Feature: Engagement Session by Wisteria Photography

Happy Monday! There's nothing we love more than encouraging and equipping other creative business owners, so we are looking forward to featuring some beautiful work once or twice a month here on our blog. Supporting artists by featuring their work is really dear to our hearts. Not only are we sharing beautiful work, but we're asking these artists questions that our readers will benefit from. We always want to be a practical resource for creative business owners!

Today we're thrilled to be featuring a gorgeous, light-filled, Southern California engagement session from Lisa Anderson of Wisteria Photography. The minute we laid eyes on this session, we were taken and knew we had to share it with you! We had the pleasure of meeting Lisa at Bloom Bash San Clemente, so we were able to get to know her sweet self and witness her love for photography and serving her clients well. We know you'll enjoy learning from her below!

1. Tell us about yourself!

My name is Lisa Anderson, I'm a wedding & portrait photographer based out of Ventura County, CA. I've had a camera in my hand pretty much my entire life (I've always loved taking photos!) but it wasn't until 2013 that I started shooting professionally. My photography style is a good mixture of candid photojournalism, and fine art photography.

2. Time of year and location of the shoot. 

October 2016, Malibu Creek State Park at sunset. The couples names are Chelsea & Peter - I'll be shooting their wedding in May, 2017 at Ranch San Antonio.

3. Were there any challenges from a photographer's point of view for this specific engagement session?

The sun came out just in time for their session (it had been really gloomy all day!) This location in particular can be tricky, only because it's a lot of open golden hills, and there aren't a lot of shaded areas, so timing of when you shot where is important. It was a little bit of a hike up to the top of the hill where we took those pretty golden light shots - we got there just as the sun was about to set behind the mountain, which was the prefect moment.

4. What are your best tips for clients at an engagement session?

Wear something that you are comfortable in, and that makes you feel pretty! I remind them that this is about capturing them as they are in their element with one another - and tell them we're going to have fun - and we do! Chelsea's mom had a flower crown from Unique Floral Designs made special for their shoot, which she looked absolutely stunning in.  

flower crown engagement session

5. An engagement session might be the first time you meet your clients face-to-face, so it's probably important to get to know each other and help the couple feel less awkward in their posing. What are a few suggestions you have for other photographers, in helping the couple feel at ease during the session?

I usually ask about how their wedding planning is coming along, we'll chat about the special details of their day. I also always want to know how he proposed. When in front of the camera, my favorite thing to do is play games! This is the best way to take the pressure off of being in front of the camera, and to make it a truly fun experience for the couple. A couple examples of a game would be to "practice their first dance" or tell the guy "you have 10 seconds to kiss her on the cheek as many times as you can" To create a more intimate moment, I might have them face one another, tell them not to break eye contact, and take turns telling each other about a time they were proud of one another.

6. Go to engagement session poses?

1) Hold hands, walk and look at each other. Try to communicate through your eyes. 2) Chest to chest, touch your foreheads together, close your eyes and take a deep breath. 3) Hug your girl from behind, whisper your favorite dessert in her ear (this always gets a great laugh out of the couple) 4) Eskimo kisses!

7. What's inside your camera bag? (Tell us your favorite lenses, gear, and what you bring on shoots!)

I love to shoot with prime lenses, so I always have two camera bodies on me (1 -Canon 5D Mark III & 1- Canon 5D Mark II) My two favorite lenses have to be my 50 mm 1.2L Prime Lens, which I use for the majority of the portraits, and my 24 mm 1.4L II USM Prime Wide Angle Lens, which I use for more artistic angles/shots. I also love my 70-200 mm 2.8L Telephoto Lens, (it gives such pretty bokeh) but typically only use this lens during wedding ceremonies. I also just purchased a Contax 645 medium format film camera, which I am REALLY excited to incorporate in my workflow in 2017!

8. Can you give us an inside view of your post-shoot work flow? 

I always shoot RAW in camera. When I am ready to edit, I bring the RAW images into Lightroom, sort through all the shots, and select the favorites that I plan to deliver to my couple. I then use a Mastin Labs Fuji preset to edit my images - adjusting the exposure and white balance as I see fit. I like to bump up my blacks and whites too, giving the images a more soft and airy feel. Most little touchups (like skin blemishes) I do in Lightroom, but for some of the tricker ones (like removing a person from the background) I'll bring the image into Photoshop. Once all color correcting and retouching is done, I re-visit my favorite images and create black and white duplicates (also using a Mastin B&W preset).  Once all my edits are done, I export the images as high resolution JPG's, and then upload them to an online gallery called Pixieset. You can customize how you want the Pixieset gallery to look, by selecting a gallery style cover photo of your choosing. Another feature about Pixieset that I love is that it allows you to create different photo sets - which is really awesome when uploading wedding galleries, as it allows you to organize the images by different parts of the day (Getting Ready, Ceremony, Family Photos, Romantics, etc).  Once the gallery has completed uploading, I share the gallery with the couple, by sending them an invite though Pixieset. This invite takes them directly to their customized gallery, where they can view and download their images. I also mail them a flash drive with all the high resolution images as a backup.

9. What is your favorite part of photography? 

Oh my, so many things, but to name a few... I love that I have a career that is fun! That when I am working, it's truly doesn't feel like work at all. I love the creative process, both behind the camera, and in post production. I love that being a photographer allows me to meet so many new great people each year, and I feel blessed for the opportunity to capture truly special moments in those peoples lives. I love that it's a career that allows me to contribute to our household financially, while still being able to be a present mommy to by 2-year old girl Maddy.  

Thank you so much for sharing with us, Lisa! Your work is beautiful. Follow along with Lisa below.

If you have a photo session, calligraphy work, interior design features, or any other creative work to share, please send it our way to be considered for a feature! Send your gallery to bloomtheworkshop@gmail.com, along with a little info about the content. Thanks!