Top 3 tips for engagement photography

Engagement photography is an essential part of the wedding celebration, I shoot them pretty often, and in most cases, couples are thrilled with the results. Today I want to share my top 3 tips for making you and your clients happy with the results of the engagement shoot.

Tip 1 – Pre-production

Any photo or video shoot usually starts with pre-production – and engagement shoots are no exception. In most cases, your couples won’t be professional models or photographers, so most likely, they will be expecting you to suggest locations, outfits and times for the shoot. Start with a simple question – “do you have a location in mind?”. If the answer is yes – it makes it easier for everybody. You can go online and check what was shot there before you, find what you like more and send some examples to your clients, and ask your clients to do the same for you – to send you some photos that they like as a reference to narrow down what exactly your clients expect to get from the shoot and then decide on the outfit that would fit the style of the shoot. The time for the shoot depends on the light you need for the photos.

If clients have no idea about the location, which happens pretty often – you can make a list of your favourite locations and let them choose from your list. Having a set location, outfits, and visual references and understanding what kind of photos your clients want to get will make it much easier to make them happy with the results. 

Tip 2 – Introduction/explanation when you meet with the couple on location

You came fully prepared for the shoot, knowing exactly what to do. Now, remember that you are a photographer, and your couple will be expecting you to direct the whole process since, for them, it’s a strange, rare experience in most cases. They have no idea what the process will look like. They may be camera shy and overthinking about the poses they “have to do,” and so on. The main point here – for most people, this experience goes out of their comfort zone and may be stressful, which is fantastic. It’s your time to shine. 

I usually start with an explanation of what we’re going to do and what I expect from them. I say – “guys, we’re going to shoot some cool photos of the two of you. We’re here not to pose, not to fake and not to try too hard to squeeze some images out of you. We’re here to capture your true interactions with each other and your real love, so please interact however you like. I’ll adjust if something looks super ugly. Ha- ha.  (Usually, this phrase helps to break the ice and shows that you’re a natural person who understands their struggle).  Let them know that it’s about them, not the camera, and the next step – start with something straightforward, like a medium shot, facing each other touching foreheads looking at the lips, take a photo and show them the result. If your couple sees the impact they like (99% of the couples love this shot) from the very beginning of the shoot, they will experience the fact that just being themselves is already enough for great photos – it makes people relaxed and builds confidence in you as a photographer.  

Tip 3 – Keep the couple involved in the process

During the shoot, please don’t stay silent. Even if you’re taking genius photos and make it quiet for the whole process – it will feel awkward, your couple may stop interacting with each other, and the entire shoot will feel cringy, maybe even stressful. While taking photos, give them feedback like “great, good, oh yes, one more,” etc., and from time to time, direct them, so they can try something new for you to get a better variety of shots.

As you see, these tips are pretty easy to follow. They will make a massive difference for you and your clients, so they will be excited before, during and after the shoot making you a better photographer.