Shoot: The Knot Couple’s Engagement Session
I am so happy to be here talking today about how I shoot an engagement session. Now, I'm excited because in a future lesson, I'm gonna talk about why and how I structure my business to book about 1/2 my clients online. Most of our email transactions are what set us up for the engagement session. This is exactly and precisely what happened today with Samantha and Taylor. The lesson I'm gonna be focusing on is how I shoot their engagement session, but before I get there, I want to introduce, again, Samantha and Taylor to you guys. Now, you at this point may or may not know that they were The Knot magazine's Dream Wedding couple. They were voted by the audience, and, at a later point in time, I was chosen as the lucky wedding photographer. Now, to make things even better, Creative Live joined me for this engagement session because they wanted to give photographers a behind-the-scenes look at my approach and what I do. Now, we're gonna get into those things. Yes, I will be talking about my...
posing, and yes, I will be talking about different aspects of it, but what I wanna focus on specifically is getting a lay of the land when it comes to creating an engagement session, and walking your clients through, and at the end, making them confident as a result. Now, I want to talk a little bit about what an engagement session outline looks like from my perspective. This video will talk about posing, yes, but we're gonna get into actually the theories and my approaches in regards to posing. We address this in a future lesson. That was how to shoot with intention. If you've been with us for the 30 days, you will now see the words that I choose and how I implement them. But the things I want to focus on today will be, one, finding the best place to start the shoot, based on the location that you're given. Secondly, I want to teach you and show you how to create a photo map. Now, a photo map is just a way in your mind, not to share with your clients, but for you to know where I'm going, how I'm going to get there and where am I going to end the session. Now, myself, I usually create these maps based on where I think light is going to be the most favorable at any given point in time. Thirdly, I'm going to talk about how to deal with a difficult location and/or difficult weather considerations. Now, I was not planning on talking about this, but when I got to the session, I realized that two things had happened. It was so much brighter than I had anticipated because there wasn't any trees to cast any sort of shade, and also, it was so inordinately windy. We were shooting along the coast. Everyone's hair was flying everywhere. I kinda had to take these into consideration as we headed into the shoot. Fourthly, what it looks like to actually meet the client for the first time at the engagement session. This could be slightly disconcerting for photographers, so you're gonna see how I do it. I'm not saying that the way I meet clients is the best way. I'm simply showing how I do it so that maybe you can take the things that you like and omit the things that you might not. Fifthly, I want to explain what the client should expect from that session. Up until this point, you know how I prepare my clients, and you know that I have set those expectations via email, but now I will set those expectations as a reminder in person. Lastly, I'm going to be outlining the shoot. Once I outline the shoot, outline the shoot, that I want them to have a good time, that I want them to have fun, that I want them to relax, that I want them to get great photos as a result, then I better deliver on that promise. Right now, I'm gonna show you the video and how exactly all this shoot has unfolded. Hi, guys. I'm extra amped today because we are in Los Angeles, California. I'm here to be shooting an engagement session, but not just any engagement session, a very special engagement session. I'm excited because I am going to be working with Samantha and Taylor. Samantha and Taylor are going to be the couple that's getting married for The Knot Dream Wedding that's going to be filmed as part of this course. This is going to be the first time that I'm meeting them, meeting them in person. We've corresponded only via email, so that's gonna be a little bit, it's a little nerveracking, it's a little exciting, it's a little new. I'm excited to get it all captured on camera. But before we get there, I wanna bring us up to pace. This particular engagement session won't be so much about posing, I don't think. I think what I'm really gonna focus on is the logistics behind planning for the engagement session. Yes, I will be going through poses, yes, I will be showing what I'm doing, but let's start at the beginning and kind of build the building blocks to get to ultimately where we're going to be. Now, I request that all of my couples choose a location for their engagement session. Today we're at Abalone Cove in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, which is Los Angeles. What we're going to do is walk you through where I'm going to shoot the couple. Now, I'm going to be really honest and let you know that I had a minor panic freakout attack because it's so bright right now. It's so bright, it's so windy. When I arrived to this park and cove that I've never shot at before, I realized there are no trees. Or, there's like one tree in a big, massive field. You're gonna see what I'm talking about. I'm gonna kind of walk this way and talk about the things I'm going to avoid. Then we're gonna walk back and talk about where I think I should start this session, based on light. My first and foremost consideration would be light. Kinda let's take a look at what we're given, and then how I'm going to map things out. As I'm walking, what I'm thinking is I have to take wind into consideration. The wind is blowing in this direction. I know that if I shoot back lit for my subjects, her hair will likely come into her face. The minute I got here, I emailed, I texted her and I asked her to bring bobby pins and a rubber band if it was at all possible because it is so darn windy. As I'm walking, I'm squinting, which indicates to me it's far too bright to have my subjects be looking in this direction. That's okay. Knowing this, I think in the back of my mind I'm gonna start the session a little bit slower. I'm gonna start the session slower so that I can buy myself time to let the sun drop. Now, I'm gonna come over here and I'm going to kinda take a look about what I've been given. We're actually on a cliff, which is very common in California. Then it descends down onto the beach. Now, traditionally, I like to save the beach photos 'till the end. I like to save the parts that I'm really excited to shoot in at the end of the shoot because by then, my clients are warmed up and they feel confident and they feel great, and they've had a little bit of experience. But given my light options, so she had said there was two locations. One location was going to be here in this upper area, kind of like a park area. Then another part of the session would be down towards the beach. Well, I assumed that when she had said park, that there would be some trees, and we don't have that luxury, so what I'm going to do is I'm going to ask, I'm gonna take charge. I'm gonna say, "I think that we should start "down by the water." Part of the reason why I think we should start by the water is because I can use some rocks and some shrubbery to actually kind of create more softer light. Hopefully, I'll be able, once I get down there, to see the light diffuse in a different way. Instead of walking all the way down the cove with the cameras, I'm gonna wait until my clients get here. We're gonna talk about a few things. Then I'm going to