Engagement Portrait Shoots: 7 Professional Tips to take your Engagement Shoots to the Next Level - Digital Photography School

Engagement Portrait Shoots: 7 Professional Tips to take your Engagement Shoots to the Next Level

Engagement-Shoots

Today portrait photographer Christina N Dickson shares tips on how to shoot engagement portraits. Christina’s work can be found at www.ChristinaNicholePhotography.com.

Shooting engagement portraits are perhaps some of the most enjoyable for photographers. Most often, they are taken before the whirlwind of wedding planning is fully underway, and the couple is still quite enamored with one another. How do you take advantage of this time and produce incredible images? Follow these few steps to achieve real and vibrant engagement portraits.

1. Be involved!

As a photographer, you must keep your people skills sharp. With engagement photos, you have to do your research on the couple you are photographing. What are they like as a couple? What are they like as individuals? What is their wedding going to be like? How did they meet? This is going to affect the way you want to build your images and portray them.

2. Encourage affection!

Rather than posing each shot, ie, “okay, now you kiss her cheek!” encourage your couple to show as much affection as possible. Every couple does certain things to show one another love. If you want to capture them accurately, you will urge this type of interaction.

3. Be observant!

A couple is most natural when they are focusing on one another. Try to direct the shoot by suggesting they talk to one another, telling one another most embarrassing moments, or 5 things they love about each other– topics that will pull out expression, interaction, and affection.


4. Remember that space determines relationship!

If a couple is leaning in for a kiss, or walking arm in arm, you will be able to communicate a message of intimacy. Sometimes you can get sweet shots with contrast and tension in the picture by placing the couple far apart in the frame, but be sure that this is your purpose if your going to do it.

5. Tell a story.

No love story is the same. Find unique traits about the couple, and then pull this out in the creation of your images. If the couple is perfectly at ease with one another because they have been best friends for 10 years, you can create images with a laid back and contented feel. If the couple has had a whirlwind romance after meeting on e-harmony.com, it will be natural to pull out the affection and passion of their relationship

6. Be open to suggestions!

Often times the bride to be will have an idea for a shot she will suggest to you before hand. Other times her fiancé may think of an idea on the spot during the shoot. If you can integrate these ideas into your shooting, you will delight the couple, and possibly find yourself inspired by new ideas.

7. Be personable!

If you get to know your couple, and allow them to fall in love with your personality and style, you have a good chance of booking them for a wedding also. Your job is not only to take good pictures, but also to give them a fabulous time they will remember for the rest of their lives.

If you enjoyed this article, you might also like...

Christina N Dickson is a visionary artist and philanthropist in Portland Oregon. Her work includes wedding photography www.BrideInspired.com and leadership with www.RevMediaBlog.com.

  • http://photography.juliegozali.com Julie Gozali

    I agree especially with point number 3. As an engagement and wedding photographer, I love watching couples focusing on each other and being in their own little world. The balance between the posed and unposed give that extra depth in my story telling…

  • http://www.lightanddayphotoblog.com Maz

    I agree with everything you’ve said. As the photographer you need to share in their emotion, which has got to be more than skin deep- you’ve all got to be feeling the love! And it is all about the experience. Have fun, and don’t let it become a chore. Formal posing not allowed (in my book, anyway:)) Thanks for the post.

    http://www.lightanddayphotoblog.com/engaged-and-beloved-natural-light-portrait-photography-south-wales/

  • http://www.jmphotographyonline.ca Jay McIntyre

    great advice!
    This one is my favourite engagement session to date.
    http://jmphotographyonline.wordpress.com/2009/07/20/trevor-and-zuzka-engagement/

  • http://www.ilanbresler.com Ilan (@ilanbr)

    Funny.
    Just yesterday I had my (first ever!) engagement shoot.
    The couple had a strange request, a “movie” like theme.
    The result looks like a ‘horror movie’ theme, imho :)
    http://www.ilanbresler.com/2010/07/marriage.html

    I guess this type of photography is not my cup of tea….

  • Richard Skoonberg

    I have a favorite photographer on Flickr who does the best darn engagement photography, Ryan Brenizer out of NYC. Here is a link to his stream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/carpeicthus/

  • Richard Skoonberg

    Great little article. Thanks for posting!

  • http://funcrunchphoto.com/ Julie Bernstein

    I agree that shooting engagements is usually a lot more fun and less stressful than shooting weddings!

    I did an engagement shoot in a cemetery once!

  • http://brittaniphotography.com/ Brittani

    Fabulous post!!
    Thanks for the tips!!

