As promised, I am doing a recap of our engagement photo shoot, which we had last Sunday evening with our photographer, Elizabeth Baxter. What a strange experience, but very fun! To give y’all a bit of background on how we found and chose Elizabeth; I reached out to my friend, who is both a fellow graphic designer and a photographer. I gave her some samples of photographers who I loved, but could never afford (starting prices between $7,000–$9,000—um, no thank you). She then sent me an Excel spreadsheet (clearly a woman after my own heart) filled with potential vendors. Not to be dramatic, but Elizabeth stood out from the bunch in every way for me.
If there was anything in this wedding I was not willing to compromise on, it was the style of photography I wanted. There are talented photographers everywhere—that there is no denying. But as with all artists, they each have a style. For us, I wanted light, romantic, and organic—not dark, heavily saturated, or staged. With that said, it fell into place with Elizabeth and I think we made the best decision.
So now for the shoot!
We met up with Elizabeth at Brandywine Creek State Park, not far from where our first apartment was. We’d never been there and were quickly regretting that—what a beautiful location! I asked Elizabeth (or coerced—whichever you prefer) to choose a location since nothing came to mind that had all we were looking for. She couldn’t have picked a better spot. We went to two locations within the park and moved around in each a few times.
We ended up in the middle of fields, on the ground, in the woods, sitting and standing on a fallen tree (not an easy feat for a girl with vertigo and without her glasses on), on top of a hill—really all over the place. While I have yet to see the rest of the pictures, I’m sure the multiple locations and our two outfits created some great variation.
What was it like?
I don’t know about you, but it’s not often I’m in a photoshoot. The only other shoot I’ve done was for a “sexy” calendar with my packaging class—not exactly the same situation! It was definitely a strange experience; I often felt like maybe I wasn’t doing the right thing or needed to switch it up. However, I had such confidence in Elizabeth; I knew she wouldn’t let it get stale. Of course, one of the first things Nick and I said when we got in front of the camera was, “this is awkward.” It wasn’t awkward because there was a camera right up in our kisses or capturing our loving looks; I just wanted to make sure we were doing it “right.”
But it stopped feeling awkward pretty quickly. Elizabeth was amazing at guiding us, even if we didn’t always do a good job at following directions (I apparently didn’t know my right from my left at one point). I had the advantage of pouring over engagement photos for a long time prior, so I often knew what Elizabeth was trying to achieve, making it easier for me to run with things. Nick had a tough time getting out of his head throughout the shoot (which is safe to say for us both), but I think we navigated pretty well!
The funny stuff
One aspect I always thought about in looking at other engagement photos was how often the smiles appeared genuine and the couples appeared to be laughing. This was where I got caught in my head, “what on earth do they talk about and what the heck is so funny?”
The first time Elizabeth said, “make her laugh,” I couldn’t believe what Nick decided to do. All of a sudden, I hear Nick whispering unintelligible words in my ear, followed by cat hissing. It cracked me up and confused the heck out of me. As we went on with the shoot, it became harder to find genuine laughs, so I took matters into my own hands. Each time she told us to laugh, I let out a massive fake laugh. It was obnoxious, but always turned into real laughter afterwards. I hate to see any pictures she captured during those first few seconds, as they couldn’t have been cute.
We were able to poke fun at ourselves when we were getting too deep in our heads—it was our way of pulling us both out of it.
The mushy stuff
In a photoshoot dedicated to loving on each other and involving someone whose whole blog is about noticing the tiniest moments, there was bound to be some mushy realizations!! I had two notable ones throughout the process:
First, when things got awkward, our safe space was each another. When we felt like we were in a pose for too long or didn’t know where to look or put our hands, we’d just come back to each other. I’d look at him and he’d look at me and somehow, things felt calm again.
The second came when we saw our “teaser” photo. As I said, I’ve seen so many engagement photos and poured over how beautiful and utterly romantic they are. Standing on the other side now looking at ourselves in that kind of photo? Strange.
Nick made a comment about it being such an intimate, romantic moment—almost feeling unnatural. But then my wheels began to turn. In many instances, we see other people’s romances unfolding in front of us. Sometimes in movies, others in real life. As outsiders, we can pick up on that brief moment just before a kiss or the way two people look at one another for just a second or two, but when it’s your own life, you can’t see it from that perspective, so it doesn’t always seem to have the same magic.
Yes, it was a photoshoot and we were guided in what to do, but the tiniest nuances are all us. The way Nick was looking at me in that photo was all us (though I do wish my eyes were open hah). To me, we can finally get a glimpse of ourselves from an outsider’s perspective and I absolutely love it.
I will end the post with the teaser photo we have and will include some more of Elizabeth’s information below. We are so excited to see the rest and are waiting anxiously in anticipation!! I am spending the day finally starting our wedding branding, so more to come on that!!