I use three different formats to approach the engagement photography shoot. The three formats are used to help couples figure out which format they are most comfortable with. Each format, pure photojournalistic, assisted, and combination are discussed below in further detail. To every format of photography regardless of it being assisted or not, I add our own “in-between philosophy” to make sure that I capture gorgeous candid moments during the shoot. I believe that the best shots are not necessary the actual posed shots, but are the shots right before and after. Moments where the couple laughs at each other for being so silly; or that special moment where the groom-to-be whispers sweet words to his fiancé. These are the in-between moments that I am looking for. So, regardless of the format you choose, rest assured that you will also get beautiful candid imagery.
Pure photojournalism engagement shoots are completely unassisted by the photographer. This format works well for the couple that has a sentimental activity or location in mind and can act natural while ignoring the photographer.
This format works by the engagement photographer going out to the location along with the couple. Once the photographer helps the couple find and setup their scene, he will simply pop on a telephoto (long range) lens, stand 25-50 feet away, and let the couple have their moment all alone. This format of photography produces beautiful candid imagery. For example, for one of our couples, the perfect location was in the small streets of a small village in Provence. This was the location of their first date, and we basically just stood back and captured them playing in the streets.
Assisted engagement photography is more of a traditional engagement photography style and involves the engagement photographer assisting the couple in their scene selections, posing and interactions. This format of photography works well for the couple that may not know exactly what they want, where they want to shoot; and doesn’t feel comfortable acting natural in front of a camera.
For this format, the photographer will get an understanding of the couples style and personality. A few different locations will be recommended and once agreed upon; the photographer will head out to the location with the couple. Once the photographer and couple finds the scene, the photographer will talk the couple through several different photojournalistic and traditional poses in order to help the couple find a pose that they feel is fitting and comfortable. This format primarily produces lovely photojournalistic and traditional posed imagery.
Combination engagement photography is probably my favorite format. This format of engagement photography is just as it sounds, a combination of assisted and pure photojournalism. This format of engagement photography works well for the couple who wants both photojournalism and assisted imagery, and chooses to have a longer engagement photography outing. An example is a shoot we did in Cassis Beach and the Calanques near Marseille. I spent the first part of the day posing the couple for some traditional and fine-art images. For the second half, I asked them to be themselves and enjoy their time at the beach while we stayed at a distance and shot away.
I love this format of engagement photography because it allows me to spend a half or full day with my clients prior to the wedding. This time not only allows me to develop a close relationship with our couple, but also allows me to get to know each other’s personality. This allows me to produce more personalized imagery, not only during the engagement shoot, but also on the wedding day.