September 5, 2019
Katelyn and I met years ago when she joined our sorority Alpha Omicron Pi. We attended the University of South Florida in Tampa, and I actually photographed her senior photos before becoming a Florida wedding and elopement photographer! After graduating, we followed each other’s lives on social media (as millennials do). Earlier this year I saw her post about her engagement to Mike on FaceBook. I was so excited for them, and had to fight back the urge to comment “PICK ME! PICK ME!” to be her photographer. Imagine my excitement when I opened an email from her asking me about photographing her Sarasota engagement session in Myakka River State Park! And even more recently – her WEDDING!
Katelyn and Mike live on the west coast of Florida, and out of all the Sarasota engagement photo location options, they chose Myakka River State Park! As a Florida elopement photographer who loves traveling to cool locations, I embrace outdoor engagement sessions as the perfect opportunity to have a mini-adventure! First, we climbed over 100 stairs up to the top of the Myakka Canopy Walkway, which lifted us above the park’s canopy to reveal an expansive view of green treetops as far as the eye could see. Then, Katelyn and Mike walked, skipped, and danced in the rain between the roadside and the grasslands and dry prairie. We even pulled out a picnic mat they kept in their trunk so I could photograph them snuggled up in the wet grass.
Katelyn and Mike were especially excited about going to the Birdwalk at Myakka. From the Spanish moss dangling from the trees, to the incredible linear perspective of the boardwalk, and of course the view of the floodplain, the birdwalk was a truly memorable experience. We even saw an alligator far out in the water, so definitely bring binoculars or coins for the observation viewer if you visit here! At sunset we climbed back up to my favorite site, the Canopy Walkway. Golden light filtered through the trees surrounding Katelyn and Mike as they looked out into the setting sun from the suspended bridge. It was a beautiful ending to our mini- adventure!
Florida summers are notoriously rainy. In fact, the surrounding weeks of Katelyn and Mike’s engagement shoot were inundated with thunderstorms. On the way to their session, I saw looming dark clouds and flashes of lightning! But we risked it for some beautiful photos in the rain. If your engagement session is scheduled during rainy season, or if it spontaneously starts to drizzle, you can still make the best of a rainy day scenario!
There are several ways you can prepare: One way is to bring an umbrella and rain jacket. In between locations, Katelyn put on her rain jacket while Mike held the umbrella. Even though we were all already wet, it kept them from feeling extra-soaked. Also, it got them safely to their car since they didn’t have to run through the raindrops! They also had a waterproof picnic mat in their car. This let them sit in the wet grass and cuddle without being too uncomfortable. One final tip is to wear waterproof makeup (If you wear makeup). This will prevent the rain, sweat, or tears from causing it to run down your face. If it is unavoidable, choose to embrace the rain! Rain can make a photoshoot more lively, fun, and light-hearted. Not to mention moody and romantic – like a scene from The Notebook!
Looking for rainy wedding day inspiration? Check out this rainy wedding day at Club Med Sandpiper Bay!
It’s so important for couples to select engagement session locations that are not only beautiful, but also representative of their unique personalities and relationship. Katelyn and Mike are very outdoorsy and love to travel to national parks and international destinations. Choosing Myakka River for their Sarasota engagement photos was a perfect way to compliment this part of their life. Don’t forget that your engagement session is about YOU as a couple. In addition to the places you enjoy exploring and spending time, it should incorporate the things you love to do, and how you behave around each other! Like how you fit into your partner’s hug, and all the little idiosyncrasies of your personality. I notice and encourage your natural movements, such as a hand brushing through hair, a touch on the cheek, and your laughter. These candid moments are just as important as posed ones. Plus, they will make your photos stand out and be loved!
When preparing for your engagement session, it’s always a great idea to pick outfits that complement each other. Also keep in mind the colors of the location you choose. Katelyn and I didn’t coordinate outfits, but what she chose turned out to be an amazing jewel-toned color scheme for her engagement photos. She wore a ruby dress that turned garnet in the rain, and Mike wore neutrals so as to not compete with the colors. They stood out in contrast amongst the emerald greens trees and the beautiful golden hues of the grassy fields. Red and green are complementary colors, which maintain balance as well as contrast. They are also standard jewel tone colors, along with gold, and even black and brown. I definitely thought the wooden canopy walkway and birdwalk was reminiscent of Tiger’s Eye!
Let’s photograph your engagement at your favorite park or location unique to your story as a couple!
Celebrate your engagement and wedding with a photoshoot that is totally you!