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Engagements, Indiana, Indianapolis, Personal

May 25, 2017

Engagement Session at the Indianapolis Museum of Art: Behind the Scenes!

My last post was all about shooting at the IMA, and I shared some of my favorite photos of Layton and Chelsea’s session there. This week I’m taking you behind the scenes so you can see what it’s really like to shoot (or star in) an engagement session. We will answer questions like: How do people kiss when they have over a 12-inch height difference? Why do men make such awkward faces during engagement sessions? And what happens to all those “outtake” photos? (Like this one:)

For starters, I should say that Layton is my “little” brother (even though he’s 6’4″) and Chelsea is my soon to be sister-in-law. They will wed later this summer in Northern Michigan, but they were kind enough to come down to Indiana so I could shoot their engagement session.

Even though I’ve known Layton since the days I climbed into his crib and covered us both in baby powder, I’ve never photographed him before, and I’ve certainly never seen him so in love!

Since it’s my goal to always capture couples authentically, we spent some time talking about their relationship on the way to the session. When I asked Chelsea to describe it for me, she spent a few seconds thinking and said, “We have such a deep compatibility and companionship. We truly are each other’s best friends.” This was so evident in our session, and you can really see it in these photos.

Of course, not every photo I take is a super-romantic or perfectly composed image. But here’s a secret for you–I actually like some of the “outtakes” from my sessions. If a photo truly captures the couple’s relationship and personality, I will give it to them, knowing these candid moments will make them laugh and remember the day more vividly for years to come. Like these priceless gems I snapped while in conversation with Layton and Chelsea:

I have to say, Chelsea is incredibly photogenic and there were truly no bad photos of her. Since Layton is my brother, I can pick on him a little bit and say he made a lot of weird faces.

The beauty of digital photography is that I can shoot a lot of photos during a session and only keep the ones that are most flattering (plus the very best of the funny ones).

On that note, I’ve noticed that men tend to be responsible for most of the goofy faces and poses, and I asked Layton (as only a sister could) why he was being so weird. He explained, “I have to do it to make her laugh.” Bingo! He’s so right. When I looked at the photos later, I could see it. Sometimes you have to take this picture:

To get real laughter in this picture:

Finally, I promised to address the height difference. A couple’s height can definitely affect the types of poses that fit them, so I try to let them lead or give just enough directions for creating natural portraits. In the case of Layton and Chelsea, their height difference made me get a little more creative with perspective. I really love these close ups and photos from above.

And it turns out that two people in love can kiss no matter the height difference. They just meet in the middle. (It helps if the woman wears heels.)

If you want to mix things up a little bit, so the taller person doesn’t always have to bend down, you can have one or both of them sit to level things out.

Clearly, we all had a lot of fun at this session, and even though I was working with two of my favorite people, I think this is true of all my engagement sessions. I love developing a rapport with my couples and helping to tease out the fun and quirky parts of their relationships. And sometimes you need to get a few awkward photos out of the way before you see the magic shot come together.

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