First of all, get into it!
Get your partner into it, dare I say excited about it! Talk with your partner ahead of time on how they feel about shooting these photos, so if one of you is nervous being in front of the camera the other can help you feel more at ease. Start looking online or Pinterest for inspiration on the mood, setting, poses, outfits, etc you want to come through from your engagement session. Don’t get too specific but just generally capture elements that tell your story and share this with your photographer so that you are on the same page. Do you want chic city vibes to come through, or a casual afternoon in the park feeling? Do you want bold colors or softer neutrals in your outfits?
Tell your photographer your love story; all the details, how you met, how the proposal went down, a favorite story about your partner ahead of time. How can you open up to your photographer beforehand so that you’ve laid some groundwork on who you are as a person and as a couple. This helps to remove any anxious feelings or stiff conversations during photos. You’ve already done the “So how did you two meet” dance, you feel me?
Also don’t be afraid to express any concerns to your photographer. Do you hate being photographed? What if it rains, what’s a good plan B? Can’t choose an outfit? Not your best week? Totally dreading it? Making your photographer aware allows them to think ahead and offer advice to put you more at ease when your engagement session arrives.
Choose a location and time
When you are thinking about locations, try to choose a place that has significance to you and your husband or wife to be. As a photographer there are plenty of gorgeous places I can suggest we shoot at, but if they don’t mean anything to you and you don’t feel like you belong there it will come out in the photos. Sure your photographer can guide you with suggestions but if you aren’t beach people, don’t get your photos done on the beach, plain and simple.
Also make sure it is private or at least you are comfortable with onlookers. Nothing ruins the mood more than having to ask people to get out of your shot, or having a crowd watch you make out so find a place or time that will avoid onlookers that could impact how you feel the day of the shoot.
Maybe think about natural settings (if that’s your thing!), because they are dramatic and timeless. A forest or mountainscape isn’t going to date a photo 20 years from now whereas the clothing of others around you on the boardwalk of a coastal town might. But also maybe you don’t care about this. Just give some thought to these photos years down the road.
Be willing to pick the best time of day for the photography. Good photos depend on good lighting more often than not. Wanting a beautiful sunrise behind you could mean getting up at 4AM to capture it. Same goes for sunset. Don’t get me wrong, your photographer will show up when you tell them to, but a bright hot 1PM is not ideal a lot of times, so talk with your photographer on the best times to shoot at your location and consider their advice when you make your plans.
Picking out the perfect outfits
Match your setting. If you choose to have your photos done walking in a creek, don’t get crazy dressed up in high heels and elaborate jewelry. Pick out an outfit that will compliment the scene happening around you and in the same color palette. And if you aren’t sure choose neutrals that go with everything.
You don’t need to match each other though. Be careful not to go too matchy-matchy, just keep thinking about complementary colors, styles and patterns. If you aren’t sure about your decision talk to you photographer beforehand about your ideas, or do some digging online, there are tons of advice resources on exactly this topic!
Bring more than one outfit and a few accessories to change things up. You may get less photos in each outfit but you’ll have more variety if you have an outfit change and maybe some swaps in accessories like changing a pair of shoes or adding a scarf.
Bring along props or don’t. If you just love, love, love this idea you saw on Pinterest and you want to replicate it, talk to your photographer and plan to bring whatever props you need. But on the other hand, you don’t need props. These photos are about celebrating your love as two people which doesn’t require the perfect bundle of red balloons.
Relax! This is supposed to be FUN and not a big deal.
Be in the moment and get ready to show some affection. I, like other photographers I assume, will be asking you to do a lot of kissing, hugging, laughing, touching and again more smooching. You know why, because engagement photos are ABOUT LOVE and about your commitment to each other. It doesn’t work if you are stiff, unconnected, shy, or bored. These emotions will all come through. So just try your best to be in the moment and magic of this one and only time in your life!
A huge pro to doing engagement photos before your wedding day is you really get to know your photographer and get used to the feeling of taking photos. This will make your wedding day just that much more fun and stress-free because you already have a connection and you know the drill.
Related to this, practice makes perfect. The majority of my clients have never had professional photos taken and they certainly haven’t been instructed by a photographer to pose a specific way. This is the perfect opportunity to get a little practice in before the wedding day.
Oh and don’t be surprised if your photographer does weird things to elicit a reaction. We are trying to capture all of your personality in just a small set of photos. Ultimately I’m happy if you are laughing at me for being a weirdo, because then you are laughing right into my lens.
Hopefully you found this helpful! Don’t stress about your engagement session. It will be great. You will be great! Save the stress for other parts of the wedding planning!
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