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Tag: Engagement

Engagement Photography- Caitlind and Jordan

I shot Caitlind way back when I was doing a “portrait-52” project years ago. Well, she was recently engaged to the very awesome Jordan and I was very proud to be asked to shoot their wedding and engagement, and of course the engagement photography!

Engagement sessions are really helpful for both the photographer and the couple.  In a nice relaxed setting they get to see their wedding photographer in action. Do they pose, are they impatient, how precise do they make you, etc.

For the photographer, it’s almost the same. How well does the couple follow directions, are they super awkward, super giggly, super serious. How hard do I have to work to get something natural that looks good on camera? Most importantly, what bag of tricks do I need to pull from… is it the “serious photographer” bag? The “happy friend bag”? Maybe the “super dirty and inappropriate jokes to make you smile” bag? Every couple is different in what they respond to, and this is the photographers chance to see what works best before the big wedding day.

So it’s a win-win all around.

Turns out these two are not only great together but I got to use a few from my favorite bag of tricks. I’m not going to say which it is but it rhymes with “smirty blokes” ūüôā

For this session we headed to Fishtrap Creek Park in Abbotsford. I’d actually shot there before doing family photography as a fundraiser last year. It’s a great location with a nice variety of looks for a shoot like this.

I timed the shoot so we caught the sunset, giving some beautiful golden light behind Caitlind and Jordan. I love the look that this gives me. I only wish I could have gotten one of those epic, God painting the sky with colours you’ve never seen before type of sunsets, but sadly, that couldn’t be arranged! ¬†Instead I used the¬†gorgeous sunlight reflecting off the trees (and people), which works just perfectly for these two.

Caitlind and Jordan it was a blast spending time with you to get these great images, and I cannot wait for the wedding!

Golden Ears Park Engagement Photography – Jason and Marina

Jason and Marina Golden Ears Engagement Photography Session

Jason and Marina recently moved here from eastern Canada and chose the gorgeous Golden Ears Provincial Park in Maple Ridge as the location for their engagement photography session.  As a native of Maple Ridge I knew that Golden Ears has a wide variety of locations to use for photography, as well as being nice and close downtown Maple Ridge.  The park is full of hiking trails, swimming in Gold Creek, and lovely beaches at Alouette Lake.  We parked and walked down the trail, stopping for some shots along the creek.

Jason and Marina Golden Ears Engagement Photography Session

I’m pretty sure I told them (mostly joking) that “if I fall into the water, save the camera first, then come back for me.” ¬†Mostly joking… ¬†I had the car keys in my pocket so they¬†had to come back for me! ūüôā

Jason and Marina Golden Ears Engagement Photography Session
Jason and Marina Golden Ears Engagement Photography Session

These two crazy kids are great. ¬†It’s awful to have to kiss your¬†fianc√© and cuddle with them, but they powered through it. ¬†They’re getting ready for the wedding in a couple of months back east, but needed an engagement session photoshoot to use for cool wedding invitations and decorations for the big day!

The beaches at Alouette Lake aren’t super sandy beaches, but still great for photos. ¬†There’s lots of driftwood along the way to use as props. ¬†There’s also an amazing view in pretty much each direction you look.

Jason and Marina Golden Ears Engagement Photography Session
Pretty sure this is my absolute favourite photo of these two!
Jason and Marina Golden Ears Engagement Photography Session
… and this is a close second.

Jason and Marina Golden Ears Engagement Photography Session

The only thing to remember is that because the lake is nestled between the mountains, the sunset will be hidden, and you need to factor in your golden hour about an hour before you think it will be, because you will want to catch the sun before it hides behind the Ears and not the horizon.

As these two crazy kids walked down the path in the middle of what can be best described as “quintessential west coast,” while hand in hand I snapped one final shot (well, after telling them “just walk down together and talk, I gotta fix something back here”).

Jason and Marina Golden Ears Engagement Photography Session

You know what….¬†Something tells me it’s engagement photography season! ¬†If you’d like an amazing session like this to celebrate your engagement, contact me¬†now and¬†book your session today.


