By Rebecca Padgett
I adore photography. Photography is one of the most honest and beautiful forms of art. But, I will be honest in saying that at first, I wasn’t so sure about taking engagement photos. To me, it seemed like every couple I saw wore some variation of the same outfit and posed in slightly abnormal ways. I soon realized I wasn’t looking in the right places. I branched out and quickly found a handful of photographers that were our style. For the first time, I began to get excited about taking photos together and all of the ways in which they could be used — both for our wedding and as memory markers. That being said, I recently booked with two photographers for engagement shoots, and here is what I’ve learned so far.
Do you have to take engagement photos? The short answer is no. If your budget doesn’t allow for it or you simply have no interest, there’s no need to take them. There are some valuable reasons to consider taking engagement shots though. Many people take them as a way to work with their potential wedding photographer and get comfortable in front of the camera. Engagement photos are a way to try out a photographer and get to know them. If you’re set on who you want, they many include engagement shoots in your price. Many couples use engagement photos for announcements, save-the-dates, wedding invitations, wedding websites, gifts or wedding day decor.
With so many talented photographers out there, it might be difficult to choose. As a couple, decide whether you like posed, candid or a mixture of both. Do you like photos edited with a lighter or darker hue? Do you like more romantic or spontaneous? With your preferences in mind, start your research by looking at a photographer’s website and social media accounts. From there, make a list of who you like. If you can’t choose between your two favorites, and your budget allows it, schedule shoots with both. This will help you decide.
Engagement photos are usually taken within a few months of the proposal. This allows you to have them and use them for a long period of time.
The location is typically left up to you. Talk with your photographer about whether you want one location or multiple. It could be a special city to you two, your hometown or the location of the wedding. Take it outside to a park, a city skyline or botanical garden. With outdoor locations, the photographer will have suggestions on the best time to take photos. With any location you choose, check to ensure their hours and if photos can be taken on the premises.
What to Wear
You should feel comfortable, confident and like yourself. The best outfit you can wear is something representative of you as individuals and as a couple. Your photographer will likely allow you multiple outfits. Typically, couples choose something casual and something dressier. Consider the weather and the season. Also, it might be wise to make sure your colors and patterns don’t clash. Other than that, have fun with your clothes and select what’s your style.
Some couples have special items they want to incorporate. This could include sipping on a drink you both love, a football jersey from your college team or your pet. Talk to your photographer about how to best utilize them.
If you can, try to meet with your photographer beforehand or at least have a phone call or Facetime in order to meet and get to know each other, especially if either of you are nervous about being in front of the camera.
There are only a handful of times in your life when you will hire a photographer to follow you around and take photos. You’re both the center of attention, but in the best way. Use this opportunity to do something you’ve never done together. Laugh and be silly. Pose and be dramatic. Kiss and cuddle. Be you, and the camera will capture it beautifully.