Photos by Jonny Edwin
Chris and I decided to do engagement photos with our wedding photographer, Jonny Edwin. We heard it was a great way to get more comfortable in front of the camera, and also to get to know your wedding photographer before the big day. Jonny refers to these sessions as “Two of You” shots, because he wants it to be real and authentic to the couple. Thus we chose the site of our engagement, Lake Harriet, for our engagement photos. Jonny somehow magically picked the best, most beautifully sunny October day, and guided us along as we uncovered secret spots as well as some well-known locations on the lake. I can’t say we weren’t awkward, but we trusted Jonny could help us look maybe a little less so.
I asked Jonny a couple questions to get a photographer’s perspective and advice for couples planning on doing engagement photos.
Carly Reynolds: What tips would you give someone starting to plan/figure out an engagement shoot (i.e. places, clothing, etc.?)
Jonny Edwin: I recommend to all of my couples to keep things as relaxed and simple as possible. I always tell people not to dress up as if you were going to get your photos taken. Keep it simple and keep it "you". For a location, I definitely recommend somewhere that is familiar or important to the two of you. And if there isn't somewhere that sticks out in your mind that you'd like to go for photos, trust your photographer knows of locations that will fit you two.
CR: What makes for a great photo? Do you recommend people come in with ideas, or just be ready to be guided along?
JE: It's always ok to have ideas in mind, but trust your photographer. As a photographer, you hope that the work on your website is what appeals to the couple and that's why they want to book with you, not just because you own a camera and you fit within their budget. After I feel like I've gotten all the shots that I want, I always ask the couple if there is anything else that they want that we haven't gotten yet. That way I know for sure that both of us will leave happy at the end of the session.
CR: What would an ideal photo session look and feel like? From your end, what can a couple do to make things go smoothly and get the best shots?
JE: Coming from a photographers view, having a couple that genuinely smiles and laughs without me having to tell them to is awesome. It doesn't even matter what they are laughing about, but when the couple interacts and has fun it makes my job a lot easier instead of having to force them to talk to each other and force them to smile. I always try to make things as relaxed and fun as possible, because more than likely, this is the first time that the couple has been photographed professionally since their high school senior photos.
What I learned after taking engagement photos:
1. Our best shots are the ones where we are just laughing or chatting, like we normally would.
2. We don’t do camera-ready kissing well (Jonny seemed to pick up on this and steered us clear of those).
3. Try different angles so you can see what kinds of shots you both like best.
4. Trust your photographer. I know it sounds simple, but pick the person whose style you really enjoy and then let them do what you know they do well. I had a lump in my stomach thinking that maybe we couldn’t take a good picture, but even the most awkward of couple can be saved by a good photographer (and a few jokes).