You're getting married! Now is a good time to get some of your first professional shots together as an engaged couple before the big day. Engagement pictures will add years of memories in your photo albums, hanging on your wall or placed in engagement announcements. Here's a quick tip: if you're worried about the wedding costs, I recommend you check out a copy of Wedding Planning on a Budget - this handy guide will show you how to get everything from high-quality photos to wedding invitations at a reasonable cost!
To take your engagement photos, you'll want to consider these factors:
- When to take photos. You can take them anytime during your engagement, but it's a good idea to try to get those shots within the year prior to your wedding. This ensures up-to-date photos of you and your spouse-to-be. It is fitting to have the picture reflect the time of engagement, so if you propose in the summer, a Christmas engagement picture may not encompass the feel of your engagement.
- How to find a photographer? Ask friends or coworkers if they have any referrals to give you. Otherwise the Internet can be your best friend. Many photographers have websites with postings of their work. You can get a feel for the kind of pictures they will be able to take for you. If you already have a wedding photographer, inquire if they have package additions to the wedding photo package you've already decided on. You may be able to get a substantial discount. This will also allow you to become more familiar with the photographer before the wedding so they learn your style, likes and dislikes.
- Professional vs. candid. Some couples prefer professional engagement portraits with different locations and sometimes even props. Other couples may prefer something more candid. Professional photographers can provide candid shots, but you could also save money by doing it yourself or having a friend take the shots. Take care to wear clothing that contrasts with the surroundings and make sure the focus is on the couple, not the background. Candid shots can be more relaxed and really bring out the true personalities of the couple. Your final decision will depend on your style, budget and desired outcome. Some of the best engagement shots display the couple enjoying time together whether it be on a walk in the woods or at a fun restaurant.
- What to wear? Coordinate your clothing with your spouse, making sure the clothes complement the other's outfit. Stay away from busy patterns and try to wear something comfortable. Again, focus on your personal style. Engagement pictures don't need to be stuffy, but should be fun and relaxed. If you can't decide on one look, bring a few with you and change your wardrobe for different shots. Be wary of too much jewelry. It takes away from the naturalness of the photo and can cause glare and look overdone.
- Poses. Some traditional engagement photos include the groom pretending to propose to the bride, slipping a ring on her finger or having a playful kiss. Make sure the poses reflect your personality as a couple. You can have pictures of you looking into each other's eyes or straight at the camera. Sometimes outdoor shots with the couple looking in the distance are a good option.
- Price? If you take your own pictures, you can expect to pay about $30 for film for 48 pictures, or if you go digital, it is virtually no cost to take the pictures and you will only have to pay for development. A professional photographer's rates vary. You may be able to get package deals by using the same photographer as you use for the wedding. Costs can be as low as $75 for a sitting fee, yet if it is an esteemed photographer, the sitting fee can be $200, $300 or even higher. Prints of the photos are a separate cost and vary greatly from studio to studio.
- Student photographer. Check your local colleges and universities to see if you can find a student photographer. Often, you can get someone with great experience, a good eye for detail and at a lower cost.
- Including family members. Some couples like to include extended family members in their engagement pictures, such as both sets of parents or siblings. If the couple is on their second marriage and have children, they may opt to have them included in the shot as well.
- Uses for pictures. Engagement photos can be sent to friends and relatives, be included in personalized engagement announcement cards and provided to the newspaper to announce your engagement to the world.