Recently we found ourselves admiring some seriously beautiful engagement shots and it got us thinking: this used to be something only American brides did – has this trend taken off in a big way in Australia now too? And what’s the deal with them – was this simply another thing to add to the wedding-go-round of things to have and do? We got chatting to the gorgeous Teneil Kable – an extraordinarily talented Perth-based photographer and got the lowdown on engagement sessions.
Not only will her portfolio single-handedly demonstrate that an engagement session is a good idea, we came away convinced that those American’s were onto something. If you’re planning on getting hitched, it’s not such a crazy idea to have a practice run with your photographer. It gets you familiar with how your photographer works, you become comfortable with being in front of the lens, and when you have your big moment – you’ve already worked out your best angle!
MB: Are more people booking engagement shoots here in Australia?
TK: I think so, I’ve also experienced some go that one step further and have their engagement session before their engagement party so extending their coverage to cover off on the celebration with friends and capturing all the efforts that go into it. It’s exciting and fun!
MB: From a photographers perspective, do you recommend having an engagement session and why?
TK: Absolutely, its a celebration of your engagement and an opportunity to have some beautiful images of the two for you to display on the wedding day or use as your invitations or save the dates, but mostly the feedback I receive from couples is that it makes them feel so much more comfortable on their big day that for the photographer and for the couple – is invaluable.
MB: I think people might expect that in an engagement session you’re simply replicating the same shots that they’ll do for the wedding day – in what way is it more than ‘just’ a practice session for the big day?
TK: I don’t imagine there would be too many opportunities to create an image like this amazing shot (above) of RJ & Grace on a wedding day!
Couples feel more spontaneous, there’s an intimacy of a different kind that seems to appear in the quietness of an engagement session.
I think knowing that there is nowhere that they have to be! As Tom Ford says “silence and time are the most luxurious things today” and it couldn’t be truer that we feel more like ourselves in these moments of luxury.
MB: Should a couple come armed with a few ideas such as props, moodboards, sample images etc, or do you prefer to guide them in what will work best?
TK: I love collaborating with clients. I don’t think props have to look forced, they can be used naturally and effectively but must make sense and be true to the couple and not just something they have seen somewhere and adopted for themselves.
Working closely with couples give me a feel for who they are and what they like, some like to be gently guided and others have ideas itching to share. My part is really just making sure ideas are genuine or working with them to find a way to make it work so the images created are genuine too.
MB: What kind of things should couples thing about before their engagement session in relation to clothing or location?
TK: Its important for people to wear what makes them feel good! I love having my hair done and getting dressed up but I always feel slightly awkward and well just not me. So if wearing something that makes you feel good is a pair of ripped jeans and your fiance’s t-shirt then thats what you should wear. Be true to you!
Consider locations like a music festival you might be going to or your bedroom with fresh white sheets and beautiful window light. Think outside the box and be brave, some of the greatest locations are right in front of us!
MB: Do you like to encourage clients to let their personality show – such as with themed shoots – or do you prefer a more classic, candid approach?
TK: They say beauty attracts the eye but personality captures the heart I think a good photograph does both. Couples personalities can shine through with both themed shoots or a more candid approach, it really comes down to who they are. Choosing what feels right for them and not just because they have seen it done somewhere else is the most important thing. I think if you feel comfortable, only then will your personality show.
MB: How important is it to ‘click’ with a client – does this show in the images or does it just it simply make for a more pleasant experience?
TK: Its important to create an environment in which the couple can connect with each other and not with me, when that happens the images have more feeling and depth to them. That being said if you don’t click with your photographer that environment is difficult to create.
I think our role as a photographer is so much more important then taking pictures its a connection and an opportunity to get to know the people who’s picture we are taking which allows them to feel more comfortable. I guess it depends on the look your going for…but for me I like the people I’m photographing to look at ease!
Image of RJ & Grace courtesy of Teneil Kable.