Often, my wife accuses me of not being romantic enough. And perhaps she’s right. Sometimes, a photographer gets so lost in their work that they hardly have a personality at all. But the good news is that somehow I’ve managed to create ways of finding the romance (and maybe even inspiring some romance) in my photographic subjects. If you read my blog often, you know that I love black and white photography, and the image below is one of my favorites, at least at the moment, because it has two appeals: romance and black and white.
The photo was shot in downtown Austin, near 6th street and features a young, soon to be wed couple in a romantic pose. I’ll let the photo do the rest of the talking…
So What do you do if you are a newly engaged couple who’s soon to be married, you’re out at the Austin Capitol (downtown Austin) having your wedding photographer shoot your engagement photos and someone approaches you and asks you to snap a picture of them? Well this is the funny situation that occurred recently as I photographed a couple’s engagement session downtown at the Capitol. Both I and the couple that I photographed were caught off-guard as the new visitors to the capitol politely asked to have their photo taken. But to the credit of my engaged clients, they handled it with a laugh and lots of style, obliging the photo op request, even as it interfered with the romantic moments that I was attempting to capture of the two love birds together on the capitol grounds.
After shooting weddings and other events for a number of years, I’ve learned that as a photographer you never stop shooting, even if it seems like things have gone off track or things that are not planned are happening; And this event was no exception. I snapped the photo below of the groom-to-be snapping the photo as his fiance’ looks on. We were positioned at the south entrance to the Texas Capitol. And I have to admit that these unplanned interruptions sometimes make things more spontaneous and exciting!
Coming soon I’ll be blogging about a recent engagement session that I photographed at an Austin dog park. One thing that I’ve learned from living in Austin for the past 10 years or so is that many people in Austin love their animals, which usually happen to be either dogs or cats. And why not? Well known, published studies have shown that having an animal companion can improve one’s quality of life and even extend one’s life. But many people in Austin, and perhaps elsewhere in the world, think of their pet as more than just a pet; pets can become your best friend and a dependable companion; even when human relationships come and go, a pet will never leave you!
As a wedding photographer, I try to be flexible with the needs of my Austin brides and grooms. After all, it’s my job to make my brides happy and provide my Austin wedding clients with quality photographs. So when I was asked if we could shoot my bride and groom’s engagement session at a dog park with their two dogs, I of course, said yes! It was a fun session and I was able to check off one more places in Austin that I’ve photographed.
We frequently field phone calls and emails (especially toward the end of the year during engagement season) about engagement photography sessions for the Austin area. The primary and simple response that I give new couples is “yes, we can definitely photograph your engagement session and have a beautiful engagement print (framed or not) ready for your wedding day!”
Here are some frequently asked questions that Austin couples have asked about how the photo session works and some suggestions as well…
Q. Do you photograph engaged couples for engagement portraits?
A. Yes! We have lots of experience photographing couples in Austin, Round Rock and surrounding Hill Country for a special photography session including just the 2 of you.
Q. Where will you photograph our engagement session?
A. You can choose wherever you’d like to be photographed, preferably in the Austin, Texas or Central Texas area.
Q. I’m new/unfamiliar with Austin, Texas. Can you suggest some nice locations for our engagement portrait session?
A. Sure! We have a list of about 20 popular photography locations in and around Austin that we share with our clients. We can also give you specific suggestions based on what kind of engagement session you want.
Q. How long does the engagement portrait session last?
A. Our Austin engagement session is 60 minutes long, which normally gives the engaged couple time to relax, get into the moment with their partner (we call it “feeling the love”) and get lots of great poses at the location of their choice.
Q. Does the engagement photo session include a separate CD of images I can keep?
A. Yes. Couples receive a CD of edited, re-touched images (usually ranging from 50-150 full-sized, hi-resolution images).
Q. What all is included with my engagement photo session fee?
A. Our engagement session clients receive 60 minutes of shooting time, a CD of hi-resolution, edited images, free consultation to plan your event, expert shoot location suggestions, and quality personal service from a local Austin small business owner/photographer.
Q. Do you edit the images?
A. Yes, we individually edit all the images from your engagement photo session with Adobe Lightroom 3.0, the industry leader in photo editing. We can also apply artistic filters to your images, remove blemishes from skin, soften features and lots more.
Q. How long does it take to edit the images?
A. Normal editing of images requires 1-2 weeks.
Q. Do you have wedding photography packages that include an engagement session?
A. Yes we do. We have a number of wedding photography packages for Austin brides-to-be that include engagement sessions. In fact, you can also customize any package to include a engagement photo session so that your package is custom fit for your big day.