  • http://www.photographick.com Photographick Studios

    Another great tip is to talk about their relationship and their wedding, people love to talk about themselves and it allows them to open up, keep the conversation going and become relaxed. The images come out so much better when the couples are relaxed :)

  • Anna

    Wow, tips 2 and 3 were great – I always struggled with getting people in love to look “natural”, but those were wonderful suggestions.
    Thanks Christina!

  • Teresa

    Great timing! I’ve offered to do some photos for my son & his gf later this summer – and I really have no idea what to get started with – so! Thanks!

  • http://www.i-clic.co.uk patrick-Brighton photographer

    Thanks for this, revamping our web site and thinking of making more of a “thing” out of the engagement pics. I like doing them as you get to know the couple before the big day and adds “value” to their whole experience. This post has given me the kick I needed to get down and focused on this neglected, but important, aspect of wedding photography. P

  • kelly

    Thanks for the tips and the shared pics .. i’ll be taking my first engagement shoot in the next 2 weeks and this sure does help – i was coming here to look for “posing tips” and i got way more – THANKS !

  • Angie J

    Great tips! All of which, sad to say, are mistakes I’ve made but not utilizing them. :)
    @richard skoonberg -regarding Ryan Breziner – um… WOW! I see why you are a fan.. now..I am too!

  • Chad

    I like your attitude. Photography is such a wonderful career and there is no excuse to be anything but happy!!

  • http://www.diamondsonweb LightView

    Great tips Christina! As Van Gogh, you have to give yourself, especially in art, to reach the top by polishing your style and technique.

  • http://www.mavphoto.com Wedding Photographer Toronto

    Christina, you are right on ih everything you mention here. Good connections are very important when shooting couples.

  • http://affordablephotographyonline.net T. Farnsworth

    Great article! Weddings are what we do. I always tell them to think about what they want…bring props-things they love & do together…shoot at places that have meaning to them…the more personal interaction, the better the pictures…remember, a portrait should be intimate…get close…the name of the game is to fill the frame…just don’t repeat the to my assistants…they hear it enough form me..;) & most importantly-have fun with it, if you are relaxed & upbeat, they will be too.

  • Abha

    thank you for this! I’m doing my first engagement session for my best friend tomorrow! these tips will definitely help in how I approach shooting them.

  • http://www.jmphotographyonline.ca jay mcintyre

    I have a new favourite engagement session http://jmphotographyonline.wordpress.com/2011/07/01/chris-and-bonnie-in-love-and-getting-married/
    Not that I don’t still love the previous one I shared though.

  • http://www.portraitinspiration.com Jai Catalano
  • ccting

    Thanks Christina N Dickson…,

    I have been follow every piece of your advice.. and I find your articles extremely helpful to me…

    Thanks.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/25251025@N04/ Anna

    Great thoughts and suggestions!

  • http://www.marcusdavisphotography.com Marcus Davis

    Christina, I love your articles! Thank you.

Some older comments

  • Marcus Davis

    October 31, 2012 07:25 am

    Christina, I love your articles! Thank you.

  • Anna

    October 25, 2012 06:46 am

    Great thoughts and suggestions!

  • ccting

    October 17, 2012 10:54 am

    Thanks Christina N Dickson...,

    I have been follow every piece of your advice.. and I find your articles extremely helpful to me...

    Thanks.

  • Jai Catalano

    October 17, 2012 09:16 am

    Or you can make the fiance float

    http://portraitinspiration.com/inspiration-for-the-day-26/

  • jay mcintyre

    August 12, 2011 01:04 am

    I have a new favourite engagement session http://jmphotographyonline.wordpress.com/2011/07/01/chris-and-bonnie-in-love-and-getting-married/
    Not that I don't still love the previous one I shared though.

  • Abha

    August 5, 2011 08:13 am

    thank you for this! I'm doing my first engagement session for my best friend tomorrow! these tips will definitely help in how I approach shooting them.

  • T. Farnsworth

    May 24, 2011 04:19 am

    Great article! Weddings are what we do. I always tell them to think about what they want...bring props-things they love & do together...shoot at places that have meaning to them...the more personal interaction, the better the pictures...remember, a portrait should be intimate...get close...the name of the game is to fill the frame...just don't repeat the to my assistants...they hear it enough form me..;) & most importantly-have fun with it, if you are relaxed & upbeat, they will be too.

  • Wedding Photographer Toronto

    August 17, 2010 01:07 pm

    Christina, you are right on ih everything you mention here. Good connections are very important when shooting couples.

