Pose Variety Over Clothes Variety: When it Comes to Outfits - Less is More!
I mentioned in a previous blog about two outfits being our recommendation. I briefly talked about why, but it occurred to me that a photo really is worth a thousand words. Allow me to go on a bit of a visual tangent!
I can sit behind my screen and type a laundry list of reasons why too many outfits can be a disadvantage to your session - which include:
Time spent changing is less time spent cuddling
Too much in too little time could make you stressed and rushed
You’re often forced to trade pose variety when you prioritize clothes variety
Not having a dressing area on location can make it a hassle to get changed on the go
Too many costume changes can dishevel your hair or makeup
Multiple “looks” can become costly
… but rather than over-explaining the problems that arise, I thought it would be more constructive to show how lovely a session can be when most of the time is spent for cuddles and kisses, while also sharing a bit of personal experience in this department!
When my husband and I got married, we showed up to our session at odds, and certainly not in the cuddling mood. Lord only knows what we were bickering about, though I vaguely remember Grant being annoyed about driving out of the way and having to do so much “extra” just for photos. (Update: our engagement photos are still some of his favorite photos of himself and of us as a couple, and he is so thankful that he has them now.) If I know myself, I was probably putting extra pressure on him to run exactly on time, to not wrinkle his shirt, and likely any of the other general nagging things you would imagine. I also remember being stressed that our second outfit idea didn't pan out, forcing us to shoot our entire engagement session in one outfit. At the time, that was upsetting to me.
I naïvely thought that the outfit changes made the photos different. I am so thankful to my best friend, Caitlin Guidry, for showing me that I was incredibly wrong. While she and her husband, Thad, hung out with us and visited during our session, Grant and I were able to re-center ourselves and remember the reason for the photos in the first place. We were very much in love and were getting an opportunity to cuddle, make out a little, and enjoy each other's arms.
By the end of the session, we’d done a 180! As an added bonus, looking through our finished album, the variety was unreal! We had so much time and were blessed to have spent it really enjoying each other. That translated beautifully on camera. They captured genuine laughs, real kisses, and real photos of us taking a walk together or dancing in the woods. Those moments were authentic and unposed; a true collection of little memories we had made during our session. That is one of the most valuable lessons I’d learned, and it’s one we’ve adopted into our own approach when it comes to engagement sessions.
Jacob and Linsey’s engagement session at the Alumni Center on the campus of UL Lafayette is one of my favorite examples of this approach in practice. Without the distraction of too many outfit changes, Jacob and Lindsey were able to focus on each other as we walked around one of the most beautiful places Lafayette has to offer. Simply put, they got lost in each other, and lost in the process, rather than feeling rushed to change and shoot quickly.
In each session we photograph nowadays, we do leave time for the obligatory photos for mom and dad, but spend most of our time letting our couples enjoy their “date.” We strive to sound less like, “face this way, stand tall (aka suck in), okay - 1, 2, 3” and more like “grab your fiancé and take a stroll. If a quick snuggle or kiss feels right - go for it!” You can’t get these sort of natural moments if time isn’t on your side. In those cases - the experience does become much more posed and forced. Everyone has their own approach, but we’ve found the best photos are generally candid and happen on their own, especially in a relaxed format.
Cheers to Jacob and Lindsey for making this session so fun and beautiful. They are a picture-perfect example of what a relaxed session looks like. These are merely a small fraction of the hundreds of great photos we captured during their session!