Ham it up. Tips for Engagement Photography.

I don’t need experienced subjects to make great photographs, I need individuals who like to have fun and not be shy in front of a camera. I’ve had couples who don’t like public displays of affection, some who don’t like to smile, or some who don’t even seem to like each other. I ask myself “why did they hire me?” When the subjects and the photographer share chemistry and just try to have fun, it no longer feels like work.

Here are some tips for couples:

  • The photographer can only give as much as you put in. Either do some research beforehand, practice, or give ideas and suggestions during the shoot. The photographer can’t read your mind or know your past history of your personality. You need to show him why you’re attracted to each other so he can capture it.
  • There needs to be a little bit of acting when taking photos, or rather exaggeration of gestures and movements. Sometimes the camera is 20 feet away and you need to express yourself for an audience far away. Pretend you are both little kids on a play date, show some puppy love, flirt with each other, make love.
  • The last thing on your mind should be how the photos look in the camera. That’s not your job. A good photographer will not waste time taking photos of a bad pose, and will never release an unflattering photo – that would only make him look bad.
  • Try your hardest not to be shy! You don’t always need to look “cool” for a photo, the sillier you are, the more personal the photos become, and the more people will love it. You want people to love your photos don’t you? Some photographers rely on advanced lighting, crazy angles to make the photo look interesting, but it doesn’t tell your story. I say run away with your loved one hand in hand and play in some secret hideout, and have the photographer run after you.
  • Don’t just wait for the photographer’s exact directions. The photographer will direct your general movements, but it’s up to you to fill in the gaps. That’s where the “natural” comes in. Your movements should feel like a movie, not a stiff photo.
  • When you talk to each other in a photo, talk about cute puppies, not your mortgage payment. If your partner is making a dirty face when talking to you, change the subject.
  • Do things in public as if nobody else were there. No photographer, no pedestrians.
  • The guys have the easier role, they can usually be the prop and the girls have to work around them. The girls should always get the attention right?
  • Get your nails did, bring lots of breath mints.



9 Comments Ham it up. Tips for Engagement Photography.

  1. JulieLim May 5, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    I really enjoyed witnessing their emotions! Well captured Tony! As always of course 🙂

  2. Mark Murfitt May 5, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Love this, very practical and very sensible.
    I think I’ll advise my next wedding clients using this as a basis.
    Good work, and nice photos 🙂

  3. Kat Forsyth May 9, 2011 at 4:23 am

    Great tips, Tony! Would you mind if I used them on my blog (full credit to you, of course)?

  4. Tony Yang May 9, 2011 at 11:28 am

    Absolutely, go ahead! 🙂

  5. Kat Forsyth May 11, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Thank you so much! It’s just coming out of wedding season now in South Africa, so I’ll put it on my blog in June when things are quiet!

  6. Judith Doubell September 2, 2011 at 12:46 am

    Thanks! This is so helpful and well said! Really great tips, I forward this link to all my clients to read through before we meet up for a shoot!

  7. Jeff September 25, 2011 at 12:52 am

    Tony, been following you for a while (heard of you through Fern). This set is probably my favorite so far, the smiles and their expressions shine brightly! The advice is great, and helps narrow down the clients you’d like to work with to make great photos. You’ve inspired me to post something similar for my clients, but with my own spin, but the credit is all yours 🙂

  8. David H. May 25, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    Great article! Looking forward to our shoot in a few weeks!

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