The wedding industry, along with countless others, came to a complete halt 9 months ago when the entire world shut down to stop the spread of COVID-19. Couples who had spent months planning the perfect wedding were forced to postpone or find new ways to celebrate. Those that were recently engaged found themselves celebrating in solitude rather than with family and friends. Engagement sessions in the middle of a pandemic just weren’t happening. However, as restrictions across the country begin to lift, engagement sessions are starting to pick back up again. To help keep everyone safe while still clinging to normalcy, we’ve put together 10 tips for planning your engagement session during COVID-19.
Mask Up During Your Engagement Session
You’re obviously not going to want half of your face covered in your engagement pictures. Unless you do. We don’t judge. However, in consideration for everyone’s safety, wear your mask when the camera is down. Not necessarily in between each set of shots, but rather when moving from location to location with your photographer.
Mind the Makeup
Ladies, this one’s for you. You’ve either put in a lot of time or paid someone good money to have your makeup done up right for your engagement session. Do yourself a favor and order a plastic mask insert for the day of your engagement session. The last thing you want is the fabric of your mask smudging your makeup. They are readily available on amazon, relatively inexpensive, and 100% worth it.
Have the Talk Before Your Engagement Session
COVID-19 is affecting us all in different ways and people may be taking fewer or extra precautions based on their circumstances. Before the day of your engagement session, it is important to have a conversation with your photographer so that everyone is on the same page. Let your photographer know if your personal situation requires any additional accommodations.
Additionally, be considerate and ask the same of your photographer. For example, if you’ve been following our recent blog posts, you’ll know that Erik’s sister is currently in the middle of her cancer treatment. For this reason, we must be extra careful when photographing your engagement session during COVID-19.
Lens Size Matters
Normally we’re not ones to tell couples to ask their photographers about their gear. We know the gear doesn’t determine the quality of a photographer. For safety reasons, we’ll make an exception. While this shouldn’t be a deal breaker, ask if your photographer has a lens with a larger focal range, like a 70-200mm. The only reason this is important is because it will help create a safe distance between you and the photographer. Generally speaking, the larger the lens, the more space is needed. Alternatively, embrace the environmental portraits that of course include you, but really showcase your surroundings!
Mindfully Scheduling Your Engagement Session
Be intentional when planning your engagement session. Find outdoor locations that will allow for ample space for social distancing or go for unconventional locations that aren’t frequented by many people. Avoid scheduling your session during peak times at that location to minimize exposure to crowds. This could mean scheduling during the middle of the day during the work week or early morning on weekends.
"Hands Off" Posing
We are of the mindset that posing guidance and instruction should always be hands free. Mostly because we want to be respectful of our couple’s personal space and boundaries. However, every once in a while, a skirt gets bunched up or there’s a fly away hair while the couple is already in position. In those instances, it’s usually easier to just ask permission to make those small adjustments ourselves. During times of COVID-19, we’d say it’s worth the extra time it takes to reset the position in order to remain completely hands off.
A photographer with great communication skills and verbal cues will have no problem guiding you to those super adorable “poses”. We use that term VERY loosely, but that’s a topic for another blog. Erik and I like to demonstrate, which always makes for a good laugh and great candid images of our couples.
Plan for Extra Time
With all of the extra steps and precautions that need to be taken, things naturally just take more time. The cost of an added hour of buffer time during your engagement session will be worth it. Extra time will alleviate new stresses that weren’t a problem before COVID-19. You may end up having to wait for a group of people to walk by before taking your masks off. Walking between locations may take a little longer because walking in the heat with a mask on sucks. Your photographer may need to take breaks to wipe away the condensation on their glasses so they can see what they are doing! I mean me, by the way. The point is you don’t want these things pulling away from the time allotted for your engagement session. Get the extra hour.
Trust me, I know the excitement that comes from seeing the magic happening on the back of the camera. I live for it. But, for as long as COVID-19 is an issue, it really is best to play it safe and wait for the sneak peeks to be posted on social media.
Patience Pt. 2
As I mentioned before, some people need to take more precautions than others. Some photographers don’t mind spraying and wiping down their gear as soon as they get home. However, it’s hard to really sanitize every nook and cranny of a camera body AND the harsh chemicals can actually damage our equipment. It’s easier, and probably safest to just set the gear down for a few days and leave it be. Hard as it may be, fight the urge to ask your photographer for images the next or same day.
Don't Forget to Have Fun
These are scary times. We get it. We also know this may be the first time you’ve gone out for anything other than a grocery run. Know that you’ve done everything in your power to keep yourselves safe and really enjoy the experience. It may not be what you originally envisioned. It may require a little extra planning on your part. But don’t forget to have fun with it and enjoy what we hope will bring a sense of normalcy back into your life.