  • LightView

    August 5, 2010 01:23 am

    Great tips Christina! As Van Gogh, you have to give yourself, especially in art, to reach the top by polishing your style and technique.

  • Chad

    July 30, 2010 10:34 pm

    I like your attitude. Photography is such a wonderful career and there is no excuse to be anything but happy!!

  • Angie J

    July 30, 2010 11:07 am

    Great tips! All of which, sad to say, are mistakes I've made but not utilizing them. :)
    @richard skoonberg -regarding Ryan Breziner - um... WOW! I see why you are a fan.. now..I am too!

  • kelly

    July 30, 2010 05:32 am

    Thanks for the tips and the shared pics .. i'll be taking my first engagement shoot in the next 2 weeks and this sure does help - i was coming here to look for "posing tips" and i got way more - THANKS !

  • patrick-Brighton photographer

    July 30, 2010 05:00 am

    Thanks for this, revamping our web site and thinking of making more of a "thing" out of the engagement pics. I like doing them as you get to know the couple before the big day and adds "value" to their whole experience. This post has given me the kick I needed to get down and focused on this neglected, but important, aspect of wedding photography. P

  • Teresa

    July 30, 2010 04:50 am

    Great timing! I've offered to do some photos for my son & his gf later this summer - and I really have no idea what to get started with - so! Thanks!

  • Anna

    July 29, 2010 02:36 am

    Wow, tips 2 and 3 were great - I always struggled with getting people in love to look "natural", but those were wonderful suggestions.
    Thanks Christina!

  • Photographick Studios

    July 29, 2010 12:26 am

    Another great tip is to talk about their relationship and their wedding, people love to talk about themselves and it allows them to open up, keep the conversation going and become relaxed. The images come out so much better when the couples are relaxed :)

  • Brittani

    July 28, 2010 02:32 pm

    Fabulous post!!
    Thanks for the tips!!

  • Julie Bernstein

    July 28, 2010 01:31 pm

    I agree that shooting engagements is usually a lot more fun and less stressful than shooting weddings!

    I did an engagement shoot in a cemetery once!

  • Richard Skoonberg

    July 28, 2010 02:11 am

    Great little article. Thanks for posting!

  • Richard Skoonberg

    July 28, 2010 02:10 am

    I have a favorite photographer on Flickr who does the best darn engagement photography, Ryan Brenizer out of NYC. Here is a link to his stream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/carpeicthus/

  • Ilan (@ilanbr)

    July 28, 2010 01:09 am

    Funny.
    Just yesterday I had my (first ever!) engagement shoot.
    The couple had a strange request, a "movie" like theme.
    The result looks like a 'horror movie' theme, imho :)
    http://www.ilanbresler.com/2010/07/marriage.html

    I guess this type of photography is not my cup of tea....

  • Jay McIntyre

    July 28, 2010 12:34 am

    great advice!
    This one is my favourite engagement session to date.
    http://jmphotographyonline.wordpress.com/2009/07/20/trevor-and-zuzka-engagement/

  • Maz

    July 28, 2010 12:14 am

    I agree with everything you've said. As the photographer you need to share in their emotion, which has got to be more than skin deep- you've all got to be feeling the love! And it is all about the experience. Have fun, and don't let it become a chore. Formal posing not allowed (in my book, anyway:)) Thanks for the post.

    http://www.lightanddayphotoblog.com/engaged-and-beloved-natural-light-portrait-photography-south-wales/

  • Julie Gozali

    July 28, 2010 12:10 am

    I agree especially with point number 3. As an engagement and wedding photographer, I love watching couples focusing on each other and being in their own little world. The balance between the posed and unposed give that extra depth in my story telling...

Receive a FREE SAMPLE of our Portrait Photography Ebook

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download

Receive a FREE SAMPLE of our Portrait Photography Ebook

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download

Receive a FREE SAMPLE of our Portrait Photography Ebook

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download

Sign up to the free DPS PHOTOGRAPHY COURSE

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download

GET DAILY free tips, news and reviews via our RSS Feed

Sign up to the free

DPS PHOTOGRAPHY COURSE

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download

GET DAILY free tips, news and reviews via our RSS Feed

Sign up to the free

DPS PHOTOGRAPHY COURSE

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download
Today’s Deal: 365 days of professional photography training – Save $60VIEW DEAL
DPS NEWSLETTER
DPS NEWSLETTER
DPS NEWSLETTER

DPS offers a free weekly newsletter with: 
1. new photography tutorials and tips
2. latest photography assignments
3. photo competitions and prizes

Enter your email below to subscribe.
Email:
 
 
Get DAILY free tips, news and reviews via our RSS feed