ask if we could shoot this session down by the water first. I'll kind of sell that idea. Let her know why I think those reasons are and why I think that would work. Then secondly, I'm gonna ask if we can end the session up here, which I think would actually work really well because since we're gonna be elevated, I could shoot at a distance. What I can get is, since we're elevated, I can get the ocean, the endless ocean off in the background. Then hopefully, sunset will work in our favor so that they can be walking, and then we get some nice shrubbery up here in the park area. Just initially, looking at what I've been given, the photo map would consist of probably three main locations. The three main locations would be this park area that I've already discussed. I will probably save for the end due to light and limited areas to create open shade. The second location will be the trail leading us down to Abalone Cove, which is the beach. There's areas that have switchbacks along the mountainside, so I'll probably be shooting them there. It'll probably be the area that I could leverage as much kinda shaded light as possible, which is my number one priority. Then the third location on my photo map would be the beach. Once I actually shoot through the switchbacks, I'm gonna get down to the beach. I'm gonna place them in very basic poses. As I'm putting them in basic poses, I'm keeping in the back of my mind light and location. Then once I have those two things down, I'm then going to move into what the poses will look like. Knowing where you want to start, end and where you wanna go in the middle always relieves stress in a very big way. I'm gonna talk you through when I'm doing that. I'm gonna have somebody off camera reminding me where I'm going in the photo map and why I'm choosing those locations. We're gonna outline it later on, points one, two and three, and then fill in the gaps with the poses in between. I hope that helps. Right now, we're just gonna kind of just chill, hang out. You guys are gonna be looking at each other. I'm gonna be adjusting the light at this point in time, so you guys can just like relax, enjoy. I'm shooting at 2.0, 1/800 of a second. 125 ISO. Ooh, this light is pretty. Now, Taylor and Sam, can you, so Taylor, can you come down? And Sam, can you get up on your tippy toes? You guys are gonna bring your foreheads together. Yes.
With my arms up?
Yes, that's so cute. That was great, that was fantastic, that was beautiful, beautiful. Good. Now peel away from each other, relax. Come down on your, relax your calves, yes. Good, good, good. Now this time what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna have you guys come back together, bring your foreheads in nice and close. You're gonna take a deep breath, and then, Samantha, I want you to look at the floor right in front of you. Then Taylor, wherever your lips land, on her temple, on the crest of her head, wherever they land, a light, light, light kiss. Not yet, I'm gonna count you down. In three, two and one. Come up, beautiful. Good, beautiful. That's exactly what I want you to do, but Sam, your bangs got caught behind. No, they're good now. Taylor, you just land your lips.
About right there?
Yes. Yeah. (laughter) Beautiful. Sam, relax that front shoulder. Eyes here. Beautiful. Eyes here, Sam. Good, good. Relax, good. I'm gonna change it to 1.2. 1/2000 of a second. I'm gonna shoot horizontal.
We've never done anything like this before.
You guys look like pros.
You guys look like pros. You guys, the fact that I don't have to talk too much. I am a talker, though, just naturally. (laughter) This is great. Beautiful. Now, what I want you to do, yeah, Sam, you just relax. Now, can you bring your head to Taylor's chest? Yes, beautiful. Now relax the at front shoulder. Good. Beautiful. Can I have you guys both look here at me? I'm shooting set at 2.8.
In wedges, and I'm kinda like slowly leaning (laughter) because.
Good. It was all part of the plan. Beautiful. Oh, this is nice. Beautiful. We have a very small walkway, but what I'm going to do is you guys are just gonna take your time. As you guys walks and you guys are gonna be enjoying each other, not paying attention to me. Taylor, you're gonna have your hand in your pocket. You actually have really long arms, so why don't we take your thumb outside. Yeah, there we go. Now instead of your hand just kinda dangling, now we have just kinda connection to your body. Sam, you are going to be looking at Taylor. Nice, this is beautiful. I'm gonna be using this area right here, but you guys are gonna be taking your time. You guys are just gonna be.
(speaks too low to hear)
Yes, you had to take time. Yes, you do. Beautiful. Beautiful. Sam, look in front of you. Beautiful, yes. Then eyes back at each other. Nice. Beautiful. Good, perfect. You guys, that was great. That was our first stop. That was amazing.
You can tell us.
We don't know what we're doing.
That was such a great start.
It takes people a while to warm up, but you guys just kinda fell right into it. The light right here is really pretty. Let's see. Taylor, I'm gonna have you here, and I'm just gonna be looking at the way. Nice, now if you could shift your shoulders towards me a little bit. With your feet pointing at me, too. Nice, nice, nice, nice.
You're so (speaks too low to hear).
I agree, and I'm happily married. (laughter) You can sat right here, Sam. Nice. I'm sorry, your back is in his chest. For these right, yeah. This is just, exactly. This is so pretty. Can you guys look out towards the ocean? Nice, beautiful. Then, let's see. Samantha, can you just kinda look down a little? Yes, and then shift your chin this way, and then look down. Beautiful. Taylor, can you look down maybe at her ring hand? Nice. Then Taylor, can you lean down and give her a nice, big bear hug? That, that. Thank you, friends, beautiful. Now peel away. That was so, so, so beautiful, but as he came down, everything was perfect, Sam, and then you brought your shoulders up. This time when he comes down, just be conscious of just relaxing. Just enjoy it. Then as you tip your head that way, I love that, too. Every kind of pose you come into, feel free to hold it. If I feel like it's not working, I'll let you know, but the way your body just laid was perfect, perfect, perfect. Yes, thank you, friends. That's it. Beautiful. Woo! Okay, good. Now, what I want you to do is I wanna create a little bit of movement so that we don't get too many pictures that are all just very posey. You're gonna be holding, you're gonna be on this side. I liked this side 'cause the sun, the light. You guys are gonna be holding hands. Now, exactly. You have such petite hands compared to him. (laughter) oh, my gosh. That's so beautiful. As you guys are walking, I kind of wanna create a little bit of tension. You're going to be leading him by maybe one step. Then every so often, you're gonna get both hands. Can you hold this in this hand? Great. Forgive me, I'm just gonna hold your hand. Great, you're gonna hold hands. You're gonna turn and you're gonna bring him this way. You're gonna kinda create a little bit of tension. You're gonna pull some body weight so that she has to kinda pull you. Then you're gonna look back at me and kinda have like a cutesy. If your hands, his hands, you're gonna look back, kinda simile, look back at him, kinda smile. I wanna do this one or two times. If we get one shot from this, I will be so, so, so happy. Great. Right now my settings are at 2.5, 3/20 of a second, 125 ISO. My focal point will be on Sam's eye. I'm ready for you in three, two and one. Turn back, Sam. Atta girl, atta girl, atta girl. Pull, pull, pull, turn back. Woo-hoo! That was fabulous. It was so good. Now, this time can we do it--
You're so positive, I love it.
