Photos by Jill Knight
For many couples, an engagement photo session is the first real excuse to get in front of the camera and have portraits taken by a professional photographer. We all know that engagement photos can get pretty awkward - but they definitely don't have to! Here are eight tips to help you shake off the nerves and leave your shoot knowing you have the photos you really want.
The most common mistake that leads to a series of unfortunate engagement photos is when the couple doesn't trust their photographer. Your photographer's coaching and guidance might sound repetitive (i.e.: “now give her a kiss on the cheek!” “Look into each others eyes” “laugh!”), but they’re doing it for a good reason. Each of these coaching moments loosens you up — how many times can you stare lovingly into your significant other’s eyes before you start to let go? — and gives them an opportunity to capture a real, candid moment. So just go with the flow and give your photographer the chance to make some great images.
Pick a location that means something to you as a couple. Whether it’s your favorite coffee place, a park near your apartment or just sight seeing around the city you are making a home in, having a meaningful location is the best way to relive the moments that made you fall in love in the first place. It's also important to consult your photographer on the potential locations and consider their input. They do this for a living, so chances are they've got some great ideas up their sleeve.
If you can, try and keep the majority of the photos outside. The bright, natural sunlight is flattering and will give you the romantic, airy feel you're looking for. Timing is important, too: the best light happens during the golden hours (one hour after sunrise and one hour before sunset). Schedule your shoot around one of those hours and you won't be sorry.
OK, we get it, you look really amazing in that pair of pumps. But do you actually want to be walking around all day in those? Wearing comfortable outfits makes the engagement session easier on you and your feet. Feeling confident is equally important. You don't want to receive your photos and never use them because you bought an outfit that was too tight or you're not happy with your appearance. If you're going to buy a new outfit, make sure it's flattering all around, and you feel fabulous in it.
Here are some seasonal outfit ideas in case you need a place to start:
Summer engagement session? We suggest donning a pair of comfortable strappy sandals and a flowy sundress. Fall? Flannel, jeans and riding boots all the way. Winter engagement? A fitted, cropped jacket, corduroys and a pair of cute booties. Spring? Nothing's better than a cute blouse, comfy cardigan and your favorite wedges.
This one is a little vain, but does it really even need to be said? You know you want a glamour shot of your ring on your finger. Plus, it’s a great excuse to treat yo’self. On the day of the shoot, carry lotion and make sure to moisturize your hands before your photographer gets a close-up.
Make an appointment and give that rock the attention it deserves. A polished, shiny ring gives your photographer the opportunity to get a sparkling shot of your investment. And hey, it needed to be done anyway, right?
Don’t hold back with ideas and suggestions. If you want to get a quick shot outside of local landmark with your future husband, then speak up! Chances are your photographer has done their research, but they aren't mind readers — there’s no way they can know the exact shots you want. Only you can point them in the right direction! Make sure you communicate what you're looking for without limiting your photographer's creativity.
It's a great idea to make a Pinterest board of poses and ideas to share with your photographer in the weeks leading up to your shoot, but don't think you're going to end up with those exact photos. As a general rule, try to keep Pinterest as an overall inspiration for the look and feel of the shoot, without trying to recreate specific shots.
Besides the fact that your photos should be unique to you, it's unreasonable to expect your photographer to recreate a shot in a totally different environment with different subjects and different circumstances. Remember, most of the photos you see on Pinterest are the best-of-the-best, so try and stay realistic. Oh, and while we're on the subject... ditch the props. Most are so overdone that they've become tacky, unfortunately. Our advice? Keep it simple and focus on getting great photos of you and your fiancé that you'll want to look at for years to come.
I really can't stress this enough. If you’re feeling uncomfortable, it’ll come through in your photos. Shake off the nervousness, take a deep breath and, most importantly, have a good time!
*Thanks again to the wonderful Jill Knight of Jillian Knight Photography for allowing us to use her photos in this post! You can see more of Jill's work here, and make sure to follow her on Instagram and Facebook.