I had the pleasure of doing engagement photos for Alyssa and Jake this past weekend! I have been waiting since July to do their photos as they booked me for their wedding in July. I love doing engagement photo sessions because it is fun to see the couple's personalities and seeing them have fun with each other, it all just warms my heart.
Their engagement session started off like any other engagement shoot. We met at a park in St. Cloud MN and chatted about the wedding and engagement session. We warmed up doing a few "warm up" photos that you can see below:
After we got warmed up we walked on the trail where I got to know that their wedding was going to be rustic themed with sage green, black, white, and grey colors. They picked beautiful colors that will looks stunning at the barn with the browns of the wooden barn. As we all approach a clearing I have them do the signature nuzzle shot!
I love doing nuzzle shots as they are simple, yet intimate. I love how close and relaxed they look as well as the emotion of happiness and being content this picture shows. in my opinion you can never have enough nuzzle shots.
I love the clearing they are in. the tree line is high enough during the evening to diffuse the light and create a nice glowy look, but not too high or thick that the light can't shine through. Not to mention it has nice tall crass with tree that don't create what we call in the industry "black holes" for the non photographers that may be reading this, black holes in photography sense are really dark areas that seem to suck the subjects in instead of making them pop from the background.
Once we got done taking photos into the clearing we got some beautiful on the path photos that you can see below:
Because of how this park's trail is made the sun is usually on one side or the other of the trail. I like to back light my clients so the sun is behind them and crates a nice glowy background. so typically on the path pictures don't happen at this location. I decided to take a risk and did some photos on the path and I am glad I did! these are one of my favorites from this location They are well lit and have the bright and airy vibe I try to go for! This is one of those times where breaking some of the photography rules that we try to abide by makes sense to be broken.
Right to the Left of this path there is kind of an opening. I think it was an old short cut trail that got over grown over time. but I love this area because there is enough of an opening to get a bright an airy look
The picture is soft and romantic with the trees hanging over head and the small plants a tiny white flowers just add beautiful detail and bring this picture together.
After the clearing, we get to the river. Everybody loves pictures by this river. the bad thing about the river is that the trees are too thick for light to shine through in the way that I like and not to mention the sun is never in the right position. none the less the clients of course want to do pictures. I take them as I know I can fix most of the issue post editing.
I have my wonderful couples sit down. Since I have bad handwriting Alyssa decides to write on the chalkboard instead of me. I tell her to write "engaged" and then add the month and year they are engaged. we take the pictures (unfortunately I deleted them as they didn't want these pictures you'll see why in a minute) and then then Alyssa's fiance drop the bomb and he says "funny thing is that we are not engaged"
I let out a small "oh?" while I start panicking internally thinking I booked a regular couple and I did not remember doing so. I ask them, "Are you guys my clients who are getting married?"
They both laugh (thankfully they have an awesome sense of humor) and Alyssa tells me "yes we are. We know we do things backwards, but we are not engaged yet because he hasn't proposed technically."
I let out a mental sigh of relief, at least I did not mix up any clients! Jake decides to throw us both for a loop! he nonchalantly asks, "How about we make it offical?" and he got down on one knee and proposed!
Luckily I had my camera on. This lighting was a tad dark as I did not have time to adjust lighting as I had no idea this was going to happen, but post processing fixes most things. I am very ecstatic that I was able to capture this once in a life time moment for them. Alyssa cried tears of joy and was able to cherish the moment. After their official engagement we redid the photo with the sign to have the correct date for them to share.
With that, we took a few more shots before heading back up towards the entrance as we had to go to our second location for the beautiful sunset photos. Before we got back to the entrance we stopped on the path as there is a tree that bends over the path. I love this tree, but the bad thing it is usually too dark, but the clear sky worked in my favor and I was able to capture a romantic scene under the tree
After getting to the car we head to the second location. As I get near the second location I just happen to see a road divider that has trees in the divider. As the sun was still a tad high I tell them my impromptu plan of walking to the middle of the road to the divider. I am glad I took this chance as I got the most gorgeous photos here!
I believe the apples are crap apple trees which created a beautiful pop to the background! this is probably my favorite place out of the whole shoot.
After sporting their sunglasses the sun was starting to emit warm orange tones from setting. We did a picnic scene where they had white grape sparkling cider and a yummy chocolate cake dessert. I used my macro lens to get away from them so they could enjoy a romantic and intimate moment shared just between themselves without me in their face. These pictures were truly magical!
