Engagement photos are some of the most personal photos you’ll ever take in your life. These pictures should have a slight off-the-cuff nature to them, as this will contrast nicely with the formality of your wedding shots. However, it is important to remember that not all engagement pictures are created equal. Some of them boast that extra pizzazz that truly sets them apart from others. But what is it that special “X” factor that dials your photos up from bland to bodacious? There are many factors at play here, but one of the most important is your backdrop. Capable of making or breaking your engagement photos, your backdrop is akin to the third—albeit silent—presence in your photos. But silence can speak volumes, and this is why it’s important for you to take control of what your backdrop is going to be.
First, don’t be shy when it comes to communicating with your photographer. This is like a rehearsal for The Big Day; you’re practicing making your vision clear to others. Ask your photographer what sort of backdrops they normally use, and then consider what kind of a couple you are. Are you outdoorsy and whimsical? Then perhaps a gazebo shot would do just perfectly. You also may want to consider backdrops that are symbolic of your relationship. If your first date was at a local coffeeshop, why not get some shots in front of that very place?
Make sure, however, that the focus of the engagement pictures is on you and your intended. The backdrop is meant to highlight and enhance your relationship, not distract from it. Beautiful, picturesque scenes are nice, but you’ll want to make sure that everything in the backdrop accurately reflects your life as a couple together. If the person you’re marrying doesn’t like heights, for instance, then you probably won’t want to take shots somewhere that will intimidate them.
Try as many backdrops as you need to until you’re satisfied with the result. Don’t be timid about asking the photographer to show you what they’ve captured so far; this is your shoot, after all. If you’re a big fan of a mural in town that happens to be the perfect shade of blue, then ask your photographer to capture you and your significant other in front of it. Think about these things ahead of time so that you make the logistics easier. Ask your intended what they think, too. This shouldn’t be a one-sided process. They also may have ideas about possible backdrops to use. Keep in mind that this process should be fun, not stressful. When you stay happy, relaxed and focused, you will get a better result with your engagement photos.