An Engagement Shoot As Unique As You

When it comes to capturing a moment in time, especially when it comes to engagement shoots, it is important to stay true to who your are as a couple. Even more important is staying true to who you are individually. You may both have ideas of what, where, and when your shoot takes place, and the photographer is there to help you achieve those dreams! We spoke with Jay Farrell, of Jay Farrell Photography, and he gave us some great advice that we just had to pass along.


A little bit about Jay (in his words): My name is Jay Farrell, I am a Nashville based documentary style wedding photographer. In a nutshell, that means that I take an organic, non-intrusive journalistic approach to capture the day. It’s genuine storytelling and a natural way to document the love, emotion, and interaction of the couple and their guests. I take a similar approach for engagement photos, where they have a fly on the wall feel that shows the fun, loving, and whimsical side of the couple.

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 Tips & Advice

How do you capture a couples personality in photos?

The first thing I do while conceptualizing and customizing a couples’ engagement photoshoot is to get to know them. Part of the science to getting well connected, and intimate engagement photos truly are psychological. I do my best to learn their unique personalities, what drew them together, things they like to do together, favorite settings and architecture, and other passions that are relevant to the outcome of the photoshoot. I use this information when working with the couple to choose location(s) and setting(s), mood of the photos, and the rest is left to the creative process.

The Takeaway: When choosing a photographer, pick the one you really connect with!


Moving away from the classic photos couples gravitate towards, what are
some you suggest?

You have to pay attention to your photographer’s style, and use him or her for those strengths.  As a documentary style photographer, I like even my engagement photos to have a similar feel to natural candid photos at weddings captured in reportage style, where it all looks natural as if I am a fly on the wall and that I’m not actually there orchestrating the photos. I think it brings out a more intimate and connected mood between the couple, and it is also an aid to those who get nervous about being photographed. I know this is personal taste, but I am not a fan of using other peoples’ Pinterest ideas or signs, etc. The love and mood should carry the photographs. I’d rather get creative on perspectives
and light, as well as working with the couple to capture their passion and love for one another. Hire the right photographer for what you want, not one you ask to modify their approach. I also advise against pigeon holing a photographer to duplicate the work of another. It’s about personalizing one for you. This also gives the couple a chance to get used to that photographer’s approach for their wedding day, and form a working bond in a more relaxed casual setting.

The Takeaway: Be candid…be you!


Words of wisdom for couples who don’t feel they are very photogenic.

Share those concerns with your photographer. A skilled photographer is cognizant of choosing the right angles and work process with eac unique subject. I love helping couples who aren’t used to camera time, making them look like rock stars and truly exuding the love they have for the other. Communicate your wardrobe ideas. I do not recommend very busy patterns, as an example. Have confidence in your photographer, it’s our job to bring out the best in each unique subject. Keep it natural, and your love will shine. That’s one advantage to journalistic / documentary style, the couple doesn’t always see it coming. I instill a mood that brings out the fun and love between them in a more natural realm. After a while, I follow their lead to capture the essence of who they are, instead of who I make them. I do provide some
guidelines on body position and hand position when walking or laying, etc. but do not micro manage them or put them in awkward poses that may not fit them. This way it’s more organic and they have a fun interactive experience.

The Takeaway: Share your concerns with your photographer and let them be your creative guide.



What is the most unique shoot you have ever done?

I consider each engagement shoot I do to be unique and personalized. But one of my more recent engagement photo shoots, the couple who both live on farms, were feeding 2 baby lambs as a part of our shoot, and when the couple was walking up a footpath in the field, the lambs were following them. It was so adorable, and that was the only time I included any kind of livestock in an engagement session. Or for that
matter even being around baby lambs. I’m always excited for something new and different.


Photos & Interview | Jay Farrell Photography

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