Photographer Katie Sica discuses how engagement photos rose to popularity and how you can meet the occasion.
By Lisa Dukart
Photographs taken by Katie Sica at Sheraton Valley Forge Hotel
Engagement photos have become almost as ubiquitous in the wedding planning process as booking a venue. With the rise of photo-forward social media platforms, couples want to not only capture their entire wedding journey but also share it with friends and family. Many now use photos from such sessions on their wedding websites and save-the-dates to add a personal touch. How do you get the perfect photos, and why are engagement sessions important? Here, photographer Katie Sica of Creative Image Weddings in Wilmington, Delaware, who specializes in weddings, engagements and portraits, shares her tips for getting the best photos.
What’s the significance of an engagement shoot in the context of the photographer-couple relationship?
The main goal of every engagement session is to have the couple get to feel comfortable in front of the camera and have time to prepare for their wedding day. I also want this experience to be something they enjoy. Since couples are more inclined to use photos that are meaningful to them and they love, it’s important for them to be involved in choosing the location. I have found that couples who get to have that one-hour engagement session with me before I photograph their wedding have already learned that I’m somebody they can be comfortable with and it’s a great value for the wedding day. They already know that they can look good in photos when they have a professional who’s helping them— and that gives them more confidence on the Big Day.
What’s the best way to loosen up if they’re nervous in front of the lens?
I find that laughter is the best medicine. Or just starting off very candid, maybe walking. I tell them to not even look at me but to look at each other, talk to each other, and laugh and smile. It takes a lot of pressure off of them.
What are some popular locations locally?
Marian Coffin Gardens, Longwood Gardens and Brandywine Park (in Wilmington) are popular. I love it when they have a place in mind, because usually that means it has some kind of special meaning to them.
“I always recommend a photo shoot in the hour approaching sunset, which we call the golden hour.”
What is the best time of day?
I always recommend a photo shoot in the hour approaching sunset, which we call the golden hour. When you have the sun setting, you get more open shade and so you’re not as limited.
What clothes work best?
Whatever makes the couple feel comfortable and is appropriate for the location. For a pair that’s more formal or glamorous, I think it’s very appropriate to wear an evening gown and a tux. Coordinating is important. Colors are important. If you’re doing an outfit change, bring your more wrinkle-prone outfit along on a hanger already pressed.
What about hair and makeup?
If you can coordinate it, do your hair and makeup trial the day of the engagement session. Or at least the makeup trial—you may not want an updo. If you’re doing sunset, you may not need to think about having somebody do your makeup.
Do you recommend vignettes?
I like to also photograph the ring by itself, as well as a couple holding hands to show off the detail of the ring.