Lessons Learned from our #esesh

Last weeks engagement session (#esesh) felt like dance classes for our wedding. I never realized the importance of mastering head placement, posture and focusing on certain body parts, rather than others in order to achieve a winning photo. For the shoot, we worked with a very impressive photographer, Teri Slotkin, who had previously snapped photos of me at my Bat Mitzvah, a coming of age in the Jewish faith. Despite my tutu-like dress and rainbow colored braces, Teri managed to produce rather glamorous photos, many of which remain framed in my house to this day. Now, that’s the sign of a true professional.

Ten years later, Teri returned to capture my other half, which would literally complete the picture. In the beginning of the shoot I was noticeably stiff and concerned with nonsense: Was the zipper of my dress off center? Did my hair stylist wisp away any frizz? Was JB embracing me on my better side?

Yes, it’s true. Before our engagement session I believed in the myth of a better side. Don’t most brides favor one side? Anyway, within an hour Teri corrected my long-lived insecurities with her expertise, guidance and a light-hearted attitude in the face of a rather difficult bride-to-be. Much to my surprise, some of my favorite pictures were actually snapped on my “forbidden” side.

Below are a few selects from our #esesh, along with the lessons learned in preparation for the big day:

Even Candid Requires Direction

Looking candid for the camera can be quite frustrating. Teri reminded us that on the day of our wedding there will be many more people, romantic scenery, and additional photographers on-site. One photographer will be designated to capture the more structured, organized family photos, while another will fade into the background documenting the heartfelt kisses and laughter at unexpected moments. And so, for the engagement shoot, due to the restricted nature of the scene (I wore heels and a dress to pose by my couch), organic shots had to be scripted. Thankfully, Teri provided us with direction and flirtatious ideas throughout the shoot, encouraging JB to tell me a secret by whispering in my ear. At one point we actually staged a fall backwards while arm-in-arm.

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Here’s the epic “fall” we took together.

Don’t Always Look at the Camera

Teri was quick to catch my limitations in front of the camera. Sometimes I stared at the lens so intensely, focusing on my smile, that my eyes actually appeared lost in the photo. After gazing at other objects in my house and concentrating on the role of my eyes, the photos began to look more effortless. Take a look at what happened when both of our eyes drifted every so slightly from the camera…

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Looking together towards the big day.

Embrace with Ease 

Since Teri photographed us in several different rooms, there was ample time to pause and think about our progress or lack thereof. It was during these moments when JB would put his arm around my waist and sneak a kiss. Teri would laugh and say, “Now that’s the ideal shot.” Too bad the camera was in the other room. However, toward the end of the shoot, we finally began to embrace each other as if the camera was off-duty. Here’s the kiss that took nearly two hours to achieve…

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Kissing in front of the camera is tiresome! The #esesh pushed our limits (but it was worth it).

Although I’ll never grow old of admiring top models, after our photo shoot, I do not envy their job. Engagement shoots certainly require patience between the bride, groom and the photographer. I am very grateful for Teri’s advice and direction throughout the entire experience. After practicing with a professional, I have no doubt that our wedding album will be wonderful!

I hope the key points below will help other brides let go of petty thoughts and smile confidently in each and every wedding picture:

  • Don’t stare down the camera
  • Posture is pivotal
  • Smile with your eyes
  • Embrace each other with ease
  • Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!
  • Don’t overthink anything, there will be TOO many pictures to choose from
  • Brides don’t have forbidden sides/angles
  • Trust Teri (the chosen photographer)

If Posh Petal and Pearl readers are curious to check out other happy couples, here’s a link to the wonder woman behind the camera: http://www.terislotkin.com

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