Yes you are at the right blog! Recently my brother in-law asked me if i would do his engagement photos. I was very hesitant but I thought it would be good practice to get out of my comfort zone. I probably bit off more than I could chew. In the end it was good experience. I learned a lot which would help the next time (if there is ever a next time). All of it was shot natural light. If you make it to the end I’ve listed some tips that helped me.

Here are a couple of things I learned in preparing myself for my first engagement shoot.

1. Use the right lens: I’ve always boasted how I can get a decent picture with my cheap lens, however my normal portrait style is using strobes. I quickly found out that some of the inexpensive lenses do not fare as well shooting wide open in sunlight. If you are not careful your images will come out soft. It is also helpful using a hood. I usually never shoot with a hood, but I’ve learned that not all lens flare is welcomed.

2. Tones: When putting together your set, try to match the tones. This does not come from my experience as a photographer but my years experience as a Design Director who has looked thru countless portfolios and stock photos. I see a lot of photographer who post a set and they think it time to flex their photoshop skills…black & white here, sepia there, dark tones on one, HDR on the next..ect. Just stop that! That all said that doesn’t mean you have to stick with just one tone set. I’ve seen sets where the sessions where shot in 2 location. Each location had its own unique tone. BUT! those tones complimented each other.

Check out my good friend Shannen Norman’s photography. Her sets and sessions are a perfect example of this.

3. Paparazzi: Not all people are completely natural in front of the camera. Just follow around the couple and try to grab some candid moments..even though the scenario might be set up the you can still capture some honest emotions.

4. Shoot a lot: Take multiple shots of the same scene. You will often get a shot where one person expression is perfect and the other ones is not..so keep clicking away

Feel free to leave your own tips in the comments….I’m still learning myself.

Update: There have been several questions on how I got the warm tones. The warms tones were mostly sooc. A ot just had to do with the location and time of day (golden hour). When posting these shots I actually added colors (reddish and some green) because all the golden warm tones were a bit too much for me.

  • Mstee4eva

    Thanx for the advice, nice series Ed!
    I would say the same things you've said.

    Also scout out good locations if your're gonna change places.

  • Gabriela Koopmans

    I wouldn't know what to tell you! you are a natural ! eaven this … you are doing it just perfect!!

  • http://twitter.com/geekyjeff Jeff Chin

    First time or not, you rocked this set. The couple looks very natural and compositions are great throughout. Great job in directing the couple.

  • John

    ed, did you use any reflectors for the lighting? and the photo that melted my heart to the point of boiling was the 3rd one(girl kiss boy).:) feels surreal.

  • Kai Husen

    Very cool pictures!

  • Psquaredpics

    ED, Simply Fantastic. Great split toning, framing and series of photos. Keep up the excellent work. I don't suppose you want to share the tonight steps you used ????

  • http://www.plainjoephotoblog.com isayx3

    No reflectors…I'd need an assistant for that :)

  • http://twitter.com/mikeolbinski Mike Olbinski

    Beautiful shoot Ed, well done.

    I love your opinion on the multiple styles of processing for one shoot, because I do that sometimes. Lately though, I try to keep it uniform.

    Definitely a lot of fun to just follow a couple around and shoot what you see…the little candid moments, etc. Well done!

  • http://twitter.com/royuncg Leroy Walker

    I think you did a great job!! Which lens did you end up using on this?

  • http://www.plainjoephotoblog.com isayx3

    Mainly used 2…35 F2 and a 80-200mm f2.8 push pull. I think one of these shots were with the 50mm f1.8

  • EMixx

    Which lens did you use? 50mm? 85mm? 17-55mm?

  • http://www.brightmoondesign.com Mike

    I've just stumbled upon your work this past week. REALLY great stuff. This probably sound like a spam post but I'm definitely a fan. Looking forward to future posts. Thanks for all the helpful hints.

  • http://www.plainjoephotoblog.com isayx3

    Mainly used 2…35 F2 and a 80-200mm f2.8 push pull. I think one of these shots were with the 50mm f1.8

  • Fabian

    Where did you find this location? Where is it? I LOVE it.

