To be fair, I've never thought of the engagement shoot as a big deal. Aside from using those few hours to get to know your photographer and for them to get to know you, it seemed unimportant (Since our photographer, Kelly Prizel, is based on the East Coast, a get-to-know-you engagement shoot wasn't an option.) I don't love portraits, since I prefer my photos to have context (ooh! remember when we went hiking in Santa Ynez? Oh my gosh, that 80s rocker themed birthday party was a complete blast), which isn't really achieved during a photoshoot. And since we decided to use email save the dates (free, eco-friendly, and the easiest way to collect some important information) and we could give a fig about newspaper announcements, there's not really a media/product-related purpose to having official "engagement photos."
So why are we even bothering with engagement photos in the first place? It's a combination of factors. I have extreme anxiety about photography (memories of fights over family holiday photos still make me shudder because I hated having my picture taken, even then) and I thought it would be a good idea to work on that before the wedding. Also, we're excited to help a talented emerging artist friend get more photography experience. Because of that photo anxiety, I was actually looking forward to a laid-back, no expectation session with a friend. And I had planned to thoroughly prepare to thwart my anxiety with a pretty new dress (I don't have any summery dresses that fit, since losing some weight), a sleek blow-out, nice makeup, and healthy eating.
Instead, life happened. A LOT of life happened, leaving me without time to find a flattering dress, without time to book an appointment at the Dry Bar for a blowout before they got fully booked, with way too much stress to bother eating well (my stress-diet over the last week has included copious amounts of lemon cake and cookies, to give you an idea of where I'm at), and with a lingering cold and the associated unfortunate skin. On the plus side, I already own some nice makeup. On the minus side, I'm still in the process of learning how to handle it all and I don't have time to really learn before Sunday.
So today, after the third phone call in which I managed to ADD eight things to my to-do list instead of crossing them off, I gave up. I'm letting go. I'll get as done-up as I do for a nice night out, and that will be good enough. I'll ignore those extra five pounds the same way I ignore them every day of my life. And I'm just going to have fun on Sunday, running around neighborhoods I love in downtown Los Angeles with my partner and a good friend. I'm going to take a day off to cavort, and the camera can do what it pleases. I'll be eating cupcakes at Babycakes LA and getting a drink on the outdoor patio at Banquette and running around the perimeter of the architecture joy that is the Gehry-designed Disney Concert Hall. I will be having a fabulous Sunday with friends, and that's going to be enough for me.
So I'm not going to worry that this shoot won't look like the sorts of engagement sessions with props and costume changes that I've gotten used to seeing on blogs. Because that was never the point. I don't care about getting blogged. I don't care about using these photos for anything in particular. I care about having fun and helping a friend. And strangely, I'm suddenly betting that these photos will be just about perfect, or at least a whole lot more meaningful, relaxed, and more objectively "good" than if I run around Saturday looking for the perfect dress, trying to learn about smoky eye makeup and worried about practicing photogenic poses.
Personal photos from another time we ran around the Disney Concert Hall and downtown Los Angeles, taking photos with a point-and-shoot, and just generally having a blast. Yes, I think this Sunday's "engagement shoot" will be just about right.