4 Current Trends in Engagement Photography

While engagement photography has almost always been one aspect of the traditional wedding industry, there have been some major shifts in romantic portraiture over the past couple years as photographers shoot more fashion-forward and editorial based sessions.

Over the past 20 years, engagement photography has gained major momentum and become an essential facet of the wedding industry. These sessions have transformed from simple traditional portraits to styled shoots in interesting locations that really showcase the couple’s personal style and reflect their relationship.

Rapid changes in social media and media sharing have created a savvy and knowledgeable consumer. Today’s brides- and grooms-to-be are very aware of current trends and industry standards in photography because they’re perusing the bridal blogs, wedding magazine editorials, and sites like Pinterest.

By sifting through various bridal blogs, you can get a better feel for what the current industry trends are. Future brides devour the content displayed in popular wedding blogs. They view inspiring images, discover DIY ideas, and formulate the style for their wedding and their engagement photos. Bridal blogs tend to only show the most innovative engagement sessions because their readership demands fresh creative content.

Trends do more than just change, they evolve. Next year’s engagement photography trends will likely be built off this year’s prevailing trends. Think innovatively and regularly, reflecting honestly on your work, your brand, and your business while paying attention to trends via bridal blogs and social media will help you keep up and work toward being a leader in the creative community of engagement and wedding industry.

Here’s four current engagement photography trends that will help inspire your creativity:

1. Utilizing props

In past years, couples would often incorporate as many props as they could into one session—adding a dose of fun to the shoot, but lacking a certain restraint. The current trend in using props is leaning towards utilizing these cute additions to a shoot but in a slimmed down, personalized way. The use of props is now tailored to a specific couple and their style or story. Get to know your couples more to help guide them to bringing props that reflect their relationship. For a graphic pop of color, large balloons or handmade banners make a sweet addition. For a more editorial feel, look for one large prop, like a vintage car or Vespa scooter.

2. Naturally styled shoots

Some couples are also choosing to forego props and are leaning towards more naturally styled sessions that put the focus on color palettes, wardrobe, or the location. Taking photos in the couple’s home, for example, is a good way to showcase their lifestyle as a couple. Combined with selective and simple styling, engagement shoots are starting to really focus on the closeness of the couple, with styling serving as an accent to the relationship.

3. Vintage inspiration

Vintage inspiration is still a sought after theme due to the popularity of period piece movies and the British royal wedding. The media influences engagement sessions quite a bit, so 1920s inspired fashion is a result of movies like The Great Gatsby and shows like Downton Abbey.

4. Global view

New York, California, and certain parts of the South are great drivers for fresh inspiration for wedding and engagement sessions, and their concepts often trickle through the rest of the country. Europe is beginning to value wedding photography in a way it never has before. Look for European influence to play a big role in weddings, and engagement sessions subsequently, in the United States and vice versa.

Focusing your energy on sharpening your skills and continuing your education as a photographer will ensure that you stay in tune with current trends. Read books on art, business, fashion, interpersonal relationship, personal growth. You will always be in a state of growth and change.

Photographers tend to falter in their careers when they feel creatively stagnant. Finding your own voice is the most challenging aspect of being an artist, yet it is the one thing that will help you shine. Trends will come and go, but if you aim to take photos that will last for generations, your photos will speak volumes of an heirloom love story that stands the test of time.


For more great advice on engagement photography, check out the author’s latest book, This Modern Romance published by Focal Press.

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Award-winning photographer Stephanie Williams, who recently released her first book This Modern Romance: The Artistry, Technique, and Business of Engagement Photography from Focal Press, runs her own wedding and fashion photography studio, This Modern Romance, in California. She was listed as one of the Top 20 Destination Wedding Photographers in the world by Destination Weddings and Honeymoons as well as one of PDN’s Rising Stars in Wedding Photography. View her work at www.thismodernromance.com.
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    • And don't forget, all couples are interested in vintage stuff. It's like a glove that says 'one size fits all' and it really does!

       

      If you know what you are going to shoot, don't worry about what the couple likes. Just bring your props, hold them in place and if they don't cooperate or understand, just use some stock photos and photoshop their faces in to save time.

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    • I'm going to object to the notion that trends are worth following too closely.

       

      So - instead of bringing your own qualities to the shoot, and instead of being inspired by the couples themselves, and perhaps by serendipity, one should just follow trends? I would not want anything in a photo that would seriously make the photo out-dated later. What if the trend was soft-focus? Cross-processing (get with the '90s)? Time-wasting (but billable) software filtration or manipulation?

       

      Trendy or not trendy, a good photograph has staying power. YMMV.

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    • I'm going to object to the notion that trends are worth following too closely.

       

      So - instead of bringing your own qualities to the shoot, and instead of being inspired by the couples themselves, and perhaps by serendipity, one should follow trends? I would not want anything in a photo that would seriously make the photo out-dated later. What if the trend was soft-focus? Cross-processing (get with the '90s)? Time-wasting (but billable) software filtration or manipulation? The trick is to do your best to develop a sense of taste - as with all things.

       

      Trendy or not trendy, a good photograph has staying power. YMMV.

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