May 04, 2017
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When Jill first emailed me, it was one of the warmest and enthusiastic emails I have ever received.  Short and sweet, it got right to the point: “I love your photos and want you to be my photographer.  Call me!”  We scheduled a phone call and that was just as friendly.  Within about 20 minutes, we all knew we were a good fit for each other, and started planning their engagement session for Midtown, Detroit.  The only problem was, they live out of state and weren’t coming in for a few months.  Our first attempt ended in a rainout (thanks Michigan weather.)  Our backup date worked and we headed downtown for their Midtown Detroit engagement session.

Our first stop was the iconic and classic architecture of the Detroit Institute of Arts.  The marble building perfectly complimented Jill’s white dress and golden locks.  They were a bit nervous to start, but their nerves quickly turned to smiles when we started talking about how they met and their wedding.  After the DIA, we went to their Midtown Detroit engagement session.

Midtown Detroit engagement session

Midtown Detroit engagement session

Midtown Detroit engagement session

Midtown Detroit engagement session

Midtown Detroit engagement session

Midtown Detroit engagement session

Midtown Detroit engagement session

Midtown Detroit engagement session

Midtown Detroit engagement session

 

After spending some time at the DIA, we toured Midtown, doing both a little shooting and location scouting for their upcoming wedding.  Overall, they had a fantastic Midtown Detroit engagement session. 

Midtown Detroit engagement session

Midtown Detroit engagement session

Sometimes, the engagement shoot turns into a fashion shoot.

Midtown Detroit engagement session

Ok…back to love 🙂

Midtown Detroit engagement session

Midtown Detroit engagement session

By the end of the shoot, the wind picked up and started drizzling, but not before we had snapped enough images to remember the day.  Overall, it was great to spend some time with Brandon and Jill and share in their excitement for their upcoming wedding.  By the end of the shoot, Brandon and Jill were naturals in front of the camera and had decided on the locations for their upcoming wedding.  They couldn’t believe the transformation Detroit has had nor how beautiful the city has become.  They loved their Midtown Detroit engagement session and are looking forward to celebrating down here later this month.

May 01, 2017
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If you haven’t been to Detroit, you are missing out.  There is something special about a city who is experiencing the type of renaissance Detroit is right now.  All kinds of chic retailers, restaurants, boutique hotels, and even sports teams with new arenas are establishing themselves downtown.  With all of the activity and excitement, more and more couples, myself included, are getting married at some of Detroit’s classic venues.  Brian and Cara will be getting married at Detroit’s Gem Theatre and having both their ceremony and reception there.  It only felt appropriate to swing by and incorporate the Gem into their engagement session.  We started off their engagement session at the Detroit Public Library.  Cara’s green dress was a subtle and perfect compliment to the lights of the building.  The limestone facade gave us a beautiful clean backdrop, allowing the focus to be on Brian and Cara. Brian and Cara went to downtown Detroit and has a Gem  Theatre engagement session.  

Detroit Public Library Engagement session

I see a lot of engagement rings; Cara’s is one of the most beautiful I have ever photographed.  The diamond was gorgeous and reflected the light unlike anything I have seen.  Needless to say, she is very proud of that ring and everything it represents.

Detroit Public Library Engagement session

Detroit Public Library Engagement session

Detroit Public Library Engagement session

After a quick session at the Detroit Public Library, we made our way to the Z-Lot parking garage.  Next to it is a tiny corridor that hosts an eclectic mix of pop up art galleries, bars, and graffiti.

Z lot engagement session Detroit Z lot engagement session Detroit Z lot engagement session Detroit

We slowed things down a bit while in the alley and took out the Nikon 45mm tilt-shift lens.  I love this lens for several reasons.  Besides the unique focal planes it gives you, I often times explain to couples that it takes me longer to focus and compose the shot since everything is manual.  What happens next is all natural; while waiting for me, they always turn to each other and the relationship shines.  Moments like this can’t be planned, but must be documented.

