How to Take Creative Engagement Photos

Wardrobe changes, props, and out-of-the ordinary locations transform future brides and grooms into models for a day, as more and more couples shy away from traditional studio-shot portraits in favor of fun, flirty engagement photos. Casey Graham of I Do Photography shares how to strike a pose that’s uniquely you, without breaking the budget.

Images courtesy of I Do Photogrpahy

Engagement Photos by I Do Photography

The Concept? Be Yourself.
Opt for locations that are special to you, outfits that you are comfortable wearing, and a look that is natural.  There are so many wedding inspiration and planning sites that offer great themes and trends: definitely check them out, but don't feel like you have to choose a particular look or theme because it is trendy. Develop a concept based on who you are as a couple. The rest will come naturally, and you will love the way you look in the images that are a true reflection of your relationship.  

Location, Location, Location.
When choosing the backdrop for your engagement shoot, consider places that are special to you. Are you both teachers? Try a library- they are full of architectural elements and textures.  Foodies at heart?  How about the patio at your favorite restaurant. Just buy your first home? How about in and around your new community. Be aware of the time of year and time of day you will be taking the pictures, and choose a location that will be well groomed. For instance, a park in the winter may not be as green and lush as it is in the spring. Your photographer should know the best time of day to shoot in the location that you choose. Oftentimes photographers will opt for early morning or evening hours, as the sun will be lower in the sky and offer better lighting. If you want vistas with big blue skies, let your photographer know, as the blue will only come through in images during certain times. If it is high noon and the sun is directly overhead, you will just have a bright white sky. Lastly, some locations charge a fee to shoot at. Your photographer should know which locations charge or require permits. Typically the cost of the engagement shoot will not include these fees, so remember to budget for the extra expense.  

Make the Most of Your Budget.
Skimping on photography is never a good idea, but there are a few ways for you to maximize your budget. See if your photographer offers hourly or a la carte pricing; sometimes packages will include products or services you don’t necessarily need or want, based on the tone of your event. Starting with the approximate time of your cake cutting, work backwards through the timeline of your day, you may discover that you will not need a full 10-hour package. You may only need six or seven hours of coverage; this would be one way to save on the amount of coverage you are paying for. Guess what? You don’t just want all of the images on a DVD. Sure, it sounds like a great way to save money, but photographers may charge a more significant amount for the DVD, as you printing the images yourself will subtract from the photographer's print sales. And, a lot is going to happen in your first few months of married life: some brides will never take the files to get printed. I, personally, have 2,000 negatives from my wedding and have made maybe a dozen prints from them. But, shhhhh! Don’t tell my mom that she paid for those to sit in a safety deposit box. See if you can purchase individual digital files instead; that way you can buy only the images you plan on printing.  

‘Inexpensive’ is not always worth the risk you take for obtaining a lesser price. Make sure that the photographer you choose has shot weddings before, has backup gear, has worked with a team of vendors, and that he or she will actually be the one shooting your event. Since the photographs are one of the only tangible take-aways from your wedding, look at it as an investment in an heirloom.  Every time you look at your pictures, you will reminisce about your special day. Beautiful images will reflect beautiful memories of the day, regardless of your budget.