My DIY engagement photo shoot

You know, the world is full of people who can do absolutely anything they put their minds to, with a little creativity and elbow grease. There are also people who think they can do absolutely anything they put their minds to. I happen to fall into the latter category, and I’m also very into DIY and being frugal with money. So when I got engaged this summer, visions of Pinterest-worthy boho DIY weddings immediately began dancing through my head. The one thing  I’m not crazy enough to try to convince myself to do is take my own wedding photos. A wedding is once in a lifetime (or at least a wedding to one specific person, unless you’re Elizabeth Taylor), so you better get it right! However, I did decide to give taking my own engagement photos a shot. I don’t mean photos of the actual event, that was very private and we didn’t take many photos. However, we need cute photos for our save the dates and photo albums, and we thought it would be a fun date to take them together, not to mention it would save us some money we can put towards savings or the wedding. Plus, if the photos didn’t turn out well at all, we could always hire a professional and retake the photos a week or two later, no harm done.

While I can’t say everything went exactly as planned, Vincent and I had a great time, and my Mom pitched in as our camera operator to make things easier. Plus, we got some amazing photographs! I won’t claim that we achieved the elegantly crafted professional masterpieces that dominate Pinterest and Flickr, but every one of our “keeper” shots is totally us, and from a technical standpoint, not half bad. Plus, I’ve been honing my Photoshop retouching abilities this summer and a lot of so-so shots looked a thousand times better after a little post-editing spit and polish.


For instance, the image above is simply the image below with a little rudimentary Photoshop done to it! I have to admit that I freaked out at because many of the photos that we took turned out to be blurry. My mom graciously served as our camera person, so I wasn’t running back and forth to the tripod every 5 seconds, but as she was working with an unfamiliar camera we had quite a few casualties in our first 30 minutes of shooting or so.


Once we hit our stride we did lots of cute photos like the ones below at the base of our favorite tree! We have had many, many picnics beneath this tree, and it’s also where he proposed!

We got a few priceless shots with hilarious expressions that are going to be treasured in photo albums forever, if not printed on classy save-the-dates!

We also wanted to have fun with a few cute and Pinterest-inspired props, so we grabbed a few household items as the props. The Scrabble tile/ring combo for spelling ‘Love’ was by far my favorite.




We also found that the classic vibe of black and white did a lot for some of our shots. I LOVE how the one below looks in black and white, but it’s so-so to me in color.





What do you think? Would you stage your own photoshoot, or is that a job for the pros? While I’m not planning on advertising my services as a professional portrait artist anytime soon, we are delighted with a bunch of the shots that we got, we didn’t spend a nickel (well, OK, we had to buy gas to get to the park), and best of all, it was a really fun bonding experience! I’d totally recommend trying it out.


Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. A decent camera
  2. A tripod
  3. A camera operator (you could use the timer, but it’s easier with a friend)
  4. Any fun props you want to throw in
  5. A nice day
  6. A can-do attitude!





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