It's hard, though.
I'm very honest, too.
This is (speaks too low to hear).
I'm gonna have you guys do that one more time. As you guys walk, Taylor, can you have your thumb in your pocket? Not that, yes, yes, yes, yes. (clears throat) I'm ready for you in three, two and one. Turn, baby, turn. Nice, nice. Turn back, yes, good. Now turn back at me. Turn back at me. Cute, cute. Ooh, we have good options. This is so good. Go, team. Let's head down. What I'm gonna do now is I'm gonna stop in this area because it is, it's really bright light, but I wanna see if I can leverage an entirely different lighting scenario to kinda get the background really blown out. It's nice and golden at this time of day. Also, we're on this dirt path that has just tiny, tiny, tiny bits of clayish or terra cotta that I really think is gonna be beautiful. We have some people walking behind our subjects, so I'm gonna set them off to the side, and then I'm gonna set them up with the focus to be on her ring, and just slight portrait. I'm gonna crop this pretty tight just so that I get this general idea of just maybe the bottoms of their faces and her ring. You can just relax, take a deep breath. Always make sure that this shoulder is, beautiful, beautiful. Then bring your bodies closer together. (clears throat) I'm gonna shoot this at a 2.0. Great. My settings are at 2.0, 12/50 of a second, 125 ISO. Sam, can you look at the floor? Can you look at my hand right here? Beautiful. Now just relax--
Do you need me to smile when you have me look down?
I want you to give me a couple looks. I want you to be completely confident in yourself, I want you to smile, but if you do smile and you're looking down, it seems a little inauthentic to be, right? It's like a slight smile, pleasant face. I'll let you know when I want those kinda nice, big smiles. Nice, right there. Beautiful. Beautiful. It's okay, take your time. We'll get that hair back. Yes, Taylor, yes. Relax that front shoulder. Beautiful. Then squeeze her in nice and tight, Taylor. Yes. We're gonna get your hands back to where they were. Bring those torsos in. Actually, Sam, you stay up. Taylor, you come into Sam. Boom, yes. Then, Sam, can I get your? Yes.
Can we still look down?
Yes, yes, yes, yes. Beautiful. Thank you, guys, thank you. Woo, good. This is so cool. Okay, guys, let's hang out here. Depending on where your body lands in relation to this, just kind of lean. Then as you lean, kind of fall into the weight of your thighs and knees. It'll bring your body down a tiny bit, and we'll get Sam in nice and close. It is a little cold, I know.
(speaks too low to hear)
Is your second outfit a little bit warmer?
No. (laughter) What I'm looking at right now is that she's really cold. We're in the shade. I don't really have a really awesome natural reflector in front of them. I'm just trying to buy some time right now. It's really stinking bright. I'm putting them in the little bit of shade that I can find. I'm going to (clears throat) do a test shot. I'm placing them within the frame of the palm tree. She's leaning into. She's leaning into Taylor. What I'm doing is the sun is behind them, but there's this palm tree that's actually blocking the center or the nucleus of the sun, which is allowing me to shoot back lit without too much sun flare, which is fantastic. I just need to make sure that this is my position so that I don't have to use my hand as a lens hood, which means I'm gonna go in now and I'm gonna switch her position ever so slightly. This is fantastic, guys. Sam, actually, that right there was exactly what I was gonna ask you to do. What we're basically doing is just opening your profiles 'cause I'll be shooting it from that direction. This is great. Now, I love your, (laughter) I love your hands here. Then if, after a while, you want to rest them here or rest them here, you totally do that. I'll be talking to you guys from a distance. Cool. I'm at 2.5, I'm at 1/1000 of a second, I'm at 125 ISO. This is where I'm going to kind of stay 'cause I don't want to blow out too much of the background. Beautiful. Can you guys bring your foreheads in nice and close to touch? There we go. I'm switching, but I'm gonna keep my body in such a way that the tree will then block the nucleus of the sun. I'm gonna put my subjects in the, hopefully, into the last 1/3 of the frame. Can you guys both look here? Bring your faces in a little closer. Oh, that. Relax that shoulder, relax the smile, Sam. Atta girl, beautiful. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Now what we're basically going to do is just have you guys walk with the palm tree behind you guys, but I'm gonna start with Taylor here so that I get some nice, beautiful sun behind him. Beautiful. Yes, let's see. Actually, Sam, let's get you on that side. Let me see how that looks. Guys, what I'm gonna do is I love the position that you guys are in right now. I love it. Sam, you're a tiny bit behind Taylor. That's fantastic. I'm gonna shoot this two ways. I'm gonna shoot it one from that perspective so I get the sides with everything behind you guys, and then I'm gonna come in the front and shoot it this way. Just make sure that you guys kinda keep that.
Are we walking that way or this way?
Great question. You're gonna be walking this way, but I understand that you guys are gonna take a few steps, and then kinda go around there. That's okay. Hang out one second. I'm shooting at a 2.5, 1/1000 a second, 125 ISO. My focal point is on Sam. Taylor, can I get your thumb in your pocket? You guys are gonna start walking nice and slow, and you're gonna be looking out, you're gonna be looking at Sam. Sam, you're gonna be looking at Taylor, on the ground in front of you or at the ocean. If you have to hold your hair if you look out, totally fine. Work with it. We're just gonna let the wind go, and however you feel great is exactly what I want. Exactly.