Joe and Rachel – Pitt Lake Engagement Photography

If you are looking for a gorgeous place to have your engagement photo shoot, Pitt Lake in Port Coquitlam, BC, is a great place to go. ¬†The mountains surround you on three sides, there’s a quiet lake with boat launch and dock, and you really the quintessential¬†feel of¬†the pacific northwest. ¬†I suggested this location for Joe and Rachel (and their great dog Django (the ‘D’ is silent)) as a wonderful spot for us to go and do their engagement photo session.

Joe and Rachel Engagement - Pitt Lake Engagement Photography

We were set up for a late afternoon session, but as we were driving out through the valley to get there it started sprinkling rain… Noooooooo!!!!!!¬† We’d had to delay the shoot a couple of times already due to weather and scheduling and this was the¬†last thing that I wanted. ¬†Luckily by the time we got there the weather had changed it’s mind (not uncommon in this area of course).

They did great, the afternoon weather was perfect, and even Django was well behaved and looked in the right direction at the right time.

Joe and Rachel Engagement - Pitt Lake Engagement Photography

Ok these guys are total goofs too. ¬†Especially the tall one…. he’s the worst!

Joe and Rachel Engagement - Pitt Lake Engagement Photography

But they make such a cute couple!
Joe and Rachel Engagement - Pitt Lake Engagement Photography

Seriously…. they are super cute together. ¬†I loved being able to capture the little moments in between that¬†really told the story as well as the move posed and setup photos.


Joe and Rachel Engagement - Pitt Lake Engagement Photography

These guys are getting married later this month and I’m so proud to help them create some beautiful engagement photos!

Joe and Rachel Engagement - Pitt Lake Engagement Photography

Engagement Ring macro photograph

Should I Book An Engagement Session?

Why Engagement Sessions Are Important – Guide For Newly Engaged Couples

One option¬†that most wedding photographers, including myself, offer is an Engagement Session, and you may wonder if you should book one. ¬†Recently I was speaking to a lovely lady about her wedding photography and we got to talking about whether or not an engagement session was actually needed. ¬†It’s an extra cost, and extra time, and if you’re not planning on ‘save the date’ cards or something like that it may seem like a bit of a waste.

I disagree, and encourage all my couples to have an engagement shoot, but maybe not for the reasons you think…

Engaged couple smiling at each other on tree

1 – The Couple Gets To Know The Photographer (Builds Trust)

By far the most important point. ¬†Which is better, having the first time your wedding photographer taking your photo on your wedding day, with curlers in your hair, a mad rush of bridesmaids around you, a pile of checks for vendors gnawing at your brain that you’ve missed one (maybe the DJ? or the wedding planner?), and you have to find out then if they are quiet, boisterous, do a lot of directing, hide in the corner, praise you a lot, or don’t say a word.


Having a couple of relaxed hours in a park or meaningful place where you get to find out how your photographer works “in the field” (pun intended) without any stresses or worries about anything else going on? ¬†I can guess you know what side I fall on!

Seriously though, an engagement session lets you see how the photographer works with you, and lets you get a feel for their style of photographing so when the big day¬†does happen it’s all old hat and you just need to think about¬†your job for the day (that is getting married and being fabulous!). ¬†When I do portrait photography or creative shoots I always try to meet the model ahead of time in a relaxed environment so we can have a bit of time over a cup of coffee to chat and (virtually) feel each other out as to personalities, manners, etc. ¬†There’s nothing like meeting someone for the first time and having them direct you and shooting your photo a minute later (sometimes this is needed, but if I can avoid it I do).

Engaged couple kissing on trail in trees

2 – The Photographer Learns How To Work With The Clients (And Builds Familiarity)

Almost as important as you learning what¬†I’m¬†like to work with, an Engagement session lets me do the same to you. ¬†Are you nervous? A blinker? ¬†Laugh uncontrollably if I say the right dirty word (a great tip for natural smiles by the way)? ¬†Prefer to be asked to move by doing what I do or being told “left” or “right”? ¬†Keep an absolute stoic face no matter what? ¬†Having some relaxed and informal time with a couple means I get to try all my ways of moving couples around without any of the pressure of the wedding day.

Every couple, hell, every¬†person has their own way that they react in front of a camera, and while your photographer definitely can figure this out all on the fly, or in the more relaxed environment of the Getting Ready (more on this in a later blog post), it can be made much easier with what you might think of as a “first (photographic) date”.

