Love caught on camera…there’s nothing like it. Love caught on camera by Melissa Hayes around the wilds of Austin, there is definitely nothing even remotely close to that magic. And these two are like the cooler, hotter version of my hubby and I. Just hanging out reading, playing chess, grabbing a bite to eat but looking ever so stellar in the process. They are too cute and they have the images to prove it. See them all right here.

Click here for the FULL engagement session!

From the Bride-to-Be… My fiance Will and I live in Austin, but are getting married in Chicago in June. He’s a seventh generation Texan, but I grew up in Chicago. When we were trying to book a late winter engagement photo shoot with our Chicago-based wedding photographer Melissa Hayes, she mentioned she wouldn’t be opposed to traveling to sunny and 70 degree Austin for the shoot. Totally worth the expense! We got to meet and get comfortable with her, as well as take some outdoor photos that showcased the unique and funky spirit of our adopted hometown. Because Melissa had never been to Austin before, I planned everything and loved it. I scouted locations and made lists of good sites. I planned our outfit changes. I undertook the project like I was styling a magazine shoot: props, hair, makeup and accessories were all accounted for. I made an engagement photo inspiration board on pinterest. There was even a play list for the car that day while we trekked from location to location. I kept it simple for him: cowboy boots, jeans and three different shirts. Meanwhile I was hiking on a pair of pantyhose (Pippa Middleton has made those cool again, right?) in the middle of a downtown sidewalk. My red and hot pink color block ensemble with his red plaid shirt. My black and white polka dot dress with his white button down. Wearing our denim-on-denim “Texas Tuxedos” together was an obvious choice.

Many of the sites have emotional history from our dating life, while some of them were pure chance. We’ve road tripped and lived all over the country, so I brought along a highway road atlas as a prop, but who would have known that we’d stumble across a cool minty green vintage car parked on S. Congress Ave? Or that it would belong to the employee of Heritage Boot who sold us our wedding cowboy boots? We stopped by a cool Austin mural on the side of an art gallery, and after chatting with the owner (and for a small fee) were allowed into his backyard — a site previously only seen in an Anthropologie catalog. I brought along copies of the Pablo Neruda love poem books we’ve given each other as gifts over the years. It’s an inside couple joke how many Mexican blankets I collect, so I snuck some of those in as well. He put his foot down at setting up the contents of our picnic basket for a mock picnic.

We took photos in front of murals and pretty buildings. We took photos at romantic hotels in town — placed we’ve stayed or hope to stay one day. We took photos from a scenic overlook we’ve often walked or biked to to watch the sunset. We took photos of us playing chess because we like to play chess when we go on camping road trips to the beach. We were both a little nervous about so many pictures being taken of us. We obviously wanted to look good, but natural and not posed. We are so happy with how the pictures turned out! I don’t know what looks better — us or Austin? I can’t wait for Melissa to capture Chicago, our loved ones and us on the big day!

Photography: Melissa Hayes Photography / Location: Austin, Texas