Misguided location advice on engagement photography

Ok time for me to have a bit of whinge! (just give me 5mins to rant! hehe)

Today I’m going to talk about one of my pet hates! It’s a big one. And I know some people out there will disagree with me.

Why this pet hate has come up …
Let me first give you some background. I was brainstorming some location ideas with one of my engaged couples. She then asked her friend for some ideas. Who then asked someone else. In the end they recommended she should have her engagement photos taken at a memorable location – where they had their first kiss, where he proposed, their favourite restaurant, where they first met etc-.

Ok I just want to say for the record (and sorry to offend anyone) but I think this idea is totally lame. And all the posts and web pages out there that suggest a ‘memorable place’ for a ‘creative’ engagement shoot idea just frustrates the hell out of me (going to the past is not being creative!).

My pet hate: When others recommend using a ‘memorable place’ for an engagement shoot.

Let me explain why.

Don’t take a memorable place and squeeze the life out of it
These ‘memorable places’ are memorable for a reason. Something special happened there. Something unexpected. Something magical. Something that made you smile. Something that took your breath away. Something that cannot be replicated.

It is special in that the moment can NEVER be recreated. If you could re-create that special moment – it wouldn’t be memorable. And the mere act of trying to capture that moment after it has gone is in my opinion lame because it ‘stains’ the original memory. You can’t recreate it so the mere act of trying tarnishes it. It just makes everyone awkward.

To see more of Jose & Paulina’s movie inspired shoot click here >>

Don’t get me wrong, when I’m ‘interviewing’ my couples I ask them where their memorable places are. Where they met, how they met, where he / she proposed etc-. I ask all those intimate details but not with the aim of replicating them. But to find out what was at the heart of those memories which made them so special. I’m looking for the ‘essence’ of that moment. For example: was it the natural surroundings, was it the element of surprise, was it the simplicity of the moment, was it the complexity of it etc-.

Aim to turn your couples on with new experiences
Once I know the essence I then know what experiences turn my couples on. And from that space I design my engagement shoot concepts. I’m trying to give them an “engagement shoot experience” that they’ll never forget. My preference is to chose a location that is not one of the memorable places, and then my aim is to make it become one.

For example, if you want to capture the spontaneity of the first kiss, you need to get your couples doing something spontaneous that they haven’t done before. If you want to capture the depth of a relationship, try showing a range of emotions. If you want to capture warm hugging moments, put them in a situation that requires them to be close (any cold environment will do – you think I’m joking but it’s totally true – give a couple a bit of wind and rain and you’ll see how quickly they move towards each other).

The point I am trying to make is, don’t grab an old memorable place and take photos there. Instead allow yourself to be open and creative. Experiment with different location ideas.

Ask yourself .. Where have you always wanted to go to and have never been? What have you always wanted to do and have never done? If you know being in the outdoors and forest lights you up, why not explore a completely new forest for your engagement shoot? So the magic and beauty of the unknown is there. That way, what the photographer captures are real spontaneous moments.

An engagement shoot is not just about getting pretty pictures taken, it’s about the experience of doing something creative together. It’s about creating a new memory. Discovering a new ‘memorable place’ so that when you look back one day many years later, overtime you think of location, you will be reminded of your romantic engagement shoot and how important this time of your life was.

Ok I’m done with my rant (LOL). Sorry for rambling and repeating myself. I was just having a moment : )

To see more of Jose & Paulina’s fun park shoot click here >>

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One Response to “Misguided location advice on engagement photography”
  1. Laura Babb says:

    Excellent advice, as always. A great and inspiring post.

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