Z lot engagement session Detroit Z lot engagement session Detroit

Cara sent me a screenshot asking me, “do you know where this building is?  Brian loves it.”  Again, another Detroit gem.

Woodward Ave engagement session 10

After touring the city, we ended our engagement session at the Gem Theatre.  In just three months, we will be celebrating their marriage here.  After touring the grounds, I wanted to snap a portrait on the stairs.  Cara forewarned me, stating “I am sorry.  Brian and I are so awkward.”  I laughed after I got the shot; there is nothing awkward about two people who love to be around each other.  Spending an afternoon with them, it was obvious they bring out the best in each other.

Gem Theatre engagement session Gem Theatre engagement session Gem Theatre engagement session

The Gem Theatre engagement session is a perfect Detroit afternoon.   Gem Theatre engagement session is located right next to the DAC in downtown Detroit. 

Apr 22, 2017
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It is spring, which means it is the start of engagement season! After a long, dreary winter, everyone is excited to get outside, enjoy the sun, and start taking photos before their wedding day. With my schedule booking up with engagement shoots, I thought I would write a post to help couples plan their perfect engagement session. Check out my 5 engagement planning tips below.

5 Engagement Planning Tips Ann Arboe

  1. Wait until mid-to-late May before you schedule your engagement session.

If you are from Michigan, you could argue there are several signs spring has officially started: Tiger’s Opening Day, Oberon is launched, or the temperature breaks 50 degrees and we all run outside wearing shorts in March! Trust me, I feel your excitement. However, from a photographic standpoint, you want to wait until mid-to-late May before you schedule your engagement session, for several reasons. First, you want the ground to be dry. Whether the bride wants to wear heels or maybe there would be a great romantic shot of you and your fiancé laying down somewhere, doing so on soggy ground isn’t an option. Secondly, May’s weather is perfect for various wardrobe choices. Think dresses, sport coat, jeans, light sweaters, and layers. You can’t pull off some of these looks in the middle of the summer. Lastly, by the time mid-to-late May rolls around, the trees are in full bloom and the yellow hue to nature has turned to lush greens, offering us a variety of beautiful backdrops. On the flipside of the calendar, I try to squeeze in all of my “nature” engagement sessions by the second week of October, while colors are in their peak. Couples need to be flexible in October as sporadic rains can cause shoots to be rescheduled. If you are shooting in the city, couples can still shoot comfortably into November.

5 Engagement Planning Tips Detroit

 

  1. Know what you are going to do with the photos.

Are you looking for a few photos to keep for yourselves and use one for save the dates? Perfect, all you need is one location, one outfit, and about 30 minutes for your engagement session. Are you looking to use the images in a Signature Guest Book or as part of your wedding day décor? Sounds good; plan on two or three locations, outfit changes, and two hours of shooting. Not sure how you will be using them? No problem; do something in between and talk to your photographer beforehand so they can explain some of your options. Knowing how you plan on using your engagement photos is critical in planning your engagement session. Too little time paired up with too big of plans could lead to a lack of options when it comes to fulfilling your plans. Keep reading for more engagement planning tips.

5 Engagement Planning Tips Ann Arbor

 

  1. Your location should reflect your relationship.

The first question I ask a couple when planning their engagement session is, “What do you like to do in your free time?” followed by “What are you envisioning for your engagement session?” The answers to these questions do two things: it opens up lines of communication to allow us to collaborate on the planning of the engagement session and it gives me about 80% of everything I need to plan or suggest locations for your engagement session.

Are you huge sports fans? Let throw you in some Red Wings jerseys and take a few shots in front of the Joe (so sad this was our last season there.) Notice though, I said a “few” shots. As much as you love hockey, you also want to capture some of those classic, timeless portraits.

