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November 13, 2012 6:56 AM   Subscribe

Help me not have super boring/cheesy enagement photos!

My fiance and I are having our engagement shots done tomorrow. We want some "looking lovingly into each other's eyes" shots, but some more unqiue/creative/funny shots would be more our speed. The serious stuff isn't really our style, but nor are we the type to go all out and do a zombie attack engagement shot (I saw it on pinterest). We would hate to have a stack of boring/pose-y/cheesy/formal ones that don't really feel like us, but we don't ones where we are obviously trying really hard to be funny. The one idea I did come across that was sort of along the lines I'm looking for was a couple that did a "For better or worse" theme, where for every photo they took where they were being lovey, they had a matching one where they weren't getting along and were fighting.

So what are some easy ways to make our engagement shots a little more interesting and unique?

FYI - Our photographer is great (and a friend of ours) and has done loads of engagment shoots before. I know she's down for just about anything.

There are some conditions (as there always is)
1. we live in Canada, it is cold this time of year, so keep that in mind. There isn't snow on the ground, but it is cold and we're going to be wearing coats for any outside shots (a detail that I'm not terribly happy over since coats aren't that flattering on me, but what can you do.)
2. no getting dirty.
3. neither of us are especially athletic, so nothing like climbing trees or anything.
4. we'd prefer things more pose centric instead of prop/costume centric.
5. We live in a small city so interesting locations are a bit hard to find. We're likely just going to go to a local park that has a really beautiful walking bridge.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson to Grab Bag (20 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
A couple I know staged a shot during their engagement photos of him poring eagerly over a comic book while she stood next to him rolling her eyes indulgently. Some kind of similar "one of you engaging in a hobby while the other looks long-suffering" may be cute.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:00 AM on November 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

Well I think the Russians have really set the bar high but if you want to be a little less cheesy...

I woe pack a picnic (with wine, of course) and have a picnic in the park and have the photographer just take photos of you interacting. Bring a board game to play. It would be awesome if you could make a bonfire but it depends on your local fire dept. A shot of you snuggled under a blanket together would also be cute (especially if you partially removed clothes to appear nekkid). Look for some Birch trees to catch their gorgeous colour. Then get a final shot of your charging hot chocolate at an outdoor patio at your favourite cafe before you break down and go inside to warm up.

Have fun!
posted by saucysault at 7:10 AM on November 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Pick an indoor spot. Movie theater lobby, shopping mall, whatever is apropo of your relationship. I can imagine having some fun at the snack counter at the cinema. Ask the manager, tell him/her what they are for, and go during a slow time.
posted by Gungho at 7:10 AM on November 13, 2012

Cool antique store?
posted by Medieval Maven at 7:26 AM on November 13, 2012

Best answer: One of my friends shoots a lot of engagements. He will spend a fair bit of time with the couple and ask them to take him to places that have meaning to the couple. Where you had your first date, first kiss, where you met, where you like to spend your time etc etc. This could be anywhere. A good photographer will make it work, and the photos will have more meaning.
posted by WickedPissah at 7:28 AM on November 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I'd suggest keeping your clothes because few things are more awkward for your friends and family than the implied nakedness of your brother, or the girl who sits in the next cubicle over. If you're going to go with winter apparel, get fun scarves! Fun hats! Fun mittens and/or gloves! Have some coffee with you, make a fake snowman, etc.

Is there a restaurant, movie theater, coffee shop, bookstore, or other haunt that you guys have? Those might be good waypoints.
posted by ChuraChura at 7:31 AM on November 13, 2012 [3 favorites]

A friend did ours also, so we just kind of goofed around the whole time, bullshitting with our friend, making faces at each other and generally acting out all our little in-jokes. For example, we have a series where I'm smiling nicely and my husband is coming in for a face-lick, with a subsequent disgusted look from me; we have one where we're both wearing sunglasses with our cool-faces on; we have one in which we're looking at each other with our Serious Discussion faces. Basically, because you're working with someone you're already comfortable with, literally be yourselves and see what happens.
posted by mchorn at 7:52 AM on November 13, 2012

Best answer: Trust your photographer. I know you said that you want to be more pose-centric, but a good photographer will let you be more natural and move around in ways that are comfortable for you. S/he will say things like "hold hands" or something, but in order to capture that "look" in each others' eyes, you'll have to start telling each other stupid jokes or something to make each other laugh. And that's perfectly fine.

I just remember Picture Day in elementary school, when I'd practice my perfect smile in the mirror and walk up to the stool with it arranged beautifully on my face, only to have the photographer tell me some sort of "What's brown and sounds like a bell? DUNNNNNG" joke, and I went BWAAA and that was it. You don't want that one. You want that spontaneity.

Picking a cool spot is fun, but make sure that it is either lovely on its own terms or meaningful to you in a more-than-fad way. Your haunts are great, but make sure it's something you love enough to say, "Yep, we used to go there all the time" when you look at it years later, instead of being like, "I... guess we just went to a Barnes and Noble?"