What about my hair? (laughter)
Your hair's good. Still looking good, Taylor.
(speaks too low to hear)
Fantastic. I'm ready for you guys. Take your time, Sam, take your time.
Actually, I want her to take her time. The sun is way too bright. The slower she is, the better I feel. Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful, Sam. Look out towards the ocean, Sam. Heck, yeah. Great. I'm gonna have ya guys peel back. Beautiful. Looking out towards the ocean, Sam. Nice. My focal point's on her, and I'm switching my focal point as she walks, or I'm just gonna stand with them. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. Awesome, I love it. Sam, I'm gonna take you here. I'm gonna do throughout the shoot maybe just some shots of Samantha and some shots of you. Samantha, I know it's gonna feel weird, and these are a little prickly. I'm just gonna have you stand right about. Let my try to open this up a bit. If I can have you right about here.
Wedges in the wildflowers. (laughter)
Good. I placed Samantha up on an incline, which means I would, because I'm so short and she's on an incline, I would be shooting up at her. I don't wanna shoot up at a girl. I kinda wanna be eye level. I just kinda looked around, and thankfully there was a rock here. I'm gonna stand on the rock, which is going to give me about four to five inches, which is fantastic. Now, I asked Sam to stand in the weeds. I'm gonna be using the weeds and the fence in the background to kind of create a horizontal line. I'm gonna be shooting this really (clears throat) on the wider side. I'm gonna just do a test shot real quick. Here it is, hang out. Beautiful.
You'll have to let me know if I need anything.
Oh, no, no. You're flawless right now. I know you guys have been kind of kissing a little, so that's gonna.
Maybe a little. (laughter)
Maybe before we do the next set, but right now, it's just gonna be kinda like a beauty shot. Just the wind's gonna be going, we're just gonna get a nice. Just relax the smile. Because we have this like lots of wind going on, I kind of just want you to, well, one, feel beautiful behind the camera. I'm behind the camera, not thinking, oh, what is she doing? Why is she doing that? I'm behind the camera thinking I want you just to let go right now and get a beautiful shot that Taylor will put on his desk, keep on his phone. Just a nice, beautiful portrait. The sun is behind you. We have this nice, beautiful wind coming around. If the hair whips across your face, I'm gonna let it roll with it until I stop it and we pat it back down. But right now, it's fine. I like the way your hands are here. In a couple seconds, in a couple of minutes, whatever you want, you can cross them. Yes, beautiful. Then once you cross them, you can hold a bit of the hair. Oh, yes, that. That was great.
I always do that.
That was great. That was great, I loved that. Then as you do it, you commit, you hold it here, then bring it on down 'cause we'll work in the ring finger, beautiful. Then just kinda hold the edges. Then you're gonna kinda tilt your head a little bit this way and then bring the chin to me. I'm gonna be talking you through all of this. There's not gonna be a right or wrong. Cool. I'm standing on a rock that is off, off kilter. (laughter) We're gonna try to do the best we can, given what we're given. There we go. Beautiful, relax the smile. Can you look down at your hands? Take a deep breath. Oh, then just bring your eyes to me. Thank you. This is it, beautiful. Eyes now at your hands again. Eyes here. Heck, yes. Oh, good.
That face is okay?
Oh, that face is good. Oh, no.
I'm so used to smiling so much. It's so weird to not.
But when's the last time you really had a professional photo session?
Exactly. Now that we have that nice, solid look that I absolutely love, now we're gonna be moving the hands this time. Beautiful. Eyes here. Adjust the hair with your hand. Beautiful. Now, this time as you adjust your hair, there's a slight change in light. The clouds came in front of the sun, but I think so far we're still okay. Beautiful, yes. Now look down. Beautiful. Eyes here. Good.
I'm just (speaks too low to hear).
Yes, yes, yes, yes. Then can you just bring down the back? There we go. There we go. There we go. Bring all your hair. That's beautiful. That's beautiful. That's beautiful. Relax the smile. Beautiful, eyes down. Good. This light right now is so stinking beautiful. Now I'm gonna shoot this vertical. Eyes here. Can you get the back of your hair and just comb it back this way? That's beautiful. Yes. Yes. Hang out one second. (clears throat) My focal point is on the eye closest to me. Good. Eyes down, take a deep breath. Good, eyes here. Ah, woo! Good, yes. JD took Samantha and Taylor off to a different location real quick, just to give me a few seconds to bring us up to speed with what's happening so far. I started the session. I'm gonna be completely honest. I had a complete freakout moment of this is too bright, this is too windy. I think that the odds are stacked against me. But so far, so good. I'm taking the very limited space that I have and trying to make it work. But more than anything, what I feel like I'm trying to do is make then really comfortable and give them the confidence that I think they need to really shine. We just came off the session of watching Samantha really bloom in front of the camera. I absolutely love the portrait that I got of her. I think it will look fantastic in black and white. Now my goal for this next part of the session is to focus a little bit more on Taylor. We'll do a couple more movement shots with them, but up to date so far on our shooting map. Our shooting map has just been the trail back down to this area. That's point one. Now we're gonna head out a little bit more towards point two, which is by the ocean. That's kind of where we're gonna head right now. We'll do Taylor, we're going to do an outfit change. We're gonna be by the beach. That will kind of work us through the second part of our photo map, so let's go. Let's just try this first. I kind of like it kinda going up. You can scoot as far back, as close, however you. Yeah, yeah. That's nice. I love the way that your hands are crossed right now. Then in a few seconds, I might have you just open them so that they dip down in between your legs. No, still with the hands on the knees, but instead of, so like that. Kinda just, exactly. But first here, second here. Then I'm just gonna have you look out. We're thinking of kind of sitting court side, but extra pensive 'cause you're at the beach. But don't worry, I'll make it look cool. You gotta trust me on this one. (laughter)
Looking out here the whole time?
