Five Tips for the Perfect Engagement Shoot + Our Engagement Photos


I was always that girl who was obsessed with weddings and wedding planning. I literally have had a list of wedding vendors I love in both Tennessee (because I live here) and Louisiana (because it’s where I’m from) for years. I knew the moment I saw Greer Gattuso‘s work that I wanted her to photograph my wedding. I’ve been a fan of hers for so long (yes, I had a total fangirl moment and told her at our shoot) and having her there was an absolute must.

One of the reasons I was originally drawn to Greer’s photography is because she uses a lot of film. There is something so soft and romantic, but raw about the look of film. When I was a kid, my mother was a photographer and had a dark room attached to our house where she would develop her own film photos. I think that’s where my love and appreciation for beautiful pictures started.

Whenever we booked Greer for our wedding, we also booked an engagement shoot. Like most photographers, she had different package options to choose from so you can pick the one that best fits your needs. We totally could have chosen a photographer from Nashville to shoot our engagements here at home, but I knew we wanted to meet and photograph with Greer since she would be shooting us the day of our wedding. I also wanted these pictures to feel like Louisiana. There’s something so picturesque about the mossy oak trees down there. I had seen photos of City Park in New Orleans and knew I really wanted to shoot there.

Here are my five tips for the perfect engagement shoot:

  1. Choose a photographer that fits your style. If you prefer highly edited digitals with a  fish-eye lens and high-contrast coloring, then a film photographer with a more natural and soft style isn’t going to be the right fit for you. Create a Pinterest board with photos you like and search for a photographer that fits within that style.
  2. Wear something you feel comfortable in and shoot multiple looks if you can. I think it’s great to shoot in multiple outfits because clothes can look completely different in person and in pictures. Looking back, I love the way both outfits photographed, but felt good knowing I had options. I also think it’s important to choose outfits you feel comfortable in so you are less likely to look awkward in the photos.
  3. You should look like you. Whenever you (or whoever you hire) are doing your hair and makeup you should look like the best version of yourself. I kept my makeup in the same realm of what I wear everyday. I was not going to paint on bright red lips whenever I typically wear rosy-neutral shades. I wear my hair in loose curls 80% of the time so I styled my hair that way. I just think it’s important to remember you should look like yourself.
  4. Pick a location that fits you. I think it’s really cool whenever a couple shoots their engagement photos at a location that has a special meaning to them (example: the spot that you met, where you said “I love you”, or your favorite place to hangout, etc.) For Jeremy and I, we chose a place that felt like Louisiana and that made it special to us. Some of my favorite sessions are whenever I see an “at home” engagement shoot where a couple is literally hanging out at their house. Either way, I just think it’s a nice touch to choose something special or fitting to your wedding.
  5. Have fun and let loose. Fun fact: Jeremy and I actually had a drink in between our outfit changes! We had to use the bathroom across the street in a fancy restaurant to change clothes. I had my champagne to-go in a plastic cup – super classy. But it actually helped us loosen up and relax a little bit more. My tip here isn’t necessarily to get tipsy before your shoot, but to do something that relaxes you and help each other through the initial awkwardness of having someone taking pictures while you kiss.

Let me know if you enjoyed these tips and if you have any of your own in the comments below!

xo, Nicole

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