One of my absolute favorite photo sessions is engagements. Engagements are all the fun and romance of a bridals or formals session, but without the pressure of keeping your wedding clothes clean. I’ve found over the years of doing engagements, however, that many of you do not feel the same way. Maybe it’s that you’re not used to being in front of the camera, or that you’re unsure about posing, where to look, what facial expressions to make, etc. In this post is all the advice I want you to know before coming to your engagement session and what to do during your engagement session.
You just booked your engagement session, YAY!
The first thing you should do after you book your engagement session, is to go online and start looking up engagement photos. You can use Pinterest or Instagram, or whatever you want. Be careful while you’re doing this! You don’t want to get an exact image in your head of what you want, as it may make it difficult for you to like the photos you get back, no matter how beautiful they are. The point of looking at other engagement photos is to get a feel for what you like. Do you prefer greenery or beach, forested area or open skies, light blue skies or sunset? Start saving the pictures you like and looking for the trends that are drawing you to them. This will help us pick the perfect location for you!
Now start looking less at location, and more at the action in the photo. Are the models serious, laughing, smiling, dancing, kissing? If you notice that you love a certain look and you want that to be captured in your own pictures, tell me!
Look through pictures a third (and final) time, this time noticing the clothes. This is something that I notice a lot of people stress about for their engagement session. What colors should you wear? What style of clothes should you wear? Is that a flattering outfit or not? So many questions.
The most important rule is that you always stay true to your own style! If you’re not a girl who wears pink, don’t feel like you have to wear pink just because a lot of other people would. The same thing goes for the type of outfits you choose. I typically suggest that couples each wear one casual outfit and one “nicer” outfit. But if that’s just not you, wear whatever you want!
Now that’s out of the way, here are some general suggestions for when you’re at a loss.
Try to stay away from more form fitting clothes if you’re not super comfortable with your body. I wish so much that people would stop hating every picture because they think they look fat! If you’re worried about that before you book your session, stick to clothes you feel comfortable in.
Always consider the colors you’ll be wearing with the time of year and the location. If we’ll be shooting in the springtime with a mostly green location, don’t wear green. You want to stand out against the background.
If you’re still stuck for outfit choices for an engagement session, here’s some simple rules to guide you.
1. White always looks good. And it looks good with basically any color and on any background.
2. If you want to wear a pattern go for a very simple, large pattern. Small patterns or stripes really mess with the eyes (and the camera) and can be distorted in the photos.
3. Colors should be muted and not distracting. If you like the general colors you see on my Instagram or website, I suggest light blues, light pinks, grays, white, yellows, muted reds, and burnt orange.
4. Clothes that have some texture and fit loosely tend to look best and are flattering in every stance. Ok we’re done with clothes!
Another concern I hear from people at the beginning of an engagement session is a feeling of awkwardness with posing. Don’t worry, that’s totally normal! I can count on one hand the amount of people I’ve had who were totally comfortable in front of the camera. So here’s my advice: don’t worry about posing! As a photographer who’s done this for a few years, I’ve had plenty of practice with posing, prompting, and directing people to get the shot we want. But there are a few things I wish everyone knew about posing.
1. Chances are, if I’m not saying anything you’re doing it right. Keep it up!
2. Even if I’m posing and directing you, I want you to feel totally free to do what you want when you want to. If I’ve got you in some pose and you suddenly think this might be a good time for a kiss on the forehead or a funny joke that’ll make both of you laugh, you are absolutely correct! At the end of the day, my job is to capture your love as it is. Of course there’ll be times when both of you should look at me and smile, but for the most part I want to be a fly on the wall as much as I can.
3. Pretty much everyone prefers candid photos. But for us to get those, I need you to be as natural as you can. Literally ignore me if you want, and I’ll only intervene as needed.
4. Any actions that I have you do during your session, do it with a little extra love, care, and time. I can tell you to wrap your arms around each other and sway back and forth, but if you do it really fast and stiff, it’s not gonna be cute. Take your time, love each other, and pretend I’m not there and this session will be a success!
My passion is capturing and delivering beautiful photos, but really I want so much more for every couple I shoot with. I want you to look back on your engagement photos and remember that you had fun, you felt beautiful, and you felt loved. I hope this is a helpful guide to getting you to that point but at the end of the day, let me know whatever it is you need to make that happen and we’ll work to get it done! My inbox is always open!