Wednesday, October 26, 2011

How to Have a Great Engagement Photo Session

I had the privilege of shadowing a brilliant photographer, Renee Brock, during an engagement session this weekend with two adorable law students.  I’m only an amateur photographer, but the shoot was beautiful and I learned a lot from it.

First of all, choose your photographer well.  And I don’t mean choose an expensive photographer.  Make sure it’s someone whose style you like and whose subjects’ personalities show through their work.  That will make it a lot easier for you to open up for the camera.  Plus, the engagement session can serve as a test run for a photographer, so even if you don’t end up liking this one, it will help out in choosing one for the wedding day.

Don’t be afraid to open up!  By all means, let your freak flag fly.  You may not know your photographer very well, but he or she will have a much easier time of capturing your personality if you come out of your shell a bit.  This is the best way to avoid lame, clich√© photos:  just be yourself.

Photo from Buzzfeed.

Pick a great location.  It’s best if you’re familiar with the location, and it's magical and golden if you have history with the place.  For instance, the bride I helped photograph this weekend grew up around farms, so they chose a friend’s adorable farm for the shoot.  It was gorgeous, and the typical, cheesy, sitting-on-the-tractor shots had no appeal for them because they associated it with mowing the lawn.  Instead, we got some gorgeous shots of them picking the fruit they knew by name and goofing around in a crumbly old farm.

Have fun!  This isn’t something to prepare for, really.  Just bring a sense of humor (and a change of boots for walking around a farm property—smart woman!) and your pictures will turn out great.  Don’t worry about fake smiles and weird poses.  If you or your spouse-to-be can’t smile for real, crack a joke.  Shake out the stiffness.  If a pose feels weird, don’t hold it.  And most of all, keep it spontaneous.  Some of the best shots, in my opinion, are made when couples go rogue and do something unexpected.

Photo from 100 LayerCake.

Last, use the photos well!  You can use your engagement photos for a huge range of things, from guestbooks to framed photos for your new home to sweet cards.  I remember Joanna of Cup of Jo used hers for their save the date, and it turned out adorably (like everything that woman does).

I hope your engagement shoots go swimmingly!  We'd love to hear how they turn out.
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