No, I'm gonna have you rotate. Right now, I'm just gonna test the light. Exactly. Then if I want ya to look at me, I'll let you know, but right now, we're just gonna chill. I'm gonna test the light. Right now, I'm overexposed, and it's still really, the sun is still really high in the sky, so it's gonna be competing behind Taylor's head. What I want to do now is just kinda compensate for the light. I'll be using my hand as a lens hood. Yeah, this light's now fantastic. I'm at 2.0, 1/2000 of a second, 125 ISO. Nice. Kind of like a slight smile. Nice, can you look up towards the cliff? Yeah, there we go. Because the sun is behind him, it's getting a little harder to focus, but now, once I lock in. Great. Can you release your hands? But then less kink in the. There we go. There we go, there we go. Now, I like the way that your right hand is placed. With your left hand, can you maybe put it up on your arm or your knee? Yeah, that's good, that's good. This is nice. Can you look here at me? Chin down a tiny bit. Nice. Now by me shifting this way, I'm not gonna have to use my lens hood so much. My lens hood, my wanna-be lens hood. I'm gonna switch my settings to 1/1600 of a second. It's slightly darker. Look out towards the ocean. Yeah, nice, nice. This is it, the is the one I'm liking. I can already tell. Eyes here, slight smile. Nice, thank you. Fantastic. I'm gonna come back to this spot because I really like what's going on with it, but I'm going to bring Taylor and Sam into this little nearby area. It's called Portuguese Bend Nursery School, but it looks like it's been abandoned. We're just gonna kind of take a walk and see what's in there. I'm going to place my subjects in an illuminated area. Then the things around them are going to be underexposed, but I'm gonna try to do it in such a way that it conveys like a candid, voyeuristic kind of appeal. Let's see how this works. Sam, can you back up, all the way, put your back? Then Taylor, you come in, come into Sam. Let me see if I like that better.
Okay, I like point one first. This is what just happened, is that Taylor, his body in the middle was bisected in such a way because I have his leg up to level out their heights a bit. He just looked like he was stuck in the middle. Now that I have him resting and he's relaxed, I'm gonna bring Samantha into that frame. We're just not have them pay any attention to us whatsoever. I really want this to be a candid moment. I'm gonna check my settings. I'm gonna keep 'em like this. I'm at 2.0, 1/1600 of a second and 125 ISO. Again, I'm trying to build a frame within a frame. Now what I want you guys to do is bring your bodies in nice and close. Yeah, yes. Now, Sam, I like where your legs are there. Then after a while, I want you to put your hands around his neck. A little bit further back. Yes, that, and then you're gonna bring that in. That's point two. Perfect, I'm gonna start off. The light did change. I'm gonna do a test shot one more time because the sun is coming in, and I have to compensate. I'm gonna go down to 1/1000 of a second. That's from 1/1600 down to 1/1000. Beautiful, friends. This is so beautiful. For a few shots, I'm letting the sun come in. I'm gonna step in, crop the sun out. I'm gonna see what that's gonna do later on in post. Beautiful. Let's see, let's bring your faces back so I can get both your profiles. Yes. Sam, when you go to pose two, hands around the neck. Beautiful. Bring 'em in for a light, yes. Woo! Friends, we're looking fierce. I'm gonna step in a little bit closer. I'm gonna do a test shot, let me see where my light is. I'm gonna keep my light there. Now, Sam. I'm actually gonna drop it to 1/800 of a second. Relax that arm. Yes, and then bring the elbow just slightly, rest your elbow on the lip of his arm. Yeah, right about there. Beautiful. Woo! Good. Beautiful. Oh, I'm just so dang happy right now. I'm so dang happy. Okay, great. This is actually a perfect spot for you guys to change. What's going on right now is Samantha and Taylor brought a few outfits. They're asking, depending now that we've, we did the switchbacks down the hill. We're gonna be actually headed down to the beach. They said, "What outfit would probably work best "in that scenario?" I'm gonna be partial and think, just due to the light and that it's an engagement session, we have two options, or a couple options, for dresses, but because it's so windy, I'm gonna stay away from the shorter of the two, and kind of err on the side of maybe going for one. Now, because we already have a fitted dress. Ooh, sorry.
These two are very similar, but this is cute.
I like the cutout from the back. This is really cute. Let's do this one. Let's do that one. We'll keep these really casual. I know that you have a pair of flats. You can go barefoot or flats because we're gonna be walking on the beach. Whatever you feel most comfortable in. I'm gonna stick away from the white shirt since you're wearing a white dress 'cause then it would just be too matchy match. I'd maybe go with the black shirt if that's okay. Great, awesome. Thanks, guys. Taylor, I actually want you to sit the way that I had you. Nice. Then Sam, I'm gonna have you right about there. Beautiful. I want you to interlock your right. See, that's beautiful. Now, because you're so petite, I don't want you on the decline, I want you even higher. Yes. Due to my angle, you just make sure that your knees are kept closed, and you're fine. Though right now, it's beautiful and it's fine. You're gonna interlock your arm around, yeah. It's beautiful. Bring the hair out a little bit from behind his arm. Yep, there we go. Beautiful. Oh, this light. I'm gonna shoot this at a 2.8. I'm at 125 ISO. I'm gonna go up to 160 ISO. I'm gonna do a test shot real quick. I see that there's a trach can in the background, so I'm gonna reposition by body to crop that out now so I don't have to deal with it in post. I'm gonna do a test shot. You take your time, Sam. Take your time. This is beautiful. This is absolutely stunning. They're laughing. This is great. This is great. That's cute. Actually, can you guys go back to looking at each other? Taylor, you fixing her hair was adorbable. You guys just own that. That's cute. (laughter) Good. Now, Taylor, can you put your hand underneath her chin and guide her in for a light kiss? Woo! Good people, this is it. Good. Hang out there for one second. Beautiful. Beautiful.
I'm gonna get lipstick (speaks too low to hear).
