I enjoy giving tips to others on how to have unique 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 a 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 of 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!
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annmackiemiller on August 02, 2012:
loved it great photos
Sophie Mortimer on July 23, 2012:
These are great photos! I love your advice, too. I've been searching for good ideas, and so far yours are the best photo ideas I've stumbled across. I showed some of your pics to my fiancé, and he got excited just thinking about all of the crazy stuff he wants us to try. Did you guys come up with these or did you check a site? Thanks so much for posting. You've actually gotten me to look forward to my engagements! http://JourneyIntoPhotography.com
DD on April 16, 2012:
I love the Pug!
troy on February 28, 2012:
wow, someone has some killer ideas! ich bin impressed..
beth on February 09, 2012:
these pictures are amazing!! thank you so much for sharing. gave me some great ideas :)
Mateo on January 14, 2012:
That last pic was the best, i think. good luck, guys!!
soshoe on October 19, 2011:
lori on October 10, 2011:
I loved the site and even though I thought I had everything figured out you helped a lot!! Thanks
MarkMAllen15 on August 20, 2011:
wow...so lovely pictures here.
Toni marie on August 20, 2011:
THESE are AWESOME pictures :) So many different poses you did a great job, I'm sure they LOVED all of them :)
daviddwarren22 on July 17, 2011:
Interesting and sweet hub. All are lovely photos.
jessica on June 15, 2011:
can you tell me what lenses you used for these pictures please, it would be really helpful.
sonogram technician on June 07, 2011:
hi this is really a fantastic post and i really love this blog..keep sharing...
ZohaN on May 14, 2011:
Annie on April 08, 2011:
I love your pictures !! There amazing and fun!! Your couple is awesome !! I love how outgoing they look in the pictures ! That makes it fun !!
I'm doing a friends engagement photo's later today! I'm no professional but .. maybe someday ;)
I've been very interested in photography since I was 13. I lvoe it. Everyone tells me I have the eye for it. I have the most random pic's if you check my blog out go to the post on the side that reads "What i see threw my lens" Those are some of mine !!
P3 on April 01, 2011:
Your wall shot above....either take the groom completely out of focus or put him in-focus. It simply looks misconstructed like this. It looks like you need to stop down another 2 stops....or open it up all the way.
ajaffe.com from Mumbai on March 22, 2011:
Engagement the time for two hearts committing their life for long, hence you needed the best photos to keep this moment alive. Nice photos.
beckyrose on March 20, 2011:
Thanks for posting this! I'm taking my best friend's engagement photos this week and definitely needed some ideas. Great pictures by the way. Beautiful couple :)
Holly R on March 16, 2011:
Great hub! I love the photos.
foto prewedding on February 11, 2011:
it's great picture, I really like it.
Andrea on January 29, 2011:
Love your guys photos so much! Thanks for writing this blog, passed it on to my friend about to take her photos. Good luck in the Congo. Xoxo
_cheryl_ from California on October 21, 2010:
Great photos and ideas! I love the fact that you both actually got into the water on the beach, it brings much more of a personal, relaxed feel to the photo rather than traditional poses with a beach background. Thanks for sharing!
Mrs. Rivers on October 21, 2010:
Your pictures are amazing!
Restless28 on September 30, 2010:
Beautiful pictures...I love the creative style
Urban Tableau on August 31, 2010:
GREAT ideas!! Shooting a couple this morning!!!
Ramy on August 26, 2010:
i just love it ..amazing
Angie on August 20, 2010:
Me and one of my really good friends are just now opening a photography buisness. We really have a passion for it and we are very excited!! We are taking our first engagement photos on Saturday and we have been researching anything and everything. I just wanted to say that I got the most help through you. Its nice to hear what people want from their photographer's. Thanks
Sophiaa. on July 29, 2010:
-i think you should submit these professionally- if you haven't all ready. they're really good,
Sophiaa. on July 29, 2010:
such good photos. you seem like such a good couple!
Anup Shrestha on July 23, 2010:
Really !!!fantastic ideas and tips... learned a lot...
Sarah on June 29, 2010:
Thanks for sharing ... always great to see some new ideas and it looks like such fun!
Nadine Birge on June 29, 2010:
I really Love your photos.. I am excited to see these.. I had a photoshoot today.I had fun today with this couple, that wanted there photos done.. I can appreciate your work on these photos. I know I was out for three hours, I enjoyed every minute of it too. I really like these unique shots you have .. I just wanted to share that with you... Thanks for shareing
Michelle B on June 17, 2010:
wow! I really loved looking at your photoshoot!
jabez on June 15, 2010:
realy i enjoye and shere
TroyM on June 03, 2010:
Trying to learn some of these with my Droid camera. Thanks for starting tips!
e11world on June 02, 2010:
Very nice images here and good ideas as well.
I guess all that is possible in one LONG day (early morning at park, sunset at a beach, night at city)..
