My First Engagement Photo Session

It was the middle of July and extremely hot. It was also a famously humid Missouri day. We decided to meet at a particular location because I had some ideas after seeing the spot for the first time. As it turns out, the soon to be groom was even more familiar with the location. I guess I can check the location scouting off my list. *nudge* The first picture was taken under a tree with some sunlight peaking through. The tone was a little cooler and made for, what I think, was one of my best photos to date. So, we were off to a great start.Although it was hot, we were already having fun. The soon to be bride and groom are really close to us. In fact, the soon to be bride is my wife’s cousin. This made it easy to go into the shoot since I knew that it would be easy to work with them. I was not too worried about how the pictures would come out.That being said, I still wanted to make the best pictures I could for them. I wanted to tell their story. Plus, I need the photos for my portfolio. WIN-WIN!In my opinion, your first shoot as a photographer should be free to your clients. I have heard from every expert on the internet that you should always get paid for your work. I don’t disagree with them, but I think there is an importance to valuing your first photographic experience before profiting from it. Your first clients are models that get your wonderful work for free and in return, you are building a valuable portfolio. Again, WIN-WIN! Anyway, on with the shoot.I like to think of myself as a fun person. I like to have fun and it tends to keep people natural and not as tense. For some people, it is weird being in front of a camera. I want to make it easy for people to be in front of the camera. I want to capture photos that you will show the fun you had and how you got that picture. I want to simply tell a story. Needless to say, my first clients and I had some fun! But along with the fun, I also wanted to give them some pictures they would love to hang up in their house. I wanted to give them something they could treasure. For your first shoot, I would suggest working with someone you know well. This is what I did with my cousin and her fiance. Working with someone you know gives you the wiggle room to make mistakes and learn and the best part? They won’t be upset with you for it. Well…not too upset anyway.  Also, it’s valuable to think about doing it for free. There is a lot to gain from this, especially if they post those pictures on social media on your behalf. That is free marketing and the world will get to see what you can do! Lastly, just because the photos are free doesn’t mean you should skimp on the work. Treat the shoot as if it is a paid session to help you get in that mindset, that way with your next shoot you will have some idea as to how you want it to go. All in all, you should just have fun and create what you love to create. That is what I have done and that is how I told my story. The best part for me…I tell my story by telling yours.

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