I'm gonna switch my settings. I'm at a 1.2, 1/1600 of a second, 160 ISO. Beautiful. Sam, you just relax the smile. Beautiful. Eyes down. Then, Taylor, can you look out towards the ocean? Actually, look at my finger. Chin down a tiny bit. Good. Slight smile, Sam. Eyes here, Sam. Yes. (laughter) Let's go down to the beach. What I want you to do is because we're going down an incline, let's see. Taylor, I'm gonna have you make maybe two steps ahead 'cause that'll even out your height. You're going to be, it's more of like a chivalrous shot. You're making sure that Sam is coming down nice. It's very light.
He's good at that.
Okay, good. Good, good, good, good. I'm gonna position Taylor. Taylor, you go down. I'm gonna shoot this at a 2.5. The focus will be on Taylor because Samantha's back will be to me. I'm shooting this at 1/1000 of a second, 2.5, 160 ISO. Great. I'm ready for you. Then you guys are gonna slowly start walking down. Start walking, yes. Yes, yes, yes. You pull her. Look back at her, nice. Good. Good, beautiful. Now, let's see. Sam, lean back a little. Both hands. Yeah, beautiful. Good, hang out there. Taylor, can I have your thumb in your pocket? Yeah, just like that, just like that. What I did is I put them on steps to roughly put them at the same height. I'm shooting at 1/800 of a second, 160 ISO, 2.5. Beautiful. Now what I want you to do is, Taylor, can you come into Sam? Come into her? Nice. Nice, nice, nice, nice, nice. Oh, this is cute. He's just kinda looking at her, laughing. Beautiful. Good. Sam, can you look over at JD? Good. Then, Taylor, you're looking at Sam. That's cute, guys. Yes, take your time. Good, okay, let's walk. The light is changing. This is so beautiful, but I'm afraid I'm gonna lose too much of it, so I wanna be extra, extra, extra careful about what's happening. I know that she's getting cold, and I don't want her, this experience to be ruined because of the weather, so I need to work as quickly as possible. Rad, so you guys just stay there for a sec. Aw, this is so darn pretty. I'm gonna shoot that quick. Oh, yes. Yes, yes, stand on the rock. You're so brilliant. Turn towards each other. Get up on your tippy toes. Yes, lean down into her, Taylor, yes. Kiss her forehead, Taylor. Taylor, can you? Yes, thank you. Beautiful. Good, now for this photo, Taylor, I want you to wrap your arms, yes. Actually, just stay there. That's really pretty. Just relax, bring all the hair to one side. Yes, okay, so the sun is coming out. I'm gonna have to fight that. I'm gonna switch my settings. As she's fixing her hair, I'm gonna get a test shot. I'm at 12/50 of a second, 2.5, 160 ISO. I'm getting a lot, a lot, a lotta haze, which is not my friend right now. I'm gonna try to find a focal point that's gonna lock. You guys take your time, beautiful. Actually, Sam, you just let your hair go. It's fine, it's beautiful. Yes, eyes out. Come in, yes, there we go. There we go. Hang out one second. The sun is behind you, so it's making it a little bit difficult. It's nothing with you, it's just how long it's gonna take my camera to focus. I'm at 1/1000 of a second. I'm gonna use Taylor's body to block the sun, which now I feel like I'm. Beautiful. There we go, good. Now what I want you to do is, if possible, I'm gonna see if it's gonna work, is Taylor, can you bring your legs, your ankles a little closer together? Then, Sam, I want your hands around his neck. Then, Taylor, I want you to wrap your arms around her and pick her up a little, but don't pull her all the way like this. You just kinda pick her up so that she's elevated a tiny bit. Then just be conscious of your legs. Don't lock the knees. Kinda flick your legs ever so slightly. Not like 1/2 bent.
Yes, yes, yes. Hang out one sec. I'm gonna get my settings right. I love this light right now. This is beautiful. Good. (laughter) That's good. Let's try that one more time. This time, he'll lift you up, and then you kind of flick your legs. Let's try that, let's try that. (laughter) Good, good. Now, this time, get on the rock. Now, Sam, I actually like that better, you leaning back, all your hair. Then, Taylor, you come into her. This time, can you guys bring your foreheads together? Oh, yes, there we go. Forget the leg flick. (mumbles) Beautiful. Hang out one sec. Whoa, the sun came out. I shoulda done it at 1/1600. I was actually at 1/1000 of a second. No bueno That was so pretty. Hang out there, hang out there. Sam, can you get the little hair that's in your face right here? Good. There we go, now we're gonna look better. Sam, can you look in front of you? Yes, there we go. The light changed again. I'm gonna have to compensate tremendously. I'm going down to 1/1000 now. Beautiful. Now what I'm gonna do, I'm gonna have you guys take a couple of steps towards me. When you guys walk. (laughter) When you guys walk, careful for your hands not to come up. They're just gonna be nice and, there we go. Then, Sam, you take all the time you need. Looking at each other. Beautiful. Taylor, I'm gonna have you sit as comfortable as possible. Then, Sam, you'll be right here.