Hand with engagement ring on finger resting on leg

3 – Cool Photos! (A Bonus)

Last but not least, even if you’re not making Save The Date cards, or some sort of cool display for the guest table, you’ll get some beautiful, fun, and romantic photos that you can have on the wall to look back on in later years!

Tammy and Jason – Langley Engagement Photography

Engagement cowboy boot with ring on it

The Couple

I’ve known Tammy for a few years now, and shot the¬†Headshots for her Realtor business and was honoured when her and her fianc√© Jason¬†asked me to be part of their wedding, and I knew I wanted to do something a bit special for her and Jason’s engagement.

These guys are what you might call “horse people,” and with a gorgeous barn and property not far from Langley how could I¬†not get them in the back field against a gorgeous BC sunset. ¬†The timing was tricky, getting the sun just right, on a day without rain, but things all lined up beautifully for us.

Engagement couple against sunset

Why Have An Engagement Session

Part of the reason that I love having an engagement session with a couple who’s wedding I’m photographing is that it gives me a chance to get to know them and get a feel for what they’re like in front of the camera. ¬†Not everyone knows what to do when they get their photo taken. ¬†Heck,¬†I don’t know what to do! ¬†Spending some time with a couple means that they can get used to how I pose them and how I get them to move around. ¬†More importantly, I, as the photographer, get to see how you react for me. ¬†Some people are more relaxed, some people need a bit more prompting. ¬†I want to tailer¬†how I work with a couple to that couple, and a couple of hours of an engagement session lets me do just that.

Engagement couple kissing in front of sunset

Luckily, a lot of the time¬†“posing” is pretty easy. ¬†I think for the above photo I said “kiss him!” ¬†Pretty simple stuff ūüôā

Like I said the horses are strong with this couple, so when the grey saw them kissing, he figured he ought to be involved, or at minimum get a scratch under the chin.  Make sure you view these full screen to see the full effect!

Tammy and Jason, you’re an awesome couple and I can’t wait to shoot the wedding in April!

Engagement couple hugging with him looking down at her.


Are you interested in a unique set of photos like this to celebrate your engagement?  Make sure you book a free consultation with me now!


Engagement photography by Alan Bailward -

Amy and Jason – Fort Langley Engagement

Engagement photography by Alan Bailward -

I love that as a wedding photographer I can offer¬†engagement photography. ¬†In fact, it’s¬†one of the best things that I can do with a couple who I’m shooting their wedding. This is often done as an add-on for the wedding photography package¬†and has a very specific purpose. ¬†First, it lets you get used to working¬†with me. ¬†You get to see how I work, how I get you to move around, how I arrange you, and whether I’m funny, serious, or goofy (hint: it’s a little of all three!). ¬†Mostly it makes sure that on the big day you’ve got a familiar face that you’re confident with for your wedding photography, because you’ve already spent a day with me shooting your¬†engagement photography.

Engagement photography by Alan Bailward -

Secondly, it lets¬†me get used to you. ¬†Are you nervous in front of the camera? ¬†How well do you take direction? ¬†Do you smile naturally or do I need to crack a joke before the reaction feels natural? ¬†All that stuff will help me immensely when I’m at your wedding and working to get the¬†best photos in the shortest amount of time.

Engagement photography by Alan Bailward -

This is Jason and Amy. ¬†Goofy and fun, with two of the biggest and smiles I’ve seen. ¬†Amy was hard to get to¬†stop smiling. ¬†Luckily that wasn’t required today. ¬†We wandered up and down Fort Langley‘s waterfront walk through the marine trail. ¬†The weather was perfect and we stopped at a few different on the way.

Engagement photography by Alan Bailward -

Engagement photography by Alan Bailward -

See what I mean about the smiles? Oh, and you probably think that we ended up in the forest, far from town, but no, this was just a little bit of landscaping scenery outside of the new apartment buildings on the Fort-to-Fort trail.  The sun setting added the perfect little glint in the eye for these two lovebirds.

Engagement photography by Photographer Alan Bailward -

Engagement photography by Photographer Alan Bailward -

Engagement photography by Photographer Alan Bailward -

As the evening sun set, Amy and Jason drew their initials in a heart on the sand and watched the sun go low over the horizon.