Brandon and I did not have very many pictures of us together. One of us was always behind the camera. We have been together for a really long time, yet if I were to count all the pictures we have together, I wouldn’t even need to take off my socks and shoes.
But I wanted pictures together.
Shortly after we got engaged we went to a friend’s wedding, at which their guestbook was a photobook of them that guests signed yearbook-style. I loved the idea. Brandon loved the idea. There was just one problem… we needed a whole lot more pictures. And we simply could not pay for them (I had a small debate between engagement pics vs. trash-the-dress pics; trash-the-dress pics won.)
Enter the family. We are very fortunate in that Brandon’s mom used to professionally take pictures. So we asked her nicely, and on one of our walks in the wooded park near their home, she started snapping away. Free engagement pictures! Excellent!
The following summer (long engagement, remember?) we were driving around their town (did I mention that they live in an incredibly picturesque mountain town?) and came across an old red barn. So a few days later she agreed to come out with us there and took more pictures.
Then while visiting over Thanksgiving (in Canada that is the beginning of October!) we asked Brandon’s dad to come out and take some more in the same wooded park we had first posed in. We love the colours of fall in the mountains, and Brandon’s dad has a great eye for pictures (and is good at directing us, which was needed!). So we had some more!
For years I had wanted some pictures of us around my parents’ farm. Finally, during a visit there at the end of October, my mom and sister came out with us, armed with my mom’s SLR camera. We drove down country roads, wandered around fields, and explored some old “stuff” left around their farm. Some more great pictures!
We were lucky to have Brandon’s parents, who are familiar with taking pictures formally. But my mom has never had any training; just a good eye and a good camera. Really, all you need!
I am SO happy with all of our outdoor engagement pictures. And now, I can order our photo book, which will be filled out at both our destination wedding and at-home reception. Plus I will be printing off some pictures to hang around the reception site here in Alberta. (I am thinking of hanging twine or ribbon around the hall, and using clothespins to attach pictures.)
Then our photobook, signed by our guests, will grace our coffee table for years to come.
The total cost for our engagement pictures? Free. Our photobook was about $50, with the groupon deal and shipping and handling. If you do not have a photographer friend or family member, ask someone who you know is familiar with their camera (good quality SLRs work well we found), and look online for lots of ideas for poses for the pictures. Then you can pose, and they can just snap away. We even had my teenage sister take a couple pictures. It works if they take lots of different pictures in one pose, and are continuously clicking. You won’t like every picture, but I bet you will find ones you DO like; enough to be happy with.
And I am so pleased to have so many pictures of us together! I went from so few to so many! And I really love that they showcase “us”; our separate hometowns, our dog, even the way our relationship is… playful and relaxed. A lot of my favourites of the pictures were taken when I did not even know the camera was going! And, how can you beat that free pricetag?
Did you do engagement pictures? Would you consider not getting “professional” photos?
Editor's note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more resources for planning a pandemic wedding here.