Our photographer met us for the first time five minutes before we started shooting. We were half an hour late after a two-hour drive. We HATE photos. HATE HATE HATE. You be the judge.
posted by Madamina at 7:52 AM on November 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Also! Don't be afraid to talk to each other and joke around throughout; some of our best pictures were where we were cracking each other up.
posted by mchorn at 7:53 AM on November 13, 2012

Response by poster: The idea of going someplace we frequent actually triggered something and I thought maybe the local garden store we go to a lot in the summer for all our misc flowers and plants in our gardens. We actually have gone on a "date" there one evening, where we went and just wandered through the green houses for fun for an hour.

I called them just now and they are totally fine with our doing our pictures in their greenhouses! He said, "yeah, no problem at all! You guys just do your thing and wander through the greenhouses!" They have one greenhouse right now that is just solid pointsettas which would be so beautiful and a little christmassy. I'll have to humidity-proof my hair, but I think it could be really great. And no need for coats!!
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 7:57 AM on November 13, 2012 [11 favorites]

This is only a little prop-centric, but if you find something nice for the foreground (leaves? branches?) this is a pretty sweet shot; or this if you're shooting near something architecturally compelling. The focus is still on the couple, but they're atmospheric. This is a wedding shot, but if there's a place you love and you're shooting there, it would be lovely to have a well-done shot with both of you in it that you wouldn't ordinarily get.

I like detail shots like this one and this one. I love shots that show what you both love, as well as who you are. Most of all, they should capture a moment of laughter and love.
posted by peagood at 8:02 AM on November 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

Maybe find some photos online that you like, or old photos of yourselves that you like, and show them to your photographer. A picture is worth, well, you know...

Here are some photos I did for a couple friends of mine... they weren't engagement photos but they were used for their wedding. (self link) Maybe this is the kind of thing you're looking for? They wanted photos at all the places around St. Louis that are meaningful to them.
posted by kdern at 8:05 AM on November 13, 2012

Hi, part time photographer here...
It's ok to give your photographer ideas that you think would work, but don't go crazy sending them a whole board of pinterest photos that you want to copy. The best photos happen naturally and a good photographer will guide and direct you in the right direction for that to happen. Trust your photographer, especially since she's quite experienced. There's nothing worse to kill my creativity than a client e-mailing me a load of photos the night before and saying "we want to do photos like that." It's great to brainstorm, but now that you have decided on a location, let the photographer take it from there, I'm sure the photos will turn out great!
posted by photoexplorer at 8:33 AM on November 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

I can't stress this enough: have a good photographer!!! It may be a good idea to have a friend that is a photographer, but I'm glad that my wife and I opted out and interviewed photographers until we found the right one.

Our engagement photos look fantastic, and the places our photographers took us to take them were just crazy. Some warn down factory in the middle of town, looked awful, but the photographs from that site all came out fantastic looking. They also found some odd steps on the side of the building and we did a bunch of poses there. The credit was all to our photographers and not to us.

Our photographers had excellent equipment, and very good attitudes. Very good calm-assertive energy that really made for some great photos that didn't take much time especially after the wedding.
posted by nickerbocker at 8:43 AM on November 13, 2012

I went with my friend and her fiance to get their shots done (I was in charge of wardrobe) and the photographer kept asking them to do really stupid things, like things that made them look really silly watching it live. Jump off that rock, chase those birds, etc. People walking by kept giving the group weird looks.

Those were the most awesome photos in the end. So I guess what I'm saying is, don't be afraid to look like an idiot for a couple seconds, the photo might be awesome.
posted by magnetsphere at 9:28 AM on November 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

Check out the Pinterest Photography section. It has great photography tips, poses and other such for wedding and engagement photos among other nice poses.
posted by Yellow at 9:29 AM on November 13, 2012

I do have a recommendation for your honeymoon pics.

I have a cute stuffed animal that I still sleep with. She came with us on our honeymoon, Husbunny kept her in a cute cloth messenger bag and whenever we took a picture, she was in it.

When we got to Solvang we asked a couple to take our picture in front of a windmill, which they did, and then we offered to take theirs and they asked, "Can we pose with her too?"

I love those pictures because it's more than just two people in front of a landmark, it's a symbol of our "family".
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:39 PM on November 13, 2012

Snow angels?
posted by BoscosMom at 2:02 PM on November 13, 2012

I remember you from the Engagement BBQ! Assuming that went down well, I strongly encourage a photo of the usual ring-display type in which the BBQ also plays a role.
posted by snorkmaiden at 8:47 PM on November 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Love the idea of incorporating a BBQ! We may have to do one of those ourselves at home.

My fiance and I swung by the nursery last night and checked it out. Lo and behold, they have decorated for Christmas! They seriously went to town, too! They have these huge and beautifully decorated trees all over the place, each with a different theme, there are walls of wreathes and garland, and whole section of just shiny glittery decorations... it is just wonderful. And we checked out the greenhouse of just poinsettias and it is going to be incredible as a backdrop. Add in the fact that they have random archways scattered about surrounded by all sorts of different greenery... yeah, it is going to be killer. I don't know why more people don't get pictures done in garden centers. It is like they are meant to be used in this way!
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 4:23 AM on November 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

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