Many congrats on your recent engagement! What an exciting time for you and your partner. As you may or may not have already discovered, engagement photos and images of couples with disabilities are not popping off the pages of magazines and internet websites. So, there are likely few ideas to generate creativity when it comes to your own engagement photos. We have other posts related to engagement photos worth checking out, but this one is dedicated solely to engagement photo tips for people with disabilities. Whether you want to cover up or highlight your mobility aid, make a statement, or just feel like everyone else, we have some great tips below to help you start thinking about how to execute your engagement photos with different abilities and needs. We will discuss why you may want to include your disability, or not, as well as tips for each trajectory because the choice is yours and your partner’s, alone.
It is important to note that there are myriad disabilities, and some are more apparent than others. This includes differences that you may not be able to hide so a quick delve into this topic is prudent for this post.
As touched on above, some different abilities may not have the option of being hidden, while some can be more easily. While we certainly advocate personalizing your wedding and all the details to make it unique to you and your partner, we would not try to dictate what that looks like for you and your partner. So, this first decision comes down to personal preference.
Maybe you use mobility aids, and you want your partner to help steady you in an organic way. Holding your arm or picking you up in an intimate way the way partners lean on each other in a relationship. Perhaps that’s your vision for all the glamor that weddings evoke. And honestly, there’s nothing wrong with that. And we do have options for this vision if you are uncomfortable highlighting this part of you in pictures. Everyone is on their own journey on their own time.
On the other hand, there is something about being your whole authentic self here, for pride in the face of societal shame and for creating representations for future couples with disabilities. So, they can see themselves in you and to normalize different abilities and inclusive weddings. When one in four Americans have a disability, maybe it’s time to take up some space in the discourse.
Only you and your partner can decide what is right for you, so we have options for both visions.
So, you have decided not to include or highlight your disability in your engagement photos, and that’s completely ok. This might be easier for some than others, though. If you are blind, for instance, your partner can guide you during the photos with relative ease. Most mobility aids can be replaced by a steady hand or two or even just sitting down can feel natural. If you want those intimate canoodling snaps that show how in love you two are, then that should be the focus of the session. The candid laughs and hand holding, the ring or commitment piece, and those big smiles, of course. Maybe even silhouettes sitting in a field at dusk during the golden hour (1-2 hours before sunset). One head resting on your partner’s shoulder. Any venue or area with seating and a view can work. Just make sure to communicate your expectations up front with your photographer.
In general, engagement photos serve a dual purpose. One is to use the pictures to save the date. The other reason is to work with your wedding photographer before the big day. So, being very clear about your vision and wants in these and other pictures are going to be critical for success. Remember to be clear but also to allow for some creative control from the professional as well. They may have some ideas to enhance your vision that you did not think of already. So be upfront, be open, be you. Now we will take a look at ideas for showing if not highlighting your different abilities in your engagement photos.
Even if you’re not one-hundred percent comfortable you may have important reasons for wanting to highlight your disability, like some we have mentioned. Whatever the case it is a highly personal decision, and we are just here to guide you on this journey. This cute couple didn’t go out of their way to decorate but the simplicity and intimacy shines through. Jed Silverlake, founder and editor of Married Home, adds, “Focus on your connection as a couple, let the camera capture your love and joy together above all else.”
The flowers are a nice touch for engagement photos, and these would be lovely for save the dates with the writing in the blank space. While there is no rule that you must use these photos for anything, do let your photographer know whether or not you plan to use them for this purpose.
Some other ideas for upgrading your mobility aids include decorating them with flowers or designs if they are not colorful. Maybe your vision is an inclusive wedding, and this is one way to demonstrate that vision from the first correspondence. This shot is beautiful and subtle because the positioning draws the eyes to the bouquet just off center.
Even something as simple as a bouquet like this one, by your mobility aid can function as a gentle nudge towards inclusivity. You can add as much flair as you like, again these photos don’t have to be for anything but you and your partner.
Another suggestion, if it works with you and your partner, is this adorable pose seen below.
You can leave it at this, or go all out. You can even have a bed of flowers surrounding you both for a touch of nature. Maybe even some balloons, champagne, or your pet as well. Perhaps one showing off your rings or commitment pieces as the focus of the shot. Additionally, if you or your partner can’t or do not want to wear a ring, take a peek at our post about alternatives to rings for commitment pieces. Surely, the engagement photos would be the perfect place to show them off, too.
Don’t forget those personal touches to really make this unique to you and your partner. While there are additional considerations for accommodating needs, these pictures still should be fun and personal. So don’t lose sight of the big picture while focusing on those details. Again, it is worth repeating to be upfront and clear with your photographer about the vision you and your partner have. This is true for any photo session, really. But especially for big events like your super special wedding!
Don’t forget to check out our other posts about engagement photos, alternative commitment pieces, and alternatives to the bouquet and garter toss. You may or may not want to include these details in your planning, especially if you’re planning an inclusive wedding as well. But certainly, more inspiration is better than less when it comes to planning your wedding.
So, to recap, you first have decided how much of yourself and your partner to reveal in these engagement photos regarding your or your partners disability, or both. You have found a photographer to work with and you have been abundantly clear about what you want for these photos, the purpose of them, and the vision for them. You have also discussed any alternative options or suggestions from the professional for the vision of these photos to take into consideration for the session.
You have the venue that will help enhance your vision, whatever it may be. You have the right outfits, and back-ups. For more on engagement attire check out our post on high fashion engagement photos with some additional tips about the process including timing your engagement session. There might be some other suggestions worth perusing to get the creative juices flowing. After all, you are not limited by anything other than your imagination. Now, its time to make your dreams reality when it all comes together in your engagement photos. Whether you chose to show or not to show is not the most important part of these photos. Rather, most importantly, don’t forget to smile! You are with the love of your life, the person who will be there for you no matter what. The person who is committed to you for better or worse. And if that’s not worth beaming over, well, we don’t know what it is. Say cheese!