How To Style Your Engagement Session: Start With Your Why

We adore our wedding photos, but our engagement photos are oh so special to us! They are our first “family photos” and they represent one of the first times that we realized “oh my word, we’re getting MARRIED!” They are our proof of the starting place of our love and we cherish them.

They are also the only images of us hanging in our home.

Ah! Look at my long hair!

Why we took engagement photos

We determined that our “why” was to commemorate our starting place as a family together. We wanted our photos to remind us of how we fell in love with each other while exploring in the city. We determined that we would be hanging these photos in our home and not necessarily using them at our wedding.

Once we defined our why, everything else fit into place around that purpose.

fine art California destination engagement photography

How will you use your images?

When you think through the styling of your engagement session, I’d encourage you to back up and think through what you hope to DO with your photos before you think about where you want to take them or what you plan to wear.

Are you hoping to get comfortable in front of the camera to make your wedding day more seamless? You may want to tell a story of being cozy and snuggled.

Do you want your images to work as wall art in your home? You may want to tell a story that fits cohesively with you personal style and home aesthetic. Is your home light and modern? Rustic and cozy?  

Or maybe you’re hoping for images to use as Save the Dates for your wedding. A story that fits cohesively with your wedding vision might be in order.

What’s your style?

As you begin to think through your story, your sense of style will influence the way that story is told.

Think through your fashion sense and what your home looks like—or how you WANT your home to look. Are you drawn to effortless, comfortable fashion? Minimal and modern? or classic and romantic?

Combining Purpose and Style

If you’re using your photos as Save the Dates and hosting a black tie affair in the Chicago Cultural Center, then a refined and elegant session with architectural elements would make perfect sense.

Fine art Chicago Grant Park engagement photography

If you’re dreaming of a rustic occasion with simple, organic touches, and you’d be most excited a about walking the aisle barefoot, then a session that incorporates that sense of undone elegance (maybe in a rolling field with tall grasses) would be perfect.

Fine art photography of a Lake Michigan elopement

Finding the "why" for your styling helps you get photos that are that much more meaningful, and it also helps us gain clarity on what story we are telling. There are many pretty places out there, but which one is the right setting to tell YOUR story?

One of the biggest issues we encounter in regards to styling a session is fall colors. Obviously the fall color in the midwest is incredibly entrancing and nostalgic, and because of this, every year, our calendar is packed with sessions amid the turning leaves.

But sometimes, when we dig a little deeper, we find that orange really really isn't the main color theme for our client's homes. Yes the leaves are pretty, but do they fit your why? Will the colors tell a cohesive story on your walls? 

Your photos should both reflect your style and fulfill a purpose. And when that happens, you’ll start to see that crazy magic of Fine Art storytelling come to life in your photos.