Can’t find a photographer? If you’re already a photo pro, maybe it’s time to try selfie engagement photos! This couple did – and the results are astounding! (Featuring: JEN MONTGOMERY PHOTOGRAPHY)
What do a camper van, one trusty tripod, and the finest attire have in common? All three were necessary for photographer Jen Montgomery to make her own engagement photos with her fiancé Alex Johnson.
The pair ventured to Iceland from their home in Anoka, Minnesota, for the express purpose of photographing themselves in one of the world’s most beautiful landscapes. “Trust me when I say that it’s not as easy as you might think, taking your own engagement photos,” Jen admits. “But maybe I’m the only person who’d ever think it could be easy!”
We asked Jen to walk us through the process of making her selfie engagement photos. Here’s what we learned.
The Logistics of Taking Selfie Engagement Photos
There are myriad logistical considerations when taking selfie engagement photos – and they extend far beyond gear.
“I wish I’d had more time in Iceland to [scout for locations],” says Jen. “There are so many lovely and unique areas in Iceland, I could have [explored] forever!”
Getting the Right Look
“I would have loved having someone to professionally do my hair and makeup, as well as steam my clothes so they were not wrinkly!” Jen explains. “Living out of a van during all of our shoots made for an interesting time putting on clothes, and getting my hair curled and make-up done. Let’s just say, there was plenty of dry shampoo involved!”
The Gear You Need for Selfie Engagement Photos
- Canon 5D Mark III
- 50mm f/1.2 lens
- 24-70mm lens
- Sigma 35mm f/1.4 lens
- tripod and remote trigger
“I used a remote to trigger my shutter release,” Jen explains. “It is extremely helpful to be able to run away from the camera and shoot from afar!” She also shot all of the photographs at f/2.5 – an aperture that balanced beautiful bokeh with tack-sharp images.
Have Patience, Young Grasshopper
If you tackle the challenge of making your own selfie engagement photos, Jen offers this piece of advice:
“Be patient! There are so many photos which will not turn out, or you’ll find you moved just a hair during your poses and the focus is now off. Patience is definitely key.”
Jen and Alex also arrived at several shoot locations only to find them crowded with tourists. “At the black sand beach, there were a TON of tourists, so we had to wait for different moments when it cleared out a hair. Many of the tourists asked for photos with us; they just thought [what we were doing] was great!”
Weather was also an unknown, with rain falling sporadically and often. “Bring something warm and something to keep you dry,” Jen advises.
Culling Your Selfie Engagement Photos
When you’re your own photographer, you can’t take a sneak peek at the back of your camera after every shot. So what do you do to make sure the photos are turning out well? You shoot a lot. More than normal. And you anticipate a culling session that’s at least twice as long as usual!
“Of all the photos, I think I edited about half, some of which I kept just for myself and Alex,” Jen shares. Half of the edited images wound up online for friends and family to enjoy.
Here’s Why a Photographer Didn’t Hire a Photographer
In all fairness, Jen and Alex did try to hire a professional to photograph their travels through Iceland, but they could never align their schedules. In the end, this inspired the couple to make their own selfie engagement photos – an experience they wouldn’t change.
“My favorite thing about this entire shoot was the journey,” reminisces Jen. “[Taking our own engagement photos] was not an easy thing to do, but we made so many memories while doing it. I will never forget what it was like to find the glacier location, to wake up in such a beautiful place and feel so inspired. [For those reasons,] this shoot is nearer to my heart than any other I have ever done.”
“Selfie”: it’s not a bad word.
“Selfies” are often treated as the unwelcome intruders of the photography world. However, self-portraiture has existed as long as the medium itself. What better way to learn, after all, than to make yourself the subject?
- What have you learned from making self-portraits?
- If you’ve never before photographed yourself using anything other than your phone, are you ready to give selfies a try?
Written by ANNE SIMONE | Featuring JEN MONTGOMERY PHOTOGRAPHY via TWO BRIGHT LIGHTS