Sunday, February 28, 2016

Tips for making great engagement pictures

Posted By on Sun, Feb 28, 2016 at 6:55 AM

Claire and Max are getting married this summer. On Valentine’s day, I photographed their engagement.

Long story short, Claire and Max met during an interview for this newspaper. 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 that. Here's how we did it:

We found a location to tell the story.

click to enlarge 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. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • 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.

They choose outfits that work together.



click to enlarge 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. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • 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.



click to enlarge 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. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • 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 loves fashion. Whenever I ran 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 wechose three. 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 dress. And, of course, Max’s favorite blue velvet sports coat went great with Claire’s red dress. Getting the clothes right is important. Work with your photographer beforehand to find something that works for you both. Claire’s outfits would never have worked as well as they did if Max hadn’t worn something that looked great with them.

We had a lot of fun.

click to enlarge 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. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • 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.

When I asked Claire how she would describe the two of them she said, “We’re goofy with each other.” 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 warm up. After a couple of silly pictures and good laughs, Claire and Max were more relaxed and we made some genuine and flattering pictures of them both enjoying their 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.

click to enlarge Claire and Max on stage at the Colorado Springs School's Louisa Theater after being a little goofy. They are more relaxed and obviously having fun together. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Claire and Max on stage at the Colorado Springs School's Louisa Theater after being a little goofy. They are more relaxed and obviously having fun together.

We picked the right time of day.

click to enlarge 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. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • 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.

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.

click to enlarge Claire and Max embrace on stage at the Colorado Springs School Louisa Theater. Claire first met Max, a professional actor, during an interview for the Colorado Springs Independent about a play he was acting in. Naturally, a theater was the perfect place to tell their story. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Claire and Max embrace on stage at the Colorado Springs School Louisa Theater. Claire first met Max, a professional actor, during an interview for the Colorado Springs Independent about a play he was acting in. Naturally, a theater was the perfect place to tell their story.

Colorado Springs wedding photographer Sean Cayton loves remarkable photographs and the stories behind them. You can see his wedding work at caytonphotography.com, his personal work at seancayton.com and his editorial work in the Colorado Springs Independent. Submit your photo and the story behind the image - no more than two a week, please - to sean@caytonphotography.com for consideration in upcoming blogs.

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