February 27, 2016

Why You Should Choose a Theme for Your Engagement Photos | Shea Brianne Bride University

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True love? Check. 

Engagement ring? Check. 

Booked engagement session? Check. 

Engagement sessions are possibly the sweetest of all photography sessions. It’s all the romance of the wedding day, but without the stress (and with more comfortable clothing)! What is also different about your engagement session verses your portrait session during your wedding is this one huge factor: you are the only two around (minus your photographer). During your wedding day, things might get crazy. You might be distracted–Totally in love, but also distracted. Your engagement session is that time where you get to shout it from the mountain tops: “We’re in love and we want everyone to know it!” This session is utilized for taking shots for your save the dates, guest books, and other items of memorabilia. But, this session doesn’t have to just be head shots of you and your boo snuggling.

Engagement photos are a chance for you to capture what your relationship is at its core, and to seize what this season of your life feels like.

In order to best capture this essence, you should have a theme to your engagement session.

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If you have a great photographer, after booking your e-session, you will be asked questions such as:

What do you love to do together?

How would you describe your style as a couple?

What are your favorite things about one another? 

By asking these questions, your photographer is actually already developing a theme for you for your session. If you say you love cooking together, she might suggest that you center your session around a picnic theme, etc. Sometimes, themes don’t even have anything to do with what you like to do on date night or where you had your first kiss; a theme for your engagement photos could be as simple as picking three key words that you want to see emulated in your shots. Sound a little fruit loopy? Check out my example below.

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The Three-Word-Theme Theory

These photos were taken during a workshop I took with Jordan Brittley Photography. These two lovebirds were celebrating their anniversary, but we’ll look at it as if it were an engagement session. These cutie pies had a love that was very playful, sweetly romantic, and wonderfully laid-back. So, gleaning from this, let’s they picked these three words to “theme” their e-session.

  1. Playful    
  2. Romantic
  3. Natural

Knowing that these are the feelings or that this is the “theme” my couple feels best describes their love, I can keep this in mind as I design their session and shoot their photos. If they were to not give my any direction or theme at all, I probably would fall into a default mode of shooting simple, yet possibly cliche’, poses and images.

Choosing feeling-words or a theme gives so much more life and personality to your engagement sessions. Not sure where to start? Try answering these questions:

What do you love to do together? What are your favorite things about each other? What words would you use to describe your love? Where are your favorite places to do? What kind of personalities do you have? What kind of style as a couple do people say you have?

Still feeling stuck? Hop onto Pinterest and find an engagement session image that you LOVE. Now, think about WHAT you love about it, and choose three words to describe it. Boom. You have your three-word-theme!

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Remember, your engagement session should not be just a time to get head shots of you two for the save the date card. It should be a time to celebrate your love and upcoming marriage, and it should be a time for you to express your love for one another to everyone! Enjoy this time and have fun with it!


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We're Shelby & Jared, Springfield MO wedding photographers passionate about meaningful living. We document timeless moments for free-spirited, elegant couples across the Midwest and beyond. As fine art photographers, we strive to create work that will leave a legacy of love for years to come.



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