We discovered Brett Hickman via Instagram because we unintentionally messed up one of his photos when we featured it. You guys - he wasn't even mad or mean to us! There was no yelling via DM or excessive punctuation and you just don't know what that means to me. (Everything, it means everything.) He pretty much instantly became my most favorite person on the planet. Kindness and patience go a long, long way.
If he's that nice to us , I bet he's a dream for his clients . When someone's is nice, I'm always curious about them so I started a little IG stalking. Sorry, I'm a creeper. 🤭 Anyway I was so impressed with his nice demeanor and beautiful work ... I was like "Hey, you're super nice and I'd love to feature you." So, here we are. We're practically BFFs. IG stalking just transitioned into regular stalking. JKJKJKJK.
Ok, let's get on with it. Scroll on down to see Brett's five tips for the best engagement session ever .
Get to your shoot
location a little early and relax
Leading up to your engagement photo shoot, you’ve probably been in a chair at a salon having hair and makeup done, you’ve made last minute changes to your original outfit decisions, you’ve likely helped your partner get his clothes coordinated and top top things off, you’re likely going to hit some traffic on the way to your shoot since it starts right around rush hour traffic.
Unless you’re the rare few that are feel totally comfortable in front of the camera, you may be nervous in general about your engagement session. The last thing you want to do is arrive at the moment you’re supposed to start and feel as though you haven’t had a moment to just relax and gather yourself. Get there early! Listen to some good music, relax, ensure your first choice of outfits are on and you both are ready to cuddle and have some fun with your photographer.
Finally, your photographer has carefully planned for the very best light during your engagement session by not starting too early and not starting too late. If you are late, there’s a good chance that amazing light will run out prematurely… And as much as your photographer would like to, he or she can’t keep the sun out to play longer. So get there early or on time :).
Trust your photographer
You hired your photographer because you loved their style, you liked the emotion and body language of the clients featured on their instagram feed. Let them guide you and lead the photo session.
Every photographer is different. Some give very little direction and provide you a platform to play games, be flirtatious with one another, and other photographers will guide you through every single movement and position to achieve their particular style that you hired them for.
There’s NO wrong way to do it, and both can render great results. The point is this: of all the photographers you looked at hiring, you chose this photographer likely due to their style and the quality of their images that resonated with you. Now let them lead the way and deliver to you images much like the ones you’ve seen them produce in the past.
There’s A LOT that goes into a good portrait that you love (i.e. the lighting, composition, direction, candor and chemistry, etc.). Let them encompass all their tools and experience and utilize them to make great portraits for you. The best gift you can give your photographer is to help him/her out by trusting them to do what they do best: create the stunning portraits you love.
Plan your clothing choices
with location in mind
Some photographers are open to you sending them photos of a few outfit ideas you have in an effort to help you decide what to wear according to the locations you’ll be taking your photos. They’ll help make sure the colors go well together, or contrast perfectly, or even provide the right amount of movement in the photos. I always suggest to my clients that they bring three outfits and plan on wearing two. It’ll become clear which two outfits will work best when you’re at the location. I always suggest that at least one outfit is just super comfortable, looks like YOU and feels like YOU.
A full suit with a tie alongside of a sequin dress may not work well for a rustic, adventure-bound location with trees and fields. A henley and colored jeans for guys, a couple free-flowing dresses for the ladies, with some flats or sandals, or just rock it barefoot (if the location allows and it’s safe to do so) may be more ideal for that setting.
Let your photographer help you decide
on the location of your engagement shoot
Take your photographer’s suggestions. Don’t reinvent the wheel. If you know you want something more “rustic” or perhaps “beachy” or maybe even “urban”, let your photographer know.
There’s a good chance your photographer will have a suggestion or two based on the type of location/theme you’re interested in. Your photographer will suggest choosing the location with the most important tool in mind: lighting. The first essential ingredient for a great photo is LIGHTING.
So when your photographer suggests a particular wilderness park, a beach, or an urban artist district, for example, they’re suggesting that location because they know it will maintain ideal lighting to create stellar images that are consistent with their work - the ones you fell in love with and hired them for. They will also point you in the direction of a location because it provides for a variety of backdrops, epic or simple, as well as other important reasons. Take their suggestion.
If there’s something you’re
self conscious about, speak up early on
If it’s your arms, your chin, your fiancé’s thinning hair or anything else, let your photographer know early on. Your photographer wants to capture the very best images of you both as humanly possible. If a bride lets me know her arms are what she’s self-conscious about early on, I’ll advise her on outfits and such that are flattering the those areas. Additionally, during the shoot, I will take extra care to ensure her arms aren’t the focal point of the image. This may include his arms on the outside of hers, him hugging her and concealing portions of her arms, etc.
Not every single image/pose will address this concern as many images are meant to be fun, candid, unplanned and playful, thereby potentially exposing her arms naturally. That’s where clothing comes in. Always wear something flattering to the areas of your body that you or your partner are self conscious about.
A big thank you to Brett Hickman for the tips and be sure to follow him on IG!