6 Questions to Help Plan the Perfect Engagement Session

Hello Everyone! Happy Tuesday! I’m back again today as part of my engagement blog series to help create the best possible experience with me, your photographer! Your love story is unique and your engagement photos with me should reflect that. If you want your pictures to really showcase your love story, I have some ideas to help you help me plan the perfect engagement session. Consider the following questions:

1. Where did you first meet?

If you want to add some sentimental value to your session, tell me about how you first met. Was it at a place nearby? Is there a place nearby that reminds you of the original place? What was your first date like? Where did you go and what did you do? My husband I’s first date was a hike up to a waterfall followed by dinner at a local establishment near the hiking trail, which is the approximate area that we later had our engagement photos. If it was at a local place, we can stop by during your session and recreate the scene.

2. What do you like to do together?

What kinds of activities do you enjoy doing together? This will help us to create memorable photos for you. Do you love riding your bikes together or racing model airplanes? Do you go to the park and push each other on the swings or playing laser tag together? Tell me about your hobbies, and I would love to incorporate more YOU into your session!

3. Where/how did he propose?

I would love to recreate this moment for you during your session. This is the moment you decided to spend the rest of your lives together. This is important, especially if we were not able to capture this moment as it was actually happening. We want you to be able to share your proposal story with photos to go along with it!

4. What are your common interests?

By informing us of your interests, we can add a more personal touch to your photos. Are you both fans of the same sports team? Consider bringing your favorite fan gear to use in a few shots. Are you really into comic books or video games? Do you work in the same profession? Maybe you both absolutely love Chuck Taylors, or ice cream, or dogs; let’s incorporate it into your shoot!

5. Do you have any pets together?

If so, they make a perfect addition to your session. Whether a dog, cat, bunny or something more exotic, we welcome your pets in your engagement session.

6. Do you have ‘a spot’?

You know that place where you always wind up going on date night? Where was your first kiss? What is your favorite hang out spot? Tell us your favorite go-to locations and we can check them out to see if they would be good spots for a photo shoot.

I hope these help! My goal is to make your session fun for everyone involved, because having your portraits done shouldn’t feel like a chore! If you haven’t already, read my previous post in the series here! And stay tuned for my next installment. ;)

8 Tips for Choosing Family Photo Outfits

So you’ve just booked family photos, congrats! Having family photos taken is important; your family will continue to grow up and change and these photos will become a treasure to your kids when they are grown. Choosing the right outfits can pull things together and create a beautiful, lasting memory that will be cherished for years.

Choosing what to wear for your photo session can be difficult, so this guide should help with making those tough choices.

Tip 1: Don’t be afraid to dress up!

Getting family portraits is a special occasion! These photos freeze your family in the very place you are right now! I typically encourage clients to wear their “Sunday Best.” The key is to choose classic, timeless styles that fit everyone well. When you look good, you feel good and that confidence translates in the photos!

Tip 2: Start with Mom

It’s typically easiest if Mom chooses her outfit and then builds the rest of the family's around it. How dressy (or casual) Mom is, sets the tone for everyone else. Dresses and skirts are always a great choice and come in a variety of styles to flatter mom and dress things up or down. Long and flowy skirts with movement photograph extremely well, and look great on anyone. Fabrics like chiffon and tulle dress things up and can give things a romantic feel, especially when we do a mini couple session for Mom and Dad during the shoot! Accessories like cardigans, belts, scarves, hair bows, and statement jewelry can be a great way to finish things off and tie into a common color palette.

Tip 3: Now on to Dad

Dad’s outfit should compliment Mom’s and mirror how dressy she is. Khakis or slacks are always a good choice and photograph well. Polos, Henleys and button ups are a good choice and look sharp and masculine. Accessories should be considered for Dad as well just to add more dimension and texture. Sport jackets/Blazers, suspenders, ties and watches can help spice things up and keep Dad’s outfit from being too plain.

Tip 4: For the kids…

The kids’ outfits should also compliment Mom (and Dad’s). For girls, skirts and dresses are a fun choice. For little girls, make sure it’s long enough that we won’t be fussing with it throughout the shoot. For boys, khakis, button ups, and polos work well. Accessorize with headbands, belts, scarves, hats, bows, etc.

Make sure you do a test fit with the kids. It’s important that they are comfortable and able to move freely. A dry run can help eliminate problems with new outfits before the big shoot day.

