I can’t recommend booking an engagement session with your wedding photographer enough. It’s an excellent opportunity to get to know your photographer, who you will be spending a ton of time with on your wedding day.
I love walking couples around finding inspiring backdrops for photos and chatting about their backgrounds and relationship. We also talk about their wedding day plans, and I learn so much about what aspects of their wedding day they are most excited about. Oh yeah, we also get some great photos!
A Downtown Setting
The biggest tip I can give you is mornings rule! Whether you are planning your engagement season in Downton Charleston or another city, the best time of day is always first thing in the morning. The streets are clear of pedestrians and cars. You will have a clean backdrop for your portraits without tourist or delivery drivers walking through the background. There will be fewer cars on the street; how romantic is it to kiss in the middle of a charming, sunlit and empty street! It is even better with a little privacy. So mornings are ideal especially so on Saturdays and Sundays. When the majority of people are sleeping in or enjoying a leisurely morning at home.
I’m a beach girl through, and through so naturally this is one of my favorite locations for an engagement session. The biggest tip here is to plan around the sun. The lighting is softer, more colorful and most importantly flattering at sunrise and sunset. If you are both morning people sunrise is a great option. Usually, it is less windy in the mornings so your hair will look it’s best and depending on the time of year you will avoid the crowds. Random beachgoers in bathing suits are not as prevalent early in the morning. If your not morning people don’t fret, there are several beach locations around Charleston that are secluded I can suggest.
A Park or Plantation
FWI most parks and outdoor venues in the Charleston area charge a fee to use the property for an engagement session unless your ceremony will be on site. The property coordinators usually like a few weeks notice and often require that you photograph your engagement portraits on a weekday or first thing in the morning on the weekends to avoid running into an actual bride and groom or another wedding party on the property. With a park or plantation setting, there is more flexibility on lighting. The trees provide shade and even lighting for several hours but usually within two or three hours of sunset or sunrise is ideal light. That's when you see the sunlight spill through oak trees or dapple the background of a couple embracing.
Make it Personal
Engagement portraits are all about documenting a time in your life when you are coming together as a new family. What is unique about your relationship? Do you like to go sailing together, do you both fish, do you love to eat tacos or ice cream? Is there a fun, unique setting that can be incorporated into your engagement portraits that will make them uniquely yours? If you have a dog that means the world to you and your fiancé bring them along. You can ask a friend to pick up or take your dog for a walk halfway through the portraits so you can get a few with and without your furry friend. Finally, outfit changes are welcome. Bring on the fashion!