Updated: Aug 23, 2021
Wedding & Lifestyle Photographer, Dani Keane Photography
It finally happened...you’re engaged! You’ve got that shiny rock on your finger, you’ve hired your photographer and the next step is getting some gorgeous engagement photos taken.
Engagement photos are important for several reasons; they get you introduced to your wedding photographer and their style of shooting, they let you and your partner get a little more comfortable in front of the camera pre-wedding and, of course, you get some stunning photos that document this very special time in both of your lives.
The most frequent question I get asked by my couples when they are planning their engagement session is what location they should choose. I always provide suggestions if they ask but in my opinion, simply putting on some nice clothes, picking a pretty location and taking photos is missing the point entirely. I want my couples to mark this milestone in their lives by taking photos that represent them.
Take yourself for example: you’re a unique individual with your own set of likes and dislikes, hobbies, and skills. Would you rather take photos with your partner in the same park as thousands of other couples, or come up with something that is personal to you both? I vote the latter! The photos will be totally unique, beautiful and authentic to who you and your partner are as a couple!
Now, I’m not saying taking photos in a park is bad - say you and your partner’s first date was a picnic in a park - wonderful! Let’s recreate that date! Grab a picnic basket, blanket, some music - now we’re talking!
So maybe no you’re wondering, how can I get truly unique, authentic engagement photos then if I’ve never done it before? How do I know just what to do? Here are 4 easy ways to get those dreamy photos you’ve always wanted:
HIRE A PHOTOGRAPHER WHO MAKES YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE
Listen I get it, most everyone feels a bit awkward and uncomfortable in front of the camera. To make it easier, make sure you vet out some photographers in your area and price budget. Set up phone conversations or meet over coffee to see how you feel about that photographer. Do you feel at ease with them? Do they make you feel excited to take photos? How do they explain their style and how they will direct you during the photo session? If all of these things align for you and you feel good, you probably have found your photographer!
MAKE A LIST OF PLACES THAT MEAN SOMETHING TO YOU BOTH AS A COUPLE
Location isn’t everything when it comes to getting gorgeous photos, but it can help! So the first thing I want you to do is think about and write down 5-6 places that mean something to you both. These can be the place you had your first date, where you had your first kiss, some place you both like to go to “get away,” a place that makes you both feel comfortable and intimate. Any of these work. Some examples of this could be:
You guys met at a brewery for the first time. Let’s take some photos there!
Your home makes you feel the most comfortable and intimate. Pick there! In-home photo sessions are some of the most gorgeous and real photos I’ve seen. Don’t feel like cleaning? Find an airbnb you can rent that you love! Bonus: you get to getaway with each other for a night after the photos are done!
Camping under the stars is you and your partner’s favorite weekend activity? Grab your tent, a lantern and some sleeping bags and we’ll make a fire and get some awesome photos.
The first time you both exchanged “I love yous” was at a drive-in movie theater in town. Cool! Let’s get some shots there!
These are just a few quick examples of discovering locations that mean something to you.
INCORPORATE YOUR HOBBIES
Incorporating you and your partner’s shared passions into your engagement photos is a great way to make them unique to you both. Your partner loves serenading you with the guitar? This is easy to incorporate into photos. Let’s light a bonfire, toast some marshmallows and we’ll get him to play you your favorite song by the fireside. What a beautiful thing to have memorialized. You both love to cook together? Pop open a
bottle of wine and let’s make dinner together in your home for your photos!
You guys love taking long rides
along the Blue Ridge Parkway on your motorcycle? Awesome let’s hit the road and grab some snaps of you guys with the wind in your hair.
LET YOUR GUARD DOWN
The number #1 way to get out-of-the-ordinary engagement photos? Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks and just ENJOY yourself! The most beautiful photos I’ve taken or seen weren’t the ones that were over the top, or overly staged. They’re the ones where you can tell the couple is just truly, deeply in love and having a great time together. It shows in their images. Capturing your genuine emotions and real laughs...THAT is what makes a photo truly beautiful. So have a glass of wine, take a deep breath, and don’t worry about what your hair is doing or if you look good from a certain angle...that’s your photographer’s job to worry about anyways. Just relax, lean into the moment and have fun!
Note From Bri By Design
I had the pleasure of working with @DaniKeanePhotography on a wedding for the sweetest couple in November 2020. Since then, she has been busy *dreaming of* traveling (dang COVID ruining all our European plans), taking maternity photos for celebrities that get published on E! News and advocating for your dogs to be involved in your celebration of love photos! This wedding and lifestyle photographer prides her work on being unposed and emotion-based, focusing on the authenticity of the moment while being able to replicate the feelings and emotions of a wedding day, engagement, or any important event, plus she's a dream to work with. All photos featured in this post were taken and edited by Dani Keane Photography.
Let's chat about how we can get Dani involved in your wedding experience & on your vendor dream team!