Category Archives: Engagements

Spring Love

Spring time is such a wonderful time for engagements that are full of love and romance.


How do photograph the love between a couple in 1 hour?

Part of my inspiration comes from looking at the photographs of other amazing photographers-  photographers who are not well known but are truly masters in the creative realm of photography.  What I am looking for are the pictures that are so natural looking it is as if the photographer wasn’t even there!

There are tons of examples where you can tell the coupe were laboring through the process-  no connection at all.  This is not because they have no connection between each other-  it’s because they have no connection with the photographer.

I am not sure how, as a photographer, you learn to make couples at ease.  What is the system to have them relax and enjoy their time together while being photographed?

Bottom line – it’s an art,  a skill, a genuine sense of empathy.

Rule Number 1- look like you know what your are doing.  Don’t look like a dickhead with the camera and gear.  That is the surest way for them to not trust you.

Rule Number 2-  have fun.  Truly enjoy the time your are spending with them.

Rule Number 3-  make them laugh.  A sense of humour is the cornerstone of building relationships.




Also posted in Engagement, Portraits

Forest Park Engagement

Forest Park provides some of the most amazing Engagement locations.  Park Park

Also posted in Portraits, Wedding

Stylish Engagements Wardrobes

The Wardrobe for a stylish engagement shoot is really important.  As a wedding photographer in St Louis we create beautiful portraits.


Stylish Wedding and Engagement Portraits

Wearing outfits that not only compliment what your stye but each other is really important.

Your Style:

You have a look and it should be what you’ll wear on the day.  We always like doing 2-3 different outfits on the shoot.  Your style is important but then we also want the items to have some consistency.  It’s always best to avoid wild patterns or really bright neon coloring.  This is usually too distracting.


You need to look together in style.  This does not mean dress the same which is really uncool and tacky looking.  It means you styles should balance each other.  If he’s jeans and tshirts, then so should you.

We always talk our couples through what they should wear,  because it’s a big part of the image.

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Pet Autumn Engagement Pictures

Pet Pictures and Engagements

Pet Pet Photography Pet Photography Pet Photography Pet Photography

Photographing an Engagement with a Pet

1-  If you love your dog then bring them

2-  Be prepared to have a lot of down time because your dog will be so happy to be outside

3-  Bring someone to watch your dog so we can take awesome pictures of you guys without the dog.

4-  Be prepared for accidents.

5-  Bring your dogs favorite toy.



Also posted in Portraits Tagged |

Fall Engagement in the Park- Jacob and Sasha



Pre-wedding couple photography.


Fall Engagement in the Park

Fall Engagements Pictures



Also posted in Portraits Tagged , |

Headshot Photography with an Emphasis on Chin and Head Position

It’s the Chin that makes the Photograph

 Chin headshot photography Missouri

St Louis Headshots

I absolutely love photographing headshot photographs for clients –  be it for corporate clients or models or acting looks.  This applies to my approach for senior photography as well.

The essence of any great portrait is the client needs to feel relaxed, feel amazing, and totally trust their photographer.

If they have the above three then they will project their persona through their eyes-  if it’s not in the eyes then there is no portrait.

How important is the   in a headshot?  It is the shot!  Placing the chin poorly means that your create a doubkle chin, make the eyes smaller because the head is down, and creates a devious look.  And it will add more weight to the persons face.

So what should they do?  Chin forward and down –  like a small turtle.  I say that phrase so many times during a shoot-   forward and down.  Not extreeme forward and down, just a wee bit.

This will lengthen their necks a lot which is more pleasing to look at.

Part of our goal at Shari Photography is to create headshots and portraits that make you feel great!

Use the Chin wisely.

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Faust Park Engagement Session

Faust Park Engagements offer lots of variety and scenes for the photographer.  My couples love the images from that location.

Faust Park


Faust PArk Faust Park Faust Park Engagement Session

Faust Park is slowly becoming one of my favorite places for engagements.

There is such a variety of places within a small space.

I like to give my clients a huge variety of pictures-  that cover different poses and locations.  For example, Nicole and Zac will receive about 250 edited images from the session –  I love variety and this location gives me that option.

Options I look for when I put together the engagement sessions are:  fields or open grassy spaces for a rural look,  structures or buildings for an urban feel, and any over hanging objects like tree limbs to frame the picture or tunneling type looks where light will pour in from the back.

The structures are some of the best options here.  There are 2 barns with lovely textures surfaces and a large house with stairs and bright colors.  There are many photographic options wit both building types.

The large grassy field has a ton of options too.  One part has tall grass and at sunset the light is just spectacular!


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Engagement Technique for a Little Variation

Taking Unique and Exciting Engagement Photographs

EngagementI don’t think we focus enough on feet.