5 Engagement Planning Tips

I would say the most common combination of locations I photograph on an engagement session is part city-part nature. This gives couples two distinctly different looks and allows them to plan outfit changes appropriately. Speaking of which…

 

  1. Dress stylish, appropriately, but not trendy.

I could write a whole blog on what to wear to an engagement session.  In short, everyone’s style is different; however, there are some general rules to help you pick outfits that photograph well.  Here is a link

  • Too complicated patterns are distracting.
  • Don’t match colors. Compliment! Nothing looks worse or more dated than matching white and khaki outfits. (The fact that I am even typing this is making me cringe.)
  • Be stylish but not trendy. Don’t believe me? Anyone want to look at their awkward teenage years photos? Me neither. Fashion changes and trends change even faster. There are some classics that are both stylish and timeless: jeans with dress shoes, a tailored sport coat with a button down and pocket square for guys; a dress with heels, jeans with boots, a skirt and blouse for women.
  • Add a touch of style with accessories. A rancher hat, chunky necklace, scarf, sweater, or jacket give an outfit a whole new look without having to change the entire wardrobe. It also gives you an opportunity to make your look modern. Again, just don’t overdo it. Only incorporate those accessories in a few of your engagement photos.
  • Match your outfit with the location. Don’t show up to a nature shoot wearing a shirt and tie. That looks silly and out of place. How many people do you know walk in the woods wearing a shirt and tie or skirt and blouse? Me neither.

5 Engagement Planning Tips DIA

BTW Photography specializes in engagement planning tips. 

  1. Get awkward. Get cozy. Get comfortable.

If you are anything like me, I am not a huge fan of having my picture taken. What I am a fan of though is hanging out with fiancée. There isn’t anything that makes me as happy as making her laugh. During our engagement session, I focused more on the experience and less about my picture being taken. And you know what? I loved the photos!

5 Engagement Planning Tips 1

When I work with clients on their engagement session, we try to plan something fun and active into part of the engagement session; something that allows couples to focus their attention on the moment and less on the images being created. We have planned picnics, champagne toasts with macrons treats, ball games, boat rides, even ski trips. The more unique and “you” your engagement session is, the more comfortable you will be and the more you will love your images.  Keep reading for more engagement planning tips.

 

Bonus: Consider connecting your vacation or proposal to your engagement session.  This is the best engagement planning tip I can offer. 

Maybe it is because I am still relishing in my latest Paris vacation, but photographing your engagement session while on vacation could be a great idea. There were so many gorgeous and unique locations for beautiful and intimate portraits while I was in Paris. Whether it was the Lovre at night in formal wear or quietly sipping a coffee in a café, my mind was seeing potential for portrait, engagement, and wedding images everywhere! You don’t have to go to Paris either for your engagement session; there are plenty of unique locations within a day trip or quick plane ride from Detroit.

Engagement session in Paris

 

So there you go! From a photographer’s point of view, these are the things I consider when helping my couples plan their engagement session. The more “you” and the more fun the engagement session is, the more you will love not only the photos, but the entire experience.

Did I miss anything? Any engagement planning tips you would like to share with other readers? Leave a comment or email me and I will update the blog!  Thanks for reading my 5 engagement planning tips.

Apr 01, 2017
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Spring is always an exciting time in Michigan.  The ground thaws, 50 degrees is considered shorts and flip-flops weather, and we actually get to see the sun!  Another reason why Spring is so nice: engagement sessions!  Stephanie and Dylan took me back to their ol’ stomping grounds, Michigan State University, to photograph their engagement session.  MSU has some beautiful backdrops for couples to use during their engagement session.  As we walked the campus, I had a moment of nostalgia as the first wedding I ever shot was actually on MSU’s campus.  Since then, I have been back on several occasions to photograph engagement sessions.

MSU Michigan State University Engagement Session MSU Michigan State University Engagement Session MSU Michigan State University Engagement Session MSU Michigan State University Engagement Session MSU Michigan State University Engagement Session MSU Michigan State University Engagement Session MSU Michigan State University Engagement Session MSU Michigan State University Engagement Session MSU Michigan State University Engagement Session 9

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