Splish, Splash in Kelowna Lake | Tips for Capturing Creative Engagement Photos

September 25, 2020
Splish, Splash in Kelowna Lake | Tips for Capturing Creative Engagement Photos

Congratulations! You’re engaged! From excitement and butterflies to nerves and happiness, soak up every moment of those honeymoon feelings after you say “yes” to marrying your best friend. And, when it comes time to capture your love before the big day, be sure to favorite this blog post in your browser for all the tips and inspiration on how to capture creative engagement photos with your photographer!

We’ve teamed up with British Columbia and Alberta wedding photographer, Kristyn Harder Photography, to share a few tips on how you and your fiancé can capture your love in a unique way that will make your photos stand out from the rest. Plus, we’re sharing one of Kristyn’s darling couples who dreamt up the most creative engagement session to inspire your photo session.

The Couple’s Love Story
from the bride-to-be, Nicole

How they met: Tyler and I met three years ago online, we both swiped right and the rest is history; a true tinder success story! Our first date was at a small neighbourhood wine bar. Four hours into the date and several glasses of wine later, we both knew that we had something special. As we got to know each other, we discovered that we were in the same small university class three years prior to meeting and had several mutual friends. We are not really sure how our paths had never crossed but it was perfect timing when they did.

The engagement: We got engaged on February 12, 2020. It was a regular Thursday morning. As I stumbled out of bed to get my morning coffee, I came down the stairs to see a massive 12 x 12 ft. sign (literally taking up our entire living room) that said “Hey Baby, I think I want to marry you” with the Bruno Mars song blaring in the background. My fiancé was supposed to be at work, but instead, he was on one knee waiting at the bottom of the stairs in front of the sign. I was so impressed with the sign he made and asked how he made it before I said yes (poor guy!). He then said pack your bags, we’re going to the mountains! We had a little weekend getaway to Kananaskis to celebrate our engagement. We spent the weekend at the Nordic spa getting pampered, eating good food, drinking wine (of course!) and enjoying each other’s company.

The I do’s: We are getting married on August 7th, 2021 at Painted Rock Winery in Penticton, BC. We always knew that we wanted to get married in the Okanagan because we spend a lot of time there in the summer. To be honest, it’s like our second home! Painted Rock is our favourite winery in the Okanagan and we love the modern aesthetic of the venue. Not to mention, the view is really something else. We couldn’t think of a better place to get married!

The Inspiration for the Engagement Session:
from the bride-to-be, Nicole

For our engagement session, we wanted to do a “day in the life” styled shoot that highlighted our favourite things to do when we are visiting the Okanagan. We wanted to create something that was fun, playful, and reflective of our relationship and personality. Our vision for the shoot was a typical day spent by the water enjoying the beach, swimming in the lake, and soaking up the sun!

Tips from the Photographer
Kristyn Harder Photography

How do you work with couples to come up with unique concepts?

“I absolutely love it when couples want to do something outside of the norm, and I’ve really started to encourage it! For this session, Nicole and Tyler were the masterminds behind all of the creative ideas, and I loved how personal it all was. I was more than happy to travel to Kelowna for what I knew would be a super unique session, and we had so much fun bringing their “evening at the beach” session to life! After photographing couples for 10 years, I get so excited when I’m able to photograph something totally unique like Nicole and Tyler’s engagement session. I also love dogs, so the icing on the cake was Roonie, their adorable doodle pup who graced us with her presence for the start of our session before we made our way down to the beach. I never say no to a couple who wants to include their furry friends in their session, because our pets are our family and they show up with so much love and energy!

After being inspired this summer, I planned something more personal for my own anniversary session. We had a beautiful engagement session years ago at Glacier National Park, as we wanted those picturesque mountain photos like so many couples do. But for our most recent session, my husband and I decided to plan something more unique, and we recreated our first date. We started at the ice cream shop where we first met, went for a walk with our pup around that same area, and even chose each other’s second outfits for fun. I can’t wait to get the images back from our session and I know they’ll be incredibly special because they are SO us. That’s just an example of what I want to inspire my couples to do!”

What do you take into consideration?
Location? Props? Poses? Time?

“When choosing locations, I ask my clients questions like what their interests are, if they have a favorite park, vacation spot, and if there are any places that feel special or sentimental. I feel that the location really sets the tone for their session, and we go from there! Many of my couples want to take advantage of the beautiful Rocky Mountains nearby, and of course, there are so many stunning options within just a couple of hours of the city I’m in.

However, I love city or destination sessions equally as much and am fortunate to be able to work in all kinds of places. I always prefer to shoot in the evenings, around sunset. I love the soft light that you can’t find midday, and I feel that evenings give my sessions a more relaxed vibe vs doing them at sunrise. For preparation, I only want them to bring “props” that feel authentic to the setting, and that enhances their experience. Examples of this would be planning a little picnic at their favorite park, popping a bottle of champagne to celebrate, or a blanket to stay warm on a chilly day.

I recommend to my clients that they choose outfits that they feel confident in and that reflect their personal style. I personally love doing two looks because my clients appreciate the variety, and also have less pressure to choose that one perfect outfit. I love when couples aren’t afraid to accessorize – and Nicole had the cutest hat which is one of my favorite things too.

On the session day, I do my best to create moments within a pose, instead of just telling my clients exactly what to do! So I set the scene, have them in a “pose” but then encourage them to be themselves. Whether that is whispering something cute, bumping into each other, or even laughing like a villain, I want them to enjoy their experience and not feel like I’m ordering them around for an hour and a half. We explore the area, laugh, chat about their plans, and my goal is to make my clients feel comfortable and walk away talking about what a great time they had.

Nicole and Tyler’s engagement session was so easy because their love was so apparent in the best way. They had all of these fun ideas and they trusted me to capture everything from getting soaking wet in the water to snuggling on a huge rubber ducky floatie! For me, my favorite sessions are when my clients are madly in love and aren’t afraid to be themselves in front of the camera. When they go with the flow, love to laugh, let go of perfection, and trust that I’m capturing beautiful images of their experience – that is when the magic happens! The proof is this delightful Okanagan engagement session that we will definitely never forget!”
  1. Be yourself!
  2. Think outside of the box for your location! There’s something special about in-home sessions, too!
  3. Wear comfortable attire, if you’re uncomfortable in heels or a tight dress it will show!
  4. Props are always welcome but only if they’re natural to your lifestyle! Examples include your pet, go-to cocktail, favorite hobby, or your weekend activities!
  5. Trust your photographer…that’s why you hired them!
  6. Have fun!

For more engagement photo inspiration, check out these resources:
Daily Blog | Engagement Guide | What to Wear | Hats for your Engagement Session | Outfit Ideas
Photographer: Kristyn Harder Photography Hair + Makeup: Jenny McKinney
The Bride’s Planning Guide to a perfect Rocky Mountain Wedding
  • The Bride’s Planning Guide to a perfect Rocky Mountain Wedding

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