Saturday, February 9, 2013

Types of Engagement Portraits

















Today's post is an excerpt from the book Engagement Portraiture, by Tracy Dorr. It is available from Amazon.com and other fine retailers.




When planning an engagement session, you will have many stylistic options available to you. Those will be explored further in the next chapter. No matter what style you choose, however, you will have two main avenues for executing it: a formal approach or an informal approach. Although the formal session is usually shot in a more traditional studio setting, I suggest that you try to think more broadly of “formal” as your approach to dealing with the customers. The same goes for the “informal” approach.


FORMAL
The classic, traditional engagement photo is a formal portrait. In the 1800s, portraits were necessarily serious and formal due to the extremely long exposure times that were required by the photographic technologies of the day. As higher film speeds became available, portraits took on a somewhat happier vibe; the subjects were smiling and more comfortable, but still formal and looking directly into the camera. Since the digital revolution, photojournalism has deeply impacted the style of portraits clients desire, but there is still a large market for a more formal approach to an engagement portrait.

If your clients are interested in a more formal approach, or if you are more comfortable shooting that way, you will need to decide if the session will be done in a studio setting with multiple backdrops or props, or if you will go on location. Formal shoots are typically created in a studio sitting, but if you do choose to go on location, think about more formal locations—like a church or museum, as opposed to a beach or heavily urban setting that will define your shoot before you even begin. The location you choose will directly impact the formal mood of your photos. 


Choose your location wisely. Formal shoots often take place in a studio setting with lights and backdrops. Pose the couple carefully, and pay attention to every detail—from hand posing to hairstyling. You have total control in these situations, so take advantage of that. Photo by Nicole Knauber.

When posing your couple, make sure to look for every flattering nuance and try out several different poses. They should generally be looking into the camera and their body language should be less relaxed. Think of an upright posture, folded hands, turned-in bodies, and seated or standing shots. Their bodies and faces should be angled toward the camera, not straight-on like a mug shot. 


Formal sessions are not limited to a studio setting. Creativity may lead you to an unusual location that suits the couple's personality. Scout out the location to make sure it will enhance the mood, not detract from it. Photo by Evan Laettner.


Even though you don’t need as many exposures for formal portraits as you would for a more candid session, you still have the opportunity to use the digital media to your advantage. Keep shooting. Feel free to experiment with as many different poses and combinations as you like. You can always choose only the best one or completely delete anything that didn’t work. Ultimately, you are ensuring that the couple will have more selection in the end. Clients looking for a formal sitting will be more detail-oriented and will be looking for perfection. You don’t have the same kind of creative liberty to make artistic “errors” as you do in photojournalistic portraits.

INFORMAL
An informally styled engagement session can either be posed in a relaxed manner or it could take place as a totally photojournalistic shoot. You can also develop a combination of the two if you are skilled at directing and interacting with your clients. If your studio’s shooting area is limited in size, these types of sessions may work better on location. Additionally, the more relaxed atmosphere of an outdoor setting alleviates the stiffness of a traditional studio setting, something that is integral to a more informal approach. 

A session that is still traditionally posed but executed in a more relaxed, informal manner is the most widely accepted type of session today. In this type of session, the clients may still be rather traditionally posed, but you will develop the poses as you go. You should give the clients direction and talk them through each pose, but allow them to be comfortable and to be themselves. This contrasts with a purely photojournalistic type of session, in which you provide little or no posing direction but concentrate, instead, on capturing your clients as they really are. 


During your initial meeting with the clients, educate them about informal and photojournalistic approaches. See which one they are truly looking for. They may be confused as to the difference. 

Informally posed sessions are a popular choice. They allow you to modernize an old concept and flatter any couple or location. Photo by Evan Laettner.


Buy this book from Amazon.com.


41 comments:

  1. This looks amazing, I would love to do something like this. There have been a lot of good cincinnati wedding photographer that I've heard about. I'm willing to do anything I can't to get them.

    ReplyDelete
  2. New Jersey wedding photographers association puts the best New Jersey wedding photographers at your fingertips, by granting membership only to the most talented professional New Jersey wedding photographers in the world--photographers who focus solely on using their documentary photography skills to capture ‘the moments’ of your ♥♥♥ wedding day ♥♥♥.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for informing us we really enjoying this blog your blog is so much informative so keep it up thanks guys.

    Wedding Photographer Perth | Baby photographer Perth

    ReplyDelete
  4. Very nice work and post. waiting for another post.

    Fotógrafo de bodas.......

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for information.. We look forward for more information about Chakra Healing in Beverly Hills and Kids Yoga in Santa Monica

    ReplyDelete
  6. This looks amazing blog, I would love to do something like this. There have been a lot of good...

    Bathroom Accessories | Bathroom Mirrors With Lights

    ReplyDelete
  7. Superb photos.Really captured all the great moments before, during and after!!! excellent work.

    wedding video london,wedding videography london,wedding cinematography

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow! Nice photo of weddings. Really very beautiful. Thanks for sharing these photos with us!! Wedding photographer

    ReplyDelete
  9. I got engaged a while ago and I am so excited to begin planning my wedding! Do you have any suggestions for when I am looking for a wedding photographer? I am a photographer myself, so capturing this special day is very important to me. http://www.danielmichael.com/cincinnati-wedding-photographers/Galleries/gallery/Daniel-Michael

    ReplyDelete
  10. I like your blog titles Types of Engagement Portraits, its really wonderful and I got more information in this blog about portraits. You have posted amazing clicks in your post.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Seriously I got glad to see your portraits every time. To get additional information your post is best because its too informative.

