How to Take Unique and Creative Engagement Photos
Why Take Engagement Photos?
If you are engaged or getting ready to be engaged, you should prepare yourself for all of the things that you are 'supposed' to do now that you are on a direct path to marriage. One of these things that will most likely come up quickly is getting your engagement photos taken. Engagement photos might not seem like that big of deal, but after going through this entire engagement picture-taking process, I now realize that some of the decisions that were made before we even took a single shot were some of the most important ones that were made.
Your engagement photos are going to be more important than you probably realize, and thinking through the process will help you end up with pictures that best reflect both you as a couple and your love for one another. Also, the pictures that you get taken during your engagement photo shoot most likely aren't going to be cheap and they are going to be used in other things such as your save-the-date mailing, wedding program, guest book, and reception decoration, so you need to make sure that you have your stuff together before you're standing there in front of the camera.
The rest of this guide will help you make some of these important decisions once you get ready to have your engagement photos taken, so that you'll end up with the type of creative and unique pictures that will reflect the awesome relationship that you have with your future husband or wife.
Finding a Photographer That Fits Your Style
One of the most important things that I have learned now that I have had my unique engagement photos taken is that you need to find a photographer that fits your style. I really can't stress this enough. There are a lot of photographers out there that tend to forget that this is your wedding and not just another addition to their portfolio, so as you begin to look for photographers for your engagement photos, please try to find one that you know will match your personality as a couple and who will really listen to your thoughts and ideas.
Luckily we had an amazing photographer named Henry Sun, from H Creatives Photography, who you should probably get in touch with if you're looking to get some engagement or wedding photos taken in Northern California (or somewhere else—he'll hop on a flight if you really want him to).
When you first meet with photographers, here are a few questions that you might want to bring up with them when they are showing you their portfolio (which I hope they have!):
- Why did you choose these different locations for the photos that you're showing me and what did they have to do with the couple? (This will show their interest for the couples as opposed to the art.)
- How many different locations do you allow us to shoot at and how open are you for some brainstorming before we go out and start shooting? (This will show their willingness to be flexible so that you can learn each other's style.)
- How do you normally find your clients? Are they referred? (This will tell you how satisfied their clients have been—more referrals = more satisfaction.)
- How many of your engagement photo clients end up asking you to shoot their wedding as well? (More engagements that turn into wedding shoots means more happy clients.)
- Can I speak to one of your recent satisfied clients? (It's always good to check a reference or two.)
Also, I've found that it's also good to meet the photographer in a restaurant for dinner or coffee shop for a drink so that you can really get a good feel for who they are and what type of photographer they are. This might seem like a lot of work for just getting engagement photos, but if you're spending the money and taking the time to get them, then you should do it right the first time.
After you have found the right photographer to take your engagement photos, you can then move on to the part that stumps most couples—how to make the photos really fun, creative, and memorable. This can be done several ways, but before making any decisions you should decide, as a couple, how you want the final overall look and feel of the photos to end up after everything is said and done. This is going to be different for every couple, but it's definitely a decision that you need to make before you can begin to think about anything else. Also, you don't need to have one set theme for all of the photos, but you need to have a plan for what each of the themes are going to be.
For example, before our engagement photoshoot my fiancée and I decided that we wanted a 'For Better or For Worse' theme to string through all of our sets of pictures that has taken. So, no matter what location we were at, what we were wearing, or how we were posing we always knew that we had to get two specific photos—one that had a 'For Better' theme (us getting along as a couple) and one that had a 'For Worse' theme (us not getting along as a couple). We're a pretty crazy and fun couple, so this was easy to weave into our photo shoot and it really kept us thinking during our day-long shoot. This was our way to have some fun and add in a little of our own personality along the way. We also ended up using the For Better or For Worse theme and engagement photo poses for our save-the-date invites, which really worked out great.
Choosing the Right Locations
The next thing you need to decide are the locations where you would like to have your engagement photos taken. These locations are places that would either look really cool in your pictures or places that are special to you as a couple for one reason or another. By choosing different locations that have some type of connection to your relationship you'll be able to be much more genuine during your shoot and you're almost guaranteed to appreciate them more in the long run.
Some great places that could potentially make your list of locations are:
- Where you first met
- Where you had your first date
- A restaurant, coffee shop or any other location that you frequent as a couple
- A really cool looking landscape or skyline that's nearby
- A location with lots or bright and vibrant colors (see my graffiti wall pic below)
- A location that would be the last place that you would think of getting your engagement photos taken, like an abandoned warehouse or old junkyard
Once you select your locations, don't be scared to get outside of your comfort zone a little bit when you're getting your photos taken. Have fun and explore the spaces—you're only going to have one chance, so don't leave anything out that you'll regret not getting once you're finished. As a side note me and my fiancée actually took our beach engagement photos (see below) in freezing cold water, although you can't really tell. It was ridiculously cold when we did it, but now that we have the shots we're so glad that we sucked it up!
Also, while you're traveling to your different locations, don't be afraid to make an impromptu stop if you feel the need to take advantage of a new place or background. Some of the best shots that we we took were at locations that we didn't plan on stopping at (like the yellow field above).
Clothing Options and Ideas for Poses
The final ideas you should know about before getting your engagement photos taken are the clothing that you're going to bring along for the shoot, and what poses you're going to do once you get all dressed up and are finally in front of the camera.
Depending on how many locations that you're planning on going to and how long you've paid your photographer to stick around, you may only need one outfit. But, if you're in it for the long haul and have plenty of time and patience, then you could even go so far as having multiple sets of clothes for each of your locations. Just remember that if you have the room to haul around a bunch of clothes, it's always better to pack more stuff than less. Having options is never a bad thing and once you're on the clock with your photographer it's going to be hard to head back to your house for additional wardrobe changes. So, be prepared and once again, have some fun with it!
Your poses tie in with the clothing that you choose because some of your clothes could potentially limit your poses due to being too restricted, revealing, or who knows what. Your poses should once again reflect your personality as a couple and you should try to get as many different poses in at each location as your time allows. Also, I would suggest that you try to mix in some serious poses with some fun and romantic poses so that by the time your photo shoot is over you'll get a great mix of everything. One other thing—be ready to do a lot of smiling, kissing, nose-rubbing, and cheek-brushing because these are what help create some of the most amazing shots you'll take.
I've included some pictures below of poses that I took with my fiancée during our engagement photo-shoot so that they can hopefully get your wheels turning a little bit, too. Enjoy them and also be sure to enjoy the entire process once it's time for you to take your own. The more fun you have, the better your engagement photos will be, I can guarantee you that!