Allan Gardens is one of the oldest parks in Toronto. It has a greenhouse conservatory housing exotic plants from around the world. It also has a playground and two fenced off-leash areas for dogs. I first learned of this little oasis back in university. My intro to drawing class came for a visit and it quickly became one of my favorite places in the city. At least once a month I would visit to clear head and draw the different flowers. The gardens are open year-round and free to access. However, photo permits for this location are steeper than most. So I rarely get to do a professional photoshoot here. Aliya & Ray’s engagement shoot was an exception.
The original plan was to roam around the grounds outside and embrace the winter wonderland setting. However, it ended up being one of the coldest days of the year. I was losing feeling in my fingers outside within minutes. So their one-hour session was split into two thirty-minute sessions. Half outdoors in the snow, and the other half exploring the Allan Gardens greenhouse. Luckily the moderator was understanding enough to allow us a few minutes inside as we warmed up.
How to Prepare
What to wear?
This is the biggest question I get from couples planning their engagement shoot. What to wear? There is no real rhyme or reason. Wear clothes that make you feel like you. You’ll look like a bride and groom on your wedding day. So for the engagement shoot, go for comfort and something that flatters your body type. If you book extra time, include an outfit change to show off a casual and semi-formal look.
You don’t need to match but coordination does help. So choose colors that go with the season you’re working with. Fall/Winter is better with jewel tones. Spring/summer works better with pastels. That doesn’t mean you have to make your man wear pink. However, pick something that works for both of you. Play around with accessories. For guys, this could be a tie, pocket square, or a nice watch. For girls, it could be jewelry, shoes, or a nice purse. Opt for classic looks over fashion trends. You’ll look back on these photos for years so the idea is timeless.
Use Pinterest to your advantage. It’s a great inspiration source when selecting outfits and figuring out your style preference with photos. Copying another photographer’s editing style isn’t proper etiquette. However, if there is a pose or concept you’d like to try, this is the time to experiment. It’s a great way to learn about your photographer, and how they shoot. For us, it’s how we learn about your dynamic and what makes you laugh. We learn what angles are flattering and work around your insecurities. If you are self-conscious about your nose and avoid profile shots, tell us.
I normally recommend my couples to time their engagement photos around the same time of day they plan on doing their wedding portraits. While most want sunset photos, the reality is you’ll be doing your wedding portraits earlier in the day. The signature sunset photos are more of a quick escape during cocktail hour.