AMB on May 04, 2010:
I loved these photos! They are some of the best I've seen! You two seem to click with each other and compliment each other well. And she's beautiful! Great job, here!!
Hayatt on May 02, 2010:
LOVED THEM ALL!!!
Gave me GREAT IDEAS =)
Wish you both an abundance of happiness!!!!!
Larry Warmsley Photography on April 08, 2010:
Very nice and very helpful.
Wedding Songs on March 27, 2010:
Incredible photos! They really did a fantastic job describing your personalities and developing an incredible story...
Wedding101 on March 14, 2010:
I love your engagement photos. They are very unique, and the best I have seen. It looks like you both enjoyed the photo shoot as well. Great Hub! Good luck to you both in the future!
emma on February 10, 2010:
wow am not in love but the pictures made me envy all that.nice enviroment.
dd on February 04, 2010:
this is good advice even for photographers like myself- just to remind us that it IS about the couple and not about the artsy side for there profolio. =] i am gonna be taking my brother and sister in law to be engagement pictures, so it is nice to know these things- and things to have them think about when the time comes for it. =]
With This Favor on December 05, 2009:
These are some really cool pictures! I am going to share this link with my brides for engagement photo tips.
Jordan on December 04, 2009:
Excellent points. My friends just got married and the photographer was more interested in having artsy shots for his portfolio than really getting nice shots of the couple.
Songs For A Wedding on November 08, 2009:
Very informative post with many great pictures! Thank you for sharing these for couples who are planning their wedding. I know that we weren't very happy with our engagement photos... so I really wish we would have read up on them before making our decision!
Carson on October 07, 2009:
The pictures and advice are great!!! The only sad part is you didn't give your great photographer any credit!!
janizky on October 04, 2009:
i love your pictures..i love taking pictures and i like creative ideas in engagement pics..great idea! i like mine in a theme park/carnival...lolz because we always go in there..and i think the colors are perfect,,,just thinking of new poses....any suggestions?thanks....^_^
ashley on October 02, 2009:
these are amazing. i love them all. and i like it the most cause people sometimes never show who they are during the most important photos.
tish on September 24, 2009:
Great article on the reasons for an engagement photo session. It's much more important than people may think.
Ryan Hupfer from San Francisco, CA on September 09, 2009:
kathryn -- the field shots were taken in a field in Half Moon Bay here in Northern California. We weren't planning on stopping there, but once we saw it we knew that we countdown miss that opportunity. :)
Here's a link to Half Moon Bay's Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Half_Moon_Bay,_Califo...
xxxx on August 29, 2009:
for fun and spontaneity it is 5 out of 5, for zaniness of image and photographer (if that is her) 5 out of 5, but I rate the shots 2 out of 5.
kathryn on August 25, 2009:
Where were these shot? Especially the field?
alwaysabridesmaid on August 22, 2009:
Jen4Weddings from Canada on August 21, 2009:
jill of alltrades from Philippines on July 07, 2009:
Wow! These are great photos!
No, I'm not planning to get engaged because I am happily married already, but I'm very much into photography.
Thanks for sharing!
azim on May 26, 2009:
That's awesome photography, did pick up few pictorial lessons, thanks and keep fillinf the memo stick.. klick @ all around.
Isela on May 21, 2009:
Very nice! Loved the pictures:
Anamika S Jain from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India on May 13, 2009:
Love the Pictures! They are wonderful and so are your Tips. So here is a high five...
Joanna McKenna from Central Oklahoma on May 12, 2009:
Your tips are almost as amazing as the photos! You picked a *wonderful* photographer! Will he/she be doing your wedding too?
ForTheInterim from Montreal on May 12, 2009:
Aw I love all these photos! Hopefully I'll be coming back here to check out these tips some day when they're more appropriate for myself ;)
Whitney from Georgia on May 12, 2009:
Great pictures!! Those are definitely postcard photos you should cherish. By the way that last picture is on there twice, just a heads up.
Reg Brittain from South Burlington, VT, USA on May 12, 2009:
Very nice, Ryan!
Susan Keeping from Kitchener, Ontario on May 12, 2009:
Great start! Amazing photographs...
C. C. Riter on May 12, 2009:
LOL@funride. haha I'm harmless, but I bet she has some nice toes too. hehe
Ricardo Nunes from Portugal on May 12, 2009:
Hey Hup, be careful with C. C. ... I think he only has eyes for Steph ;D
You forgot to tell us who was the photographer, he/she is an amazing professional. And this hub makes a perfect portfolio, thumbs up ;)
C. C. Riter on May 11, 2009:
Great looking pictures and greater looking fiancée. Was this a hub? I dint see no text. hmmm great pics anyway. LOL good tips, lucky man
Trekkiemelissa from Illinois on May 11, 2009:
Great hub :)
futonfraggle on May 11, 2009:
Oh, this is great. I love the photos. You offer some really excellent advice for couples.