  • http://www.stevenelmer.com Steve

    Ahhh, pretty DANG awesome for ya first time, I know peeps around my part of town that struggle to get this good and they are “pro” đŸ˜›

  • http://www.plainjoephotoblog.com isayx3

    murrietta, CA off clinton keith road

  • Dmarston

    Amazing job for a first time attempt, can you advise us ( ok me ) photo challenged types the steps to create this effect ?
    I do not know what split toning is or what sooc means so i am sorta lost.
    Thank you, Dan
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/danmarston

  • http://twitter.com/sweethardt Jennifer Hardt

    First time? Really? These are gorgeous!!! I wish I had some tips for you, but alas, I think you've done a pretty stellar job all on your own!! Nice!

  • EMixx

    sooc means straight out of camera (meaning no post-processing)

    split toning is a feature found in camera raw & lightroom. (can also be used in PS as a layer). bascially its a play of color. usually an area between monochrome and full out color.

  • http://twitter.com/ElleyW ElleyW

    omg..i love this. just discovered your blog right now btw. when i get married, i'm hiring you. lol.

  • John

    wow, and still they're all wonderfully lit.:) good job! Thank you

  • smudgechris

    Thanks for sharing Ed, some useful tips too. Tone matching is something I'm certainly trying to get right, it's especially useful when trying to define your own photographic style.

  • http://twitter.com/redskyni Rick Trainor

    Ed this is simply fantastic. You have a gift in connecting with your subjects regardless of the situation. Their personalities stand out in this more than anything. Blog is great too keep up the good work fella.

    Rick.
    (Red Sky)

  • Joe

    Wow these shots are great. The tones are perfect! Any chance you will share some post processing tips on how to process photos like this? I have messed with split toning, with some slight desaturation and fill light in the past but my images never quite end up with a consistent color cast as your images here have. Great job ED!

  • http://twitter.com/waseefakhtar Waseef Akhtar

    Very impressive! :)

  • http://jam-fairy.deviantart.com/ JazMinderr

    the one with them lying down is gorgeous! can't wait to see what you do next! xx

  • sionghchan

    Great set Ed. If this is your first time, it doesn’t show. You are a natural. Just a question, how many shots did you take and of those shots, how many are keepers?

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/arsiny/ Emcgruff

    Hi Ed! love the blog and been following your photography for a while! Always some great stuff to see and learn!.I wanted to know if you’ve made a tutorial about these kind of tones.. cuz honnestly i’m really struggling to achieve the mood im looking for.. or if anyone else has a good link to some tutorial or PDF.. thanks alot!

    eddy

  • Erin G.

    I happen to know these two subjects and your photos are gorgeous! I am so impressed! I love that you added the red and green, it adds a little vintage touch. I think you could make a career out of this.

  • Jane P

    Gorgeous tones Ed. I love the props used too. :-)

  • Shari

    Ed, said he took like 300 pictures but I think the ones that he couldn’t use were b/c we were making weird faces. :)

  • jamie

    Gorgeous. Your composition is impeccable. Keep sharing your goods, Ed! :)

    P.S. How did you add the red and green colors? Photo filter adjustment layer?

  • zeta411

    Hello Ed, I love your work. If your not busy on Sunday 10.10.10 between 9am – 10am my fiance and I am having a short…but sweet marriage ceremony in Los Angeles, CA. It would be an honor to have you as our photographer!

  • bycane

    i wish you can write more blogs… like maybe everyday? lol
    really tho, thanks for sharing this ed, i keep going back to your blogs hoping you wrote something new

  • eric.vanthorre

    Really outstanding – I wish I had you do my wedding photos. a first or not, the result is amazing but this is somewhat expected given what you’re capable of…

  • MAURONSTER

    great e-session…
    my best compliments

  • Elena

    Great session! Especially the the last picture! Absolutely contemplative thing. I saw it at Designspiration last month. Can’t admire this enough :)

    Is it possible to buy this last picture for high-resolution printing?

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