TO HELP YOU MEMORIALIZE THE MOMENT WHEN YOU FIRST KNEW YOU’D BE TOGETHER FOREVER, TOP AREA PHOTOGRAPHERS GIVE THEIR BEST ADVICE.
Callie Riesling Photography
“My photographic style is mostly about two things: emotional connection between the subjects and location. The emotion is the biggest deal to me because I try to create a feeling with the photos—like when he wraps his arms around your shoulders or brushes the hair out of your face or when you guys are holding hands being yourselves and she throws you a flirty glance that turns into a laugh. In 20 years when you look at your photos, I want you to still feel what it was like to be young and in love and what it was like when it was new,” says Callie Riesling, owner and lead photographer of Callie Riesling Photography.
“Location, however, comes first in the planning process. We talk about hobbies and ideas and narrow it down to something that the couple loves. I’ve had couples shoot their engagement photos in a place that relates to their job or their hobby; for example, some of the Colorado Rockies players want to photograph their engagement or wedding at the stadium. We do sessions with things they like to do together, such as fishing or snowboarding; we’ve had locations where only the couple really understands the meaning, such as their first date spot or a fun memory they made together; and sometimes it’s about making new memories together, and we’ll go somewhere the couple has never been or even heard of.
“My best advice would be, first, hire a photographer you love. Don’t settle. Next, fully invest. Laugh with your whole heart, smile naturally and truly show how you love each other. And last, choose a location that is epic or special (or both!). Go further and be braver than just what’s easy, and your photos will blow your friends and family away!”
“Engagement shoots are a must! A dress rehearsal, if you will, for your wedding day. Just like wedding photos, engagements only happen once, so you want to nail them the first time. Outfits, attitudes and location have to be spot on,” says Coryn Nelson of Link Photography.
“Light for me is everything when I shoot, especially engagements. Its brings emotion and depth to a photo, so the time of day plays a huge role in the story. When I’m picking a location for my couple I like to take into account where they are getting married. I like to do something a bit different, so they have some variety; for example, if they’re getting married downtown, maybe we would go to the mountains.
“I also think it’s super important for couples to go all out on attire: Buy that dress you thought you would never wear; get your hair and makeup done! Engagement photos are meant to capture the relationship and feeling of the couple, so having the right attire can make them feel like a million bucks, which, in turn, will exude confidence through the camera.”
“One thing that’s important for me is to incorporate a sense of place into engagement photos. Couples want their images to be a reflection of their relationship not only with each other, but also with the world around them. That world is one in which they’ve shared first dates, first kisses, countless memories and perhaps a ‘Will you marry me?’ ” says Nathan Welton of Dreamtime Images.
“When I shoot engagement photos, I spend some time getting close and zooming in on just my clients, but I also spend a fair amount of time stepping back and capturing them in a surrounding to which they have a profound connection. I know that some couples like to bring props to engagement sessions, but with me, everyone seems quite happy to use the Rocky Mountains and everything they have to offer—streams, stars, mountains, forests and cities—as their props!
“The best advice I can give a couple is to put their trust in the photographer’s vision. Once you do that, you can let go a little more and really be present with your new fiancé, and that presence is what really makes a great photo.”
KT Langley Photography
“The best way to take interesting engagement photos is to explore our state and all of the different landscapes. We have the most amazing backdrops to take gorgeous photos, whether it be mountain lakes or rock formations. I always try to encourage my couples to go on a hike with me somewhere, so we can use the environment. Another tip I have for my couples is to think of an activity that they could do that relates to their interests. It helps to be able to do a fun activity during the session in case you aren’t super comfortable in front of the camera,” says Katie Langley of KT Langley Photography.
“I am also an advocate of sunrise/sunset sessions. The quality of light in the early morning (same for golden hour—right before sunset) is just spectacular and gives results that cannot be achieved at other times of day when the sun is high in the sky. Also, you will generally have more privacy in a public area before dawn.”
Steve Stanton Photography
“My approach in all of these situations is the same. I love taking the couple on a journey. I want the images to echo an experience and memories shared. I love finding new locations that speak to the passions of the clients, a place they may not have yet been and one they will remember,” says Steve Stanton of Steve Stanton Photography.
“My advice for any couple would be to come prepared with good complementary outfits; wardrobe is a crucial aspect to making great images (and a good bottle of bourbon never hurts as well!). Last, if you want outside-the-box images, you’ll most likely find them in outside-the-box locations, most farther away than the neighborhood park or local open spaces. Go have an adventure!”