All the time, I see photographers posting about engagement sessions and the best tips they have to prepare. Most of the time these posts will go over details about color theory, outfit choices, where to find the fanciest and prettiest outfits, what time of day is best for lighting, what kinds of locations are best, how to pick your location, etc. While I do think most of things can add value and beauty to your engagement session, they will ultimately not be able to make sure that your engagement images capture your relationship beautifully.
Outfits, style, location, colors, light are all important, but they will all place a significant emphasis on perfection; perfection of the most flattering outfit possible, perfection of the most beautiful light possible, just perfection in general. The more you worry about an outfit, the less you are able to focus on your fiancé and the relationship between you. Instead, you’re just trying to make sure you don’t make the awkward smile they plagued you in every school photo through senior year in high school. When you’re not focused on your significant other in your photos, it shows.
My favorites images of Scott and I (or even Noah and I) capture the heart and beauty of our relationship, regardless of the colors that I’m wearing or how fancy my dress (or skirt) is. They’re the photos that I remember really sinking into Scott – or cuddling him, or just letting go of the pressure and just enjoying him for all that he is, or it’s the moment that I’m recalling a memory – or just thinking about how far we’ve come and I’ve forgotten the camera is in front of me.
In order to execute and have the most beautiful images possible for your session, I want all couples to know the single most important aspect of your engagement session if you want images that are going to portray your relationship in the best way possible:
Be in the moment and enjoy your significant other.
I realize this is not easy. When you tell someone to relax and enjoy the moment, they’ll often do quite the opposite. However, I want to give you some fun and easy tips that can “get you in the mood” for your engagement session
BEFORE your session –
- Spend intentional time together reminiscing on your story sometime before your session
- Go on a “mini date” before you get ready to your favorite place for breakfast or lunch
- Look through old photos on your phones together the night/day before
- Take turns exchanging genuine compliments (at least 5 each)
- Reminisce in the most embarrassing thing that you did in your early dating days 🙂
- Plan a dinner date for after your session to look forward to
- Bring a snack, or eat a snack just before your session to make sure that you’re able to focus on your significant other rather than being hangry 😉
- Surprise your significant other with a meaningful gift (or even just their favorite coffee on the way home from work)
- Play together! When’s the last time that you warm wrested? Pillow fight? Piggy back rides?
- Ask some intentional questions of your significant other in your intentional time together before your session:
- What are you most looking forward to in marriage?
- What is your favorite date that we’ve ever been on?
- Where do you think we’ll be in 5 years? What about 10?
Another quick tip is that it helps to choose a photographer whose engagement and wedding portfolio is full of some natural looking moments where you can see a difference in each couple’s relationship. Not all photographers are created equal, or direct couples in the same way.
These are just a few ideas that come to mind easily that would encourage some ooey-gooey feelings of love and romance. Just feeling excited and lucky to get to be in pictures with your loved one rather than focusing on the experience of the images themselves is what is really going to make your portrait session even more successful. You’ll walk away with more genuine, authentic images that shout how beautiful your relationship is and capture this sweet season of engagement.
I hope this is helpful as you plan for your engagement session.