April 2020 engagement sessions have been postponed due to the month-long shelter in place order. Postponing wedding-related activities is a huge bummer, so I created this step by step guide so you can take engagement photos in your own home right now! These tips won’t transform you into a professional wedding photographer. However, they will encourage you to get creative, have fun with your partner, experiment with something new, document this very specific moment in history, and hopefully get 1 or 2 good pics!
Set the scene
Start by considering where you want these photos to be taken in your home. Make sure you have enough room for you and your partner to sit and/or stand whether it be on the couch, a bed, two chairs, or even a blanket on the floor! What else do you want in the frame? Do you have a favorite backdrop at your house? Perhaps it’s your bookshelf full of plants. Do you want a few shots with your cat or dog? You are the director of your own shoot, the sky’s the limit!
The art of lighting is COMPLICATED. But let’s go over some easy rules to help you get started. Natural light is #1, be sure to take advantage of it and do your shoot when it’s the brightest. Remember, you want to avoid backlighting so be mindful of sitting directly in front of a light source. If you have artificial light on in your home (lamps and lights) consider turning all of them off to capitalize on natural lighting. If natural light is scarce and that’s not an option, that’s okay too! Try using one main light source rather than a bunch to lights. And if it’s not working either, no worries! To master lighting you must be willing to try different things, there’s no correct answer here!
All you need is your cell phone!
iPhone cameras are pretty awesome these days, so don’t worry if you don’t have a professional camera! Here is a step by step guide on how to use the iPhone self-timer in burst mode, so you will actually get 10 photos each time you start the self-timer! Try doing that 10 times, and you will have 100 photos 🙂 *Pro-tip, avoid portrait mode*
My top-secret photo prompts…revealed
Okay, here’s where I share my secret sauce. The key to fun and natural-looking photos is taking the pressure off, looking away from the camera (*that’s right you don’t need to stare at the camera!*), and enjoying each other’s company. Here are a few prompts I use during engagement photos to get some of my favorite pics!
- Tell the story of how you met going back and forth each of you saying one word at a time.
- Partner 1 whispers into your partner’s 2 ear your favorite fruit in your sexiest voice. Partner 2, it’s your turn now. Repeat with your favorite vegetable.
- Partner 2 use your nose and draw something on your Partner 1’s cheek. Partner 1 must guess what it is. Now Partner 1 draws on Partner 2’s cheek.
- Partner 1 bear hug Partner 2 and smother them in kisses.
- Give eskimo kisses! (rubbing noses 🙂
Enjoy your creation!
You did it! Every photo may not be a keeper, but that’s okay! Remember, you shot in burst mode so you have to look through each individual burst and choose your favorite still moment. All you need is one or two that you like! Consider adding your favorite pic to your wedding website, sending to a family member, posting on social media, or even ordering a print! And if you want to keep them to yourself, that’s cool too. Now you not only have documentation of this surreal time in your life, but you are even more prepared for your professional engagement session in the future!