    ReplyDelete
  12. It is too informative blog to know about portraits. These is lots of information and I get more tips here on Formal and Informal portraits for engagement.

    ReplyDelete
  13. It's a common think because marriage or engagement is necessary for life to spend your life with your partner,If your wedding memories is unique that's amazing think for you. So make your forever memories unique via us with just a click here

    ReplyDelete
  14. My fiance is arranging our engagement pictures. I think it would be nice to have the person who takes our engagement pictures do the pictures for our wedding too. If you trust the person taking your engagement pictures then you should trust them to take your wedding pictures. http://www.danielmichael.com/cincinnati-wedding-photographers/Galleries/gallery/Daniel-Michael

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm trying to help my roommate find a wedding photographer. It's really tough, because she's really picky. I'm having a hard time, but I'm going to keep trying, because she's been a good friend. http://www.butterflykissphotos.com

    ReplyDelete
  16. I love looking at wedding photography because it gives me ideas on how I want my wedding pictures to look. I want the pictures to be amazing and high class. I know many people hire amateurs to take the pictures but I want a professional with lots of experience.

    Jessie | http://www.robholley.net/matt/washington-dc-unique-wedding-photography-20_6_1821.html

    ReplyDelete
  17. Engagement photos are one of my favorite kinds of photos. My sister does photography on the side and comes over to my house to sort them and edit them. I love looking through them with her. She has a running commentary that at times is hilarious.
    http://jonathanhanphotography.com.au

    ReplyDelete
  18. I am in love with how classy these wedding photographs turned out. It is always fun to see pictures from different photographers because you get a feel for their sense of style. I can't wait to have my own wedding pictures done. http://jamesasteppphoto.com/?page_id=963

    ReplyDelete
  19. These engagement photos look incredible! I love the formal approach that you discussed and presented. My fiance and I would love to have some pictures like these done. I'll have to keep these in mind when we go to our engagement shoot next week. http://www.loriphoto.com/blog/tiffaney-christopher-v-sattui-elopement-napa-wedding-photographer

    ReplyDelete
  20. We can all take pictures on our mobile phones these days and on other technology devises, but no one captures the perfect image quite like a professional photographer. Are you really prepared to trust the skills of an amateur on your wedding day? By hiring a professional wedding photographer in Cambridge and the importance of their experience become extremely clear in your blogs.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I heard that wedding photography is a great career. It seemed to me that photographers in this industry, are able to have a friendly and lasting relationship with their clients. I imagine, you need creativity and people skills to succeed.
    http://www.robertbrucephotography.com

    ReplyDelete
  22. your article is good information about photography. i very like it, keep it up..

    female photographer

    ReplyDelete
  23. I would like to get into photography, like scenary type things, and I wanted to save up my money to buy a good camera for photography. any ideas on what to buy? not tooo expensive please? (: thank you, I appreciate it. (:
    jakob rex

    ReplyDelete
  24. How to create transparent picture with Photoshop using alpha ...
    image retouching service

    ReplyDelete
  25. Good blog along with the excellent quality stuff and I’m sure this will be greatly helpful. proposal photographer nyc

    ReplyDelete
  26. This discussion unexpectedly takes my attention to join inside. Well, after I read all of them, it gives me new idea for my blog. thanks
    transfer super 8

    ReplyDelete
  27. Great article it was such an interesting and informative article.
    regalo boda

    ReplyDelete
  28. When you are arranging again i am interested but it had been too late to visit your blog.
    engaging affairs wedding planner dc

    ReplyDelete
  29. Nice service there are just few who are providing this service great job.
    best wedding cakes birmingham

    ReplyDelete
  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  31. wow that is so interesting and it's a great art of the wedding photos it's really very amazing thanks
    marriage commissioner

    ReplyDelete
  32. Valuable site, where did u come up with the information in this posting? I am pleased I discovered it though, ill be checking back soon to find out what new content pieces u have.
    utah family pictures

    ReplyDelete
  33. So interesting post on Engagement Portraits! The photos you shared here are just fantabulous. We too had an amazing pre wedding session. We will tie wedding knot quite soon and scenes at our San Francisco wedding venues are also adorable. It is a picturesque place. I am sure wedding photos will turn out just great.

    ReplyDelete
  34. It's really nice and great work and i really like your blog.
    Difficult-to-Find electronic parts

    ReplyDelete
  35. I was very pleased to find this site.I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.
    Award winning photographer

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hi fellas,
    Thank you so much for this wonderful article really!
    If someone want to read more about that Wedding Venues In Charleston I think this is the right place for you!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Your blog is awesome. You have shared very valuable information to us. Thank you so much for sharing this.

    affordable wedding photography san diego

    ReplyDelete
  38. Wedding Photo Creators is one of the best candid wedding photographers in Kolkata, india. We have great experience of wedding photography, pre wedding photography in india

    ReplyDelete