Ernie + Kristi | How to Plan Downtown Grand Rapids Engagement Photos


If you're reading this post, more than likely you're trying to figure out what you should be doing for your engagement photos. 

Am I right?  If so, then you're in luck! I'm about to walk you through how we planned, styled and photographed an fashion themed engagement session in downtown Grand Rapids at an exclusive location.

1) Engagement Photos Always Revolve Around The Couple

We ask lots of questions to get to know them you as a couple. 

For the fashion engagement photos, we photographed Ernie and Kristi, two amazing people who we have loved getting to know. Ernie is a brewer in Grand Rapids and Kristi is a hair stylist, which after meeting them, we knew they'd be a great fit for our fashion themed engagement session. 


2) Where Should We Have Our Engagement Photos Taken? 

Great question! Ernie and Kristi allowed us to choose the location for them based on the idea that it would be in downtown Grand Rapids, feel urban and be a great spot for photos (naturally). Since we live in downtown Grand Rapids, we are familiar with so many hidden gems for photo spots.

We have lived at The Morton in downtown Grand Rapids for a few years and one conversation we've had over and over was "I wish we could photograph a couple in the unfinished spaces this building has to offer! They are a treasure!" 

So we chose three locations inside The Morton (that ended up turning into four).

The first two were unfinished condos on the top floors of the building. One has extremely high ceilings and the other is an end unit that provided a unique skyline view over downtown Grand Rapids.

The third location was in the old ballroom on the main level of The Morton. It's not visible from the exterior of the building (so the public doesn't know it's there), but the large atrium once served as the lobby for the original Morton Hotel. We then headed into the basement of the building where the original bank vault (yes, the building was a bank at one time too) is still in place. 

**Engagement Planning Tip -- choose a photo location that offers several location options. The Morton is a great example of not having to leave the "main location" but we were able to accomplish four completely different looks inside of 60 minutes. 

3) What Should We Wear For Our Engagement Photos? 

After describing the type of fashion themed session we were looking to craft, I put together a Pinterest board called "Fashion at The Morton". It was a collection of looks to guide these two as they chose attire for their engagement session. 

Fashion at the Morton Pinterest Board

Fashion at the Morton Pinterest Board

Prior to the session Ernie and Kristi sent over photos of what they'd chosen for outfits. It turns out the first outfits they put together were the ones they wore for their session. Kudos to Kristi for putting together such great combinations! 


4) What Will We Do During Our Engagement Session?

You've chosen a location, set a date with your photographer and picked an outfit (or two). The day of your session arrives and you meet with your photographer. 

"What do I do with my hands...." is a question we are often asked when photographing a new couple (by the way, this is normal reaction).

During the first few minutes of our session with Ernie and Kristi we wanted to make sure they understood how to pose together, where their hands went (when not wrapped around each other) and the best way to smile at the camera. 


Then it was time for creativity to take over.

Ernie and Kristi became very comfortable in front of the camera as we took them around The Morton during our 60 minute engagement session.

5) Why Should I Have An Engagement Session?

There are so many benefits of having a photographer help you plan your engagement session. Just a few of those reasons include: 

**Get to know your photographer
Wedding photographers are so much more than just someone holding a camera and clicking a shutter! Your photographer will spend more time with you on your wedding day than almost any other vendor. Think about it, if you don't have a good rapport with your photographer, things have the potential to go sideways in a hurry. An engagement session allows you to spend productive time with your photographer.

**Grow more comfortable in front of a camera
Do you feel threatened when a camera is pointed your way? Do you go stiff and awkward when asked to have a photo taken? If that's you, don't fear! The goal of a photographer is to help you become comfortable in front of the camera and after a little coaching, you'll be amazed at how comfortable you feel! Having an engagement shoot gives you a chance to develop that comfort BEFORE your wedding day.

**Build trust in your finished photography 
Wedding photography is a major investment and you're paying a photographer ahead of your wedding in HOPES they create amazing photos. That can be scary for many couples. Even though you've seen their online portfolio, many couples have trouble imagining what their OWN photos could look like. Having engagement portraits taken is an amazing way to ease your mind! After you see your beautiful images, you'll have a much clearer sense of what kind of images your photographer can create for you (and you'll have a greater sense of trust in their ability as a professional). 

**Enjoy an unexpected bonding activity 
If you're like my wife and I, you're busy. You're being pulled in 18 different directions at work and you're now planning your wedding day. During your engagement shoot, you get to leave that all behind and simply be together. Planning an engagement session and then having your photos taken will be something you remember for your entire lives!

**Create portraits of the two of you in non-wedding clothes 
Your wedding portraits will be cherished forever, but having professional portraits of the two of you in more everyday clothing gives you additional images that you can use in so many different ways. Your wedding photos will be very clearly tied to that specific event, but your engagement photos can be super versatile! 

**You'll have photos to use for wedding purposes 
This is probably the reason that leapt to your mind when you saw this post, and it's an important one! Save the date cards, thank you cards, a wedding website, a guest book ... all of these are important aspects of your wedding planning that will benefit SO much from beautiful engagement photos! 

Love the images you see of Ernie and Kristi? Looking for a photographer that can make you feel confident? We would love to connect with you about your photography needs! 

The best way to reach us is via our Plan Your Wedding questionnaire. With it we have helped hundreds of couples take the stress out of planning their wedding day.

Interested in seeing how filling out one form could help save your dozens of hours in your wedding planning journey?


Tiberius Images Is In The Confidence Business. If You Want A Photographer You Can Trust To Help You Look Your Best On Your Wedding Day And Love Your Wedding Photos, We Would Love To Hear From You!