Take beautiful photos of you and your partner cheesing at the camera without the cheesiness of the typical, standard engagement session!
Creating your own engagement photos can be a challenging, yet unique and rewarding experience. For many who choose this engagement photo route, capturing their own engagement photos have created images that have been cherished much more than professional photos captured from a third-party photographer.
How To Take DIY Engagement Photos
Your guide to a gorgeous, self-made engagement photo session has arrived!
As a professional photographer myself, I COMPLETELY understand how rewarding and sentimental it feels to create your own images that are composed of your own thoughts/emotions/and subjects.
If you’re wanting to do your own engagement session, that probably means that you’re wanting to really make your photos as “you” as possible (and save a bit of money too). To achieve this original, authentic, “real-life” feel, the best thing to keep in mind is to make sure your engagement session really reflects you and your partner, starting with these tips and tricks.
All credited photos in this article were done by professional photographers and are only to provide inspiration for your DIY engagement photos!
Set The Scene
First thing’s first, when taking your own engagement photos, one of the first things you’ll decide is where to take them. Not sure where to look? Remember, the goal is to make your photos completely for YOU.
Got a bucket list destination? A favorite burger joint that you and your partner love to frequent? A camping spot that you like to park at and gaze at the stars? During your search for places to take pictures, think of activities that you and your partner enjoy doing together, and that can help brainstorm some fun, unique ideas that are special to you and your boo.
And it doesn’t even have to be in a coffee shop or a park–it can even be in the comfort of your own home! Many couples who already live together enjoy the space that they share together, and using your own home is one of the most unique settings to create your DIY engagement photos. Cooking your favorite meal in your kitchen, playing video games in your bedroom, or snuggling up close watching a movie in the living room–use your space to your advantage.
Make sure your background is visually appealing by making sure it’s clean, tidy, and free of any distractions to help keep the focus on the subjects: you and your partner!
Use Props With A Purpose
Props can be beneficial because they give you something to do with your hands, as well as add eye-catching items that make your images more visually interesting. If you’re doing an activity in your photos like cooking, playing video games, shopping, or dancing, you’ll already have a variety of props used just from doing those activities.
However, if there’s a lull in your picture-taking adventure, there are some cool props you can use to make your photos more interesting. And there’s more to think of than just the overdone, standard “She Said Yes!” sign.
Skateboards, confetti, ice cream, balloons, musical instruments, books, sports gear, disco balls, blankets, bicycles, are just a few out-of-the-box examples if you’re willing to put in the work to use them!
Create Candid Moments, Not Selfies
Our best piece of advice? Your engagement photos should NOT just consist of selfies. End of story.
Posing in photos can be difficult, and purposefully constructing candid photos can be even harder. That’s why filling your photos with activities for you and your partner to photograph will help. If you’re zoned in and focused on doing the activity, you won’t have to hyper-focus on your own insecurities of how your pictures look, if you’re getting your “bad side,” etc.
Now, some other story-telling pose ideas to make your images more interesting are shots that don’t involve you standing still and smiling like a robot at the camera. Things like you and your partner walking towards the camera and looking at each other, your partner picking you up and spinning you around, getting into a tickle fight, a shot of your hands entwined, are just a few ideas of what can male an abstract photo.
Take LOTS Of Pictures
Obviously, but taking a BUNCH of photos during your DIY session will help you narrow down the best of the best, as well as give you a variety of options to choose from to select your winning pictures.
Look For Your Look
Though you’re taking your engagement photos yourselves, make sure to still look a little put together. Even if you’re wearing casual clothes, still make sure to look clean, composed, and somewhat match your attire with your partner.
For a simple guideline on how to match with your partner, we suggest picking a color palette that consists of tones that complement each other. For a simple-to-achieve color palette, we suggest neutral tones like blacks, whites, creams, tans, and browns with pops of yellows, denim blues, reds, and more.
Of course, you can absolutely make your color palette as “poppy” as possible with vibrant and loud colors, yet balanced and complimentary.
Time The Lighting
Another important tool that you can use to master your DIY engagement session is lighting. Whether you’re taking photos inside or outside, make sure to consider the time of day that you’re taking photos to help set the mood of the shots you’re trying to compose.
For example, for lighthearted, sweet, fun shots, try softer morning light outside or use well-lit rooms in your house with big windows. On the other end, more dramatic, romantic, timeless shots can be captured in sunset, golden-light settings, or with shots that consist of bright, beautiful lighting and deeper, blacker shadows.
Tips & Tricks for iPhone Owners
In 2021, Smartphones are EVERYWHERE. As a result, they make for easy and convenient formats for doing your own DIY engagement session. For an iPhone specifically and for many other smartphones, there are many features that help make your session easy-breezy.
As smartphones are getting more advanced, their convenience is outstanding. For the iPhone, the camera technology has exceeded tremendously over the past few years, the iPhone 12 now featuring a 12-megapixel camera.
Here are a few tips and tricks for conquering your engagement pics with your iPhone camera.
Try Out A Small Tripod
For many wide-angle shots, a tripod for your phone would be a simple, cheap investment that can help save you some frustration in your DIY session.
Or, you could really get creative and make your own DIY tripod for your DIY engagement session with objects around your house. Need some higher-up shots without a tripod? Use a ladder, or a kitchen countertop, or an empty crevasse on your bookshelf.
Take Your Time
If you have a smartphone, you definitely should have a method of timing your shots using your phone. Using your self-time can help give you at least ten seconds of advantage to scramble into whatever position you’re trying to get.
Invest In Cell Phone Lenses
Now, if you ARE willing to explore a bit and invest in your engagement photos, there are some external iPhone lenses, that can help widen your perspective, develop crisper images, and allow for more control over your depth of field (how blurry or not blurry your background is).
We recommend brands like Moment, Sandmarc, and Apexel for flexibility and control over the composition of your images.
How To Do Engagement Photos: DSLR Camera
Where smartphone cameras excel in the convenience area, DSLR cameras possess technology quality that simply can’t be beaten. The average DLSR camera should have around about 20 megapixels, meaning that your images will naturally be sharper, clearer, and crisper, simply because the camera can produce more pixels to compose your picture in the first place.
In addition, a DSLR camera, if you know how to use it in manual mode, will also give you more control over the light, depth of field, shutter speed, and the overall quality of your pictures. Here are some of the best tips for doing your DIY engagement photos with your DSLR camera.
Invest In A Strong, Sturdy Tripod
Just like with your smaller-sized cell phone, your larger DSLR camera could use a tripod that’s strong and supportive enough to capture your photos at a variety of heights and angles. If you’re looking to purchase a new tripod, we suggest one that’s made more out of metal material instead of plastic to ensure structure and stability.
Use A Remote Control
If you have a control clicker for your camera, then you can kick your DIY engagements up a notch by making it easy to capture your photos without having to run back and forth to restart your timer. Instead, you and your partner can set up the shot, and quickly snap away without having to hustle and bustle to organize and retake shots.
Outside and Inside Shooting Liberties
Another excellent thing about DSLR cameras? Due to their impressive flexibility and professionally crafted abilities, you can take pictures in a variety of different settings, with a variety of different lighting situations. Due to this, you have more opportunities to take more complex photographs with a DSLR camera than you do with a smartphone camera. Low-light and even nighttime settings can be almost impossible to fully capture with an iPhone camera but are easily tackled by many DSLRs.
Make sure your DIY engagement session is everything you’ve always dreamed of. Remember to keep your likes and interests in mind, as well as communicate with your partner to make sure that the shots you’re getting are pleasing to both of you. Make sure that you create meaning in your engagement photos so they can mean more to you every time you look at them.
Have fun photographing!