Engagement photography stems from wedding photography, which has become the most lucrative path for a professional photographer, and is on average 10% of a wedding budget. With the advent of photography in the 1800s, wedding photos quickly became a staple, as marriage is one of the most important milestones of life to many cultures around the world. Of course, in those days candid photos were impossible because of how long taking one single picture actually took. These rigidly staged but memorable photos became the standard for many years.
Engagement photography is now stretching the boundaries of what couples want to have as visual memories for their marriage. The actual day of the ceremony is often chained to only one, two, or three spaces, and these are often indoors. It is very difficult and expensive to organize a wedding ceremony or reception that takes places somewhere that expresses the beauty of nature – like many engagement photos that take place on beaches.
Engagement photography allows the photographer to capture the couple in their element, less stressed and with greater freedom. Instead of the location of the ceremony and reception, engagement settings can truly encompass the personality of the two individuals getting married. There are several styles of photography to capture this personality, and high quality photographers will often mix and match to give their client the best photos.
- Studio photography is the closest to classic methods, but is all inclusive. This method is popular in China, where the couple is assisted by hair and makeup artists in house prior to taking posed photos at the studio.
- Traditional wedding methods will have classically posed images that can take place in a studio or other setting, but the focus is the positioning of the couple.
- Photojournalism attempts to mimic the idea of a journalist following the event of the couple’s engagement. This may begin with candid photos of the proposal and more candid that catch intimate moments between the couple as they go about their day.
- Fashion-based approach brings the idea of poses to photojournalism. The photographer might cut in on candid action to perfect something the couple is doing for the best resulting photo.
Overall, contemporary photography looks to give an onlooker the feel of what it was like to actually attend the event by incorporating any and all of these themes to represent it in the most realistic manner.
Engagement photography has led to the emergence of a new standard in poses. These differ from classic poses because they only attempt to accentuate that natural behavior of a loving couple, rather than force them into certain places. The fashion-based style photography will look to highlight certain positions that have almost become this new standard.
- Kiss – an obvious inclusion for engagement photos, a professional will pay attention to the couples hand placement and the minor details of how their bodies are held to help them show their best qualities.
- Hug from behind – the common photo of the groom hugging the bride from behind, here the photographer can assist by presenting angles that will show their engagement rings or suggest that they remember a funny story to capture the moment of looking into each other’s eyes smiling.
- Touching foreheads – another intimate position that is becoming popular, where the photographer can again help with the minor details of body positioning to keep their best foot forward.