Two weekends ago we had a lovely engagement photo session with Alicia and Nick whose wedding we will be covering this December. And a couple of days ago, Ankit and Sanchita from India had their pre-wedding photosession a month before their wedding in India. And another couple whose wedding we will be shooting in November will have their engagement shoot in the desert end of this month. We shot many engagement photos in the past and I actually lost count and the most common question we get is how to make the most of their engagement shoot. I think some of these tips apply to most locations but here in Dubai, you have to plan it carefully as some places require permits. So we have compiled a few tips to get the best of your engagement shoot in Dubai.
1. Think of a theme
The first question to ask is why do you want to do an engagement shoot? Is it for save the date cards? Is it for a reception slideshow? Do you want to tell your lovestory? Or do you want photos with scenic views hanging on your wall at home? Once you decide what you really want, you can start planning the locations and the theme. If you want to share your love story, the best locations will be the places where you met and where you like to go on dates. We had a couple who took our Scenic Photoshoot Package where we did a photoshoot on a yacht, limo and we went to the Burj Al Arab beach and Burj Khalifa area. They jokingly said they wanted that package so someday they will show the photos and videos to their kids and tell them that they were living a luxurious life until the kids came along. It was funny and cute. They actually showed the video as a looping slideshow during their wedding reception back in their country.
2. Research locations
There are a lot of nice places in Dubai which are good for photoshoot. I suggest locations which are close to your heart or means something to you. But if you like scenic spots which really say “Dubai”, then we can suggest places. Though some places require permits, some areas you can freely take photos. Our favorite locations are Al Qudra desert and Creek Park. Also be conscious of poses on some of these locations. Avoid too much hugging and kissing especially in areas with a lot of people.
3. Plan your outfits
Based on your theme, you can decide on the outfit. We recommend flowing gowns or skirt with deep bright colors like red, purple or royal blue for ladies and a suit for the gents if you want a desert photoshoot. If you want lifestyle photos, you can wear nice outfits with matching or complimentary colors. White is the safest color and matches a lot of locations. Here are some few dressing tips especially here in Dubai. Do not wear too revealing clothes. Dubai is an open city but we still have to respect dress codes. Do not wear layers of clothes unless you want to sweat and sweaty underarms are hard to photoshop. Most guys wear suits but try using linen options or cool shirts with cropped pants as options. In general, avoid pinstripes and talk about each other’s outfits so you don’t wear contrasting colors. Wearing matching clothing is also cute but can be cheesy but if you are going for the fun & comic theme, that will work.
4. Treat it as a practice
Yes, your engagement photo shoot can be a dry run of your big day. Schedule it with you trial make up and see how your hair and make up will register in photos. What poses will you be comfortable doing? It is also a way to get to know your photographer and be comfortable with him/her. And to brides with camera-shy grooms, an engagement shoot will let you both practice being comfortable in front of the camera. If you are going to have video with your engagement package, clips of these can be included in your cinematic highlight to create a story with your wedding moments.
5. Bring props
Again, this all depends on your theme. Do you like the movie Up? Most couples do. We have seen a lot of those Up-themed shoots but we never shot one. Props to bring to create that look are vintage suitcases, balloons and baskets (for picnic setup). Do you like the quirky fun shoot? You can bring thought bubbles printed on cardboards. One of our couples brought their dog and they all had matching sunglasses
6. Be real
I think whatever your “why” is, your goal should be to have natural and real photos. Your engagement photos should represent your relationship, you as a couple. Do not copy…be inspired but do not replicate. Every relationship is unique and your photos should too. The scenic backdrop and props are only to enhance. The best photos are when you look relaxed, natural and when the photos really describe you as a couple.
7. Have fun
We always tell our couples that we are merely storytellers. Our cameras capture what is already there. It doesn’t invent. If it feels fake, then it is fake. Your engagement shoot is like a dry run of the wedding day. If you want to look happy in the photos, be happy. Have fun.
Unlike your wedding, you can have as many engagement photo shoots as you like if time permits. It can be all in different themes. You can create all different looks. Hope these tips helped.