How to Make Your Engagement Photos Look Like a Movie

Mar 18, 2024

More and more, people have been wanting something more “real” from their engagement photos – something lived in, candid and natural. This has turned eyes to the cinematic style of photography, with couples inspired every day to romanticize their life and create their own photos that look like they’re from a movie.

So, this post is for the lovers who want more than pretty photos to look back on one day, but scenes that tell their story in a way unique to them.

When I was learning how to photograph couples, the BIGGEST source of inspiration for me was movies. This wasn’t just romance movies, but films all over the spectrum. I would take notes on color grading, composition, and placement that inspired me. As I grew more into my own style of photography, I found these things inspiring my work.

With that being said, over the past three years, I’ve learned that there are five things you can do to make your engagement photos look like a movie.

01. Make it Personal

If we are telling your story like it’s a movie, make it about something you love, something true to you. What do your date nights look like? What do you like to do together? Do you have a favorite place? What inside jokes do you have that you could look back on one day and remember through these photographs? To make engagement photos look like they’re from a movie, and to make those photographs meaningful, we need to fill them with something personal.

02. Do an Activity

Let’s take that one step further into a tangible idea you can think about. Photos can be awkward if you’ve never had them done before, but one thing that can help is doing an activity!! Think of your photoshoot like it’s just a date night, documented. I’ve made a list of some activities that are way fun (are are so beautiful to photograph)!

  • Bike riding
  • Getting icecream
  • A picnic
  • Hitting your favorite antique shop
  • Canoeing
  • Rock climbing
  • Fishing
  • Roller skating
  • Joy riding around the canyon
  • Surfing
  • Pottery
  • Going to the library
  • Baking and dancing together in the kitchen to music
  • Exploring the city together

Doing an activity together will help take your nerves off the photos and put you at ease. And if it is something that means something to your relationship, it will be all that more special to look back on.

03. Let Go of Hesitations and ROMANTICIZE

This one is a big one. If you want your photos to look like they came out of a romance movie, you’ve got to feel the part. Let go of feeling like you’re going to look dumb. I promise you you won’t. Just focus on your love, the things you are doing in the moment, and release all your tension. If you are having trouble with this, you could get a small drink before your session, or we can take breaks so you can let your guard down. I personally always get on phone calls with my couples before we take photos so that I’m not just some stranger with a camera showing up to meet them in the woods, and this seems to greatly help!

Overall, just close your eyes and romanticize everything. Let everything else fall away than your beautiful surroundings and the love of your life by your side.

04. Know Your Inspiration (cinema + music + yourselves)

When you think of your love story, what is the soundtrack, what’s going on in the scenes, what is the feel? Are you a young love running around the city, rom-com type of couple, or is this a quiet and intimate romance? Beyond that, it helps to know what types of inspiration you have from the outside as well, such as favorite movies or stories you see reflected as your own. Everyone can mean something a little bit different when they say they want their photos to look like a movie, so these are things to keep in mind yourself while planning your dream photos.

05. Hire the Right Photographer

At the end of the day, it is the photographer’s job to create engagement photos for you that look like a movie and accurately represent what would be your story. The artistic eye of the photographer is truly the final piece that will make it all come together.

That being said, my last tip is truly to just find the right photographer for you. When you are hiring someone, it is not only their editing style that you are hiring, but also their posing techniques and visual style. If you are looking at someone’s photographs and consistently see diverse work that is cinematic in nature, you’ve got your person. If someone has a more posed based vibe (and nothing wrong with that), then you probably shouldn’t expect their style to change for your shoot.

Beyond style, different photographers bring diverse approaches as well. For myself, my engagement sessions are typically four hours long, two on the short end. This really allows for us to slow down, explore, do an activity, and relax with each other. I don’t offer shorter sessions because of this. By the end of the night, I have a much truer look into your relationship and are able to get so much more creative through that lens.

If you are interested in cinematic engagement photos, it is something I truly love to create with my couples. Your love deserves to be romanticized and documented in a way unique to your own story!! I’ve traveled all over the US for photography and will jump on a plane in a heartbeat for you too. Let’s chat and create photos you’ll treasure forever <3

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