Don’t risk getting photos back that feel bland and uniform. Here’s how to take unique engagement photos that feel authentic and not overdone.
Meet with your photographer beforehand either phone or virtual.
The first step to having photos that don’t look staged (or like copy-pastes of another session) happens long before you step in front of the camera. Initially, you want to find a photographer who you’re comfortable around and whose work you really like. When you’re on the hunt for a wedding photographer, look for couples that look relaxed and real in their portfolios.
Once you decide on a photographer, reach out and ask to meet with them in person. You want to do this before the shoot for several reasons. For you, meeting up is an opportunity to run your ideas and preferences by them, as well as ask questions. Be open about your desired look and, if you’d like, bring example photos (just not from other engagement shoots). You may, however, bring examples of poses and photos you don’t want. Sometimes saying no to certain aesthetics is actually a more effective way to get the look you want.
Meeting in person also gives your photographer the chance to get to know you as a couple. Witnessing your personalities and the way you interact makes capturing that energy easier. A professional photographer will work hard to mesh their style with your desired vibe.
Use a location that really represents both of you.
Skylines, beaches, woody areas, large open fields of tall grass. What do all of these locations have in common? They're regularly the backdrop for engagement photos. Disclaimer: That’s totally fine if any of these areas are significant to you as a couple. Met in NYC on a whim? Take your photos in front of the city. Spend fall days together walking through a certain set of woods? Immortalize the area with your photos.
However, for most other cases, we really recommend trying a more unique location—and one that really represents both of you. This could be the bar or restaurant where you first met, your favorite date spot, where you do a shared hobby, or in your home if you live together. If you’re really attached to the in the field idea, maybe head to your college’s football field (if you went to the same school) instead of opting for a random patch of land.
It doesn’t have to be a place of paramount importance—just somewhere that really speaks to the two of you and your relationship. Having a meaningful setting makes it easier to act natural, making for truly candid and organic shots.
Avoid matching outfits.
Listen, we tread lightly but also firmly here: Exact matching outfits for your engagement photos is a cute idea. However, if you want photos that don’t look like everyone else’s, skip the coordinated plaid ensembles.
Instead, consider your location and the tone of your shoot when you choose outfits. Stick to a cohesive color idea (neutrals, muted colors, etc.) and you’ll look like more like a couple and less like a set of adult twins.
In the same vein, don’t wear something you wouldn’t normally wear or that’s out of place in your setting. For example, don’t wear a bohemian dress and wade into the ocean just for aesthetic’s sake. You’ll confuse your family and friends.
Opt for an outfit that’s comfortable and makes you feel confident. We’re not saying you can’t wear a flashy dress or suit—just make sure you’re wearing it because you want to and it feels like you.
Branch out with poses.
For many couples, their engagement shoot is the first time they’re ever having professional photos taken. In that case, it’s easy to default poses you’ve seen done before. Don’t do that.
The best engagement photos are those that feel genuine and candid. Read: Avoid the prom pose, silly perspective tricks, and anything that feels cheesy or unnatural. In fact, it’ll probably look best if you don’t pose at all. Trust us.
Most people aren’t used to being followed around by a camera—we get it. Try, however, to forget that your photographer is there. Interact with your partner how you normally would—walking hand-in-hand, leaning into one another, playing around, etc. Look at each other and be in the moment. If your photographer wants you to look at the camera, make a minor adjustment, or try something out, they’ll let you know. Otherwise, be yourselves.
Focus less on the ring.
We know you adore your new ring, but it shouldn’t be the sole subject of your photos. More often than not, shots that have the ring hand displayed appear stiff. That’s not to say you should avoid them at all costs.
If you rest your hand on your partner's shoulder or cheek and the ring just so happens to make an appearance, run with it. Otherwise, skip the awkward behind-the-back hug, flat-hand-on-your-partner’s-chest pose, and arms-around-an-inanimate-object photos.
Your engagement photos are meant to celebrate your relationship—in all its uniqueness. Capturing that might sound difficult, but it all comes down to acting natural. Choose locations, outfits, and poses that feel like you. Don’t copy a series of shoots you found on Pinterest. Stray from the norm (and overdone) by being true to who you are as a couple. And remember to keep these tips in mind when it comes to your wedding photos, too.