CREATING ADVENTUROUS love storY FOR YOU

I have posted before some of the reasons why I love shooting engagement sessions. To recap: I love to meet you for the first time in person, it is a good opportunity to “test drive” me as your photographer… to see if we work well together, and it is a real good start to our relationship during the whole wedding experience.

The one wedding vendor (and arguably the most important) that is there from the very beginning to the very end, is your photographer. That means you really want to work with someone that you trust will create something beautiful for you, and that you enjoy working with. Here are some more thoughts on why your engagement session is so important.But today, I want to focus on 5 things to expect when going out with me on an engagement session!

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BRING A CHANGE OF SHOES

BE READY FOR AN ADVENTURE

If you have looked through my Instagram feed for even 10 seconds, there is one common theme through it all… I love the outdoors! And many of the couples that I work with love being outside too! I grew up over in the Virginia Highlands where hiking, fishing, rock climbing, spelunking, canoeing, and hunting are a way of life. I traveled around the country hiking and spending time in America’s National Parks when I was younger, and get this… I even earned the rank of Eagle Scout when I was 17! Don’t even get me started on all of my motorcycle excursions or coral reef dives while I lived in Haiti! So clearly adventure is in my blood!

What does this have to do with my photography? It has everything to do with it! When I go out with you and your fiancé for the engagement session, it is not just about the two of you sitting and cheering into the camera as you did at the Walmart photo studio when you were younger, it is about going outside and being free! It is about feeling alive! This is the most exciting time of your lives, let’s live it up in some epic places. Whether you are looking for a mountain top experience, a waterfall to take a dip in, a horseback ride through the open fields, or a quiet spot in a city park, let’s go do it! Let’s enjoy ourselves and be surrounded by the natural beauty that we find outdoors!

Often times, couples ask me if it is ok if they bring extra pairs of clothes. The answer is ALWAYS yes! Let’s do it! But there is one thing that I always prep my couples with. Many of the locations that I go with couples involve a bit of hiking. Sometimes the trails are well worn and muddy, other times there is not much of a trail at all and we have to blaze a trail of our own. In either case, it is important to always bring a bag of extras. Bring extra shoes that you like to hike or walk-in, bring an extra jacket (this applies to any time of year… weather can change quickly in the mountains), bring snacks, and ALWAYS bring extra water. You may say, “Hunter, we are only going to be out there for a couple of hours… do we really need all of that?” My response to this is always, yes! I have had brides before wear heels to hike a mile round trip on Roan Mountain, and I’ve had couples freeze their butts off because they did not bring extra clothes like I recommended.

All of this said, be sure you are prepared for anything… no matter the weather conditions. If we are all prepared, then we will all have more fun in during our shoot.

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THERE WILL BE LAUGHTER

SHAKE IT OUT... (LOOSEN UP)

From time to time I will get a groom (and rarely a bride), that is not at all interested in getting their picture taken. Sometimes they are in a downright bad mood coming into the shoot, but it is my hope that we can all leave the shoot on a good note. The best way to get the most authentic and organic looking photos is if the couple is laughing. I will prompt you if needed, but it is the job of the groom to get the bride laughing! No matter how we choose to get her giggling or get him tickled, the photos will always look their best when everyone is in a good mood and ready to have fun.

The one thing that I have heard more times than I can count at this point is, “We are the most awkward couple that you have ever worked with!” When I hear this, I just have to laugh. When you look through my social media or my website, do you see couples that look awkward? Do you see couples that look uncomfortable in front of the camera? No way! Everyone looks like they know what they are doing and they look like they are having the time of their lives! Why is that? Why do they not look awkward?

Here is the thing, I am a professional. I know how to direct couples to help them look their best. I will never deliver a photo to you that looks like you are uncomfortable. I will guide you through loosening up. We will have fun. Get to know each other. And through this process, you will see that it becomes easier. Never fear that you will look weird or uncomfortable. It is my job to get you loosened up and help you have fun.

