Why don’t we play football on the beach? Why don’t we climb this tree? Why don’t we just be our goofy selves and enjoy this moment? These thoughts sort of represent the nature of Anne and Michael’s engagement shoot. They’re such an active and fun-loving couple that just sitting still for a photo might be an alien concept to them. Their photographer was happy to oblige and let them be carefree in the shots, which, by the way, turned out great! So if you want to try something out or aren’t comfortable with something, speak up and work things out. This is YOUR engagement shoot, after all! Best wishes, Anne and Michael!
The Engagement Shoot:
We wanted to portray the fun we have with one another. I was also hoping to capture sincerity and the specificity of who we are as a couple. I wanted to shy away from “traditional” engagement photos and find the truth about what makes our love special.
We picked Santa Barbara because it was a central location between us and the photographer and then we were fortunate enough to have a photographer who sent us a variety of suggestions from shoots she had researched. We wanted a few different back drops. My fiancée is from California and I’m from MI so we wanted to have settings that represented both of us. We picked El Capitan State Park because it has the green woods and a beautiful beach! Then we headed up the mountain to catch the sunset so we were able to incorporate all settings that are meaningful to us.
We based our outfits on our locations. We wanted to make sure we complimented our “back drop” well without getting lost in it or contrasting too much. We also picked outfits that we felt good in that accented features of ourselves and each other that we like. My fiancée has beautiful blue eyes so we wore blue. He likes my legs so I wore shorts in some of the shots. We picked the Lions t-shirts because we wanted to make sure to have a little fun, and we’re big Lions and sports fans in general.
A Hint For the Wedding Day:
They give a hint at how in tune, and comfortable we are with one another. They also hint at how much fun we have together. One aspect I found challenging is when we didn’t have a specific action or intention besides “be in love.” That idea is too open-ended and I feel leads to creating an image of what you think a loving couple looks like rather than being present and authentic with one another. On our wedding day we won’t be sitting “being in love.” Instead we will be taking the action of joining our love with our vows engaging in the ceremony and reception activities. I also feel that at the wedding, emotions will be heightened and the camera will be able to capture the sheer excitement of joining our lives together with all of our closest family and friends.
My fiancée was much better at this than I was. He kept whispering sweet and loving sentiments in my ear that distracted me from thinking, “this is so weird that some one is taking pictures of us being in love”. I would advise people to speak up and say if they feel uncomfortable express your fears, ask the photographer for guidance if need be, maybe take in your environment and ask yourself, what would be honestly be doing here if this wasn’t our engagement session and then do that action and see what comes of it. During our shoot, we came across a beautiful tree. My fiancée said he wished we could climb it, and I said, “Why don’t we?” So we climbed it while our photographer snapped away.
I felt most at ease when we climbed the tree or played football or had an action that was focused on one another rather than just posing. We didn’t think the pictures on the rock at the beach turned out well because we both felt uncomfortable, but never said anything. When we talked about it afterwards my fiancée said, “I hated sitting on that rock.” I felt so uncomfortable the whole time and wished we could have just held hands and climbed around on them.
If you’re uncomfortable it shows, so speak up and don’t be afraid to play. If it’s still not working, take a moment to connect with your partner and talk to one another, make a joke, act silly. At one point on the mountain top I just said, I want to sit on a rock and just talk to you and see what comes of it. If you have a great photographer (like ours), then you don’t have to pose so much as just engage with one another and trust she/he will catch the authenticity of your love and your relationship.