how to prepare for your engagement shoot

Capturing the moment. Photo credit Lilian Haidar.

The fall is proving to be quite the pivotal season for our wedding planning. Last week we finally took our engagement photos and our save the dates will be sent out within a month. Yikes! In the words of Penny Lane, "It's all happening."

While I only have the above photo to show you all for now, rest assured that once we get the proofs, you'll have a whole glorious album of pictures to peruse of Mike and me lip locked. You can send them out instead of Christmas cards! Your friends and family might be a little confused at first, but I think the sheer amount of pigeons will leave them in too much awe to question it.

So, how did we prepare for very first professional photo shoot together?

Mike got a haircut.

Now onto ME.

The planning for the shoot actually begins months before the actual picture taking because you have to account for a few factors right away: your photographer's schedule and the weather. Lilian, being awesome, is mostly booked every weekend with other (lesser) brides' weddings (KIDDING) or traveling to a foreign country to do cool things. Ergo, a weekday shoot was our best option. This ended up being a wise decision because there are far fewer people wandering about the parks and streets, meaning we could actually take pictures on Jane Street without too much fear of being run over by either an actual car or a pack of rabid Japanese Sex and the City tourists.

As for the weather: always have a rain date. New York City is lovely when it's sunny, but who wants to take happy engagement pictures in the rain? We actually rescheduled this shoot twice due to weather, but since I had started planning it over a year before our actual wedding date (holler), I was still left with ample time to figure out an alternate date. Again, I was happy with the outcome because our original date was going to be in June, which would have left me a sweaty mess and with none of the Southern-style volume I wanted for my hair. October was pretty much perfection for a shoot because the skies were clear and bright and the late afternoon/early evening light is really kind of magical.

Once you have your date set, it's on to location scouting. As soon as I get my pictures, I'm going to do a separate post on the exact spots we chose so you can see exactly how everything was staged. Big shout out here to Mike, who went around the West Village with his camera to find the most romantic blocks.

When I was planning for our first shoot, back in June, I was attempting to get myself in tip top shape: no alcohol, lots of water, a facial, lots of exercise, Tracey Anderson training (haaaa). But honestly, by the time we actually got around to shooting in October, I had calmed down a bit about the pre-primping. This, my friends, is very good. One less thing to worry about! Also, between switching face cleanser, cutting down on alcohol and going to the gym more, I felt ... wait for it ... pretty confident about how I'd look in pictures. Jezebel would be proud.

That being said, I was not trusting myself to do either my hair or makeup. Luckily, we live only a few blocks from Drybar, where you can get a blowout on the quick. I loved my stylist, so if anyone is looking for someone, drop me a line and I'll pass over his info. My volume and curls lasted for the entire day.

As for my makeup, I had Meredith pay a house call. I figure, the more my makeup artist knows my face, the better off we'll both be on the actual wedding day. And, guys, the lashes she put on lasted for almost a week. I got stopped on the subway by a stranger wanting to know who did them.

Finally, there's wardrobe. Depending on where you're shooting, you'll probably have at least one outfit change. Lilian came over before we started to see what we had picked out and then decided which combinations worked best together. While my favorite color to wear may be red, we opted for more muted colors so that everything would mesh better together. Always trust the expert.

And then we were off! More photos to come soon.

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