Tip 5: Coordinating Colors

This tip here is the secret; coordinating colors in complimentary styles work better than having everyone wear the exact same color. It adds interest, texture and allows each member of the family to maintain an identity within the whole family unit. I recommend 2 complimentary colors with an accent color. Neutrals can be used in whatever combination to pull things together without going too crazy.

Clothing with patterns can be used, but carefully. I recommend no more than 2 patterns within the family unit. Maybe 2 people wear plaid and 1 wears stripes or floral, etc. As long as the colors in those patterns all compliment things will look great in photos! On that note, avoid thin stripes- they don’t photograph well! Also avoid neon colors as they can negatively affect skin tones in the photo.

For example; maybe you pick mom’s dress- she’s wearing a creme colored dress. Now dad may wear Navy slacks and a white button up with a tan vest. Daughter can wear a blue dress with a pop of yellow. The son can wear khaki pants with a navy button up and a yellow bow tie. Add a yellow bow tie to Dad’s outfit and a yellow cardigan to mom’s outfit. Everyone has a unique outfit within a similar color palette and looks cohesive together.

Tip 6: Lay it all out

It can be helpful to lay the entire family’s outfits out side by side on the floor. be sure to include accessories like belts, scarves, cardigans, suspenders, ties, etc. It gives a good idea of how it will all look together on the day. Do all the colors and textures look good together? Does anything clash? If you have any doubts or questions about how things might photograph, snap a picture and send it to me. I am more than happy to steer you in the right direction.

Tip 7: Makeup for photography

If you are able to, have your makeup professionally done! It’s a fun way to pamper yourself and if you let the artist know that it’s for photography purposes they should know what to do to ensure it looks great in your photos!

If you aren’t able to get it done professionally, then just be sure to use a slightly heavier hand than you normally do. The colors won’t be near as saturated and bright in pictures as it looks in person. I also recommend using a matte finish to your products and avoiding using too much highlighter.

Tip 8: Consider photo location

Above all else, consider the location of your photos. Pumps may not be practical in a forest location while cowboy boots may look funny in an urban setting. Always consider what the background will look like as well as how much walking we may do on the day of in between shoot locations. Comfort and timeless styles will always be a great choice.

I hope some of these tips help when it comes time to decide what might be best to wear for your family photos. Don’t stress too much, and have fun with it! Having portraits done should be a fun experience that helps you freeze your family in time.

Fastenau Photography, Best of 2018

It’s that time of year that everyone loves to reflect, so I thought I would take a moment to reflect myself. 2018 was a big year for me!

I got married to the coolest, most supportive guy ever. We had a gorgeous ceremony with a view of the mountains, and everything was perfect.

I launched Fastenau Photography! I took a leap of faith and decided to go all in on capturing beautiful images for everyone! I shot 3, gorgeous and unique weddings during summer 2018. It was eye opening as it taught me that working with couples, capturing their love story, is my truest passion.

I officially met my community on October 21st for Livingston’s Halloween Fun Faire, and captured tons of cute kids in their costumes! I had the opportunity to watch Livingston kids meet Santa- as well as hanging out with Santa myself during Breakfast with Santa.

Thank you to everyone that has supported me and my small business in 2018! I wouldn’t be doing this if it weren’t for all of you! Stay tuned for 2019, it’s sure to be another great year.

Enjoy some of my favorite images from 2018:

Breakfast With Santa

Hello everyone and happy December! Christmas is nearly here and that means its time to embrace the Christmas spirit, and who embodies the magic of Christmas quite like good ol’ Saint Nick?

I had the pleasure of being a part of Livingston Recreation Department’s first annual, sold out, Breakfast with Santa (a smash hit, great job guys!). The local police and fire department helped make pancakes and several local businesses including Whistler Towing, Town and Country Foods and Bank of the Rockies, came together to pull the event together.

The best part was, I got to hang out with Santa Claus for 4 hours. FOUR HOURS! My inner 6 year old is screaming in joy. Santa was a pretty cool guy and everything I had hoped he would be as a child.

Without further ado, I bring to you, Breakfast with Santa!

Gallery Link: Click Here!

Paradise Valley Family Session

Happy Sunday, today I would like to share the dreamy golden hour session I captured last week for the Savage family. They were visiting from South Carolina and seized the opportunity to have a few family portraits done with our gorgeous Montana scenery!

They were staying near Pray, Montana in a nice place along the Yellowstone River, so I met them there and we went for a short hike along the river. We started taking photos right as the sun was setting on a beautiful late summer day. Luckily the smoke cover from the nearby fires was light.

These photos were the result; I know the Savage family will treasure these for years to come.