Brides-to-be, are you ready for some absolutely fantastic pointers? Have your pencils ready.
We asked our go-to photographer in the LA area, Duke Khodaverdian, for advice on engagement photos. Mr. Khodaverdian runs Duke Photography out of Pasadena, and his work has been featured most recently on Style Me Pretty and in Ceremony Magazine.
Enjoy the interview, as well as samples of his work below.
LB: What are your clothing recommendations for engagement photos?
DUKE: The couple should try to somewhat match in their vibe, otherwise it looks disjointed.
– Bring up to 4 different styles of wardrobe.
– Accessories are important, otherwise the outfit can lack a little polish.
– Don’t forget the engagement ring! We want to show it off.
– Louboutins photograph really well- they’re simple, but come out amazing from every angle. How many shoes can you say look good from the bottom?
– [Dressier] simple and well fitted suits with a white shirt and thin, slick ties.
– Casual: you can’t go wrong with a nice pair of jeans and a t-shirt, but no logos of any kind on the clothing.
– Accessorize! Dress shoes tend to look great, and I dig hats, watches.
LB: Where are your favorite places to shoot engagement photos?
DUKE: I just love when couples let me get creative with the environment. I like to shoot both indoors and outdoors and put a lot of emphasis on the location. I talk to the couple ahead of time and see what they like and what type of personality they have, then interpret that into their photos. Some couples want more natural settings and not a lot of glamour, so I take them to wilderness, canyons, and nature preserve and shoot with a soft natural light; their photos usually come out laid back, playful and with little drama.
On the other hand, there are couples who don’t like to get all outdoorsy and are all about the city, so we’ll go to swanky bars, restaurants and hotel lobbies and work with more dramatic lighting.
Then there’s the urban look, so I take them to rooftops, back alleys and fire escapes, or brick exposed structures and cool sidewalks.
Almost 90% of the locations we go to require some kind of a permit and the couple will need to pay a fee to get that.
LB: What is the single best thing a couple can do to prepare for the shooting process?
DUKE: One thing that they never imagine is how tough and tiring an engagement session can be; they all think it’s just a few quick hours of some photos, but in reality the amount of energy that they will need both physically and mentally is important in order to achieve the best quality images. They have to be in the mindset of “OK, I’m going to have my photo taken” and put aside their apprehension. Being photographed can be intimidating, so it’s about getting comfortable with the fact that I’m going to ask you to pose and smile and do things over a few times.
Be prepared for a full and adventurous day. I recommend a good night’s rest before the shoot and don’t forget to eat and, [and] most importantly, drink lots of water!
LB: What are some trends you see emerging with engagement photography.
DUKE: Everyone wants to have a unique shoot. A lot of couples are now thinking outside of the box and are picking locations that no one has ever thought of. I also see a lot of props that are used during the shoot.
Pinterest seems to be a good source for couples looking for new ideas and will sometimes get their inspiration boards sent to me, which is actually a great help.
LB: What keeps you inspired to keep your photography fresh and innovative?
DUKE: I’m my biggest critic so I try to constantly recreate and reinvent my style. I try to change up my lighting that I’m known for, my composition, as well as the locations I shoot at just to keep things fresh and exciting for me too. Great ideas and fun couples definitely keep me inspired.