After a week of some extreme heat and a few rescheduling dates because of the rain, we had an absolutely perfect evening for an engagement session. We met halfway at Caesar Creek Park and since Emilee & Cole were unable to plan a beach destination wedding, we had some beach engagement photos right here in Ohio! This session was so fun because it was different and of course I was thrilled their pup came along too! Here are some of my favorites from the session!
So you’ve never had professional photos done before and you’re kind of freaking out for your engagement session. If you’re worried about being embarrassed in public, how your fiancé will react, or just flat out afraid of being awkward in front of the camera, I’m sharing a few tips on how to prepare for your photoshoot.
Finding a location
Some things I like to suggest when choosing a location for your engagement photos is to brainstorm several places that have a significance in your relationship. Is there a favorite park you guys always go to? A brewery? Where did you first meet? Where was your first date? Do you have a cute home together? Do you both love ice cream, hiking, and your dog? I love the challenge of making strange places look beautiful, so even if you feel it’s odd, I definitely want to hear your ideas so I can help tell your story.
Finding a time
The time of your session will most likely depend on what season you are looking to have your engagement photos. I like to suggest at least booking 3-6 months before your wedding day. If you are planning on using these photos for save the dates then I would encourage these photos to be done even before then. I tend to shoot sunrise or sunset golden hour engagement sessions because the light works really well with my style of photography. Consider when the sun rises and sets for your time of the year. Please also keep in mind that many photographers are busy during the weekends, well, because they are photographing weddings of course!
Figuring out an outfit
Try not to be too matchy when it comes to your outfit choice. Find outfits that compliment each other rather than look exactly the same. Solid neutral colors tend to photograph the best in my opinion and try to be cautious with choosing something with a lot of patterns. Consider the weather when choosing your outfit and please make sure you are comfortable!
Day of preparation
Show up on time so we can make sure we get as much use of the sunlight as possible. Schedule a lot of getting ready time too so there is no stress as you’re walking out that door. You can even plan a little date night after to make the most of getting all dressed up together!
Sometimes I will suggest for you two to have a drink together beforehand to loosen up. I love capturing those silly candid photos where your TRUE selves come out, and it definitely helps after you have some liquid courage/giggles in you. I have several other techniques to help with this to make sure you both are comfortable so we can get those cute effortless moments. You do not need to be a pro at this so you can relax and let me work my magic!
Okay, so quickly after creating this list of my favorite Ohio Wedding Venues, I realized I had a lot. I guess this is awesome because I discovered Ohio has a pretty legit wedding venue selection to choose from. As you may notice here soon, I favor outdoor wedding venues. With my style and love for the outdoors, it’s a no brainer that I like to soak up some sun and get natural light for all of your wedding photos. I know, I know, many of you may be rolling your eyes and are afraid to pick an outdoor venue, because, well, it’s freaking Ohio. The weather is as bipolar as you can possible get but this risk is, (in my opinion) totally worth it! Many of these outdoor focused venues have a solid backup option in case of inclement weather and trust me when I say those clear umbrellas can make for some super cute portrait props! Below you will see some of my all time favorite Ohio wedding venues I’ve shot at, as well as a few that are on my bucket list.
Oak Grove - Columbus, Ohio
Get married in a greenhouse, yes please! This truly unique venue located right outside of Columbus is one of my all time favorites. With ALL of the natural light, the newly built reception building, on site getting ready locations, and a perfect tree-line for sunset photos, you will not be disappointed.
The Monastery Event Center - Cincinnati, Ohio
With only being in Cincinnati for 6 months, I have not experienced many Cincinnati wedding venues yet, but I’ve had my eye on this spot for awhile. I had the chance to second shoot here with Kailey Marie Photography and it really is as beautiful as I thought it would be. This renovated church is a jaw dropper and you will immediately fall in love with it as soon as you walk in. This venue is tucked into the adorable town of Mt. Adams which has perfect side streets that make for a beautiful backdrop.
Warwick Farm - Mt. Vernon, Ohio
What I love about this venue is how big it is. This allows for so many different options when it comes to the ceremony and reception setup. There are two different on-site getting ready locations as well as a beautiful reception space open to the outdoors! There are a million different places to take photos here and you can even take a quick trip in the Gator out to the the open field with the sheep and llamas! (Highly suggest doing this!)
Jorgensen Farms - Columbus, Ohio
Back on this list is the other Jorgensen Farms location which is their Historic Barn. Another gorgeous outdoor venue with fantastic indoor options! There is so much color and life at this Farm and there is a lot of space for all of your guest to have a great time! With outdoor games and the open barn feel, this is definitely a spot for all you summer lovers.
The Grand Barn at the Mohicans -Knox County, Ohio
Didn’t I tell you I love the outdoors? This Treehouse wedding venue will give you all of the outdoorsy feels. Another great spot with on-site getting ready rooms and lots of wooded area for photos!
The Club at Corazon -Dublin, Ohio
Italy vibes in Ohio, say what?! The Club at Corazon is another unique location that will make you and your guests feel like you are celebrating in Italy. The club has beautiful views, vineyards, relaxing water fountains, and those gorgeous pillars out front.
Ohio Statehouse - Columbus, Ohio
Although I have not actually shot a wedding ceremony here, I have done many pre-wedding portraits at the Ohio Statehouse. With many different rooms to select from and covered outdoor areas, (perfect for a first look) the Ohio Statehouse creates a classy and elegant look that I love!
