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As a couple about to be wed, It is customary to have engagement pictures done.
The photos are typically used for your announcements, invitations, and in your decorations and slideshows at the reception. For a lot of couples this can be the first time many of the extended family members will see you together as a couple. Why not make them truly special and show off the love the two of you share. Here are a few tips on creating the perfect atmosphere for getting that great shot.
Relax! You love each other, and that is all that matters!
Some people (like myself) hate having their picture taken. They do it only because it is expected of them, and they are not going to be happy about it. To work around this I love to plan out simple activities that the couple enjoys doing together. Get them to look at it as something fun with their significant other that the photographer is joining them for, instead of a photo shoot. This can be absolutely anything you enjoy doing together. A few examples would be, curling up on the couch together to watch a movie, going on a picnic, motorcycle ride, fishing, playing with kids at the park. The options are limitless. I also recommend wine! Me and my wife's idea of fun together is sitting at the lake with a bottle of wine just watching the waves come in. I don't recommend the wine if you have to drive afterwards. If your photographer is local he or she may be willing to pick you up and drop you off.
Location, Location, Location! When your planning out your engagement shoot, pick someplace that has meaning to you as a couple vs. what you think will have a pretty background! Sights, sounds, smells all trigger memories and an emotional response. We are trying to capture your love, not the flowers from a local garden. It may be somewhere quirky that you found in your travels together, it may be a family cabin, or it may be a park that the two of you enjoy walking together. Where it is isn't nearly as important as what it means to you. Most photographers will be cropping in close on you, and not showing much of the actual background at all. Being in front of a stunning backdrop doesn't mean much if the viewer can't see the two of you.
Timing is everything! The best light for outdoor portraits usually comes first thing in the morning, or late in the afternoon. I tend to go with late afternoon early evening. This gives the bride to be time to have her hair and make up done. It is socially acceptable to open a bottle of wine, where as seven in the morning is occasionally frowned upon. And as it gets dark there are some very dramatic things you can do with portrait photography. I love nighttime portraits with the lights from the city skyline in the background. Or the stars in the sky if your far enough away from the city lights. You can also do wonderful silhouettes against the setting sun.
Have a backup plan! Even the best laid plans sometimes go askew. Rain comes rolling in at the last minute, your preferred location isn't working for some un foreseen reason. Its always good to have a backup. In the case of rain, I love shooting in the rain. Buy a brightly colored golf umbrella if your shooting outside. You can get some fantastic shots of the two of you underneath it, and it becomes your backdrop. If your location is a specific spot in a park, be prepared that others may be there. Have an idea of another location close by just in case. And when all else fails...
Trust your photographer! You hired this person because you believe that they will make you look your best and capture your once in a lifetime memories. So let them do what they are good at. A good portrait photographer can blur out an unattractive background, highlight a great one, and keep the focus where it belongs on you. As long as your relaxed, happy, and having fun with each other you will get some great images. My tips above mainly focused on those because if your having a good time, in love with each other, it will show in your pictures. If your crabby, anxious, unhappy... that will show as well. So you two as a couple focus on keeping it fun, and let the photographer focus on you!
Rob Smith Photography
Maple Lake MN 55358
Feel free to let me know what you think!