Have you ever been scrolling through social media and think “All these couples look amazing and so natural, how? We’re super awkward…how are we going to pull off this whole engagement session thing smoothly?”
Well let me be the first to tell you…those people you think look so naturally perfect on social media probably HAD NO IDEA what they were doing either. Seriously!
Every. Single. Couple. tells me they are aren’t good at taking pictures yet ALL their galleries are full of beautiful moments. What’s the secret?!?!
Well, when it comes down to it all, it’s about feeling comfortable in your own skin and connected to your partner during your session. Today we’re going over practical things you can do to look natural and comfortable in your engagement photos!
01 | Clear Communication = Happy Couple = Happy Photos
A.K.A. – Do a little prep work and make sure you’re on the same page before you show up for your engagement session.
There’s nothing that looks more unnatural through the lens of a camera than a flustered couple who is running late, doesn’t want to be there, and has been bickering on the way to their session. That’s not fun for you, your photographer, AND you probably won’t like the photos afterward. So…
To ensure you actually have a good time during your session, make sure you AND your partner are on the same page before hand. Clear communication about what to expect will help your session go smoothly = happy couple = happy photos!
Talk through the following with your partner before showing up:
- Where and when is our session happening? What can we do to ensure we show up on time not feeling rushed?
- What outfits will we be wearing?
- How long is this session going to take?
- What time of day is this happening? Do we need to eat beforehand? You don’t want to show up hangry!
- What should we expect?
- Who is taking our photos?
By talking through the logistics with your partner you’ll ensure you both feel in the know about what to expect! I’ve heard of couples showing up where the bride knew it would be a 2 hour engagement session but the groom thought it would be ~ 15 minutes. That led to a frustrated groom and a disappointed bride. COMMUNICATION IS KEY.
TIP | Look through a few of your photographers engagement session galleries on their blog first WITH your significant before coming to your session. This way you both have a mental picture of what to expect before showing up.
Mentally preparing, knowing what to expect, and being on the same page BEFORE a session starts is KEY to creating a comfortable relaxed environment that will lead to great photos!
02 | Create a fun experience out of your engagement session for both of you!
Make this fun! Turn your session into a date and a special event. Make a whole thing of it so you both look forward to it!
Prior to my own engagement session we talked through what to expect and made a date night out of it and ended the night with sharing some engagement promises and hopes we have for our relationship. By doing these little added things during our session it helped us create a unique fun experience that we both looked forward to, enjoyed, and will remember fondly.
I talk so much about having fun and creating a good experience during your session because you remember HOW YOU FEEL when you look back at your images. If you were having a bad day and fighting with your partner, you will remember that when you look at those images. If you had a wonderful time laughing, you will remember that.
Setting yourselves up to have a great experience is half the battle to crafting beautiful images.
03 | Ensure your session is taking place somewhere you love and/or doing something you love
If you want to feel comfortable and natural in your photos take them in places that you love and surroundings you enjoy. If you love spending time with your dog and bond over your fur baby, make sure that you can bring your dog to your engagement session at some point. If you bond over hiking and being out in nature, make sure that your session is in a spot you love hiking and have good memories at.
By hosting your engagement session in locations you are familiar with and bring you joy, you’ll feel more at ease and comfortable because you already know what to expect.
You can also incorporate things you love to do during your session! If you love cooking at home together maybe you can plan to cook at home during your session and create a more lifestyle session where you can be in you most natural element. If you love painting, perhaps you can do part of your session in your studio painting together.
The options are endless! It really comes down to WHAT do you enjoy doing together and WHERE do you enjoy doing it?
Set yourself up to get comfortable doing the things you already love!
04 | Focus on each other! It’s all about your relationship!
Focus on loving on your partner and connecting with them during your session. At the end of the day the reason you are doing this engagement session is because you love this person! Focus on them and helping them feel comfortable and happy. If you can do that then you’ll both feel at ease in front of the camera.
Do things together that you usually do to display affection towards your partner. Hold hands, squeeze each other, laugh, kiss, etc. Whatever your ‘thing’ is….do it! You want to look like YOU in your photos, not anyone else. So hold your partner close and get cuddly. Those always turn out being the best photos!
05 | Make the poses your own
Now don’t freak out….a good photographer will guide you and lead you through poses every step of the way. I’m not throwing you to the wolves I promise! BUT when you are being guided through poses IF something doesn’t feel quite right simply adjust. Make the pose work for you and your partner.
You want to look back at these images and feel like yourselves so make sure you shift your body to feel comfortable in whatever pose you are in.
06 | Communicate with your photographer
We started with communication and we’re ending with communication. Communication is KEY friends! IF there are things you are self conscious about, nervous about, or just plain don’t like, communicate that with your photographer. By doing this they then know what you and do and don’t like and can tailor poses and your session to fit your needs.
For example, I hate my chin. I don’t like it. I think it’s small and weird and I really don’t like profile photos of myself. It doesn’t matter who the photographer is or where I am I just don’t like my chin. If I can communicate this to my photographer it allows her or him to then direct me and pose me in ways that will not highlight my profile.
Communicate with your photographer and you’ll be golden!
I hope you have found these 6 tips to be helpful as you prep for your own engagement session! Just remember to breathe, relax, and be yourselves! I can’t wait to see how your images turn out!