These are some of my favorite venues I have photographed over the past few years in Ohio and there are many more I have on my bucket list.
My bucket list includes Juniper (Columbus), Franklin Park Conservatory (Columbus), Hotel Covington (Cincinnati area), The Columbus Zoo, Ault Park (Cincinnati) and basically all of the Cincinnati wedding venues so I can get a feel for my new home!
Just another person over here trying to convince you to do a first look at your wedding. First off, I want to share that I never want to pressure my couples into choosing this option. I believe this is completely your decision and you and your fiancé should decide this together. For me, I am obviously biased because I’m a photographer, and I know a first look allows for more photos opportunities. I love photo opportunities, but I also know not all of my couples will choose this option, and that completely is OKAY! I just want to share some of the main reasons why I do love them so much.
To my surprise, it is usually the groom who is not interested in doing a first look for their wedding. I thought about this for a little bit and then came to the realization, DUH, because of the pressure we put on them to have this huge reaction when they first seen their bride. Not all men will cry when they first see their fiancé in her white dress. If it is not their personality to cry, then that is completely fine and this should be understood. But in reality, grooms will have LESS pressure to have a big reaction for their first look than during the actual wedding ceremony, because the entire wedding guest list will not be there watching. It is a shared moment between you two and just you two alone. If you think about it, you really don’t have much alone time with your spouse on the day of your wedding. Sharing this moment together can be so special and a time for you guys to really soak it in together. Everything is flying by at this point and there is no better place to be than to slow it down in the arms of the one you love most.
Another huge reason why I love when my couples choose to do a first look is because of the timeline of the wedding day. When there is a first look scheduled before the ceremony, this allows for more time for portraits and for photos with the full bridal party. If this important to you, then you might want to really consider doing a first look. Typically when there is no first look, the bridal party is split and one photographer will do photos of the bridesmaids while the other photographer will do photos of the groomsman. In this case, the only time to do the full bridal party photos is after the ceremony. Usually, there is not much of a gap between the end of the ceremony and the start of the reception. If there is no first look that means we have to do family photos, full bridal party photos, and all of your portraits during this short time. By this point you may be completely checked out and just want to get the party started with your friends and family. This is why taking portraits before the ceremony always seems to be way less stressful for everyone.
There is also more of a middle of the road option where couples choose to have a first moment rather than a first look. This can be holding hands on either side of a door, a corner of a building, or even a tree. I have had couples pray together during this moment, read each others letters, and just share this special quiet time together before the ceremony.
There are definitely couples who still wish to take the more traditional route and I am COMPLETELY fine with this! I still love a good mix of wedding day experiences and I love when couples are passionate about their choice. These are just a few of my top reasons to organize a first look based upon my time as a wedding photographer.
Everyone who has a dog can probably say their pup is like family to them. So why not have them at your wedding day?! As much as I’m sure everyone would love to have their dog attend their wedding, there are some obvious logistics to sort out. I am going to help go over several things to consider when deciding whether or not to have your pupper at your wedding.
PS I am biased and my answer is always, “yes”.
Will the pup be in the wedding or just show up for photos?
Some couples feel their pupper should walk down the aisle and actually be a part of the wedding as a ring bearer or flower girl, while others think it may be best to just take a couple of quick photos.
Who will bring the pup to the wedding and bring them home?
Do you have a designated person to be in charge of the pup throughout the day? This person should not be in the bridal party so they would not have to miss any of the important festivities or photos. A date of someone in the bridal party might be a good option or even a cousin or family friend.
Will the pup behave or will they jump all over your fancy clothes?
A big question is always deciding how well behaved the pup will be at the wedding. Will they be super excited to see you and jump all over your fancy clothes, and do you even care if this happens? Lint rollers are always a life saver and if you have a dog I’m assuming you already have one on you at all times.
Will there be any special attire for the pup?
This is always my favorite part. I’ve seen adorable custom made suits fitted for dogs and even a classic bow tie or flower crown for the lady pups are a nice touch.
Should I bring my dog to my engagement session?
As you would probably imagine, it is a lot easier to manage a pup at an engagement session. Typically, if you have a friend to bring along to the session, they can watch the dog and even take the pup home after we’ve taken some good photos. I’ve had couples who will be in a more casual outfit while taking photos with the pup and then change into a nicer outfit when the pup leaves.
Below are some of my favorites of the pups I’ve had the lovely opportunity to work with over the past few years! (I’m missing some photos from older galleries and I’m really sad about it.)
One of the sweetest weddings at one of my favorite Columbus wedding venues, Jorgensen Farms. Chloe and Jayson are the kindest couple you can possibly imagine. They were both full of smiles and laughter throughout the day and you could tell the amount of joy they bring to each other. I couldn't help but smile when they said their "I do's" and as they celebrated down the aisle after being officially announced as husband and wife. They had many friends and family there to witness this day and they had probably one of the most entertaining bridal parties I have ever worked with. They were so much fun! Take a peek at the groomsman photos and you'll see what I mean.
It was extremely hard for me to choose my favorites for this blog! There were so many beautiful moments this day and I can't wait to share the rest with them! Congrats to Chloe and Jayson and thank you for letting me capture your big day! Check out some of the amazing Columbus vendors below!
Venue: Jorgensen Farms
Hair: Nurtur by Aveda
Dress: B Loved Bridal
Shoes: Steve Madden
Makeup: Mother and Sister of the Bride
Florals: Madison House