interacting naturally (which are my favorite types of photos anyway!).

7.) Talk it over with your photographer.
If your goal is to get your engagement session published, make sure you discuss it with your photographer well ahead of time. If you have a specific blog in mind, your photographer may be able to help guide you in planning a session that fits that blog’s aesthetic. What is probably a better approach, however, is planning what you want, then discussing what blogs would be interested in that type of engagement session — that way you’re planning these incredible memories for yourself, not for a blog editor who may or may not decide to feature your engagement photos.

8.) Keep your expectations in check and remember it’s all about having fun!
Don’t get so caught up in prepping a publication-worthy engagement that you forget the whole point of the engagement session is to capture you and your special someone during a really important time in your life. You might not get featured in the blog you had in mind — or anywhere; publication is highly competitive, especially when it comes to engagement sessions, since most blogs focus on weddings and feature engagement sessions less frequently. Remember that, regardless of whether you end up published, your goal is to enjoy your session and come away with beautiful photographs!

Planning an engagement session is one of the most fun steps of the wedding planning process, I think. There’s a lot less stress and pressure than with the wedding itself, and there is much more immediate gratification. So enjoy it for what it is — but if you want to see your photos on your favorite blog, I wish you the very best of luck!

~ Laura

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