Shaunda + Nate | Fort Wayne Botanical Garden Engagement Session

Shaunda and Nate’s downtown Botanical Garden session was unlike any engagement session I’ve done before and it was such a blast!  Since they knew they wanted to get their engagement photos done fairly quickly so that they could use the photos for their invitations, but it was still fairly cold and bleak in Indiana, they asked if I would be up for doing the session at the Botanical Gardens, to which I happily agreed!

If you’ve never been to the Botanical Gardens, (then first of all, you’re missing out, but) the landscape inside is divided into three sections.  The first is a classic garden with more of the typical plants you might see growing in Indiana during the summertime, the second is a tropical oasis (complete with waterfalls, which you’ll see in these pictures) and the third is a very hot and dry desert (complete with cactus plants and succulents, which you’ll also see!).  I’m very grateful for a venue like the Botanical Gardens in Fort Wayne where it’s possible to capture some colorful and lively photos, even in the dead of winter!  I’m also grateful for couples like Shaunda and Nate that are so flexible and willing to work with the surroundings in order to get some really fun and candid photos!  I hope you enjoy some of my favorites from this session!























Shaunda & Nate,

It was so much fun capturing your engagement photos at the Botanical Gardens!  I’m so excited for your wedding and to be able to photograph it as well!

much love,

Gabrielle + Duncan | Downtown Fort Wayne Engagement

Since Gabrielle and Duncan are planning a July wedding, they wanted to do their engagement photos in the winter, so we planned to do this session while they were both in Fort Wayne, Indiana from Indiana University over Christmas Break!  We talked about trying to schedule this session to be in the snow, but it didn’t seem to be in the forecast for the always-unpredictable Fort Wayne weather.  Lo and behold (and to my pleasant surprise) the day of our session, there was a little bit of snow falling from the sky and just enough on the ground to make the world look a little more…whimsical.  BUT, it was veeerrry cold that day as well, so I called ahead and we decided to hold most of our session inside the Grand Wayne Convention Center in Downtown Fort Waynehich has a lot of windows and natural daylight (win!  Natural light is my favorite kind for photographs).  I’ve done a few photo shoots at the Grand Wayne center, but never because it’s been too cold to comfortably do a full session outside.  I became even more grateful for such great architecture in the Downtown Fort Wayne area!   As you’ll see near the end of the gallery, Gabrielle and Duncan were great sports and we did end up going outside for a few photos where I got to take advantage of the snow, buildings and streets as our backdrop!

I hope you’ll enjoy Gabrielle and Duncan’s Engagement photos as much as I enjoyed capturing them!

















Duncan & Gabrielle,

Thank you for spending the afternoon with me and bringing such a relaxed and warm atmosphere to this session!  Your love and playfulness with each other is sweet, and I’m so excited to capture your wedding day later this year!





Preparing For Your Engagement Session

Preparing for your engagement session can be a teensy bit intimidating and possibly a little stressful.  You want your Engagement photos to be perfect, and once you’ve booked and set a date with your photographer, you’re left with the task of making sure you look your best for the photo shoot.  Here’s a guide to looking your best for your Engagement Session!

What To Wear

While it’s more obvious what you’ll be wearing in your wedding pictures, the Engagement session leaves you with more freedom to express yourself and bring more patterns, colors, and styles into the photos than you will probably have in your wedding photos.  As simple as it is, “What should I wear?” is the most common question couples tend to ask leading up to their engagement session, so here are a few pointers for deciding on how to dress for your session!

Paden 3When telling my couples a general idea of how they should dress for their engagement session, I always start by saying that it should be something that they feel represents their style well and that they will be physically and personally comfortable in. By that, I mean that you want to be comfortable (not sweatpants comfortable, but at least not something that will be itchy or annoying throughout the shoot), but also something that you feel like yourself in.  If you don’t wear strapless dresses on a normal basis, it’s probably not a great idea to wear one for your shoot.  If you really like wearing heels and they don’t make you two feet taller than your fiance, then by all means, wear some comfortable pumps!

Secondly, to touch on the “no sweatpants” suggestion from earlier, dress in “Everyday Dressy”.  Something you might wear to church or a dinner party at a friend’s house.  Jeans are okay, but pair them with a nice blouse or button up shirt.  The dressier, the better, as long as you still feel like yourself in what you’re wearing.  

