If it seems like everyone and their mother’s got engaged over the holidays that’s because they probably did. I’m sure you’ve seen a plethora of engagement updates all over your Facebook feed from Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day. And soon enough, you’ll be flooded with those engagement photos too. Brace yourselves. That’s because engagement sessions are in full swing for those engaged and for us wedding and lifestyle photographers. WOOHOO!
But let’s face it…engagement sessions can be down right intimidating for the most of us. Heck, I’m a photographer and as soon as I get in front of the lens I clam up. And most all times, “Act natural!” just don’t and won’t cut it. So for those of you who are ready for engagement sessions but need a little help, I’ve put together this fool proof guide for getting the most out of your couples photoshoot.
1) Choose a Meaningful Location: Choose a location or scenery that means something to the both of you. In one my more recent engagement photoshoots, Andie and Shane, who currently reside in Maryland, both grew up in Southern California so it was important for them to have that Cali-vibe captured in their photos. By incorporating the ocean, stones, cliffs, and sunset skies in their engagement photos we were able to shine some light on their love and where it all started.
2) Focus On Each Other: Naturally, couples tend to look directly at the camera or anywhere else BUT their partner. Unless the photographer specifically directs you to look at the lens, use the moment to focus on each other. Don’t be afraid to look deep into each other’s eyes.
3) Take Part in an Activity: Acting natural is hard to do especially when you’re put on the spot. If this is the case, try partaking in an activity together. Try cooking in the kitchen, walking the dog together, drinking coffee in a cute cafe or even playing simple games together. Some of my go-to tactics are asking the couple to kiss mid-walk without stopping. It gets awkward because they’re focusing on doing two different things–kissing and walking. The end result? Genuine laughs.
4) Embrace the awkward. Laugh about it: It’s totes mgotes okay to feel awkward in these situations and I actually encourage it with my clients. Because when it’s awkward, I get laughs, giggles, bashfulness, or some sort of emotion that usually elicits something beautiful on camera. And if you have a smart photographer, they will capture these in-between golden moments.
5) Opt For the Golden Hour: The best hours to shoot in the day are within the first hour of sunrise and the hour before sunset aka the golden hour. During these times, the amount of natural lighting emitted from the skies are just right and spread evenly on and around the subject. The hour after sunrise can emit a soft dewy pink or blue-ish glow. The hour before sunset will usually emit a golden glow.
6) Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Up: A good chunk of my clients always want a very specific posed photo they find on Pinterest. If that’s the case, don’t be afraid to share it with your photographer. This also usually gives us an idea of the kind of photos and poses you’re hoping for. Just don’t go overboard.
7) Talk To Your Photographer: There are a wide range of photographers–you get the talkers that will guide you through each movement and you get one’s that will hardly ever say a word. Don’t know where to put your hands? Ask them. Don’t know where to look? Ask them.