It's not often (ok, it's never...) that I get in front of a camera. I prefer to be behind the scenes doing the styling, design and conceptual work, but given my current state (7 months pregnant) and the fact that I am very blessed to know so many talented photographers and stylists, it seemed only fitting that for once I would give myself over to the vulnerability and excitement of being in front of a professional camera.
Not only did I get to experience the relaxation of a morning of hair and makeup styling courtesy of Melinda Brant Hair and Zena Rose Salon, but the experience of being in front of a camera was something that I hadn't done since my own wedding 8 years ago. This served as the perfect reminder as to why I push all of my couples to do an engagement shoot before their weddings.
All The Little Stories Photography (Libby Nelson) patiently listened to my anxious concerns for weeks leading into our shoot. I was nervous about being in front of a camera and I was nervous about being the center of attention, but most of all I was nervous about giving myself over to the hands of others.
OF COURSE the end result was amazing. OF COURSE these incredibly talented artists exceeded my own enormously high expectations for this shoot. And of course I felt like a million dollars once I got in front of the camera and relaxed into the experience. But after these weeks of nervousness and anxiety, I remembered why I always push my clients to consider doing an engagement shoot. It's so crazy being in front of a camera and seeing yourself captured in professional images. Nothing can prepare you for being the center of attention for a professional photographer and for giving yourself over to direction regarding how best to stand or how to position yourself.
I believe in being prepared and the best way to prepare for a wedding day that is filled with beautiful photography is to give yourself and your photographer the advantage of having a trial run (engagement shoot.) Get in front of that camera and get comfortable. Experiment with how to stand, how to move and what makes you feel comfortable. Listen to your photographer as they make recommendations and try to relax! An engagement shoot is the perfect time to get the jitters out and to get to know your photographer before your wedding day. The resulting photos should give you confidence in not only your photographer's abilities, but in your comfort at being a focal point.
And on a personal note, I'm so blown away by how these photos made me feel. In exploring a cityscape with cool urban murals (Allston, MA) and an Ice Castle in New Hampshire, this gave Libby and myself the time to explore a variety of backdrops and natural light and the end result is a series of photos that I did solely for me - to feel good about myself and my changing baby body.
Take my advice and consider adding on the engagement shoot option when you book your photographer. I've never had a client tell me that the experience was a waste of time. If nothing else, you've given your photographer a test run and you know exactly how things will go on your wedding day.
And the fruits of our labor? A great little feature on The Bump regarding how to nail your best maternity photoshoot!