When I first received my engagement photos I was underwhelmed, to say the least. Keep in mind I will be the first to say I have extremely high expectations. So I typically am underwhelmed, just being honest. During the wedding planning process, I quickly learned my disappointment was of my own making. Miscommunication or the lack thereof was my downfall.
I typically air on the side that when working with professionals (of any sort), that they will be aware of what I need as a client and will be able to deliver on my expectations. Basically expecting others to read my mind and understand what I want or need without saying a word (my poor hubby knows this way too well). Unfortunately, that is just not how it works in the real world.
Do not get me wrong most professionals take pride in their work and will deliver something that they believe to be amazing. But when it comes to your wedding, every detail of the day should reflect your vision. Even if you’re unsure of what that vision is, it is important that the wedding day reflects who you are as a couple.
There may be some trial and error during your path of discovering your wedding day vision, but ultimately with every little decision you make it will all come together. Deciding on our photographer for our engagement photos was a no brainer. We decided to go with someone I knew from high school. In reality, when it came to our wedding all of our vendors were friends.
There is just a certain comfort level that you feel when you work with people you’re familiar with. But sometimes that familiarity can cause frictions; especially when expectations are not set properly prior to the project. So regardless of if your photographer is a family friend or someone you’re found online. There are several key pitfalls to avoid to ensure you love your engagement photos.
Being a first-time bride, with no experience with weddings I did not fully understand the purpose of the engagement photos. I knew we needed engagement photos but I did not consider the after use of the shoot.
My being an amateur bride I assumed my photographer would ensure I got the photos I need, but again being familiar with one another we did not discuss my expectation as a bride. Please do understand we have a lot of great photos from our engagement shoot. But they didn’t fulfill most of our wedding needs.
Ultimately we had about three photos in which we were looking head on at the camera, so we were limited to using those photos for our wedding websites, reception display, and photos which we sent to our family. The photos that I loved the most were the scenic photos, but in those photos, we were kissing. Not to say that there is anything wrong with a good smooching photo but that just was not what I wanted our guest to see when they walked into our wedding reception.
5 Tips for Beautiful Engagement Photos
Schedule a consult with your photographer prior to the actual engagement shoot. Discuss your vision and preferences (i.e. angles, profile, etc.) with your photographer to ensure you are on the same page. Ensure your photographer discuss how many photos you can expect to receive, the timeline for when you will receive your photos after the shoot, and what method they will use to deliver the photos.
You don’t need to become a photo expert by any means but you should be aware of your photo taking preferences. Personally, I feel the most flattering photos of me are close up profile shot. In an ideal scenario, you would make your photographer aware of this so he or she can capture several close-up profile shots.
- Longshot (also known as Wide Shoot and full shot) shows the entire object or human figure and is usually intended to place it in some relation to its surroundings.
- Close up shot shows tightly frames a person or an object
- Point of view shot shows what a character (the subject) is looking at
- Establishing shot shows first shot of a new scene, designed to show the audience where the action is taking place
- Over the shoulder, the shot shows someone or something taken from the perspective or camera angle from the shoulder of another person.
- Low angle shot shows camera positioned low on the vertical axis, anywhere below the eye line, looking up at a subject.
- Medium shot (also known as waist shot) shows subject from a medium distance.
- Full Face shows both of the subjects’ ears.
- 2/3 view shows face turned slightly away from the camera, the far ear disappears.
- Profile shows face turned 90-degree angle to the camera, only one side of the face is visible.
Find at least 10 poses and share them with your photographer. I personally recommend finding at least 3 forward facing (or full face) shots, since you will need at least one photo to display at your wedding reception (choosing 3 gives you a few options). I myself do not like full face photos of me but, this is the most striking view.
When you look at full face photos of people, it feels more intimate like the person in the photo is looking directly at you. I cannot stress enough how important this is, for your welcome shoot. Although your photographer will direct your shoot, you are in charge of ensuring they understand your vision.
Common Couple Poses
- Kiss on the forehead Poses
- Arm around neck Poses
- Hand on chest Poses
- Arms around the waist Poses
- The proposal Poses (the establishing shot)
- Cinderella Poses (girl in air and popped foot)
- Kiss on the cheek Poses
- The Kiss Poses
- Hand Holding Poses
- Hand on cheek Poses
- Intimate Stare Poses
Keep in mind your end goal. Engagement photos are typically used for Save the Dates, wedding website, wedding announcements, gifts, and reception display. I know the wedding process is overwhelming but make sure you remember these photos will be a staple for your wedding day. When scheduling your photo shoot make sure your photographer understand the type of poses you want to capture for the above scenarios.
You should view your engagement shoot as a prelude to the wedding day. The engagement shoot shows people who you as a couple. Decide on a theme and dress accordingly. Most of all are yourself, after all, it’s all about you two!
Choosing your location is really important for creating a great backdrop for your photos. Your home could make an amazing place to shoot your engagement photos, with proper staging it could be a perfect reflection of you all as a couple. Many couples chose to take their engagement photos outdoor (we did also). But be mindful that photos outdoor, are subject to lighting that often cannot be edited by your photographer (so if you choose the outdoor make sure it’s a nice day out).