Valentine’s Day

It’s estimated that as many as 10 per cent of all couples pick Valentine’s Day to get engaged.

So if you’re one of those lucky couples perhaps you’re thinking of engagement photos?

There’s a couple of ways of going about this.

You can hire a professional photographer (and maybe make it part of the wedding photography package). You can ask a friend. You can do it yourself!

So if you were looking for a professional, where should you start? Always look at portfolios and seek out personal recommendations.

Remember you get what you pay for. If your “pro” says he or she will shoot the wedding for $1000 (and only provides a DVD of the best images) and will throw in the engagement shots for free I’d be worried. If you’re not expecting the marriage to last then go for the shoot-and-burn DVD sales guy.

If the pro says they’ll shoot the wedding for a total investment of let’s say $1,800 and for that you get a wedding album, a slide show at the reception and perhaps on 11″X17″ framed image and they offer extras such as the mom’s photo books and perhaps small framed images for the wedding party at a reasonable extra cost (You’re going to end up paying somewhere around $2500 for all this but these images and the album are going to be family heirlooms and treasurers that last 100 years or more and worth the investment.) and then say the engagement photos will be an additional $500 I’d be feeling like I was dealing with an honest business person who understands the value of their services and will care for you at this important time of your life. Yes it’s not cheap but you’re worth it.

Remember next to the cost of the hall, the photographer is likely to be your next most expensive decision. Make it wisely.

Okay but you’re friend is pretty good with a camera and owns a real DSLR with a couple of lenses and flash.

Here’s what I’d do.

I create a shooting list of perhaps 10-12 photos. I’d pick a place or two where you don’t need permits or have to deal with crowds.

If your friend doesn’t know how to use flash (I’m an available light photographer. They all say that and it means they don’t know how to use flash.) you might want to hire a pro. Your images will thank you. So will your children and grandchildren and their children.

And you can do it yourself.

That is if you can get over being self-conscious in front of the camera. This is tough to do. Plus you need a decent DSLR and a tripod and a remote shutter release. Yes you can use your self-timer but it’s hard to get into the mood for a photo after doing the 15 yard dash before the self-timer fires the camera. Then if you understand white balance and exposure you and upload your images to Lightroom ($299) or Photoshop ($800) and take a day creating your perfect pictures.

Next you’re going to need to know how to pose. It’s way harder than it looks and some really great pros actually take courses on posing people.

I have 🙂 and so has my partner in photography Mike Cauterman.

Congratulations on this special occasion in your life.





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