Take your time, take your time. This is what's going on right now. The sun keeps on coming in and out and in and out, which is beautiful, but I really want a cloud to come over it 'cause then I don't have to fight so hard for my focal point. I feel like my camera's trying to bite at the focus, and we're gonna see what transpires right now. Taylor, can I have you put your hand on your right knee, Taylor? Yes. Then, Sam, you put your hand. No, no, no. No, no, no, no. I got that, I got that, I got that. Then just relax your hands. There we go, nice. Yes, you guys are just looking at each other. Now the light is exactly what I wanted, this is exactly what I want. I'm at 2.5, 1/1000 of a second, 160 ISO. They're not looking at me. They're close to the same plane of focus. I could shoot it at 2.5 so I can get this nice, beautiful focal and light behind them. Now what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna shoot at 1.2, getting reactions from her. Then I'm gonna flip it and get reactions from him, which makes a great story in a slideshow. Beautiful, yes, good. Do that one more time. Bring the hair from this side of your, wrap it around. Yes, yes. There we go, good. Good. I'm gonna flip. Cool. Now I'm gonna get Taylor talking and chatting with Samantha. I'm cropping you out from the waist up, so you don't have to worry about that right now. Let's see. Taylor, you're talking to Sam. Sam, you're talking to Taylor. There you go. There we go. I'm at 1/2500 of a second. I just need one shot of him looking at her, kinda laughing, smiling. There we go, they were there. Almost, come on. Sam, can you whisper something to Taylor in his right ear? (laughter) Thank you, good. You guys can peel away from each other. (laughter) There it is, there it is. Word, word. Let's do this, friends. Let's head out. Actually, I'm just gonna do one shot of you guys looking out, looking out. Standing here, looking out into the ocean. I'm gonna shoot it from up there. I'm at 4.0, I'm a 1/2000. Hold on a second, let me get my settings. I'm at 4.0, 5/100 of a second, 200 ISO. I am getting a tiny bit of the staircase in the lower right-hand corner. I'm gonna drop down to 1/400 of a second, and I'm okay with that. Can you guys just hold your hands center? Yes. Beautiful. Looking at each other. Then lean down for a kiss. Taylor, lean down, yes. Aw, that's great, guys. That's fantastic, that's fantastic. Let's head up. Since it was slated for 7:30, which we're not gonna really get 'cause the clouds came in, but I'm thinking if you guys are okay, maybe changing into one last outfit and shooting up top with some nice, flat shrubbery. Then we'll get the views of you guys up top coming down. There's gonna be like 10 minutes left up there.
So far, you guys, we coulda ended this session 30 minutes ago and we'd been good. This is fantastic. We just ended part two of our shooting map, which is down on the beach. We had some great light, but what I noticed as I was shooting was that the clouds and the fog are coming in really quickly, so we're not going to get a true sunset. Sunset today is slated for 7:30. It's now about 6:45, which means I won't be able to take the shoot as far as I wanted. As a way to manage my clients' expectations, I told them, "Hey, we're gonna end at sunset. "Sunset should be around 7:25." I now know I cannot possibly end at 7: 'cause it'll be far too dark. As a way to kind of manage their expectations and exceed what they're expecting, I said, "Since you brought a third outfit, "why don't you guys change into the third outfit, "and then we'll end up on the field." In case we don't make it to 7:30, which we probably won't because of sunset, at least they'll have a third outfit and feel really great about having enough diversity in the portfolio so they won't feel like they were chinced or cheated as a result of just what the weather is. We're headed up, and we'll see you guys up there. I'm gonna shoot a little bit wide, so you guys'll be small in the frame. We're gonna kinda just set the scene. We'll have you guys walking this way. I'll be talking you through what that looks like. Then I'm gonna put you guys here in this small field, and then I'll shoot you against the tree. Then we end it. There's vision, there's vision here. Taylor, I'm gonna get you closest to the railing. Sam, you'll be on the inside of it. Good. Yes, Taylor, both hands in your pockets. You guys are gonna be walking alongside the gate. Now, I do know there's a sign in the background right now. I'm just gonna wait for that to roll out. Nice.
(speaks too low to hear)
Yeah, we're gonna get you, let's get you by the side of the tree. (laughter)
Run into that one. Might be a good.
These shots are basically just gonna be to set the scene, tell a story as part of the slideshow. Taylor, can you look at Sam? Sam, can you look towards the sun? Beautiful. Sam, can you look back at that? Yes, there we go. Beautiful, beautiful. Good. Now what I'm gonna have you guys do, if possible. I know we're not supposed to climb the fence, but if you guys can do it safely. I just think if I get you on this side of the fence, I can get you right here, and get all of the ocean behind you, which I think it would be something to fight for.
Taylor is that rebellious Midwestern.
But I don't want you, you're so petite. I want you being extra careful. Let's get Taylor on the other side first.
We got this.
We hop fences all the time.
Nice. I wanna get you guys right over there. Careful for the cactus, though. That's the scariest part. Right there would be great. I don't want you going any further. Good. Now, Taylor, can you get on, let's see. Sam, scoot over to the left a tiny bit. Then, Taylor, if you get on that side. The sun just came out, so, Taylor, turn your chest towards Sam. There we go. Because the sun came out, I wanna make sure that the sun is behind them. Then Taylor will be blocking the sun from Sam. Taylor, can you turn your right shoulder in towards Sam a little more? There we go, there we go. I got more of an aerial kind of perspective standing up on the gate. Now I'm gonna pull back to get a little bit of a wider perspective. The problem is the gate will still be in the way. Can you guys look out towards the ocean? Yes. Yes, okay, this is it. I like it. She's so tiny compared to him, but I think it's working. My settings are at 2.8, 1/400 of a second, 200 ISO. I'm gonna switch my perspective. I'm gonna slip in through the gate. There we go. (grunts) I did, I slipped through the fence. I wasn't as brave as you guys. Now, Sam, can you have your back in Taylor's chest?
Yeah. Beautiful. Then get all the hair. Taylor, yes, yes. Taylor, yes, yes, yes, yes.
Taylor's on hair duty.
He is on hair, he's so good at it. He's so good at it. Good. Sam, bring your right shoulder more towards me.
The other one.
Then put your hand, arm on the inside. There we go. Yeah, there we go. Beautiful. Oh, this is really nice. (sneezing) Bless you. (laughter) That's great. I wanna make sure (mumbles) laughs. These are great. Now what I want you to do is, Taylor, can you get the hair that's up on top? Just kinda pat it. Yes, there we go. Good. Because there is such a height difference, I would love. Let's see, Taylor, can you square your shoulders towards me? There we go, beautiful. Your arms are gonna be around. Then, Sam, can you just have your hands? Yes, there we go. Here in this photo, I'm just gonna be using your body, Taylor, as a frame for Sam. I'm gonna shoot this at a 1.4. I'm at 200 ISO, 35 millimeter and 1/1000 of a second. Beautiful. My focal point is on Sam. Actually, I can't shoot this vertical, I don't think. I'm gonna shoot this horizontal 'cause I was losing it. Taylor, can you rest your head? Open up your legs. Careful for the, there we go. Good, we're gonna let that hair whip around. It's all good. We're just gonna let it go. Look down, before. Relax that right shoulder. Take a deep breath, shake it out. Beautiful. Eyes here. Beautiful. Now, I want you on the incline. This is the last shot. Careful, there is a cactus there. You're on the incline, you're gonna turn towards Taylor. Taylor, there's a cactus right behind you. There we go. Turn towards Taylor. Thank you guys so much for doing this. This is our last shot. Put your hands underneath Taylor's chin. Then guide him in. Hang on, there's a person walking, hang on one sec. Good, now you're gonna guide each other's faces in for a nice, light. Yes, there we go, friends, there we go. Now, we're still shooting at a 1.4 because, oh, this light, beautiful. That again, and then relax that front shoulder. Yes, atta girl, yes. Woo! We're done, friends. Two weeks before you guys see all the photos, but I'm gonna really try to expedite it. I wanna show you guys as soon as possible and get a sneak peek, at minimum, a week, a week from now, if not sooner. You guys, thank you.
