These are my personal Top Five tips on how to take better engagement pictures. I hope you’ll find them helpful, and that you’ll share them with a few friends!
- Shoot when the light is right. The single most important thing you can do to take better engagement pictures is to shoot in flattering lighting conditions. That usually means scheduling your engagement session when the sun is low in the sky. I like to start about two hours before sunset and continue making photographs until after sunset. Technically, you can also get great results taking pictures at sunrise, but who looks their best at sunrise? If you must shoot in the middle of the day, when sunlight is harsh and unflattering, try to find spots where the overhead light from sun and sky is blocked by overhanging trees or buildings.
- Wear the right clothes. Now that you’re on-track to finding the right light for your awesome engagement session, you need to be sure you’ll look your best in those photos. So wear something you LOVE, obviously, but also be sure to limit the total number of colors being worn by you and your partner, to three or fewer colors. You can even try matching colors if that’s your thing. Just check to be sure all the colors are compatible, because color-harmony is just as essential to great engagement photos, as heart-and-soul harmony is to a healthy love life!
- Create your engagement photos in unique and beautiful places. Setting sets the mood and context of an interesting photograph, just as much as the humans in it. If you follow the first two recommendations above, you can take better engagement pictures in just about any type of setting. It’s really a matter of taste if you prefer a gritty industrial backdrop or a meadow of fragrant spring wildflowers, so seek out locations that inspire you, and don’t be afraid to do something really different. If you can’t decide on one location, try two locations that are close to one another. Multiple locations shoots are great but limit the time you’ll spend traveling between shooting areas. You won’t be getting many great shots while driving between locations, and the sunset will not wait while you sit in traffic! My rule is two locations maximum, and there should be no more than ten minutes travel between them.
- Do more cool(FUN) stuff. Spend less time “posing”. I have discovered that choreographed authentic action is far more beautiful and compelling than posing for photos. There IS a right time for posing, but more great engagement pictures are created without it. What’s “authentic action”? It’s the things you do for you, and not for the camera. A good place to start discovering what to do in front of the camera is to think of the things you enjoy doing together. You’ll want to do those kinds of things, and choreograph the action to give your photographer great photo-opportunities. Remember, some posing is okay, but the most-loved engagement photos are the authentic, natural kind.
- Have someone talented behind the camera. That’s it! These are my five tips for taking better engagement pictures. You and your friends can go out and create beautiful photos to capture this exciting and inspired time in your lives…
But there’s one more thing to consider. Imagine how cool it will be to create awesome engagement photos using the ideas above. You’ve explored and found the best locations, planned the perfect wardrobe and had a truly amazing engagement session, only to discover that your friend with a nice camera goofed up, and all your photos were just a little out of focus! That would suck, right?
For the best results, work with a skilled professional photographer. Friends with nice cameras are often happy to help, but if you want to be sure to get an abundance of images you’re thrilled with, your best bet is to use the services of someone who makes their livelihood creating amazing pictures. This is where I’ll promote myself, as someone who can help by being that skilled artist behind the camera!
My studio, Expressive Photographics, is known for fun and creative Lifestyle, Wedding and Engagement Photography throughout the San Francisco and Monterey Bay Areas, as well as the Big Sur Coast. Assignments involving travel, are always welcome. If you would like to learn more about my engagement photography, please head on over to my gallery of engagement pictures by clicking here.
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To inspire you with some cool ideas as you make plans for your own engagement photography, here are a few photos I made in locations around the Central California Coast…