engagement

3 things you can do to rock your engagement shoot!

DTLA_engagementphotographer

Engagement season is here, y’all! If you haven’t already heard, I’m doing a giveaway through January 27th (my birthday!) to celebrate. One couple will win $300 towards a 2019 engagement or wedding! Today I’ve compiled some of my favorite tips for making your engagement shoot a super success! Here are 3 of my top tips; to get a PDF download of my top seven tips, sign up for my newsletter (and you’ll get entered in my giveaway, too!)

y'all - I get it! you're not professional models. here's a little secret: almost no one is!

Some people are naturally comfortable in front of a camera - others (um, me, for example!) not so much. Honestly, the majority of my clients start off a session by saying "we're SO awkward!" In my experience, here are 3 tips to make you feel more prepared for your engagement shoot (no matter who's photographing it!)


LosAngeles_LGBTQEngagementPhotographer

Tip 1: KEEP MOVING - even just slightly

The number one mood killer in engagement shoots is bringing mannequin moves to the shoot. instead of staying stiff + static, keep moving! It doesn't have to be drastic. For instance, if I asked you to stand still and embrace each other, you could simply move your fingertips, sliding them just a little along your partner's neck/back/waist. Those simple gestures will keep you in the moment with your partner and make the moment feel more natural!

tip 2: DANCE TO THE BEAT OF YOUR OWN DRUM... LITERALLY

Imagine dancing at sunrise on top of a gorgeous beach with your best friend. Now imagine it with your favorite music in the background! Dancing with music > dancing without music. And I can almost guarantee you're gonna do some dancing at your engagement shoot, whether it's on a mountaintop or in your kitchen making waffles. I always do my best to come to shoots with some music ready on a bluetooth speaker or just ready on my phone, which makes a shoot so much more fun! However if you like a specific genre or have a certain playlist in mind, I'm always happy to play music off the couples' phone instead. Music is a great way to tune me + the camera out so you can focus on what's most important: each other!

tip 3: "NO ONE LOOKS STUPID WHEN THEY'RE HAVING FUN." - Amy Poehler

Be ready to have a good time! Before your shoot, try to relax and do something that puts you both in good spirits - maybe grab a tasty meal or hit up your favorite coffee shop. Treat your shoot as part of a super fun date! For so many people, the only professional photos they've had taken up to this point are school yearbook photos. This will not be like that! Be open to a new, fun + memorable experience and try not to take yourself too seriously!

if you enjoyed reading these tips, you’ll love my freebie, My Top 7 Tips to Rock Your Engagement Shoot! subscribe to my email list now to receive this super helpful download.

SanFrancisco_EngagementPhotographer

Getting Started

“It’s not what you know, it’s WHO you know”

aug37.jpg

 

This cliche is true is some industries more than others, but it definitely rings true for the wedding photography industry. Getting to know other photographers, both established and up-and-coming, is pivotal to working in wedding photography.

Several years ago when Instagram was still new, I started following anything and everything that I found to be inspirational and fun. As an avid photography + art enthusiast, I found this applied to A LOT. I followed magazines, illustrators, art directors, street photographers, dog accounts, cat accounts, product designers, tech companies, nonprofits, poets, painters, animators, foodies, night photographers,  friends from high school, models, wildlife photographers, clothing brands, coffee companies, and wedding photographers. Gradually, my taste became more curated and my eye settled into this new social media landscape. My "following" number whittled down as one by one I unfollowed account that no longer spoke to me but one trend remained: wedding photography. But these weren’t the posed, awkward stances of yesteryear. No, these photos were flawed and fearless: they were intimate and close, raw and unposed, and they translated as a documentary-style art form rather than an interfering, uncomfortable bystander’s work.

A girl in my design school program but a year ahead of me at Georgia State University was taking photos that I found myself absolutely in love with. She captured romance and weddings in a dark, moody way that I found mesmerizing. One day on her account I saw a photo of her and her boyfriend in front of the camera rather than behind it. The photo was taken by Vic Bonvicini Bedingfield - I looked at this account and was blown away. The level of vulnerability her photos portray and the intimate connection you can see between couples is inspiring.

So I did what any normal person would do. I emailed her out of the blue.


From: Morgan Pirkle

To: Vic Bonvicini Bedingfield  

Subj: Aspiring Atlanta photographer!

 

Hi there!

I came across your Instagram and was really blown away by your beautiful photos. I'm a senior at Georgia State studying design & trying to enhance my photography skills outside of school. I'm trying to reach out to photographers I admire in hopes of learning more. I was wondering, are you local to Atlanta? If so, I would absolutely love to grab coffee sometime. If not, would you mind if I sent you some questions I have about photography (wedding + travel particularly).

Have a great weekend!

Morgan Pirkle



To my great surprise, this sweet sweet angel replied back. She wasn’t able to meet up for coffee, but she encouraged me to send her any questions I might have.

She signed off:

Looking forward to helping you!

Vic

 

Over the course of almost a year, our email thread grew. Whenever I had a question about posing, gear, talking to clients- I’d try to find information online, and whatever I was still curious about I’d send in a short + sweet email. Within a few days she always responded. She was so generous and open with her advice and her guidance helped me so much more than she could possibly know!

During that time, I worked with other photographers assisting and shadowing weddings. No two were the same, yet I got goosebumps at each ceremony (and I might have cried at one). I began photographing my own clients. I photographed couples, portraits, events, products, festivals, maternity, and families; basically, anything I could get my hands on to gain experience.

KingWedding-70.jpg

Over the summer of 2017 I was offered a job in LA and was beyond excited to move out there. My only stipulation was that it HAD to be after Vic’s workshop in Atlanta, Reset to Rise. On August 3rd, I attended her workshop and at 10:30 p.m. that evening my fiance and I hit the road on our five day cross-country adventure to the west coast.

aug32.jpg

Her workshop was amazing. Vic brings such a unique perspective to photography and her energy is absolutely contagious. She shared her personal journey with photography and the role it has played in her life since. She brought in models and gave attendees the behind-the-scenes version of her photo shoots. She explained how she talks to models, how she makes them feel comfortable - she was so helpful and full of advice.

Since moving out to California I've shot mostly portraits and couples. Before that workshop I knew I had a passion and admiration for couples photography, but that day I realized that's where my passion lies; in creating this everlasting time capsule for couples to look back on. Photographs are a method of documenting our lives. To be able to capture a place and time for a couple, to document this season of life for them is the work I love to do.