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How to Make Your Engagement Shoot Fun!

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Courtesy of: WireImage/Copyright 2010 Mario Testino

For decades, a bride's engagement portrait was a demure, solo shot. These days, the groom is in the picture. And couples aren't settling for basic studio snapshots—not in the least, as they head outdoors (beaches, piers, and parks are big) or think high-concept.

Some use a theme, a polished look, or a time period as a starting point, then work in props and clothes that best convey their personalities. Others go for action shots—at the dog run, on roaring rapids, or atop the Ferris wheel at the state fairground. And some nod to their personal history, like the couple who posed with laptops in homage to their e-mail love notes.

While power couple Prince William and fiancee Kate Middleton didn't pose with ice cream cones or pooches—at least not that we know of—they did take a more relaxed photo (by royal standards) that was released to the world in addition to their formal one. Surely if even they can have a bit of (Buckingham Palace-approved) fun, you can, too.

Since you may not have booked a celebrity photographer like Mario Testino to capture your engagement shoot, here are some things to remember:

PICK THE RIGHT PHOTOGRAPHER. Browse a pro's sample books to make sure she's a good match for you. If you're quirky and her style is formal, keep looking.

MAKE THE PHOTOS ABOUT THE TWO OF YOU. Did you go for ice cream on your first date? Then head to the nearest scoop shop. Holding props (cones) will make you look relaxed.

BE FLEXIBLE. Trust your pro to find the best locations for shooting. If she says the lighting is poor at a place you love, go with her judgment and look for an alternative.

FLIRT! Pretend that you're on a date—that flirty energy is camera-friendly. Your photos will benefit greatly from your ability to let loose and have fun.

—Lexi Dwyer, BRIDES magazine

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