You said yes! Now comes the fun part: telling everyone you know. First things first. Call parents, take a requisite ring selfie, and change that relationship status to ‘engaged’. (Fun, right?) Once the bases are covered, it’s time to think big picture – as in, your engagement photo shoot.
John Branch IV of John Branch IV Photography in New York City and a Thumbtack pro has a knack for putting couples at ease and capturing their best moments in photo form. Read on for his advice on finding the right photographer and getting exactly what you want out of your engagement shoot.
What are some trends you’re seeing in engagement photography?
- One trend (and this one is more classic than passing fad) is to match the vibe of the season with the activities you showcase in your shoot. Outdoor snuggling is always great for fall engagement photos, maybe with the couple cuddled up in blankets. Clothing-wise, it’s good to tonally go with the season, too.
- Formal attire is becoming really popular. I’ve also worked with a lot of couples who wanted a combination of casual and sophisticated, with an outfit change halfway through the shoot.
- The handheld sign trend is waning, but I’m seeing cute mugs with fun phrases printed on them like, ‘You’re amazing’ and, ‘I know.’
- Overall, props aren’t big right now unless it’s a couple with a specific, shared hobby. For instance, if they met playing softball, they might bring in that element.
What are some tips for picking a great location?
Your photographer will always have suggestions for location. I really like the urban jungle backdrop. I love cityscapes and all their contrasting textures, bricks, and cool colors. Whether you’re near a waterfront, in a downtown setting, or down a funky alley, the context will make your photos more interesting.
Don’t forget classic locations, like parks and outdoor areas. And take it one step further, with a monument or local landmark in your pictures. Tourist faves like the Brooklyn Bridge, Bow Bridge and Bethesda Terrace in Central Park are really gaining popularity this year.
What should you consider when choosing a photographer?
Personality is important on both sides of the lens. The photographer’s personality affects how they shoot photos, and the clients’ personalities impact the kind of shoot they’ll want. For example, I’m a fun, happy-go-lucky guy, so my photos are more candid than posed. I wouldn’t be the best match for someone looking for traditional, formal portraits. The personalities have to connect in order for the vision to come to life.
Look online at the type of engagement photos you like. Ask yourself what kind of emotions are coming from the photos. Are they serious, playful, sentimental? Then find a photographer who has a similar aesthetic to the one you want to convey.
Pricing varies by location, but you can almost always get a deal when you bundle your engagement photos with your wedding photos. Check out a few photographers to get a feel what the market value is in your area. Also, clarify what your photographer’s rates include – how many hours, how many photos, how many outfit changes, etc.
How should people dress for an engagement photo shoot?
Only one person should wear a pattern. Otherwise, it’s too much. Stay away from really tiny lines like pinstripes, they don’t read well through the camera. If you’re wearing a pattern, usually bigger is better. Avoid neon (it can impact the other colors when editing) and stay away from shades that are close to your own skin tone.
What are the key questions to ask before hiring an engagement photographer?
- What’s your availability?
- What is your style and what excites you about engagement photos? When you ask this, you can learn what they love about it while weeding out people who are just in it for money.
- How do you deliver your photos? Is it an online gallery? CD? USB drive? Some photographers have you pay for digitals or pay for print packages, so know up front. There’s a big difference between a $500 session and all photos are free vs. a $500 session with an additional $200 for photos.
- How long does it take to deliver your photos?
Any last words of advice?
Don’t be too concerned about how the photos will turn out. Just have fun. Remember, this photo shoot is more about celebrating your engagement than getting a specific outcome, so try to have a good time. Your photographer will give you what you want if they match what you’re looking for.