You’re newly engaged!!! Before falling head first into wedding planning, take a week or two and give your engagement photos some thought. For many of us, this will be the first time we are in front of the camera in any official sense. Below are tips on how to get the most out of your engagement session. Don’t stress! This is supposed to be fun!!
1. Forget the camera exists and focus on your sweetheart
You don’t need to look into the camera, or even in the direction of the camera. Focus on your partner, be in the moment with him. You might be more relaxed than he is. If so, help him relax by reminding him about a joke the two of you share, get his attention and keep it. Be playful. The more he feels you let your guard down, the more he will do the same.
2. Embrace the authentic feelings of the moment. Exaggerate if possible
Don’t let any feeling go to waste! If something is funny, throw your head back and cackle to the sky. If you feel romantic, caress your partner’s face and pull him in for a deep kiss. Let your kiss linger, giggle halfway through it, let yourself belly laugh while you hold onto your partner. PDA is perfectly acceptable for your engagement photos. These are the kinds of photos that really draw us in because they are authentic. If you’re worried that you’ll blank on the day, write some prompt ideas down along with inside jokes or light hearted games or challenges between you and your honey. Your photographer might be able to help you by reading them out loud to you during your session.
3. Let the elements help
The wonderful thing about shooting outside, is that nature is going to help you look amazing! If it’s windy, don’t give your hairdo a second thought. Let the wind take it. Shake it a bit out of your face, close your eyes and smile. In fact, turn your back to the wind and let it push your hair up and forward. If you’re on the beach, walk right on into the water. Don’t worry about getting wet. Let your clothing pool around you, and let the tide float your skirt away from your body. Dip your hands in and let the water drip off your elbows. The drips might catch the light in an amazing way. If you’re on the beach, be happy about getting sandy! That kind of texture is photo gold! Use what’s available to create a compelling story. Be gritty and messy, and natural, and the photos will come out beautifully.
4. Create space
One thing you can do to create a flattering figure in your photos is to move your arms away from the body. Letting light in between your arms and body makes for a much more interesting photo, and gives your waist some shape. If your photographer is shooting close, consider bringing your hands up into the frame. Delicately touch your collarbone or brush the hair out of your face. It brings a very human element to the photo. Another good rule of thumb with arms, wrists and legs, if it bends, then bend it! All of this is nice, but don’t overthink it too much! We want natural, so don’t beat yourself up if you forget something.
5. Look for the light
I’m prefacing this by saying that you should listen to your photographer. Who am I to come between you and some sexy golden back-lighting?! But something to keep in the back of your mind, is that light is everything in a photo. Remember, if you can see the light, and feel it’s warmth on your face, the camera can see it on you too. If you can tell where the light is coming from, turn your face towards it. Trust me, you will thank yourself when you see the photos!
6. Consider the venue
Think a little bit about the venue. In order to get the most out of your engagement photos, your setting should be big enough to be shot from many different angles, and complimentary to the mood you want to create. It doesn’t have to break the bank either. You could go to the fair, head to a mountaintop to catch the sunrise, downtown christmas shopping, check out a historic mansion, or an orchard. There are so many options, plus, your photographer may have some bucket list shoot location, so make sure and ask her if she has any suggestions!
7. Inspired wardrobe
I tell my clients that I like three things, texture, movement, and sheer. Texture can be so richly wonderful in a photo, so maybe pair up some chunky knit sweaters with your fella, or maybe you have a velvet dress that you love. Textures that feel amazing and interesting also look amazing and interesting in photos. Movement creating fabrics and shape are a big deal in photos. A flowy, long skirt, or a top with big ruffles is not only going to make you look great, but it’s natural movement will encourage you to move as well. Sheer fabrics that allows light to pass through photograph amazingly. Lace, light silk, patterned fabrics, tulle. I usually try to discourage people from wearing uncomfortable heels, restrictive clothing, or graphics. Consider bringing a change of outfits for you and the fella!
8. Give yourself time
You’re setting yourself up for failure if you are hoping for a golden hour glow, but schedule your shoot with barely enough time to catch the tail end of it. A better plan is to schedule your shoot to start about an hour before the desired light so that you can work out your nerves with plenty of time to take advantage of the good light.
9. leave pinterest at home
I have to admit, I swoon over the adorable and quirky couple photos on Pinterest, too, but working off a rigid ‘shot list’ is going to severely decrease the chance at capturing REAL moments. Instead of trying to recreate what you’ve seen, you should just plan on making your own authentic pinterest worthy photos!
10. Keep it light with the props
Along the same lines as Pinterest, it can be good to have a couple shots with relevant props (if you’re at the fair, you can’t NOT get ‘his and hers’ cotton candy!!!), but these should be few and for only a few shots. You don’t need to lug a trunk-load of props to your location to create loving and dynamic photos.
11. Movement is your friend
Definitely let your photographer know that she’ll need a faster shutter speed, and MOVE! Encourage your sweetheart to grab you and swing you around, pick you up, try out his dance moves and spin you around, dip you. The best way to get a dynamic photo is to introduce some movement!
By Lillian Lane Photo. Available for engagement sessions all along the west coast and beyond.