Also, try to stick with something that doesn’t show too much skin.  Your photographer might need to crop the shot in a certain way or shoot from a specific angle, and sometimes showing a lot of skin doesn’t allow those shots to look as good.  As a general rule, if your shirt or top shows a lot of chest and arms, then don’t show too much leg skin, and vice versa.Eric + Danae-11

Make sure you and your Fiance know what the other is planning on wearing and coordinate to be sure that any colors or patterns you’ve picked out won’t clash or look too busy together.  Also, think about the type of weather and location you’ll be doing the photoshoot in and make sure that what you’re wearing will look and feel appropriate.  Obviously, you don’t want to wear a sweater dress for a summer session and be wiping drips of sweat off of your forehead between every pose, and vice versa for a strapless dress in chilly, fall weather.

Last but not least, dress in clothing that accents your assets and camouflages the things you aren’t so crazy about.  This falls in line with dressing to be personally comfortable.  Dress so that you won’t be worried about adjusting, hiding or covering anything during the photo shoot so that you can purely focus on having fun and enjoying your session!

Jewelry + Accessories

V + M Engagement W-30First of all, clean that gorgeous engagement ring so that your photographer can feature it in your photos!  Along with that, make sure you’re happy with how your hands and nails look since they’ll probably be featured in some of those ring shots.  You don’t necessarily need to get a manicure, but make sure you’ll be happy with how your hands and nails will look in any up-close hand/ring photos.  If you do plan to get a manicure, make sure your nail color and patterns won’t be the focal point of the photo and steal attention away from your ring or face in any up-close shots or make anything look too busy.

As far as other jewelry or accessories go, use your discretion.  Wear jewelry that will accent your natural look, but not take the main focus in the photos.  If you normally prefer silver to gold jewelry, stick with what you know you like!  Generally, keep it on the simple side and if you do want to wear an accent piece, keep it to just one. Ask your photographer if you aren’t sure how something will look in photos and don’t be afraid to bring multiple options to ask their opinion on if you can’t decide!

Hair & Makeup

V + M Engagement W-84When it comes to hairdos, there aren’t too many guidelines other than keeping it consistent with how you would normally style it for a semi-dressy event (think date night).  Whatever hairstyle you go with, make sure it compliments the outfit, accessories, and general feel you want your shoot to have instead of it making a statement with it.  Lastly, whatever hairstyle you choose (even if you’re wearing it loose and down), spray a light amount of hairspray over the top to keep frizz and flyaways at bay and out of the spotlight in your photos!

Makeup should typically be just slightly heavier than what you would wear on a normal day since it tends to always look like less behind the lens.  If you usually don’t wear any makeup, wear just a little to give you a polished look and to hide any imperfections that don’t represent what you know you normally look like (Pimples, dark circles, etc).  If you normally wear a small amount of makeup, wear just a tad more and make sure it looks neat and natural.  If you normally wear a full face of makeup, keep your look consistent and don’t go too heavy on any one product (especially highlighter as it can look like oil or sweat in photos).  Give your makeup look a trial run before the actual day of the photo shoot to make sure that it looks the way you want it to and won’t give you trouble halfway through the session (especially if your session is on a hot day and you know you’re prone to get sweaty and/or oily easily)!  As part of your makeup trial, take a selfie outside to make sure you like how everything looks in photos in the daylight (which is probably what your photographer will use to light your session).  

If you don’t feel comfortable doing your own makeup or would rather have a professional do it to make sure that it will look just right in your photos, ask your photographer if they have worked with any makeup artists that they can recommend to do your makeup for your session!

In the end, you’ll look your best when you feel your best!  

Get plenty of rest the night before, make sure you’re well hydrated, and listen to your favorite “sing at the top of your lungs” music on the way to your session to help you feel good on the inside as well as outside for your session.  

Your engagement photos are a celebration of your decision to join your two, unique, individual lives into one.  Choosing to be happy, comfortable, and relaxed will create the most authentic images, so stay true to your own style and focus on your love for each other and your excitement for the future together!  And, of COURSE, have fun!