How to Take a Great Engagement Photo


engagement-photo-shootI’m sure everyone has been to a wedding where the bride and groom stand awkwardly shoulder to shoulder smiling big, fake smiles as the photographer yells at them to “hold it.”

Luckily these days most people have gotten away from that and have started to explore more relaxed ways in taking engagement and wedding photos. But for those who are still apprehensive when it comes to standing in front of a camera, here’s a handy guide for those who need a few photographic pointers. After all, these are photos everyone will see, and the pressure is on to create the perfect photo. With help from a few expert engagement photographers, here are six tips on how to take a great engagement photo:

1. Research your photographer

Each photographer is different and has their own unique style. When hiring a photographer, make sure to check their portfolio and see if his or her style matches your own. “When searching for a photographer, look for variety in their portfolio,” photographer Tom Hayton advises. “Are they always relying on the same look/pose? You need someone who can show you and your other half looking natural. If the portfolio is full of cheese, chances are, your photos will be as well.”

2. Get beautified

So this one sounds obvious (I would hope no one would show up to a photo shoot with bed head), but beautifying yourself (hair, make-up, clothes) will not only help you look your best, but also feel your best. “Go to a good salon and have your make up and hair done,” Anne Nunn from Anne Nunn Photography says. “Being pampered is not just good for the picture, it makes you feel beautiful and ready to be in front of the camera and therefore gives an all around good picture.” She also advises to buy a new outfit (or two) and wear “lots of color.”

3. Practice, Practice, Practice

Anyone who watches America’s Next Top Model knows host Tyra Banks is always telling her models to practice posing in a mirror before shoots. Apparently it’s not as ridiculous as it sounds. “It may sound silly, but practicing smiles, poses and finding the most flattering angles in front of a mirror at home can be extremely helpful,” Jessica from Beach Bum Photography says. “Some of our best customers (in front of the camera) have done this ahead of time.” She also adds, “Remember to take some deep breathes during your session, this will help relax your facial muscles and help prevent those really cheesy smiles.”

4. Relax!

Needless to say, but if you’re nervous and stiff, you’ll look nervous and stiff in photos. All the photographers advise couples to relax and be themselves. “I ask my clients to ‘just be with each other,’ and ask them to interact the way they might at home when no one is around,” photographer Lisa Rigby says. “My goal is to get them to interact in a way that they would interact if no one were around.”

Nunn agrees: “When we begin the shoot, I always ask a couple if they are ‘smiley or more serious.’ I want to know what they are going to be comfortable with as far as posing. I don’t want to do a really serious pose with a really smiley couple and then they not feel as comfortable.”

5. Get involved

What couples might not realize is that a photo session is a collaboration. Instead of waiting for the photographer to give orders, try taking the reigns instead. “Feel free to make suggestions to the photographer during the shoot,” Hayton says. “He or she will no doubt guide you, but it should be a process of collaboration. If you’re shooting digitally, you can ask to look at the pictures as they are taken, but don’t do this after every frame as this will spoil the rhythm of the shoot.”

6. Now what?

After you have selected the best photos, make sure to tell the photographer your preferences when it comes to retouching and print/web optimization. “Your photographer should go through the photos with you and select the best for ‘post processing’ and retouching,” Hayton advises. “This involves color correction (for print or web, depending on what you’ve requested), removal of unwanted elements and cosmetic adjustments to the images.”

And before parting with the photographer, ask if they shoot weddings, too. “Perhaps this will be the beginning of a working relationship,” Hayton adds. “And as most photographers rely on recommendations, see what else they can do for you, too.”

Tiffany White

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