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"I Do" like a great engagement session!

Updated: Mar 15

Do you have your wedding engagement session coming up? Don't go into it blindly, read below for some tips and some insight from Wedding Photographer, Lavar Elliott to consider when planning for your upcoming engagement shoot!

Woman wearing eye mask embracing man
Lavar Elliott Photography

Man kissing woman's hand in front of piano
Natasha Herbert Photography

1. Pick the perfect fit! Will your photographer allow time for a change of clothes? Mix it up - one dressy and one casual. Do you and your fiance have a favorite sports team? Wear the apparel! Make sure that whatever you wear are clean, pressed and that they fit! Tight clothing does not translate well on camera. Don't forget to clean the ring!

2. Get Dolled Up! This is a great opportunity to trial run a potential wedding makeup artists.

woman on chair posing with standing woman

3. Know what to expect! Make sure that you touch base with your photographer a few days before the shoot and the morning of the shoot to confirm your time and location(s). Ask your photographer for suggestions and tips.

4. Do you have animals or props that help to tell your love story? Include those too, just make sure to let your photographer know!

5. Prepare your Fiance! Just run through the details with them a day or so before and then again the night before so no one is receiving a crash course on site!

I reached out to Photographer, Lavar Elliott and asked him questions about how couples should approach their wedding engagement shoot.

CK: What do you do to prepare for a couple's engagement session?

LE: Preparation is always important to me. While I must admit, the challenge of showing up at a new location and dashing around to create beautiful images on the fly is exciting… I prefer not to show up and see what we get. Lol. So once my clients decide on a location, I try to visit a few days before the session is scheduled to scout the location. I walk the area to see the lighting, take a few test shots for composition and visualize how the flow of our session with go. Ultimately that means we can spend more time shooting than trying to figure out what's next.

man and woman kissing while walking
Lavar Elliott Photography

CK: Do you have a preference for indoors or outdoors?

LE: While there are a lot of visually stunning indoor locations in the greater Cleveland area, I still prefer to shoot outdoors. I love the open space and utilizing as much of it as possible. The change in the light from one hour to the next can create a completely different mood, especially around golden hour.

man and woman kissing in window shop
Lavar Elliott Photography

CK: What do you wish couples would stop doing at engagement sessions?

LE: Stop trying to be “good picture takers,” be free. What I mean is I wish my clients would care less about doing everything right at their session and instead enjoy this moment in time with this special person they love. Let's stop trying to capture the right shot and instead let's capture the right moment. I like to set a pose and let my clients bring it to life. Cuddle, laugh, cry, PLAY! If you focus on taking a perfect picture, you will fail in creating a memorable moment.

CK: What do you wish couples would do more of during engagement sessions?

LE: Play. If you are enjoying your time with your loved one, then it will show in your smile and your body language. So, come prepared to laugh and play!

man and woman feeding each other ice cream
Lavar Elliott Photography

CK: How do you approach your wedding photography vs. other types of photography (portraits, head-shots, family portraits, etc.)

LE: WOW! Weddings are a completely different beast when compared to other forms of photography. It can be and is a very stressful time for all involved which is why finding a seasoned wedding photographer that loves and understands the details that make up a wedding day is important. At a portrait or head-shot session, the photographer is in charge. I must guide the flow of the session and direct my client, or nothing happens. For a wedding, I must find a way to passively take-charge. I must know when to stay out of the way and let the day unfold. When things start to unravel, I must understand when to quickly and calmly step in to guide the day along. So, unlike my portrait and head-shot sessions at weddings, I tend to hang out in the shadows and blend in with the furniture to capture those subtle moments and help them have as stress-free of a day while keeping things going.

Looking for more information and work from Lavar? Check out his website and social media pages below!


Instagram: @lavarelliottphotography

Facebook: @lavarelliottphotography



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