Q. Do you print the images from the engagement session or is it up to me?
A. It’s up to you. We have the ability to create and ship high quality, professional and stylish prints to your door, if you choose. You also have the option as a bride to print anywhere you desire.
Q. Do you work with an assistant at engagement sessions?
A. Occasionally we bring along an assistant to help out with engagement photo sessions, depending on the circumstances. You may bring along friends and family if you like.
Q. Are there extra fees associated with certain locations for my upcoming engagement session?
A. In many cases there are no other fees, but occasionally there are places that charge couples a “sitting fee” for using their location. Examples of places that charge fees include Zilker Botanical Gardens, The Driskill Hotel, Dunvegan Keep, and others; However, most engagement locations around Austin (particularly outdoor locations) are free. J
Q. Will I have the opportunity to incorporate some of my engagement photos into my regular wedding album?
A. Yes, we can incorporate as many or as few of your engagement session photographs into your wedding album. We can also create a separate album of only engagement photos if needed. We have a wonderful special album which we call the “Engagement Guestbook”. It’s different in that it’s a stylish album full of your engagement photos but it leaves space for your guests to write. The engagement guestbook gives you something special to show off on wedding day! Just ask about our special sale pricing on this item!
Q. Does Austin Americana Photography provide printing and framing service? Will you deliver a print or framed print of my engagement session on wedding day?
A. Yes, we can do all these things. We provide optional printing and framing services for our wedding clientele. We can deliver a framed print of your engagement session on your wedding day if this is what you desire.
Q. What if the weather is bad. Is there a backup plan for my session?
A. Sure. If you don’t want to re-schedule, then we’ll either have you come into our home studio or choose an alternate indoor location.
Q. When should I schedule my engagement photo session with Austin Americana?
A. We ask that you schedule your engagement photo session a minimum of 2-3 weeks prior to your wedding day to allow for image editing, processing, printing, shipping, etc.
Another happy, beautiful couples photo session on Lady Bird Lake in Austin,Texas…
Austin Americana completed another successful engagement photo session at Zilker Botanical Gardens here in Austin this week. Thanks go out to my gracious subjects, Jen & David, who I met through DealOn and who’ll be getting married in May. Congratulations guys!
There will be lots more photos coming soon as a result of our successful promotional event that was through our friends at DealOn, including at least one wedding, multiple engagement sessions and even a newborn session – all coming soon! How exciting! Stay tuned…. :)
This past week I had the pleasure of photographing another wonderful couple at Zilker Botanical Garden: Lindsey and Bryan. As I’ve blogged before, Zilker has to be one of the most popular places for photography of any kind in Austin. Not only is it a huge repository for plant life centered in Travis County (which is why people are drawn to it) but it’s also one of Austin’s little jewels that’s been around for many years. I’m pretty sure that the creators of Zilker never intended it to be one of the foremost popular venues for photography around Austin, but that’s what it’s become.
I met Lindsey and Bryan on a Saturday afternoon at Zilker to take advantage of the warm, orange evening sunlight. We walked to all of my favorite spots throughout Zilker and were able to capture some great photos. We even got some shots of Lindsey and Bryan in their Dallas Cowboys jerseys. All in all, it was a wonderful afternoon.
More on Zilker: ZBG features many different plant species and specific garden areas that are dedicated to a particular theme or cultural plant cultivation, if you will. For example, one of the popular areas of Zilker is the Japanese Garden, which features Koi-filled fish ponds, stone trails leading around bamboo gardens and a structure made of stone and bamboo that only could fit into a Japanese garden . The entire area is shaded by trees and feels like being in another world.
Zilker also features a beautiful rose garden where weddings frequently occur. Colorful roses line the concrete paths that wind down the hill from the main entrance of the park. The Rose Garden area is very open, located at the edge of the tree line bordering the Japanese Garden. It also features a red and white gazebo next to fish ponds and a historic brick structure in the shape of a keyhole that has been apparently transplanted from historic downtown Austin.
Other areas featured at ZBG are the Prehistoric Gardens further down the hill from the main office, which feature “old world” plants, pools and even a beautiful, natural-looking water fall. Toward the front of the park is an area that contains historic Central Texas pioneer homes and work areas made of wood.
Ultimately there are many, many different areas of the Garden that offer photography opportunities for brides or couples. After visiting and photographing friends and family there for years I’ve grown to love and appreciate Zilker for the beautiful part of Austin that it has always been and hopefully will always be!
Martin Whitton is the lead wedding photojournalist for Austin Americana Photography. He lives and works in Austin, Texas. Email: AustinAmericana@Gmail.com.