Expert Tips for Finding the Best Columbus Engagement Photographer to Capture Your Love Story
As a professional engagement photographer in Columbus, Ohio with over 25 years of experience, I’m thrilled to share my insider tips on the engagement session and how to find the perfect photographer to memorialize this special chapter in your relationship journey.
With a degree in photography earned in 1994 and experience training photographers across the country in digital photography, I have the expertise and award-winning skills to provide couples information to get the best with your engagement photos.
Trust me, I know first-hand how important these engagement photos are for preserving precious memories of this exciting time before your lives change forever. Over my long career, I’ve been honored to photograph over 400 couples across central Ohio as a Columbus engagement photographer. Even after all these years, I still get giddy seeing my wedding photos have become deeply cherished keepsakes for people.
So let’s dive into the details of engagement pictures! Here is my in-depth advice on finding an engagement photographer in Columbus who perfectly aligns with your style and vision:
Do Your Research to Find the Best Candidates
First things first – make a list of potential photographers in the Columbus area whose overall style seems to match what you’re looking for.
Spend time looking through each photographer’s website, social media pages, reviews, and past work to get a comprehensive feel for their aesthetic. Pay attention to details like their editing style, posing, lighting, location choices, and skill directing to capture genuine moments. You want someone experienced in engagement sessions specifically, not just portrait photography.
Compare several options – I’d recommend 4-5 photographers to start – and make notes on what you appreciate about each one’s work and which seems the best fit. Don’t just choose based on prices or packages alone. The priority is finding a photographer who understands exactly what you want and has the artistic eye to deliver photos you’ll love.
Cost of an engagement session.
When it comes to budgeting for your engagement photos, prices for Columbus Photographers average between $150 to $500 per session. Mostly I found sessions are around an hour to an hour and a half. I include engagement sessions in all of my wedding photography packages. so you will need to take that into consideration too.
Have a Clear Vision for Your Photo Style
Before reaching out to any photographers, spend time defining your vision for your engagement photos. This will allow you to communicate exactly what you want so the photographer can perfectly translate that into their work.
Do you prefer a classic, timeless portrait look with posed embraces and romantic gazes? Or a more candid, artistic vibe with natural interactions and a photojournalistic feel? Consider what lighting styles you’re drawn to for photo shoots – bright and airy, moody and dramatic, golden hour, etc. Also think about what expressions and moods you want to convey – joyful, emotional, playful, peaceful.
Finally, think about what overall atmosphere and style of photography would be the best embodiment of you two as a couple. Once you define these elements, you’ll know exactly what to look for in a photographer’s portfolio.
Choose Inspiring Locations Around Columbus
One of the most exciting parts of engagement photography is pairing you with the best locations around that bring the vision to life! As a Columbus native, I’ve spent years scouting and shooting at stunning spots across central Ohio. Here are some of my favorite engagement session locations and tips for each:
- Downtown Columbus – For urban vibes, downtown has incredible architecture, graffiti walls, alleys, and city parks. Schedule a time with the best lighting like the golden hour. Popular spots are the North Market, Gay Street at dusk or the Scioto Mile at night. I love just roaming around downtown Columbus. So many hidden streets and alleys make a great backdrop for the images.
- German Village – This quaint historic neighborhood has brick streets perfect for romantic couples photos. Schiller Park and Book Loft are great for natural interactions. Plan 20-30 minutes to walk and explore. Schiller and Goodale are both good choices. Goodale Park will offer you a great gazebo and close-bricked streets. Schiller Park has this great theater that has some vines that just wrap around you. Both are great choices.
- Franklin Park Conservatory – The botanical gardens and greenhouse provide an oasis from the city with colorful blooms and greenery. Early morning or an hour before closing are ideal times with fewer crowds. The downside is there is an admission to walk around the grounds. Here is a link to their photography guidelines.
- Chadwick Arboretum – This hidden gem is a sprawling meadow filled with wildflowers and trails leading to a pond – perfect for a nature walk photo session! The hidden part is parking is great and not many people even know about the location. It is so hidden I get a dropped pin on my maps to share with couples.
- Ohio State Campus – An iconic Columbus landmark, the campus has gorgeous architecture, parks, walking paths, and manicured lawns for posing. Ideal times are early weekend mornings or Friday evenings when fewer students are out. If you are a Buckeye then Mirror Lake is a must. It’s just a sentimental location for couples who met at the University.
Plan Outfits That Suit Your Style as a Couple
When it comes to wardrobe, think cohesive color palette and complementary styles while avoiding matching. Stick to outfits and colors that authentically reflect who you two are.
Some popular options are guys wearing a button-up with jeans/pants, and girls in floral dresses or casual rompers. Or the guy in a suit jacket, a girl in an elegant cocktail dress. Just be sure to choose comfortable shoes and flexible clothing for moving and sitting on the ground! Make sure you choose clothes that fit your style but also are fitting to engagement photos.
I remember one session where my couple showed up in a suit and tie and a nice dress. They were a destination wedding so I had only talked on Zoom. We did the engagement session and the photos were great. But I always felt like the photos were a little off. Once I met them at the wedding and saw all the rustic, nature-focused decor, it was clear they were so much more of a real camping, nature, and fun couple. The whole dress up and go downtown was not them at all. So remember, be yourself and who you are.
Relax and Have Fun!
Getting a couple to be themselves and showcase who they are as a couple is how I get natural-looking engagement photos after decades in the industry. This is YOUR time to celebrate! Don’t force awkward poses or get stressed trying to look perfect. The best photos come organically when you two are simply enjoying your time together and being yourselves. Laugh, move around, whisper in each other’s ears, dance – whatever helps you relax and lights you up! Let the photographer guide you into flattering poses that feel natural. After photographing hundreds of couples over my career, I’ve learned how to capture authentic connections and joy and it always starts with being yourself during the photo session.
Most of all, soak up every moment of this wonderful season in your relationship! Let your true spirit as a couple shine through.
Other Helpful Tips for Success
Here are a few final pieces of advice:
- Communicate style examples, special locations, or poses you want so the photographer understands. But also remain open and trust their expertise!
- Do a trial run beforehand to practice poses and ease nerves. But nothing beats the real moment, so don’t worry!
- Have a backup plan for weather or delays. Scheduling a few dates gives flexibility.
- Spend the big day and some time getting ready and pampering yourselves – you’ll exude joy and confidence!
Capturing Your Love Story
There you have my best insider tips for finding your dream engagement photographer in Columbus! I hope this guide empowered you with the knowledge and tools to choose someone perfect for creatively capturing this once-in-a-lifetime season as a Columbus engagement photographer.
Reach out if you need any other advice! I’d be honored to memorialize your unique love story with timeless engagement photos you’ll treasure for a lifetime. Here’s to beautiful beginnings!