My engagement sessions are something on another level! I think at some point I have crossed that line of "let's go out and snap a few pictures for a few hours" to... "Let's make this count, and move the world." Unlike the wedding day, this is a time where I don't need to follow a timeline so I take advantage of this by working with my clients to collaborate on truly great ideas. Then.. we go out and produce it! Very simple, and straight forward.
People often ask me "how many hours" do you provide, or.. can you send me "packages" In my world there is no need for any of that. I don't do photography "by the hour", and there are no "packages" to play games with. I charge a flat rate and we rock it out. Period. I have done this long enough, and am only interested in creating results at the best of my abilities so the last thing I want to fuss with it watching the clock and placing more limits on the creative process.
When you shoot with me, I would not plan much else that day.. and I always look forward to drinks afterwards to check out the results, and to talk more about the wedding. Trust me when I tell you, it will be way more fun than you think.. and there is a good chance I will blow your mind with the results.
I get asked a lot about what my "ideas" are for Engagement Session locations in Miami. I can break this down for you in a very practical way. There are two possible schools of thought:
#1. YOU have an idea and want to collaborate with me on how to bring this to life. A perfect example of this was Lindsey and Chris's "story based" session that I did. You can watch the video and see what I am talking about.
This type of Miami Engagement Session is not really based on a "location" but more of an idea, and then the idea leads you to the location and in the end you have an amazing story of images. In all honesty this is my favorite type of shooting because it is truly unique, creative, and reflects more then just images. It's story telling at it's best! This type of session requires more input from you as the client. I need some direction, and this is a two way street. So keep that in mind too, it takes a specific type of client to want to put that kind of effort into the shoot. Which.. brings me to the second possibility..
#2. You have no ideas, and just want pretty photos. No problem. Here it all becomes about the location. All you need to do is choose the location, I show up and rock it out. Generally I accommodate two different locations (again not time based) and this gives you a chance to change your clothing if you want for another look. This is 90% of the sessions that I do (so don't feel like your not creative and have no ideas lol). Now it becomes where? So, I have compiled a list of the top locations that I think will render the best, easiest, and most predictable results.
#1 Vizcaya. This is hands down a location that every Miami Wedding Photographer knows by heart. It's a great place to go, they do charge a fee and they are closed on Tuesdays. This is not a place you want to go on the weekends, because it will be flooded with people, and the shots will suffer as a result. So, plan on a weekday shoot for sure. Here are three sessions of mine taken there for reference:
#2. Deering Estate. This place I LOVE. I love that it's beautiful, never crowded, and has as ton of places to get nice Engagement Photos in Miami! It also has some water views that are very unique, and work very well in shots. The fee for this place is about half of that of others, and in general is very accommodating. The down side to this place, is that it's far away, and the traffic can be a problem on the way home. They also don't allow photography inside of the builds (that I know of) so this is a slight limitation. Here are some shoots I have done, that feature this location:
#3. Biltmore Hotel. The Biltmore is a beautiful place, and I love shooting here. A place like this really does not need an introduction and should be considered one of the top place for Engagement Photos in Miami. So I will speak to some of the specific things that I like and don't like about it. I love that there are both indoor, and outdoor options here. That makes it a nice option on a questionable weather day. I love that no matter where you go here, it's nice LOL. So, there are lots of overall options here. I have even discovered some places that are NOT typical, nor would most Miami Wedding Photographers even think of to shoot. So, I love that fact and it means I stand a much better chance to get unique content vs. others. The food here is killer! Now, what I don't like about it is that they are very strict and generally only allow a 2 hour window of time. It's costly. You will need to contact them to get the current price, but this is not a cheap option.. and yes, you NEED to make arrangements before hand. That's about it! So, I think this and one other location would make for a really nice session in total. Here are some notable shoots that I have done at the Biltmore Hotel:
#4. Fairchild Tropical Gardens. This to me is the hidden gem for Engagement Sessions in Miami. As a matter of fact, I am using this location to film my up coming 2018 photography workshops for my subscribers. I have been here a "handful of times", and love what this place has to offer. The key here is to get there early in the morning. Take advantage of the early directional light, and you will have stunning shots. There are TONS of trees, and "green" everywhere so this makes it the perfect outdoor location. However, if it rains.. you will be in trouble. The other negative is the walking. You will need to bring flat shoes to wear to get from place to place at this location, and because of this size of this place I don't offer a second location option. ALL of the shots will be taken here. The other reason is because it is also far south, and traffic issues will follow. This is also not a weekend place. You only want to do sessions here during the week because of all the people that will flood the grounds. This is not a super costly place, but you do need to pay to shoot there. I love that there is no time limit. Bring water, and someone to help carry things. Here are a few sessions I have done there:
#5. Downtown Miami / City. Day or night I have taken some of the best Miami Engagement Photos around the downtown area. I have found the best locations for the skyline, and know all the little spots to "hop out" and get a few nice shots. While shooting in the city can render an amazing result, it also can be annoying. Traffic, parking, and coordinating with my clients can all be a challenge. Time of day, and day of the week also plays a big role. Here are some shoots that involved the city in some way so you can quickly get an idea :-)
#6. Wynwood Walls / Design District. Now, I know this is a popular location for a lot of photographers. I tend to shy away from it (but get dragged there by clients lol) it's not that I don't like it.. it's that it's SUCH a PITA to deal with. The parking is a nightmare, and whats worse is the fact that clients have to kinda "follow me" in their car and we have to drive slow block, after block looking for a "nice wall" to shoot... then, find parking, get all the gear, and shoot. Back in the car, same thing etc.. So in some ways this actually breaks down the momentum from the session and this has a negative effect. The other thing that I don't like.. is that it is incredibly unpredictable. It always seems that it's "on fire" whenever I have a shoot. LOL. Events happen all the time, and this can make matters worse (parking is now worse, and people are everywhere in the way etc.). The only thing I guess that I do like about it, is that I like that people like it :-) and.. I like that the walls do tend to change from time to time, so that is nice and keeps it a bit interesting. If we go here.. your buying me a beer after ;-) To spite my feelings, this is one very popular place for Engagement Photos in Miami and I have done some pretty impressive work here. Here are some sessions for you to check out:
#7. Miami Train Museum. This is a cool place (far south tho) but it's worth it if you want this kinda look and feel. It offers a reasonable cost, never is that busy, and will render some pretty nice shots. I don't know how "unique" this is, as I feel this is something that a lot of people do. But, I do feel if your looking for Unique Engagement Photos in Miami this maybe a nice option. I think to shoot here YOU really need to make it yours. Don't half ass it, go all in and look the part. OR.. dress the total opposite (super sexy) and make it about a high contrast look where the train is just that... a background. But, too many people do this location and don't put forth the effort to really pull it off, and it just never (to me) looks that great or "convincing". I truly do (on that note) think I have some of the best shots taken there. You will see what I mean in the links below. Take special note to all the aspects here. The last one is a modeling shoot.
#8. Wings Over Miami (airplane museum). Listen, I love airplanes and am practicing to be a pilot. So, any chance that I get to shoot here.. I am all for it! I have nothing negative to say about this location. It's all good! I will say that you need to plan this one out, as it is a little bit like the train place in terms of "theme". The first session I am showing below (Leo) is an actual pilot and fly's Airbus A320's. The second shoot, they are actually government officials. So, it was very fitting for them.
So, that's 23 sessions for you to take a look at and get some idea's on the location. There are many more on my blog, and of course I am open to anything, and anywhere that you want to go! Let me know what you have in mind for your Miami Engagement Photos and we will make a plan!