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Photography Question 
Brad A. Harr

Engagement Pictures for a First Timer

I have been asked to take my friends' engagement pictures, and honestly, I am nervous. I typically photograph wildlife and landscapes but occasionally dab in photographing people. We are going to be outside at early afternoon in Alaska. I have constructed a homemade silver reflector, and it works well. Do you have any tips for good poses or anything dealing with photographing people for engagement pictures? Any help I can get would be GREATLY appreciated. I'm hoping to make this a great time for my friends. Thanks!

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5/22/2008 2:52:36 PM

Michael  Wasson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/28/2006
  Search BP for engagement photos. Having a few initial poses in mind helps you to get going and will also get those creative juices flowing. Know your equipment. Be aware of backgrounds (no trees coming out of their heads). Remember to keep cropping in mind and leave room around the edges for it. Most of all just have fun. If the couple has some crazy ideas of poses they want to do, go with it. If it's possible to have an assistant, that would definitely help. In most shoots like this, I always start out a little nervous but once you start shooting, it just begins to flow and always turns out better than you thought. Good luck and hope to see some of your photos.

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5/22/2008 3:22:26 PM

W.    You probably know what you're doing, Brad, but in case you need reminding: set ISO 100 or 200, WB to daylight, a longish focal length like 80 or 100mm (35mm equivalent) for a flattering perspective, and remember to use fill-flash when useful. And shoot in RAW.
Got an assistant to hold the reflector? (Your very own wireless remotely controlled intelligent soft fill light ;-) )
A circular polarizing filter is probably not a good idea for skins. But, if you're at the seaside or at over 3,000 feet altitude, a UV filter probably is.
Could be a fun gig!

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5/22/2008 4:14:22 PM

Ryan Glaze   Brad -

I shoot a lot of engagement pictures. When I first started shooting engagement pictures I would look at other websites that had engagement photos on them and I asked myself if I liked the picture or if I didn't...and then I tried to answer the question, "Why?" What I found is that I really liked candids...I would have the couple account something in the past that would get them talking to each other and me (e.g. tell me about who asked who out)...I then sort of act like I am setting my camera when I am actually getting ready to snap a photo. They often will look at each other when it comes to that question or one of them will look off as if they are trying to remember if the story is accurate.

I also find that my photos are better received when there is less separation between the couple. That might mean she needs to snuggle up to his arm, his head might need to touch hers, her hand could be placed on his chest or shoulder, he needs to wrap her up and squeeze her in a fun way.

I also tell them a very few simple is a fun event...and they must look good...both individually and as a is my job to make them look is there job to look good. I also give them very general posing guidelines (e.g. Let's get comfortable in a sitting position close together) I then take the opportunity to tweak the image...a knee needs to come up, hands interlock, head tilt, etc. The whole time I am engaging them in conversation and keeping it light so that they are comfortable and enjoying the process.

I hope this helps.

Ryan Glaze

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5/29/2008 5:45:23 AM

Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004
© Debby A. Tabb
Nikon D200 Digital...
I to do alot of these and can tell you that it is all in making them feel comfortable,so that the love they share shows.
get them where you are going beach,park,zoo resturant ect.
Then just lay back and let them relax,before jumping in to pose.
the candids you will catch will be awsome!
Then on & off put your two cents in.
and get those poses you want & need.

Great places for poses are as stated here,others web sites, and Magizines.
one of the poses shots that I get compliments on all the time came from a "Iternity" ad and it also leads to some Very Cute candids!
I hope this helps,

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5/29/2008 6:42:14 AM

Pete H
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2005

Posing is the least of your worries. Proper exposure is.

Get a friend and go practice first!

all the best,


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5/29/2008 10:01:49 AM

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