There are not too many movie moments more iconic than the lift at the climax of “Dirty Dancing.” It is an unforgettable scene that has become a cultural touchstone for several generations of Americans. TV shows and other movies have copied the moment seemingly a million times. It is also so ubiquitous that it has spawned countless parodies. (We are especially partial to Eli Manning and Odell Beckham, Jr’s touchdown celebration and the middle-aged couple who “came in too hot” in an insurance ad) Not surprisingly, that lift has become a much-sought-after pose during engagement shoots. As Washington DC wedding and engagement photographers, we get the appeal. Lift engagement photos are stunning and grab your attention in a way that few other shots do. They are definitely a way to make your engagement portrait gallery stand out from the rest!
The problem for many couples who want to reenact the Baby-Johnny Castle dance scene during their engagement shoot is the how. Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze make the whole move look so effortless (at the end of the movie, anyway). Even Eli and Odell pull it off with grace! But the reality for most of us is that we are more likely to end up falling through our dining room tables like the aforementioned couple. And jokes aside, the last thing we want for you is to get hurt trying to get lift engagement photos!
The good news for you is that you can still make that pose a part of your engagement session. There are a couple of simple options that allow you to do the lift without having to be a trained dancer or professional athlete. Here are two ways to achieve this acrobatic pose during your engagement photos:
Don’t forget that the protagonists of “Dirty Dancing” practiced the lift a lot before pulling it off flawlessly at the end of the movie. And where did they get those reps in? A lake. The reasoning behind that is pretty obvious. If the lift went wrong, falling in the water was not going to hurt them any.
You can use that same logic to get lift engagement photos without risking injury to yourselves. If you schedule a session with a Washington DC engagement photographer near a lake or other calm body of water, the seemingly impossible becomes possible! You and your future spouse can do the lifting pose without fear. The only consequence of mistiming it or getting the weight distribution wrong is getting a little wet! You can do it over and over again, ensuring that your photographers get at least a few stunning shots.
A lake thus turns something that requires great strength and grace into a pose that just takes a good attitude and adventurous spirit. (We would also note that it requires outfits that can get wet without being ruined or revealing too much.)
But what if there is no lake anywhere near you? Not everyone lives near a body of water that is ideal for getting lifting engagement photos. Or what if you do not like the idea of getting wet during your engagement session? You might very well spend a lot of money on hair and makeup prior to having your engagement portraits taken. You would naturally not be thrilled about the prospect of messing those up.
If either of those apply to you, then not to worry! You can still make the lift a part of your engagement photoshoot. All you have to do is find something to stand on that puts you above your partner. It can be a wall, a landing, a tree stump or a table. You can even bring a chair or small ladder from home.
Starting even a couple of feet off the ground makes the entire lifting pose easier and safer. Your partner barely even needs to pick you up. Instead, you can just sort of fall onto their hands. If the balance is not quite right or your partner’s strength gives out, you can just come back down to where you were standing. The only thing you need to be careful about is letting your weight get too far forward. As long as you pay attention to that, you can do this over and over relatively easily. And with clever angles and a bit of editing magic, your Washington DC engagement photographer can remove any evidence of you receiving a boost!
Of course, there are some lucky couples out there who do not need assistance of any kind. (Yes, we admit to being jealous of them!) The man and woman in this image, for example, are both fitness coaches and have all the strength and agility you would expect. We got to know them at our gym, where we witnessed them practicing a variety of acrobatic gymnastics exercises. With every new move they tried, we saw a new creative pose we could try during an engagement photoshoot with them.
Fortunately, they were just as pumped up to try for some adventurous acrobatic engagement photos as we were! We took them to a gorgeous field of sunflowers not far from our house and basically let them try whatever athletic poses they could come up with. For example, the man flipped his future wife up onto his shoulder for one set of shots. Later, when we had our Mavic DJI Pro Drone up in the air, he hoisted her up to sit on his arm while she held a cut sunflower in her outstretched hand. The crown jewel of their engagement session, though, was the lift engagement photo featured here. The woman jumped into her future husband’s hands, and he raised her up above the sunflowers effortlessly. The result was an image that any “Dirty Dancing” fan would love to have!
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