No Frankensteins here! If you see all of those amazing pictures on Pinterest of super romantic and effortless looking engagement shoots, but just don’t think you can put away your awkward for the hour for your engagement shoot, this post is for you.
Here are some easy tips you can follow that make a WORLD of difference in how natural your photos turn out:
1. POINT OF TOUCH
Always be aware of you and your partner’s body during the shoot. Your photos will look instantly better if there is a constant point of touch between the two of you. This creates that intimate connection that everyone hopes for in the final image.
Even if its just the link of a finger, touch of a shoulder or a full-on hug, make sure you’re connected in some way. Trust me — IT ALWAYS WORKS 🙂
2. TRANSFER YOUR WEIGHT
This goes for both ladies and gents. If you’re standing level on both feet, ultimately you look super stiff — and that’s totally not what we want. I want you to feel comfortable and have fun during your shoot and the best way to let this show in your photos is to relax your body.
By placing most of your weight on one leg and relaxing your shoulders, you look natural with minimal effort. For the ladies, if you put your weight on your back foot and bend the knee closest to the camera, it slims you down instantly! (win win, right?).
3. DON’T BE AFRAID TO LAUGH
I’m a strong believer that laughter is the heart and soul of any good photograph (at least for engagements and weddings). Often during my shoots, I’ll either crack a joke, poke fun at something or flat out say “okay, fake laughter!” which usually turns into the real thing 🙂 This is not only a great way for us to be comfortable with each other, but also loosens you and your partner up to joke around.
Seriously, you can’t beat a natural smile or embrace and these are what I love to capture. All it takes is one good joke or belly laugh to really open up the session to some awesome possibilities.
4. AVOID THE CAMERA
Now, I know this seems totally totally counterintuitive, but this is a great thing to think about during the shoot. I don’t mean run away screaming from my camera (unless that’s your vibe), but avoid it with your eyes (unless I ask you to look right at my lens). Usually the most beautiful and genuine poses are ones that seem like they were captured when the camera wasn’t around. Whether it’s a kiss on the forehead with your eyes closed or a gentle embrace looking off into the distance, these are the moments that will speak the most to you.
Of course, I’ll ask for a few poses of you or your man facing the camera, but for the most part, I want you two to have fun with each other, play around and just be yourselves without focusing solely on me.
5. BE BENDY
I instantly thought of Gumby as I was writing this title (naturally, right?). So the basic idea of this tip is to easily avoid being a Frankenstein and here’s how you do it:
No matter what pose you’re in or what prop you have, make sure that your elbows and knees are slightly bent. Remember, you don’t have to go hog wild, but just a slight bend will do. Mostly, we’re just trying to avoid locking your knees and arms because that’s the easiest way to make an unnatural pose which makes you look more like you’re mannequins at Macy’s than a couple in love. So get to bending those knees and you’ll look totally fab. I promise!
6. STYLE YOUR OUTFITS WISELY
We all know how important cool duds are in any situation and that concept is no different for your engagement photos. You don’t have to be “matchy matchy”, but it’s seriously a good idea to plan out your outfits ahead of time. If you have a favorite color or a color you know you look good in, pick that for yourself and then pick a complimentary color or tone for your partner. Whites and creams are always nice for light and airy photos, whereas plaids and darker tones are perfect for fall!
So for example, if you wear a navy dress, pick out a plaid shirt for your partner that has hints of navy 🙂 Easy peasy!
No matter what outfit you choose, the number one factor to consider is: are you comfortable? Because, if you’re not: it’s too tight or it’s even slightly too warm, it’ll show on your face. Confidence and comfortability are two foundational components of an amazing photo session.
7. LADIES, TREAT YO’SELF
Okay, ladies. Let’s talk about the fun stuff: hair and makeup. We can all admit that our selfies look much more put together when we have our hair done and favorite lashes on, am I right? So, your engagement session is basically the same thing.
If you have a hair and makeup trial scheduled to iron out your wedding day look, it’s a great idea to schedule it for earlier in the day of your engagement shoot. That way, you feel pretty, relaxed and hey, you’re putting that trial to awesome use!
8. BE ACTIVE
Throughout your session, we focus on movement. Honestly, my style is to not “pose” you a lot. I want you to move and interact with you partner so that I can capture those little in-between moments. The small smile, the cute touch on the hand or the way you shy away when he goes in for an exaggerate kiss. Those are what count.
So, as we go through the session, I’ll ask you to do things like “go in for a kiss.” or “spin her around”. All of these actions are completely natural and allow a scene to unfold between the two of you.
9. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
When choosing your location for your engagement shoot, try and pick a spot or place that you and your partner connect to. For example, if you love hiking, let’s hit the trails or if you love the ocean, let’s find the nearest lake or pond.
10. BRING PROPS OR PETS (SERIOUSLY.)
It’s no secret I’m a die-hard dog fan and a lot of my clients are too. That’s why, if you have a favorite furry friend, I absolutely encourage you to bring them along. We can incorporate them into some creative shots and also get some of just the two of you. Ultimately, it’s a really fun way to not only get some treasured pics of your pooch, but also liven up the session. It’s crazy how quickly your mood can switch from insanely nervous about being in front of the camera to natural nelly once Fido is in the picture 🙂
So that’s it! My top ten tips for an awesome engagement session.
If you have any questions, or just want to say hello, you can hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org. Talk to you soon!!