Laura + Bob | Downtown Champaign engagement session

Have I mentioned before that I love when I get the chance to photograph a sibling that I’ve photographed before?? I am truly honored that Bob + Laura (whose sister’s wedding I photographed a couple years ago) chose me to photograph their wedding! I still remember Bob offering to help me with my flash equipment when we were forced indoors while a storm rolled through that day. Laura emailed me a few months ago to ask about my services and availability, and we three had a lovely chat over some house-made chips at Harvest Market. I’m looking forward to their wedding at iHotel next May!

So, cute story — these two met at Destihl in downtown Champaign so that’s where we decided to meet up that evening. We made sure to get a few photos with the sign in the background, ad the lovely pink trees were still blooming so we took advantage of those too. It was a gorgeous evening out, so we enjoyed a lovely stroll around downtown and then West Side Park to round out the session. We got so many cute images — it was hard to narrow them down for this blog post! I especially love the candid ones of them laughing!! <3

What to wear for your engagement photos

This is a common question when the topic of engagement photos comes up. I don’t like to tell people what to wear really, but I am glad to offer suggestions of what works well for photos and what may not work so well. You can also refer to my post about tips for looking your best which talks more about your nails, your ring, pets, locations, and what products you want to walk away with from your session.

ice cream engagement session

Dressier or more casual?

Some of my clients lean toward dressier photos (dress pants and shirt, dresses), but I would say the majority of my clients opt to go the more casual route. Jeans always photograph well in my opinion, and as far as colors go, I usually tell people to avoid bright white (it doesn’t expose as well as colors or even off-white/cream), and oranges and reds which tend to reflect back onto your skin. Some patterns and stripes are ok, but just pay attention to how it looks both up close and far away.

The key is to COORDINATE but not MATCH.

Jayme rented this red lace dress from RentTheRunway.com for her engagement session. You can see how the red reflects a bit back on her chin, but the lace texture helps to mellow out the red intensity a bit.

Jayme rented this red lace dress from RentTheRunway.com for her engagement session. You can see how the red reflects a bit back on her chin, but the lace texture helps to mellow out the red intensity a bit.

Comfort is key

Above all, I tell people to make sure they’re comfortable in what they’re wearing. If you’re not comfortable, you won’t look comfortable — If you’re constantly adjusting the fabric or hiding bra straps, or tugging your skirt, you may not be fully comfortable. If you’re comfortable in a skirt, go for it! If jeans are your jam, wear them!

A good friend of mine likes to say “if you look good, you fell good.” So make sure you look good and the rest will fall into place!

Denim always photographs well

Let your location guide you

Most of my engagement session clients opt to do 2 different outfits as well (which corresponds with generally 2 locations). If you’ve chosen an urban location like downtown Champaign, and then a more natural location like a park, two outfits maybe be perfect for you! And this gives you a chance to both dress up and dress down for your session and show your style with 2 different looks.

Above all, make sure your session reflects you. Choose outfits that represent you well, along with locations that are meaningful, and a photographer whose shooting and editing style compliments you.

Five Ways to Alleviate Pre-Wedding Stress

Freaking out about your wedding? You’re not alone. According to a recent study by Zola, 96 percent of engaged or newly engaged couples are stressing out over wedding planning. But shouldn’t the months and days leading up to your wedding be an exciting time? Very much so! But that doesn’t mean it’s all fun and games; planning a wedding takes a lot of work. So, how can you keep your cool in the midst of it all?


The biggest indicator of a healthy, sustainable relationship? You guessed it: communication. It doesn’t do any good to keep all of your emotions bottled up inside. Sometimes all you need is a moment to vent out your grievances to a friend or your fiancé. It’s understandable why you might be feeling the way that you do, and you might even find that others do, or have felt the same.

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alleviate pre-wedding stress

Set Limits

Does your life now seem like it’s been consumed entirely by wedding planning? Do you feel like you can’t catch a break? If so, try to establish some parameters for the sake of your mental wellbeing. Your wedding is coming up, sure, but don’t feel like you must be doing something planning-related every. Second. Of. Every. Day. Instead, schedule out what days and times you’ll be focusing on calling vendors, researching venues, and adding up costs. You won’t believe how much better you’ll feel after a day off.

Don’t Go Over Budget

Weddings require a LOT of money, and for that reason, the wedding itself can be perceived as stressful. While it’s entirely possible to blow your life’s savings on your big day, there are certainly some preventative measures you can take to avoid this. It mostly comes down to establishing a budget that includes you and your fiancé’s combined savings, what you will have saved up by the time of the wedding, and any contributions from family members—then, making sure you stick to it. Looking to up your savings in the months before the wedding? Consider a no fee savings app that’ll jumpstart your budget in no time.

avoiding wedding stress


Another source of stress comes from the fear of not fitting into your wedding attire or taking

wedding pictures when you don’t feel like you’re at your best. To combat this stress, try to make sure you’re exercising regularly. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to shell out the big bucks to go workout at a gym (although if that’s already the case, then kudos to you). You can get a great workout from simply going for a jog around your neighborhood or doing at-home exercises according to a workout DVD.

Hire a Wedding Planner

Whether you’re halfway through the planning process, or just starting out, a wedding planner or wedding coordinator (also known as a day-of coordinator) can be a huge lifesaver when it comes to easing planning stress. That’s because it’s their job to take on many of the responsibilities that are typically left to you. Planners will help you stay organized, create a wedding day blueprint and checklist, and get in contact with vendors. You can rest assured knowing your whole day will unravel according to plan at the right venue, with the best services.

wedding planning can be stressful