Reflections : Choosing an Engagement Location

Photography

I have opinions. In fact, my opinions have opinions, almost like my mouth is a factory mass producing opinions by the nanosecond. There are times when JD is like, LET ME GUESS YOU HAVE ANOTHER OPINION, RIGHT?! I just feel my thoughts will go wild if they stay locked up in my brain, so cut me some slack!

A few weeks ago, I mentioned my clients choose the location for their engagement session and I don’t have much say in the matter…and I prefer it that way. I want my clients to be invested in the shoot and take ownership in how their love is documented.

Last week, however, I received an email from a client who told me she and her fiance brainstormed locations and thought shooting at Santa Monica Pier would be “easy and fun”. Then she asked for my opinion. This is the part where JD is standing somewhere in the distance whispering, NOOOOOOOO!

The minute she asked for feedback, I knew she was still searching for the right spot and needed a little guidance…here’s my response:

Hi Sonya!
What great email timing you have! Love it! 🙂
Okay, so here’s what I think (and please know I’m only ever honest with my clients)…
I will shoot wherever you think is best and wherever you and Eric will feel most comfortable. More than anything I want the session to truly reflect everything you are and how you love. In light of this, if the beach/pier is a place you spend a lot of time and really oozes how you love, then great! Let’s go there.
If, on the other hand, the location is easy to get to and pretty, then maybe we can add a layer to the shoot to personalize it….because sometimes easy doesn’t necessarily mean the best place for
you. If, say, you’re beach goers and it fits your personalities, which beach do you go to? How far do you live from the beach? Is there any way we can find a location that incorporates who you are and how you spend time together? The sky’s the limit!
I’m great with either option, I just want to make sure you know of all your options. Once we lock in a place, I’ll solidify the time (as it’s based on the available light in that given location).
Can’t wait!!!!! 🙂
Stay Fabulous,
j*

The important thing for me was to act as a guide and ensure the engagement session was a true reflection of their love and this is how I did it. Sometimes offering an honest opinion is difficult with a client, but I couldn’t be more proud of her new location of choice. After thinking things through with Eric, they chose the Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica to start their shoot, as it was where they celebrated their surprise engagement party.

Educating clients, offering insight, and (dare I say) pushing them to define what they want will yield a better experience and likely produce images that appeal to clients’ sensibilities and sentimentalities. I hope this adds a little more insight into how I work with my clients and engagement sessions. When I started my business, I tried to navigate these sometimes difficult conversations so, perhaps, this might help one person find their voice and grow their business stronger in a shorter amount of time.