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Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015 12:08 am

Make your engagement photoshoot a success

Kelly & Mark Peper had their ceremony at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Springfield; reception at Buena Vista Farms in Jacksonville.
Photo by Steve & Tiffany/WarmowskiPhotography.com

 Engagement photos vary depending on the couple. Often reserved for save-the-date cards and now commonly used to spruce up wedding websites, engagement photos can range from formal shoots in which couples are dressed to the nines to more laid back shots featuring couples in more everyday attire.

When planning an engagement shoot, couples should give themselves carte blanche with regard to style, as the photoshoot need not follow many of the more accepted rules that the wedding itself will ultimately adhere to. Once couples have settled on a style for their photoshoot, there are additional ways to ensure the session is a success.

• Find a photographer who shares your sensibilities. Photographers can vary greatly in style, and an engagement photoshoot will be most successful when couples find a photographer whose style matches the theme they are looking for with their photoshoot. You likely would not hire a nature photographer to photograph a basketball game, so don’t hire someone who specializes in posed shots if you want your photos to be more lively and spontaneous. Before you hire anyone, ask for samples of each photographer’s work to be certain you’re getting someone who has experiencing shooting the type of photos you want to take.

• Solicit ideas from the photographer. Some couples already know exactly where they want their engagement photos to be shot and which poses they want to be arranged. However, many couples have little or no experience with professional photoshoots, and such couples should solicit ideas from each photographer they are considering hiring. A skilled and/or seasoned photographer should propose several ideas. Be wary of photographers who offer little input, as you may ultimately be dissatisfied with their work once the shoot has come and gone. 

• Avoid studio shots. Many couples prefer their engagement photos be taken somewhere they have a personal connection to, such as the site of their first date or a park they frequently visit. Studio photoshoots might provide the best lighting, but couples have no connection to such spaces, and down the road they may regret not taking the photos in someplace that’s a little more meaningful. In addition, a photoshoot outside the studio affords couples and their photographer more opportunities to experiment and improvise, which can produce a wider array of shots than a studio photoshoot is likely to deliver.

• Don’t forget candid shots. Candid shots make the photoshoot more fun and loosen couples up a little bit. Many engagement photos will never be seen by anyone other than the photographer and the couple he or she is shooting, so don’t be bashful during candid shots for fear of being embarrassed down the road. Have fun with the candid shots, and your other photos are likely to come out better as a result.

An engagement photoshoot should be fun and reflect the personalities of the couple. A few simple strategies can ensure couples’ shoots accomplish both of those things.  –CTW


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