Thank you so much.
We just ended the engagement session. I could not be more happy with how things fared. I'm gonna be honest. For the video crew and to my amazing husband who joined this shoot, I extend my sincerest apologies to y'all 'cause I wasn't the happiest camper. I think I had a little bit, or a lot, of an attitude, and I can say that now. But I think that the stress that I was compartmentalizing was the fact that I felt like I was up a creek without a paddle. I think it kinda goes to show that even if the clients, there was about a 13 to 14 inch height difference, even when it's so bright and there's not any open shade, and even if you really don't know exactly where you're going or how you're gonna get there, at the end of the day, if you set up a photo map, if you approach a shoot with confidence and if you try in every situation to find some sort of positivity, it does end up working out. I think just kinda changing and recalibrating where you're going with the intention, with the intention of saying I'm shooting up in the field, I'm shooting down at the beach and I'm shooting through the switchbacks as we go down, that's gonna make the biggest difference. Having said that, the takeaways would be stay positive, stay focused, have an intentional plan and be definitely open to how things might re-navigate, and then get recalibrated as you go through the session. I'm so excited for today. I look forward to kind of delving into the befores and afters as we get into post-processing and what the shoot looked like in its entirely. I'm excited to share the gallery soon. Thanks, guys, so much for joining us. Have a great day. I am absolutely smitten with this couple. Samantha and Taylor were so incredibly nice, and they were so incredibly kind. Even though it was very cold and even though it was very windy, they made the best of it. Because they made the best of it, they absolutely loved their photos. In a future lesson, I'm going to show you how I cull the images from the shoot. I'm also gonna show you how I edit the images from the shoot, and the things that I used to make the photos look the way that I want them. Also, I will be talking about how I use these images as marketing resources. Yes, for my business, and yes, to make my clients happy, but what I want to do is I want to empower the creative team in advance, and give them another reason to support and get behind this wedding. Now, on that note, I wanted to share an email that Taylor had sent after they had seen the images from the engagement session. As a photographer, it's easy to feel a little worried about what their response will be. When I had released the slideshow to my clients, I got a phone call from Samantha. She was in tears. She said, "Thank you. "Thank you for showing how I love Taylor "in a way that other people can see," which was moving and it was lovely. But then Taylor, being just Taylor, the wonderful guy that he is, emailed. He said, "Jasmine, this is Taylor. "We just wanted to send you a quick thank you note "thanking you again for an absolutely incredible, "your absolutely incredible work. "The fact that you got this done this quickly "is simply amazing, and Sam and I feel "absolutely like the luckiest couple on Earth "to get to work with you. "With that said, these photos "are out of this world perfect. "I don't know how to express to you in words "how happy these make Sam and I. "It literally brought tears to our eyes "when we had the chance to go through them together. "We are so excited to share these with friends "and family, and will surely look into "purchasing some prints from the gallery. "We can't wait to work with you again. "Seeing how happy you made Sam with this shoot "is one of the best things I've experienced "so far during this journey. "So thank you from the bottom of my heart "for providing that for us. "The pictures are beautiful. "You were an absolute delight to work with, "and we couldn't be luckier to have you "as our wedding photographer. "Lastly, Sam and I feel it is only right "to extend an invitation to you and your husband "to our welcome event the evening "before the wedding. "It will be at the blank in Sonoma "from six to eight p.m., with light snacks "and drinks provided. "We would love for you just to come as you are, "get to know everyone and enjoy yourselves. "I'm sure we'll talk soon, but once again, "thank you for all your hard work "and providing us memories that will last a lifetime." Taylor and Sam. I don't know why I get a little choked up. (laughter) I feel like it brings so much satisfaction and gratification to actually reach to people, show their love. But what I think I get a little bit moved by is that Sam and Taylor, they share a simple love. The fact that they are inviting JD and I into that, the fact that The Knot is covering this wedding. Otherwise, they would not be able to afford to get married. The fact that they're having a small, intimate welcome dinner with their closest friends and family, and they invite my husband and I to join them, without any preconceived notions of us shooting, means so much to me. It means that they value me as a person as much as they value me as their photographer. I hope the same for every photographer. We have prepared to get us to this point. We have set our expectations. We have outlined what we wanted, and then we deliver on that. Because we do it so articulately, our clients feel loved and they feel supported. I want the same for you. On that note, totally had a girl moment, (clears throat) we're gonna get to our homework. I'm gonna do this in a manly voice as much as possible. What I want you to do at your next photo shoot, I want you to arrive at least 30 minutes early and create a photo map. It's easy to feel overwhelmed and completely like life is against you when it comes to light and weather and maybe location. But what I want you to do is I want you to assess the location, and I want you to establish where you're going to start the session, where you're going to pause the session so that your clients will have the opportunity to change if that's something they want to do, and then I want you to also know where you're going to end the session because if you could tell your clients and keep them up to date, it lets them know that you are prepared, and then they trust you. Lastly, I want to remind you, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. What I want you to do is I want you to know where you're going. Once you know where you're going, I want you to create a mind map of how you're going to get there. It will make you feel more confident and assured that you can deliver on the end product. Thank you guys so much.