When my husband and I got engaged we weren’t very well off financially speaking. We got a loan to pay for our wedding – which we did as cheaply as our expensive tastes could allow – and we had just come back from a vacation to Bali where he had proposed, but we had spent what little money we had on the trip. Because of this, it wasn’t really on the cards for us to have an engagement photo shoot – we’d had the party, told our friends and started planning the actual wedding, so why bother? We’d have a photographer at the wedding anyway.
Then we started looking into it more. In our research for our wedding planning, it became very noticeable that engagement shoots are pretty important parts of the engagement. Sure, you don’t have to have one, but we use photographs to capture special times in our lives – from birthdays and celebrations, to pregnancy photos, photos of our children, and holiday snapshots.
We take photos of ourselves at a nightclub looking drunk to upload to Facebook as a reminder of what a great night out we had, so why wouldn’t you want to take photos of the special time in your life that is your engagement?
Having become more experienced with photography and the photography world, we recognise now how important it is to document these moments – one day these memories will serve as a reminder to us of our lives and will be something we cherish. My husband and I now have photo books to document the important aspects of our lives – from all of our holidays, our wedding and the life of our dog Buddy. It seems incredible that we discounted an engagement shoot as an important part of that.
In the end we did have an engagement shoot, but I regret not being more invested in the shoot and going out of our way to make it right. Learn from my mistakes with these handy tips, and stunning photography from We Are Origami Photography.
Photo by We Are Origami Photography
Spend the time to research
Byron and I ended up buying our engagement shoot through a deal on a coupon website, which isn’t a bad thing because we buy heaps of things through coupon sites (including holidays!) but we were lucky in the fact that we got a good photographer.
I know of someone who didn’t do a lot of research and booked a photographer for their actual wedding, but the package they got happened to also include engagement photos. After taking the photos and getting them back, it was painfully obvious that this photographer could NOT do their wedding. The photos were blurry, overexposed, positioned and framed awkwardly, and there were a lot of complaints online about the result of his work.
So when you are looking into a photographer do the research! What do other people say online and on forums about the photographer? Have you seen photos from their portfolio? You could even reach out on social media to others who have also used this photographer, and they can tell you about your experience. The internet is a power researching tool, so use it to get the best results!
Photo by We Are Origami Photography
Take your wedding photographer out for a spin
If you research and research and find a photographer you really like and want for your wedding, why not also do the engagement shoot with them? Most times, if you have done your homework and like what you see, you won’t be in the same position of that certain someone I mentioned above.
Doing an extra photo shoot with your chosen wedding photographer means you get a feel for their style and atmosphere, the kind of poses and moves they can capture, and it gets you comfortable to talk about your photography ideas for your wedding with them. This will greatly improve the quality of photos you get for both your engagement shoot and your wedding day.
One of my favourite wedding photographers is David Duong from We Are Origami Photography and he has been widely used as a wedding photographer in my circle of acquaintances thanks to being an incredibly talented photographer, but also for having the ability to make the subjects extremely comfortable – thus resulting in better photos. This rapport was developed through photo shoots, engagement photos and then onto the weddings, and the relationship has amounted to picture perfection!
Practice makes perfect, so let your wedding photographer practice with you, and you’ll be thrilled with the results.
Pick a location that speaks volumes about you
Outside autumn photos always look beautiful (seriously they always do!) but is that you and your fiancé? If you are a city girl who hates being outside then why shoot your engagement photo somewhere you will clearly not be comfortable in? Choose a location that you and your groom to be love to go and spend time, or even where you first met. It could be a nice restaurant, by the water, on the beach, or even on a busy suburban street in the middle of the city. If it means something to you, this will translate to the camera.
Doll yourself up for the occasion
I’m not talking full tuxedo and gown here, but if you’re doing a photo shoot then you want to dress appropriately for the part. This could be a nice dress, or jeans paired with boots and a scarf, but dress like you are going somewhere nice for dinner with your loved one – and dress for the location you chose! You don’t want to be awkwardly standing on the beach in heels or in short shorts in a fancy restaurant. You will cherish these photos forever, so spend some time thinking about what you want to look like, and what you want to say.
It was a small part of it, but I truly regretted not getting a manicure before our engagement shoot because there was a close up on my hands, and all you could see was how ratty they were! So do your make up and your nails, don’t go over the top, and match your environment. You’ll thank me later if you do!
So these are some of the tips I have to give for getting an engagement shoot done, and why you should want to get one. This is a fun celebratory time where you can just be happy that you are engaged and in love, so take a breath and take the time to enjoy the things that come with being engaged – like photo shoots, cake tastings, and debates over where your drunken Uncle Alex should sit at the wedding. These are the fun bits people, and I don’t want you to miss out!