To finish off the romantic evening we did a few simple sunset kissing photos before parting our ways. I went home to edit and they went off to a dinner reservation to celebrate their engagement.
Although I have only been doing photography for six months in a serious business like way, I still have advice for newer photographers. Three things that I wish I knew from the very beginning.
1. use auto focus
I remember I seen a Youtube video about how you shouldn't shoot in Auto focus that you can't control the focus and that you should only shoot in manual focus. Boy was that guy wrong. Using manual focus I struggled with the focus being soft. I tried everything and I was so frustrated. Through talking with fellow professional photographers I find most (if not all) shoot in Auto focus. I switched and it made a lot of a difference.
2. expose for what you want to see
This is particularly useful if your subject(s) are wearing bright colors or white. white can be easily be over exposed which will have them glowing in a bad way. by exposing for what you want to see you can ensure you have a good picture you can always fix some things that might not be properly exposed in post editing. Below you can see picture on Left the blanket is glowing as I forgot to expose for it vs. the Right the dress is properly exposed
3. Shoot in raw
I was told this a lot, but I always ignored it as I love my jpegs (for whatever reason). Raws are your friend though. There were photos in jpeg that I couldn't save due to being over or under exposed, but once I switched to raw, those same issues I could fix and save more photos!
How it all began
By: Michayla Hanson
Hello, for those who don't know me, my name is Michayla Hanson. I am a photographer and owner of Photography By Michayla Hanson. Today I just wanted to share my photography journey.
I am a newer professional photographer. I have been doing photography since I was in 7th grade with a dinky point and shoot camera. You can see one of my first photos I have ever shot with it below!
These are screenshots off of Face book as I couldn't download them, but as you can see they are not good quality. I am a bit surprised by how they don't look too terrible framing wise, but definitely not my best work. These are not as bad as when I went to my cousins wedding though and decided I would play wedding photographer at age thirteen. I will let you cringe with me on this one.
As you may see both images are blurry. The Image on the Left is badly lit, hazy and my thumb is in the top left corner of picture. Luckily for them they hired a professional photographer as you can see in left picture on the left side of frame. The right picture is just blurry and is a tad orange. In all we all start some where right?
I mainly did landscape photos until I hit Highschool. In my senior year (2017) I started to take photography a bit more serious. I took a photography course with my fantastic teacher Geoff Welles. This is where I learned the basics such as rules of thirds. We did various projects and if you want to see all of them you can click here to go to my old website. I will highlight a few below:
The photo on the left was part of a double exposure project where we purposefully made double exposed images. I still like this one and I actually submitted it into a local contest and tied for first place in the "Digital Imaging" category. The picture on the right is better than the wedding photos I took four years prior, but the picture is still a tad blurry. What is cool about the photo on the right is that this was taking in what is called the Arklund Studio in Cokato MN. It is technically a small museum of an old photography studio where the background was actually painted on. The museum let students use this studio for free. The furniture my friend is sitting on is actually the original furniture that the original photographer used. Back in the day they used a skylight at an angle instead of studio lighting which is what I utilized. Which looking back I am thankful I got to shoot the "old fashioned" way.
I started using what is considered a medium camera in April 2017. It was better than a point and shoot, but not as good as a DSLR. From 2017-2020 I tried to make it as a photographer with a Medium camera. Being in a small town where people are very hesitant about anything free (unless they know you) It was hard building any sort of portfolio or clients. I don't blame anybody through. my Medium camera though it didn't take the worst photos it wasn't the best. Below is two pictures I took with my medium Camera.
It wasn't until March 2020 that I obtained a DSLR camera. The Canon Rebel T6 is what I bought and is the camera I am using today. It's a nifty beginner DSLR that works wonders! I started in March with free photography sessions to help build my portfolio and now I currently offer discounted rates to help create a client base. My first two sessions with this camera was a maternity and then a couple session. These sessions went alright, but I had minimal light knowledge. That is what I feel I have been struggling the most as a photographer is with lighting. My maternity shoot most of my pictures were either way under exposed or super over exposed on the skin as I will show you below.
My photography has improved A LOT since March. and I am starting to find my style! I now have a bright and vibrant style that I love! I know I will always continue to grow and improve as a photographer, but I am happy and proud of my pictures now.
It amazes me to see how far I have come and hope to grow in the future! If you are new, don't be too hard on yourself nobody was perfect (or even good) when they first start out. Just keep an open mind and keep striving to learn new things and push yourself as a photographer!