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QUICK DELIVERY

Over the years, I have been able to develop my workflow so that I can get your engagement photos or wedding photos back to you quickly. Typically, engagement photos can be delivered within just a couple of days, and weddings take about a week. It is important for me to get these photos back to you quickly so you can share them on social media, share with friends and family, and get them printed as soon as possible. It is the worst for me as a photographer to see iPhone pictures from one of my couples flooding social media after a wedding. I love to get them back fast so you don’t have to post iPhone photos. 🙂

Additionally, I will always get you a preview of your photos you the same evening, or the next morning after any shoot. Again… that way you share those photos asap.

Engagement sessions are key to the beginning of the photographer/client relationship. It will help break down any hesitations or fears that you may have about booking a photographer.

READY TO BEGIN YOUR ADVENTURE?

INQURE NOW

5 things to expect during your engagement session

5 things to expect during your engagement session

5 things to expect during your engagement session

5 things to expect during your engagement session

5 things to expect during your engagement session

I have found that not every photographer is created equally. What I mean is, everyone is a little different. Some people like their “light and airy,” some like the “dark and moody,” some photographers (especially the much older guys) don’t edit at all. Just because someone has been shooting for 100 years does not mean they are going to be better than someone who has only been shooting for a couple of years.

Be sure that before you start talking to a photographer, check out their IG feed. If you like what you see, then move from there.

If you are not real crazy about their images, then don’t expect them to do any better for you. Also, we photographers don’t like to change our style for what you would prefer. If you don’t like what I produce, then go check out someone else. I am not only a small business owner in the wedding industry, but I am also an artist. These photos are my art and I am proud of that. I don’t want to compromise my artistic flow because someone prefers their photos to fit into a different style.

Photographers typically do things in two different ways. Either they choose to edit the best and deliver them, or they allow the couple to pick from a certain amount of photos, and they only edit that amount. I fall into the category of selecting the best and editing all of those. The couples that I have worked with in the past trust my “eye” for the shot and are always happy with what I deliver. Too, the way I do it typically results in a larger quantity of edited photos delivered to you.

Going back to that first question… Just because someone has shot a ton of weddings does not necessarily mean they are the best photographer in the world. But one issue that a large percentage of couples run into is that when they ask a friend or family member to shoot the wedding, they are not very happy with the results. If you have someone who has shot a lot of weddings, things become second nature. We start to know exactly where to be, and when, to get the best shots. We are also, more comfortable and that in turn calms the nerves of the brides and grooms.

Some photographers want to have control over all photos that are being shared. Sometimes you have to pay extra to gain the right to print or share. And if you are addicted to FB or IG, then it would be torture to not be able to show everyone the photos from your big day. For me, I follow a pretty simple code, I AM THERE FOR YOU!

If you are paying me to come and capture your day, then I want you to be able to have all of the photos I can give. I want you to be able to use them as you want as well! Post those photos in all of their glory for the world to see. The only thing I ask is that you tag me and let the world know who took those amazing photos. 😉

This is very important to ask, because you want your photographer’s interest to be in line with yours. For example, if you photographer says that their favorite part of the wedding to capture is the fun dance party and DJ lighting on the dance floor, but you as a couple are not planning on having a dance floor and are super excited about taking private photos after the ceremony… then there is going to be a little conflict there.

I think for me, my favorite part has to be that post-ceremony time to capture the couple alone. Just me and the newlyweds away from everyone else quietly capturing their first moments together. The overflow of joy and love that I am so privileged to experience just gets me every time!

Many photographers do offer engagement session as part of their wedding packages, but not always. Be sure if you want an , don’t assume that it is included. You don’t want to get stuck paying an additional fee for something that you thought you were already paying for. And for those of you who were considering not getting engagement photos, I highly advise you to do it.

And for multiple reasons. Yes, it is an added cost, but it allows you to meet your photographer and get comfortable with them. It is kind of a bonding opportunity. If you don’t feel comfortable with them at the engagement shoot, or if you don’t like the photos they produce, then you will probably feel the same way about them at the wedding. And listen, you don’t want some strange rando person following you around all day.