When taking engagement shots, it's important to remember that some of the best pictures are the ones that become images. Images are those special moments that tell the audience more than what is actually present in the picture -- your personality, your story and the power of your love.
Although meant to celebrate the live between those betrothed, engagement pictures seem to be drawn to illustrating their relationship in what often looks like a lonely, utopian world. Commonly, these photos often feature the couple together in an almost post-apocalyptic setting: Standing in open wheat fields; cuddling in vacant wineries; huddled together, looking over a still lake. Just as wedding ceremonies have come a far way in reflecting the uniqueness of the couple, so too should engagement and wedding photography. Here are some contemporary ways to personalize the tradition of couples' photography.
1. Illustrate the love in your everyday lives
Try illustrating the things you share with your partner. Perhaps you share a hobby, or both follow a particular sports team that could be part of the action or background of the shot. If you’re foodies, maybe cook a meal together – it’s a wonderfully covert way to showcase the ring.
"Photoshop is also an option," says couples photographer Jeffrey Einhorn. "It costs a little more, but if you trust the photographer, he might even be able to cut and paste different pictures together to make a collage of the things you like."
2. Be cinematic
What couple doesn't have a favourite movie or TV series? These days, it’s completely appropriate to reference a favorite movie or television show. Think “Mad Men,” Moulin Rouge or – if it’s your thing – The Lord of the Rings. He could be the Rocky to your Adrian, or you could be Sally to his Harry. Re-enacting famous romantic movie scenes, such as the pottery wheel scene from Ghost, can also be fun and effective.
"For these shoots, it's essential to have fun. Couples who are worried about getting everything perfect can come off as uptight, creating both boring and awkward shots," says Einhorn.
Page 1 of 2 – Discover four more tips to get the engagement photos of your dreams on page 2.3. Pick locations wisely
Don't let a photographer take total control of the setting for your photo shoot. Of course the focus will be on you and your partner, but the background can also illustrate your lives. Why not revisit the location of an especially memorable date, or important place in each person’s life? Get mobile and move around, maybe even tell a story through various settings.
"One couple took me to a public art sculpture and were climbing it (and each other), laughing, interacting with people in the background and having an all-around blast," Einhorn says.
4. Acknowledge clichés
There will be certain shots that the engaged couple that are unavoidable: Holding hands; having the groom carrying the bride over the threshold; the use of open, natural spaces to illustrate all the possibilities of the future. Some things never change, but it’s important to change things enough to make the photo yours. Consider using your favourite colours, seasons or favourite locations to change it up.
5. Don’t be afraid to make it steamy
Some of the most interesting shots actually expose the couples' sex life and passion for each other. This doesn’t mean either of you will actually be nude, or doing anything you wouldn't want your old Uncle Mike to see, but offers a glimpse into the lives of the couple that friends and family might not see. Aim for just a hint of tension, or tenderness between the couple.
"Instead of sitting or standing, try lying down, which feels more natural when you're going for an intimate image of you two together," says Einhorn. "Be playful and get flirtatious. Don't worry about the photographer's feelings or comfort level; he’s just there to make you look good and take the pictures."
In the end you will be given a pile of pictures to sift through, and you might wonder how you are going to present all of them. Posting your engagement photos on Facebook will let close friends (and mere acquaintances) click through the images quickly. This virtual experience isn’t bad, but for the family – and especially for yourselves – you should try to make the display a little more formal. Blow-up your favourite pictures and hang them around the house. Or, bind them together in a book. Blurb.com is a simple and pain-free website that helps you customize a book, and it’s all DIY, which helps you you'll save a bit more cash for the actual wedding. You could also invest in a digital picture frame, which can display your special memories in a slideshow.
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