Especially at engagement shoots.

I don’t really have a foot fetish… but as photographers we are so focused on what happens above the waist that we forget there is a whole world below that we can focus on.  And that area can be just as sexy and personal as say the eyes.

One technique I use is the have couples sit on a bench- make sure they put their butts near the edge of the seat-  and have their shoes/ feet tell a story of how they met.

It is hilarious.

They have such a good time  making their feet take on a role and trying to get them to act.  I’ll take those pictures tight on their feet.

But then I’ll pull back for some fun shots of the couple, arms draped around each other, feet tangled up, and heads staring down.  At the right moment, I’ll have them look up for a totally relaxed, carefree, happy, candid  engagement shot.

Similar to this is the photograph the feet from above with either the focus being the feet or including their whole bodies with a wide lens.  There are lots of variations on this pose.

But my favorite is still the feet.

However, it’s important they have cool shoes on!  So always take control of the wardrobe-  most couples are not too sure on what to wear to the engagement.

That’s where you have to step in with suggestions.  Be clear on what outfits will look great, what to avoid, and what shoes to wear.


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Photographing the Wedding First Dance Suggestions

First Dance and how to best capture the amazing moment

Wedding Collections

First Dance

Every wedding has a series of hurdles that you cannot screw up on because there is no do over.  You can always redo a portrait or wedding party pic.

The first dance is not a do over event.  You either get it right or you miss one of the most important moments of the day.

Usually there is very little time to prep and setup for the shots.  You have about 3 minutes to get dialed in and take a well exposed properly composed series of pictures.

Here are the steps I use:

1-  make sure the background is clear like a wall or ther are lights that I can backlight them with-  maybe the DJs lights.

2-  Settings-  I want ambient light so shutter is 1/60- 1/80.  App in a  low light situation will be 2.8 or 1.8.  I dare not go below 1.8 otherwise there is a chance one of the couples faces will be soft.  2.8 is my choice.  ISO at 800 to start. Off camera flash 1/4 bounce set at 1/8 .  Everything needs to be manual otherwise the picture will look like you took it with a point and shoot.

Seriously, if you don’t know how to shoot off camera with a flash in manual in a dark room then don’t charge people to photograph their wedding.

3-   I have 2 lenses with me so I don’t have to move too much.

the 70-200mm for tight shots and the 35mm  for wide room shots to give a sense of the occasion.  My preference is close in shots because the story is about the couple and not the room.

4-  Editing-  mostly color, but a few get the black and white treatment if there is a lot of emotion in the image.

Shari Photography Wedding Collections




Also posted in Technical, Wedding Tagged |

Creating a Photography Wedding Timeline

Creating a Photography Wedding Timeline


Sample Wedding Timeline by Shari Photography

St Louis Wedding Photography Missouri Illinois

A detailed timeline created by the photographer and NOT the wedding planner is essential to the success of the photographer in keeping the day moving.  Don’t think for  a moment that a photographer’s job is simply to show and take pictures.  Maybe 15 years ago, but not anymore.

The modern photographer needs to wear  many different hats beyond just photographer.  We need to support, counsel, cajole,  corral and carryout a bunch of other tasks.  And I love em all.

At Shari Photography the timeline is the foundation for the day and it is created with the bride and groom.  It is an essential document to ensure the day moves smoothly.

Where to start-

Anchor Points-  these are times set in stone that cannot be changed or missed.  For example, the service.  If it’s at 4 pm-  then it must remain at 4pm.   Others are – when the bride leaves for the church, when the couple are announced, when the formals should begin etc…

Timelines I create are very specific.  They include when the bride should get into her dress, when the parents should arrive, etc…  The more detail and times included, the more confident  the bride will be in the wedding day.

The Process:

I usually contact the bride 6 weeks before the wedding.  In a 30 minute conversation I begin to create the draft of the day and then email it to them via a PDF.  My Brides love this-  it is a visual for them so they can see how their day will unfold.  This becomes a living document as we tweak it.  As we get closer to the date, all the pieces fall into place.  Because of my experience, I am able to provide advise on what will or will not work.  Some timelines are finalized the day of the wedding.

Too many brides stress about everything not going to plan.  A detailed timeline with plenty of wiggle room allows the bride feel more at ease.  It’s also a way for the photographer to break the day into sequences.  Each sequence requires a different photographic approach.  For example, during the getting ready sequence I will use specific lenses and know there are must have shots to take.  Knowing how much time I have is critical in getting those shots.

Wedding days are typically rushed no matter what-  but a detailed timeline can smooth these days a lot, make for a happier bride, and create order of a day that can easily spin into a little turmoil.

Also posted in Technical, Travel, Wedding Tagged |