Better Engagement Pictures

engagement pictures
A dramatic picture of Claire and Max in the west lobby at The Broadmoor. Claire wore a striking red dress and Max wore his favorite vintage blue velvet sports coat to finish off the engagement shoot in high style.

Claire and Max’s engagement sitting is a great example of how to get Better Engagement Pictures. They are getting married this summer and on Valentine’s day I photographed their engagement. Claire and Max met during an interview for the Colorado Springs Independent. Claire was reporting on a local theater production and Max was an actor in the play. The rest is history. Well, not really. We still had to tell their love story visually and together we picked locations and clothes that would do just that.

engagement pictures
Claire and Max out in front of the Trianon at the Colorado Springs School. Claire attended the school and Max teaches drama there so it provided the perfect story-telling location.

Choose the right location to tell your story for Better Engagement Pictures

One of the first things that I learned about Claire is that she attended the Colorado Springs School. The campus has beautiful grounds and some dramatic architecture that we could use as a backdrop. Max also teaches drama at the school and since he’s a professional director and actor, the school made for a great location to tell their story. Always try to choose a location that tells the story of your courtship. If you enjoy doing something together like hiking, for instance, that may hint at the right location for your engagement photographs.

engagement pictures
Claire and Max walk together on the grounds the Colorado Springs School. Photographing in the late afternoon is a great way to make pleasing portraits.

Choose outfits that work together for Better Engagement Pictures

Claire loves fashion. Whenever I bumped into her at the Independent she was always dressed to impress. Before the engagement sitting, Claire texted me photos of several outfit choices and together we found two different outfits that she would wear. Then we worked on Max’s clothes. We needed something that would complement her choices. It wasn’t hard. Both Claire and Max love a little more vintage look and so a sweater and bow tie went great with Claire’s checkered gray dress. And, of course, Max’s favorite blue velvet sports coat went great with Claire’s red cocktail dress. Getting the clothes right is important. Work with your photographer beforehand to find something that works for both of you. Claire’s outfits would never have worked as well as they did if Max hadn’t worn something that looked great with them.

Claire and Max being goofy in front of the camera on stage at the Louisa Theater. Try being goofy the first five minutes of your engagement shoot and see if you aren’t more relaxed in front of the camera.

Be yourself in front of the camera Better Engagement Pictures

When I asked Claire how she would describe the two of them she said, “We’re goofy together.” So I found a couple of fun, goofy engagement pictures online and I sent them by text before the engagement. She loved them and we used that as a starting point for the shoot. Making some silly pictures is a great way to get relaxed and to be yourself in front of the camera. After a couple pictures and some good laughs, Claire and Max were more relaxed. The result? More genuine and flattering pictures of them enjoying this time together. If you’re nervous about being photographed, start out by being “goofy.” You’d be surprised how that makes everything a bit more fun, relaxed and flattering.

Claire and Max share a moment together on the campus of the Colorado Springs School. Claire selected a checkered dress and picked out a matching sweater and bow tie for Max that really makes their pictures sing.

Pick the right time of day for Better Engagement Pictures

You can’t go wrong with a theater and stage lighting, which is where we began the shoot. But I also wanted to make sure we got to take advantage of the late afternoon light on the campus. It was a beautiful winter’s day and the sunset turned out to be gorgeous. If you don’t have a theater or a photographer who photographs with off-camera lighting, picking the right time of day is critical. Late afternoon and early morning are the best times of day to take pleasing portraits.